my enthusiasm for exploring downtown cincinnati has never been very high. before we lived here, when we “were just visiting,” i would ask, not very politely, where the skyline was. (i did not mean the chili-dog joint, either.) downtown seemed dead to me. granted, that was the impression i got driving past it on 71, or on the early saturday morning visit to findlay market. i never really entered it. i never seemed to have reason to. and while i may not be the most urban girl at the party, i do like a lively city center.
as a result of some recent explorations, however, i have fallen in love with vine. just the other night driving up vine we passed a guy washing his car. it took me a few seconds to process what i was seeing: disheveled man washing car. disheveled man washing car late at night nowhere near a streetlight (or any other source of illumination). disheveled man washing car late at night nowhere near a streetlight (or any other source of illumination) on dingy block of city street.
it wasn’t until we were past him that i fully processed it: disheveled man washing only bumper of car, late at night, on street with shady reputation.
this didn’t make me want to live on vine, but it did make me want to see more of it. so the other day i made my way downtown and parked in the first spot i found in the vicinity. this left me around the corner and one block over from the giant sign for ETC — ensemble theatre of cincinnati — that reminded me we’ve had reliable recommendations to go to the know theatre of cincinnati as well as the new stage collective. for a brief moment i imagined myself meandering through a vibrant theatre-district, triple cappucino in-hand, as i made my way from my tapas to my mezzanine seat. and then i remembered “nah, you’re in cincinnati now.” home of race riots and deflated downtown.
what a chump! i spent the next 30 minutes chatting with the owners of park & vine and mica12/v. both gave me an enthusiastic earful about current and future downtown developments. i heard all about 3cdc and its plans to help connect the river to the shopping district to over the rhine. about the grocery store and adjacent butcher shop going in right down the street and the dewey’s pizza opening soon. about the number of condos being developed and sold, and the projections for cincy’s future urban population. about the streetcar that can help connect all the downtown dots.
driving away all i could think about was how much i would want to live in a city like that.