Walking the Post Road

A quiet stretch of Old Post Road in southern Rhode Island.

“The biggest Mega in economic terms is the original, the Boston-to-Washington corridor. In 1961 it was home to about 32 million people; today its population has risen to 55 million, more than 17 percent of all Americans. The region generates $2.5 trillion in economic activity, making it the world's fourth largest economy, bigger than France or the United Kingdom.”

Richard Florida, Newsweek, July 3, 2006

Distance Covered in this entry: 9.77 miles

Total Distance covered in Rhode Island: 90.0 miles

Total Distance Covered for this Project: 158.7 miles


  1. 1.Los Angeles, 17.9m, Chicago, 9.9m, San Francisco, 7.5m, Dallas, 6.8m, Houston, 6.0m, and Atlanta, 5.9m make up the rest of the top 10. Also sizable are Detroit, 5.4m, Seattle, 4.2m, Minneapolis, 3.6m, and Denver, 3.1m. In typically confusing fashion, the US Census Bureau does not count some cities in their list of CSAs. These are cities that do not have any significant interaction with other metropolitan areas and are thus not counted as CSAs but rather as individual Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s). Miami is the largest of these, with 5.6m people, followed by Phoenix, 4.4m, and San Diego, 3.1m.  Another dozen or so cities clock in with between 2 and 3 million people, for a total of about 30 cities in the US with 2 million or more inhabitants in their “sphere of influence.” This nicely corresponds with the number of Major League Baseball teams (30), or National Football League teams (32). The largest metropolitan areas without either a baseball or football team are Orlando (#21, 2.7m, although Tampa, only 85 miles away, has one), and Sacramento (#23, 2.5m, although Oakland is only 82 miles away). Charlotte (#24, 2.4m and growing fast) has no baseball team, and the only metropolitan area with fewer than 2 million that has a Major League Baseball Team is Milwaukee (1.8m). The executives over at the NFL in their stupidity have denied Los Angeles, which once had two teams, a team, despite the fact that over 5% of the entire US population resides there. On the other hand, there is a franchise in Buffalo (which is very small at 1.2m people but has fan support from nearby Rochester (1.1m), and Toronto (6.5m)), and Green Bay (really Milwaukee), as well as NFL teams in the southern, football-crazy cities of Jacksonville (1.3m), New Orleans (1.2m), and Nashville (1.7m). The only metropolitan area without a major league baseball, football, or basketball franchise is Columbus (#30, 2.0m), and it has both an NHL team and a Major League Soccer team. The next city in the ranking, Las Vegas (1.9m) has no professional franchise at all but that is for a different reason (think casinos).  You heard it here first-- at some point the Milwaukee Brewers will move to Charlotte or San Antonio. And the Oklahoma City (#45, 1.3m) Whoever-the-hell-they-are NBA team will never last--that was a dumb move by the NBA to punish a city (Seattle) for not building them a nice new stadium. Neither will the New Orleans Hornets (#48, 1.2m) or the Memphis Grizzlies (#44, 1.3m). These are by far the smallest market teams in all professional sports, and the population is not growing enough in these markets to justify any optimism about their futures. You might as well put a franchise in Grand Rapids, MI (1.3m), Hartford, CT (1.3m), Greenville, SC (1.3m), or Birmingham, AL (1.2m). Who knows, maybe they will as it is clear that somebody over at the NBA has been sniffing glue.  The NHL and MLS are different types of leagues and a meaningful comparison of franchises with metropolitan areas would be difficult. But I digress--back to the Post Road!

  2. 2.Another piece of trivia that is eye opening: If you apply similar logic to the entire country; that is, try to fit everybody in the entire USA into a population density of Manhattan, you could put every man, woman, and child in the country into 4,400 square miles, or the state of Connecticut, with almost 500 square miles left in the state for wild space!! New York is the “greenest place” in the country in my estimation. All those back to the land environmental types should rethink their green credentials--they are part of the problem. Urban dwellers use far fewer resources per capita than inhabitants of suburban or rural areas. You could also fit the population of the entire planet into Colorado by the same logic. So, everybody moves into cities, some percentage of the world’s land is used for agriculture and for resource extraction, and the rest, probably over 90% of the Earth’s surface, can be left alone. There, global warming and many other problems solved. You’re welcome.  I have lots of time to think while walking, and these are the bizarre products that burst forth fully formed like Athena from my head.

  3. 3.Quoted in a footnote in William Davis Miller, “The Narragansett Planters,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, April, 1933, page 21, note 1.

4. I made use of the diaries of John Winthrop Jr. (1645), Sarah Kemble Knight (1704), Dr. Alexander Hamilton (1744), and James Birkett (1750) for this entry as I have for many of the previous entries, where I have cited their work.

5. I also used Eric Schultz and Michael Tougias’s book King Philip’s War (1999), especially pages 244-274. Again I have used this work previously and cited it in previous entries.