What's the filthiest city you've ever lived in?

I didn’t use to think that Pasadena was a dump…until I was here on New Year’s Day for the first time. That’s when I saw the gutters on both sides of Colorado Blvd. overflowing with trash for blocks on end from all the people attending the Rose Parade. Now I’ve somehow become sensitized to all of the litter. The final straw was today when I saw somebody finish a pop from Burger King and just drop the paper cup. This guy couldn’t even work up the energy to toss it some direction, he just let go and let it bounce off his foot onto the sidewalk…grr!

I know intellectually that litter can’t be the worst thing to have in a large North American city, but I’m having a hard time accepting that emotionally right now. So come on down and share your horror stories: what’s the dirtiest, filthiest, most disgusting urban environment you’ve ever experienced? Someone’s got to be able to do better than gutters full of trash…

Obviously, you’ve never had the pleasure of standing on an NYC subway platform watching a rat root around in the garbage between the tracks.
'Though I hear from my niece that Paris is filthy, and she’s lived in New York. I can’t imagine what an experienced rider of the New York subway would find filthy in comparison.

When I lived in London I noticed two things. Firstly, you never noticed how much the whole place smelled until you went away to the country for the weekend and then CAME BACK.

Secondly, whenever you blew your nose, your snot was grey/black.

So there’s my nomination.

Detroit, Michigan.
OK, my lifetime world travelling experience isn’t all very broad. But New York looks lively despite its filth (maybe because of Rudy’s siege mentality). Detroit manages to look depressing even in a parade. Ninety percent of the city looks abandoned, run down and deserted. Broken liquor bottles on open fields with perennially brown grass. Streets long pulverized by the elements and time. Ironic in what was once the automotive capital of the world. (though when I went there, they started to repave my old neighborhood). Yellow building liquoir stoors with bars on the windows. Well, most all buildings had bars on the windows. It’s depressing to go to a KFC and see the employees protected from the customers by thick plexiglass.
Blocks and blocks of long abandoned buildings, warehouses etc. with windows broken and doors busted open. Many serve(d) as makeshift headquarters of various groups involved in the distribution of drugs. Though some the more artistically inclined have tried to spruce up the city with their street name up in spraypaint. The city looks as though no one runs it.

Cleveland, Ohio! On the banks of the dreaded Lake Erie. There’s a river running through the town that’s so polluted it actually caught on fire twice. That’s right, the river, which has some water in it, caught fire.

Beat that!

The nastiest cities I’ve ever been(never lived in either, but visited for work on a regular basis) were New Orleans, LA and Memphis, TN.

I don’t know what struck me as so nasty about them, but I realized that they were two of the last places on earth I would ever want to live.

I’ll second the nomination of New Orleans, especially during Mardi Gras. Beads, beer cups, and general trash everywhere. Litter wasn’t too terrible the rest of the year, but with the humidity, the air always felt heavy and dirty. I will admit that it was a fun place to live for a few years, but after you’ve been through Mardi Gras once, it kind of loses its charm.

I’d like to nominate Gary, Indiana. It might well be a very nice town. However, I have driven through it a couple times and the whole town looks and smells like a fucking septic tank.

I’ve been in dirtier places, but in the spirit of the OP this was the filthiest town I’ve lived in.

The three major contributing factors are a) soot from the large number of diesel-powered vehicles b) men routinely urinating in the street, even though there are inexpensive public toilets every few blocks c) litter and dog crap, even though the city has the largest complement of rubbish bins and street sweeping staff I’ve ever seen. In the latter case, it often seemed that people litter so freely there because they know that someone will be along in a few hours to sweep it up. I still could never get over the willingness of Parisians to crap in their own nests, so to speak.

In the USA, just about any snow-belt/rust-belt industrial town, IMO.

Easy one…Saigon.
For the record, the Perfume river isn’t.

I have only been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. (whichh was great!) When me and my friends left we just threw away our shoes so we would stink up the car.

I live in NYC. The worst this is to go to Central Park on a warm summer day and then go into the 59th St Columbus Circle train station. After the fresh air of the park the hot urine oder that fills the air in that station makes me want to move to Jersy. (that’s desperation)

That station is sparkling clean compared to some of the stations I have to trek through in NY. And besides a couple of stops on the Upper West Side, I can’t remember NOT smelling urine in the subway.

