How it started: My Lego city founding

To appreciate the progress of a Lego city build you have to see where it started

by Sia Karamalegos

The Lego corner garage set with blue tow truck in front
The Corner Garage was my first modular building

It all started in 2019 with the Corner Garage. My dad passed away from lung cancer a few years before, and this set reminded me of him.

You see, he was a Greek merchant marine who met my mom in Houston when his ship was docked in the port of Houston. They got married and he joined the immigrant Greek community in Houston. At that time, a lot of them owned or worked at service stations, so that's how my dad got his start too.

So I'm that weird person who finds the smell of old gas stations and the sound of the service bell nostalgic. I feel like I'm the only one who holds this set so close to their heart haha. I loved the entire bottom floor - all the gas station details. The upper floors are a little boring, but those can be spiced up in time, which is the whole point of this, right?

Way back in 2019, I was living in a one-bedroom single in New Orleans and had no space to store assembled projects, so it went back into the box. Fast forward to 2021, Hurricane Ida hit plus nine days of no power during a heat advisory, and I was tired. I love New Orleans, but the poor infrastructure wears you down.

I finally find myself in my own home with room to do all my creative projects... including Lego. I didn't set out to start a Lego city but the Lego city gods had other ideas.

The Lego Boutique Hotel sitting next to the Corner Garage
The Boutique Hotel in all it's bougie glory called to me

Enter 2022 and the omicron variant... I'm back to isolating at home, I finally built my Millennium Falcon UCS set (a Hurricane Ida stress purchase), and I find myself going back to lego.com and amazon to look at the modular buildings again and again. I finally pulled the trigger on the Boutique Hotel. I LOVE THIS SET! I'll add a review later.

I had a professor who used to talk about the tyranny of incrementalism. Incremental-lego-ism has fully tyrannized me, because I then bought Assembly Square.

So here we are, partly through the Assembly Square build:

My Lego city - Boutique Hotel, partial Assembly Square, and the Corner Garage
My purist Lego city starting point - I can't wait to make it more fun

The tyranny of incremental-lego-ism requires a next step. As I've shared my journey with my coding friends on Twitter and Instagram, they've introduced me to light kits and other fun stuff. I'm pausing on the big modular kits (they are expensive after all), and instead I want to focus on making what I have the coolest it can be. My strategy for 2022 will be depth instead of breadth. What does that mean?

My 2022 Lego City goals dreams:

  • Make the existing buildings the best they can be by adding lights, more minfigs, and modifying for greater interest.
  • Build out a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. I don't want this to be what cities are but what I would want it to be. Yes, I'll have some roads, but I REALLY want to build out a rad greenspace-filled pedestrian/bike area closest to the buildings.
  • Figure out how to incorporate Monkie Kid/Ninjago sets. I also bought the Monkie Kid City of Lanterns because it looked so cool. A lot of the big Ninjago sets like NINJAGO┬« City Gardens Look amazing too, so I want to figure out a way to add them gracefully. I could have something like a Chinatown, but I want to make sure it's culturally sensitive.
  • Learn how to build other people's MOCs (really how to buy the bricks through sites like Bricklink) because y'all have some amazing ideas.
  • Build my own creations!
  • Build a table for my city that's cost-sensitive but can also allow for future creative growth (I have an idea to make cutouts to lead to underwater and underground areas using a jigsaw!)

Those are some big dreams, but I can't wait to get started. I'd love to hear your tips and thoughts! Find me on Instagram or on my personal/coding Twitter account.

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