If the phrase “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” conjures up images of cardigans and trollies to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, then you’re going to love our two newest board books: It’s You I Like and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Both of these gorgeous books feature the lyrics (and the warm neighborly welcome) of Fred Rogers, with beautiful illustrations by Luke Flowers. We recommend them for the littlest readers in your life – or for your millennial friends and family who could use a visit from Mister Rogers right about now.
One thing we love about Mister Rogers is the way he welcomed us into both his home in Pittsburgh and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in equal measure. He treated us like guests in his world, and we’ll never stop thanking him for that. And what better way to welcome these Mister Rogers books into the world than by exploring some of our favorite neighborhoods in pop culture!
Shaker Heights in Little Fires Everywhere
We first fell in love with Shaker Heights and the accompanying spookiness of sameness in Celeste Ng’s book Little Fires Everywhere. But it wasn’t until the Hulu series that we saw just how much of a character this Ohio town is. Our favorite eerie detail about this planned community is the fact that rental properties like duplexes and apartments are built to look like single family homes from the curb, to give the illusion that renters don’t live in Shaker. It’s a seed of information, one that builds into an entire earth-shattering tree, roots and all, as Mia and her daughter Pearl build their lives there. And by the time they leave, Shaker Heights will never be the same.
Crown Heights in High Fidelity
While the 2000 movie version of High Fidelity takes place in Chicago, the 2020 Hulu adaptation, starring our favorite and yours Zoe Kravitz, finds its home in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. And sure, there are a lot of questions about how Rob can afford to run a business without selling mountains of records – the rent alone must be a nightmare – but we wouldn’t want this show done any other way. We love the details of Rob’s favorite bar, and the gentrifying coffee shop where Simon lightly stalks his barista crush. And don’t even get us started on the romance surrounding Clyde’s car. It’s perfection.
Mississippi in Portlandia
Let’s be honest about Portland, Oregon: most of our cultural understanding about that show comes from the sketch-centric and delightfully over the top Portlandia. Even if we’ve been to Portland – even if we’ve lived in Portland – we can’t help but hum about the dream of the 90s or giggle about Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein making a live podcast to rival Serial. And while there are so many incredible Portland neighborhoods to choose from, we’re focusing on the Mississippi neighborhood, home of the Put a Bird on It and Artisan Knots, two iconic mainstays of this fictionalized Portland. Thanks for always making us laugh, Fred and Carrie.
Dupont Circle in The Americans
One of our favorite things about watching The Americans was trying to guess precisely where Dupont Circle Travel was located. And while it’s certainly not the biggest mystery of the show – um, have you seen The Americans? – it’s definitely a really great touch that Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings run a travel agency while also working full time jobs as KGB agents. Every time a potential client walks through their doors, our heart starts racing two-fold: first, because we don’t want them to be found out, and then again because we’re really hoping their client got off at the right Metro exit and didn’t have to go all the way around the circle just to book a vacation. Come on, Dupont.