Honorable Mention #12: Elections. For the rest of the US, Ohio is the great decider. Forever the Magic 8-Ball of presidential elections, this wonderful little swing state has some amazing politics going on. Having grown up in a predominantly Democrat zone my entire life, we are basically at the mercy of whatever the Blues feel like supporting. Not that they have been all bad decisions, but being in an area whose politics COMPLETELY drives its growth, and even divides communities, is refreshingly complex.
11. Drinking. Bare with me. My East Coast patriots will naively say “Well what else is there to do?” But after stumbling onto some history, they should be thanking this little metropolis for some of its wares, in the not-what-you-are-thinking sense. While Philly can brag about being the city of firsts, especially beer (I’ll be addressing this in a project launching shortly), Cincy gave us wine. Yes, wine. I love that. So between the wine, the incoming Germans and their beer, and the ‘Merican bourbonizing, truly, Cin City is at the center of it all. So drink on that.
10. Opportunity. From Cleveland, to Columbus, to Dayton, to Cincinnati to hell, this whole state, there are PLENTY of moments for someone with an idea, a dream, a business, to step up and start something. And, unlike its east coast counterparts, is much cheaper to do so. I would actually encourage any east coasters struggling with a thought, to try it out here first. This was the prototype city for NYC afterall. They might have gotten the full size versions, but they wouldn’t have happened at all if not for Southern Ohios ingenuity. Could have avoided that whole cupcake trend entirely if it went through here first. Shame on y’all.
– which brings me to…
9. Support. People here want something new. They want to see success bred through opportunity. From what I can gather, the evolution of OTR has happened through the sheer will of it’s people. And that’s amazing. Optimism is surprisingly hard to come by unless you are part of these movements, but having been through a few myself, I can see it, and I believe in it. You should too.
8. Social Media. There will be a tipping point to all of these 147 characters or less shout outs. I actually setup 2 personas on various social networks just to view the “static” from 2 cities. Oddly enough, the streams from the larger city roll by too quickly to follow, while the streams from Ohio are digestable. Shocking right? I do think that there is some “congealing” that needs to happen here in order for more people to be “in the know” or to participate, but at least you aren’t missing anything.
7. Running. Man you people like your fitness. I thought I had an average ability to moderately run at least 3 miles in a fairly acceptable time. Of course, I trained in Philly, where geography is lacking. Translation: No hills. The sheer ease at which you all run from Hyde Park through Eden Park down to the Waterfront through OTR and back makes my heart want to explode just thinking about it. Flying Pig? Yeah…I need one.
6. Sustainability. I should probably define my idea of sustainability. Quite simply, it’s not buying new things, and refurbishing old ones. When we design things, and make things, you have to realize that there is a permanence to it. Doctors have hippa, designers should have one. We are denting the Earth at will, and without warrant. </rant> But there are no shortages of antique, reuse, and junkyards around here, and they haven’t been pillaged by Urban Outfitters yet. And don’t even get me started on the flea markets, where the art of haggling is still alive and well, but it’s not over $10 or $20, but rather $1 or $2. My recently refurbed Faux Eames Lounge thanks you.
5. Professional Baseball. Does this really need explaining? I’ll note the differences anyways. $7 tickets on gameday. Accessible stadium. Amazing fans. The color red. Even if we go the Cleveland route, the Indians are the subject of the greatest sports movie ever made, and have a logo that is always smiling, just like the people in the stands, win or lose. Take a lesson, Philly.
4. College Sports. See previous NCAA Elite Eight. Fin.
3. Waterfronts. Many cities struggle with this. They go under developed, polluted, secluded. It’s ironic that these veins of water that once established our cities throughout the US have become so mistreated. We have always been a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society, but it’s time to void that line of thinking. Waterfronts are to be celebrated. No where has this movement been so inspiring as in downtown Cincinnati, were what seems to be a decades worth of effort is finally coming to fruition. You rock out those LEDs, Cincy, we’ll figure out the rest.
2. Design. I need some statistics on this, but I feel like there are more designers per capita here than anywhere I’ve ever been. Industrial. Strategic. Graphic. And what’s more important, all those feel good thoughts you may have had in college like ”I want to make a difference” or “I want to change the world” is possible here with companies like P&G pumping out products that actually have an impact. Now, here’s the trick, how do we get these said designers up and at em? If anything the design community here seems a bit secluded. There are pockets, but those pockets don’t seem genuinely energized, and their attempts are muted well below what other cities have accomplished. Granted NY is NY, but Philly took an actual stance and vowed to have design drive many of its agendas. They even went and created an Office for the Creative Economy of the city. Again, I love the designers here, I just want them to do something. Myself included.
1. People. There is something truly different about the people here. People smile. Strangers say hello, people say “please” a lot more often. I like to call it moral adjustment. In my last post I said that Egos don’t work here, in a comment someone said that they don’t work anywhere, and while I agree with that sentiment, it’s just not how some cities operate. Egos drive the day-to-day in a lot of cities. They make up the stereotype that the rest of the world thinks of them as. NYers, are NYers. I say that knowing full well that whomever is reading this realizes the size that ego must have to be a “NYer.” Philly has a jaded ego, forever being the little bitch of NY I suppose, but there is definitely a certain swagger than Philadelphians have. It’s witty, it’s fiery, it’s smart, it is by no means classy, nor do they expect outsiders to think of them as such. Ohioans, are just different. You display an intense amount of humility. You don’t brag, (college sports aside). Prideful, but not arrogant (again, college alums aside). As a populace, hands down some of the nicest folk I have had the pleasure of meeting. You move at your pace, not the rest of the worlds. You live life. You don’t live for work, but you do work for a living. And most importantly you listen before reacting.
Accepting of total strangers, and always looking to comfort them, I would say that Ohio is the pillow to the U.S. bed. At times you need to shape it and mold it to get comfortable, but once you lay your head down, she will take care of you.