Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There He Goes Again...

Larry Gross has decided that CityBeat's annual "Best Of" edition is the perfect opportunity to engage in one of his favorite pastimes: ragging on Cincinnati. Given that Mr. Gross no longer lives in the city, his constant efforts to lob stones across the river at us seem more than a little unseemly. In fairness, he raises (perhaps!) one good point. But most of the rest seems to be part of a pretty tired refrain that he can't seem to shake himself from. So let's take a look at what Mr. Gross "misses" about Cincinnati:

I miss healthy downtown activity at night. I moved here in the early 70’s and I can remember downtown being packed at ten o’clock at night. There were people everywhere and it felt like a big city.
I miss feeling safe. 20 years ago, I would never have a second thought about being downtown late at night, because there was traffic. Now, I’m looking over my shoulder constantly.

Has he been downtown in the past three years? I live down here. I can tell you--there's lots of "healthy activity" at night. There are lots of people around most nights. Yes, things can get a little quiet in January and February. But that's because it's cold. People don't want to be on the street. And as for safety? Where and when does he need to "look over [his] should constantly"? Three in the morning? Probably. Before midnight? I routinely walk around downtown at night, and don't feel the need to do that. And I'm pretty much a wimp.
I miss the live television. It was such a staple in Cincinnati for so long. Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon, Nick Clooney and others kept the city busy with people wanting to get in to see the shows and it was great for downtown business.

Umm, OK. I miss Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Well, not really--I'm not old enough to. There is no live, local entertainment TV anywhere anymore. I miss penny candy, too. And lawn darts. Damn you, Cincinnati, for not having lawn darts!

I miss having restaurants that are affordable. Once upon a time, you could have lunch downtown at a reasonable price. Not that I’m a fan of fast food chains, but if a person was on a budget, most of those chains were downtown. Now, unless you want to go to Skyline, you’re looking at close to ten bucks for lunch.
Here, he's got some problems with his definition of "reasonable." I miss being able to buy gas for two bucks per gallon, but that doesn't mean Cincinnati's a bad place because I now pay close to four. Even at Skyline, you'd be hard-pressed (if you sit down and eat) to spend less than five bucks for lunch (unless Mr. Gross hates waitresses as much as he hates Cincinnati). Read Chris's (of Cogitatio) excellent rejoinder. And to Chris's list, I'd add the following places to get an inexpensive lunch: Subway (since we're lamenting the end of chains); Gondola's; Fred and Gari's; Red Fox; Balboa's; Jimmy John's; Sports Page; the All Rise Cafe; Cafe Barista; Cafe Martin; and Silverglades.

I miss winning sports teams. I remember The Big Red Machine days and even when the Bengals would win. This was a sports town. Now we have new stadiums down by the river and teams that are losers.

This is still a sports town. If you don't believe me, wander downtown next Monday. You won't have to look hard for fans. And the Big Red Machine played in a "stadium down by the river." It was called Riverfront.

I miss going to the movies downtown. It was fun to catch a show, then walk to a restaurant afterward to get a bite to eat. Now I have to get in a car and go to a Showcase Cinema? To me, that’s not fun.
This is the only valid point Mr. Gross makes. I, too, wish we had a movie theater downtown. But he could walk over to Newport on the Levee for a movie before dinner. Oops, he can't--he's too busy looking over his shoulder to walk anywhere downtown.

Let me stop here before some start saying I'm throwing a wet blanket on the week.

Too late.

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