I know that I’m not the first to say this – see Jane Friedman’s series of love letters to Cincinnati – but Cincinnati, Ohio, is becoming cool again. Even I, living outside of the city limits, can sense a change. It used to be that if you wanted to find something to do or places to eat, your first thought would not be downtown Cincinnati and environs. Now, that may be the first place to go.
One weekend last month I enjoyed a Friendship Concert at the World Choir Games, a free evening at the Taft Art Museum, and an evening movie at Newport on the Levee, where I saw a slew of events taking place – buskers at the levee, a sausage festival on the Kentucky side of the river, the Bunbury Music Festival at Sawyers Point, and people leaving Great American Ball Park. Then there was the community night at the opera, dinner with friends, and a concert in the park just a few weeks later.
In addition to the events, I’ve been hanging out in the Coffee Emporium downtown. I had been doing most of my work at home or at the office. Convenient places – but rather solitary unless I was running a student event. So, I decided to get out. Hear the bustle of people gathering. Share in the energy of this emerging city. In this place, too, there is a buzzing of activity. People gathering to meet, encountering friends, standing in line to order.
Whether in my work with AmeriCorps members from out of town or with international students at the University of Cincinnati, I’ve always wanted to promote the city. At times this has been a difficult sell. I often hear that there’s nothing to do here, it’s not safe, we’re backwards. However, stepping out into the city today the excitement speaks for itself. Something is happening and it’s catching.