I’m always reminded of that line from the movie “Failsafe” in which someone hijacks a nuke-armed b-52 and holds the nation for ransom.
“I’m flying over Topeka, Kansas right now. I could drop it here, except no one would notice.”
Personally, I think Manhattan has as much going for it as any town/city in Kansas, including the KC burbs, mostly thanks to the university. They book great touring entertainment and bring a diversity of interests and cultures to town through their enrollment. It’s only natural that some stay on and make Manhattan their home. We have local theater, music, and arts that rival what I saw around D.C. Not in volume, but certainly in quality. The downtown area has really improved, and that improvement is starting to spread to the side streets. Even Aggieville is nicer, though the annual pukefest is a quick dip in the septic tank.
There’s some big money coming in from someplace though. I worry that Manhattan is leaning toward a “growth built on growth” model that created the bubbles from which the entire state of Florida and Las Vegas (for instance) are STILL trying to recover. The strip malls, the glut of new apartment buildings around campus and the building frenzy of MASSIVE houses in the Flint Hills around Colbert are indicators I’ve seen before… on BOTH coasts.