A couple of years ago I was in Detroit for the first time. I was surprised to see Canada out my hotel window. The city's history seems pretty interesting, especially 20th century history. Ethnic diversity, auto industry, motown... Large, working-class cities have got to have their own rythmn and I suspect all the US ones are a bit strapped economically right now. But the industrial cities of the Great Lakes on east seem "real" in a way that some other US cities (Denver, Seattle, San Fransisco, Portland) don't.
I was born in Rockaway, NJ (not really NEAR anything) but closer to NY then Philly. I grew up in Long Valley, NJ (again not NEAR anything) and outside of London, UK. I went to college & lived just outside of Philadelphia, until I moved to York, PA where I live now.