New York, in general, is the abso-friggin-lutlely most disgusting place I’ve ever been to in my life in the western world. And I live in New Jersey.

Of course, I have visited Bombay and the smells you smell there cannot possibly be compared to. I’m surprised that I didn’t take a whiff and immediately collapse and die. That’s how bad it was.

Early in our relationship, one of my boyfriends walked away leaving his empty cup on the floor of the movie theater. I asked him why he didn’t take it to a trash can and throw it away, he patiently explained to me that there are people who come through and pick up people’s trash–it’s their job.

That behaviour stopped, quickly, I assure you. I swear, some people have to be raised twice–once by their deadbeat barbarian parents, once by their first Significant Other.

I can’t really say that any city I’ve actually lived in is filty, but let me tell ya, Geneva is the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. Not to fall back on the ol’ Swiss-are-obsessively-clean stereotype, but, honestly, that’s one tidy city.

Kingsport Tennessee used to have this chemical plant which would fill the air with a stench that could induce gagging from miles around. Haven’t been there for ten years, so maybe it’s better.

Knoxville, Tennessee may not be the dirtiest town, but it’s probably the ugliest…I guess that’s a whole new thread.

I love the Bay Area, my current home, but I have to say that sometimes San Fran and Berkeley can get really nasty. There are times when the urine smell from the homeless population can really get overwhelming.

Valencia, Spain.

I loved the place – and still do – but it was a bit disturbing to go outside wearing white sneakers and return with grey sneakers. And in the major club / bar areas (most of the city, come to think of it) you had to keep an eye on the ground at all times to avoid other people’s body fluids.

The beach was covered with seaweed, artichokes, oranges, lettuce, and the occasional hypodermic needle or condom. Went swimming anyway and survived. (I was nineteen and dumb.)

I lived in New York City and moved to Boston. I thought NYC was dirty, Boston made NYC look sterile.

London is without doubt Europe’s dirt capital. It’s appallingly filthy even by Brit standards, which is saying something.

All the buildings were dipped first in glue and then in shit from the Big Bird that eats soot, acid-rain and piss. That’s apart from the ones we expensively sandblast every few years for the tourist dollar.

Londoners will leave litter anywhere. If it piles up like a new adventure playground for mountaineers well - so what? To approach anyone and suggest they might like to use the litter bins provided is to risk a mouthful of abuse at best, and probably a holiday in casualty. Of course, many places have no litter bins anyway, because during the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign some bureaucratic wasteofskin (sorry for the tautology) decided that getting rid of them all would hamper the terrorists. Crap logic to begin with, and anyways that was more than a few years ago.

London is a shrine to graffiti, and is the world’s leading source of used chewing gum, which can be found on the pavements, the lamp posts, shop windows and the 3%of escalators that are working at any one time.

Londoners take it for granted that anywhere you can see sky is a toilet, hence on a Friday or Saturday night you can’t find a piece of street within 50 yards of a pub that isn’t a stream of piss. You might think our wunnerful Brit climate of rain, more rain, acid rain, Siberian winds, a bit more rain, North Sea winds and some rain, offset by our 3 hours of Summer per year, might mean the place at least got washed. Nope. It just means we have two kinds of garbage: damp, and soaking wet.

Not to focus unduly on bodily waste, but even if Londoners DO try to use the so-called ‘toilets’ in 99% of public places - pub, restaurant, brothel etc - they look like movie sets for a new sci-fi horror about the perils of toxic waste. Fans of ‘Trainspotting’ will know the kind of thing I mean.

I’ve lived in Manchester which might be even worse. I’ve visited Birmingham, but never lived there, and it seems even worse than the other two put together.

Another vote for New Orleans. Lets see trash, heat, sweat, vomit, urine, feces, semen, rats, giant roaches, tiny roaches, …and these are the good tourist areas. The best time to visit New Orleans is in the winter. The frequent rain and cooler temperatures seem to keep the dirt down.

I live in N’awlins. Hate to say it but N.O. is a dirty place. The streets suck too. We have pot holes that Andrew Jacksons horse stumbled in.

Rocket88: guess I now know what an experienced rider of the NYC subway would find filthy in comparison. Oh, man, if Paris really is like that, then I think I’ll just skip on seeing the Louvre.