Make us your home page

St. Petersburg the saddest of 100 cities? Do you see me crying on the beach?

Feeling blue? Just be glad you don't live in not-so-sunny St. Petersburg, Fla. — St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press

• • •

Let's give a hearty Bronx cheer to Men's Health magazine for its off-the-cuff ranking of 100 American cities. By tagging St. Petersburg as the "saddest" nationwide, the magazine just delivered a publicity black eye at a sensitive time for St. Pete and Tampa Bay. The Pioneer Press and other newspapers in the Midwest — our primo feeder region for snowbirds and retirees — did more than just cover the "news" of the survey. ("St. Petersburg is the saddest city in America — beating out even unemployment-plagued Detroit," the St. Paul, Minn., newspaper reports.)

The survey also generating negative publicity at the very time the Tampa Bay area is launching a public relations campaign designed to portray this metro area as a cool place to live and visit. The Tampa Bay Shines campaign has three key goals. It hopes to improve some down-in-the-dumps perceptions of our fellow residents about where they live. It seeks to boost Tampa Bay's positive image in 2012 in anticipation of this area's hosting the Republican National Convention, perhaps the highest profile opportunity for Tampa Bay in many years. And the campaign will continue its positive pitch — telling very specific stories of what makes this area cool — well beyond the RNC event of next summer. (Check out online.)

In the 100-city survey, St. Petersburg was not the only local city to get bruised. Tampa fared little better, ranking fourth saddest. In fact, Florida cities got slammed generally with Miami nailed as eighth saddest followed by Jacksonville at No. 13 and Orlando at No. 19.

"Florida in general," concludes Men's Health, "seems to be a depressing place to live." Now "saddest" in this magazine survey was determined by a mix of government and private data that include suicide and jobless rates, the percentage of households that use antidepressants and "the number of people who report feeling the blues all or most of the time."

Tampa Bay's media responded to the survey, as they should, defending area cities and questioning the Men's Health survey's methodology. "We're really not that miserable" headlined Wednesday's St. Petersburg Times editorial which suggests ranking "windswept, frigid, cold, flood-prone Fargo, N.D." as the seventh-happiest place raises some credibility questions about the survey.

"Cheer up Tampa," wrote, the Tampa Tribune website. "It appears this side of Tampa Bay isn't as depressing as St. Pete."

"It's hard to argue with the science behind studies in entertainment health magazines, so the solution is clear," opined the Oracle, the University of South Florida student newspaper in Tampa. "The Tampa Bay area needs to cheer up."

If Men's Health zinged St. Petersburg as saddest, it picked Honolulu as the happiest of all 100 cities surveyed. Curiously, most of the 10 happiest cities stretch across the northern United States from Boston to, yes, St. Paul, Minn.

I confess, I like Honolulu. Warm breezes. Great waterfront. Lively tourist town.

Kind of like St. Petersburg.

Contact Robert Trigaux at

St. Petersburg the saddest of 100 cities? Do you see me crying on the beach? 11/30/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 9:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

    hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
  2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop


    LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

    hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
  3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa


    Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

    Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
  4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa


    A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

    Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
  5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube


    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]