Cincinnati: More exciting than NYC

The city skyline sparkles below the top deck at the Mount Adams Pavilion, where the Milford High School class of 1999 is having its 10-year reunion. The lovely sight causes a sudden wave of emotion to wash over me. (Maybe the $2 Miller Lites had something to do with it, too.)

I turn to my old classmate Janet, who moved away for college and never came back. "You know - it's exciting living here."

"Yeah?" she says. Janet lives in New Jersey, probably no more than a half-hour train ride from one of the most incredible cities in the world. I'm not sure I can really convey to her the type of excitement Cincinnati offers. Especially not with those Miller Lites stunting my vocabulary. But I try.

"It's like ... it's like we're constantly on the verge of something really great. It's amazing seeing it happen." Janet smiles, and I decide that's enough boosterism for one night.

But seriously, guys. Think of how much this city has grown and changed in the past five or six years. When I started working downtown on an evening shift in 2003, the streets and Fountain Square were empty. I often got dinner from the vending machine just to avoid the ghost-town feel outside. The Main Street bar district was still the primary reason to visit Over-the-Rhine.

(And the other interns and I met every Tuesday at Inn The Wood for 50-cent draft night. And then Inn The Wood was razed. So there is that.)

And I know that a certain local issue is leading to a lot of talk right now (and not just in Cincinnati) about how resistant to change we still are - and those people have a point. But from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, we've come a long way in a shockingly short time.

What will this city look like when MHS '99 has its 20th reunion? I don't know, but finding out is going to be really exciting.


Andi @ udandi / Lunch It Punch It said...

Fellow Eagle here ;)

shannanb said...

I am with you. I think Cincinnati is moving forward and has a lot to offer. Granted we take things slowly, but we are moving the needle.

hellogerard said...

You hit a lot of great points. I like to tell people it's easy to make a difference in Cincinnati. How much different is it to start something new in somewhere like New York City?

Anonymous said...

i lived in cincinnati for 14 years! longer than any place on earth... (china for 12, seattle for 2, San Antonio for 1, indianapolis for 3)... So i call Cincinnati my home!!! it is a beautiful place with a lot of potentials... i do miss it...

PowderJunkie said...

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky is quickly changing I agree - As a 20 year local I've watched it boom- It almost seems like we grew so fast that some things have yet to catch up - I'm alwyas amazed to see areas like Alexandria and Cold Springs - which seem to be eerily free of sole proprietorships. OTR has been cleaned up and transformed - I often wonder where the slums went. lol

I often wonder about NYC also.

Kara Ayers said...

I love this perspective. I recently moved from Miami to Cincinnati. My husband is from here (Goshen actually!) and I great up in Frankfort. Everyone always asks us, "Why would you move from Miami to HERE!?!" and I feel like they just don't get it. We liked Miami and loved the weather but we couldn't wait to get back here...The PEOPLE here are amazing and I agree-we're on the verge here! I love to read something positive about the city instead of the overwhelmingly negative. Thanks for making me feel even more happy to call this our home:-)
Also-it was great to meet you today. I really enjoyed the morning and can't wait to come again and get to know you better!

Pam @ Frippery said...

Native Cincinnatian here. I grew up in the burbs but worked downtown in the 80's. (Yikes, telling my age) Those were the days when anything that was going on was going on in downtown Cinci. Clubs and nightlife, events, even the sports were pretty good. I am not sure when it all went awry but I do see a definite upswing. Our youngest just graduated from high school and we have lived about 10 miles outside the city limits while raising the kids. (Who both attend U.C.) So now we're thinking lets move downtown or Clifton or someplace that I am hoping is in the midst of resurgence. Time for a new life, for us and our beloved city!