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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Unalaska, Alaska


Unalaska, Alaska

Coordinates: 53 35 N 166 50 W

Population: 4,347 (2005 est.)

Every once in a while I contemplate moving away from New York, and while pondering a change in residence my thoughts occasionally drift to places both unfamiliar and distant. Spots like Patagonia, Vanuatu, or in today’s case, Unalaska. Located on one of the largest islands in the Aleutian chain, Unalaska is approximately 800 miles southwest of Anchorage and falls within the enormous Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. In other words, sufficiently removed from anywhere that possesses Gotham’s frantic pace of life. As “The Deadliest Catch” may have already taught you, there isn’t a whole lot happening here apart from commercial fishing, but this quiet town does contain the oldest surviving Russian Orthodox church in the State, a remnant of its days as an outpost for the Russian fur trade. What surprised me about Unalaska, and eventually discouraged me from relocating though, was the cost of living. According to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, dinner for two at one of ten local restaurants can run as much as $40.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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