I’ve recently returned to Cincinnati after a lovely year-long sabbatical in Seattle. Besides a closer relationship with my brother and his lovely soon-to-be wife (hey guys!) there was another unforeseen result of moving there: I kinda missed Cincinnati a lot. Now, I never disliked the city. I had my complaints here and there, but you’ll have that anywhere you live. In the end I missed and loved the city too much to stay away. There was something in its spirit, history and people that I couldn’t quite shake. The title of this post comes from the general reaction of Seattleites to my telling them where I was moving. I’m now here to make the case for Cincinnati.
For those of you who think my posts run a little long (don’t be shy, I know I can ramble a little) I’ll boil this point down in the first paragraph. That way I’ll have had my say and you can get back to work. The issue of this city’s superiority comes down to this: is it where you live or how you live? For some, the issue of having a million shows, gallery openings, speakers, etc. to go to is an important factor. This is not to say that we don’t have all these things, we just don’t necessarily get them on quite the scale of say a Seattle or a New York. These types of things proliferate in the “how” cities generally. The “how” city, inherent in its how-ness, also comes with a great deal of cost. The more people that move to a city, the greater the chunk of change it takes to live there. If your job situation is poor, as many young people’s are, it tend to be hard to pay to go to all the wonderful things that are going on.
This brings us to this fair city, the queen city, Cincinnati. This is a “how” city. More important than anything, Cincinnatians value the way they live. We may not get every touring band coming through, every big touring art exhibit, or every big-name speaker, but we get a few and we’re happy with those. The good thing about that fact is that we are forced into making our own way. When something doesn’t come to you, you can either whine about it or try to do it better yourself. Luckily we’ve got a bunch of people who think along the lines of the latter category here.
The positive thing about the low cost of living is that it gives people the time and space to do their own thing if they so please. If you want to only work part-time, purely freelance, or not work at all for a little bit (yeah!), so you can focus on some things that won’t be immediate money-makers, you can easily do so without putting yourself into the poorhouse. Here, people in the 20’s can live in huge spaces, big enough to have band practice, without having to really worry about making ends meet. We’ve all got room to stretch out, be creative and not get on each other ‘s nerves in the process.
On top of this big fact, there are a lot of little things that make the city great. It’s hard to deny that Cincinnati is beautiful place. When I take a walks from Liberty Hill into downtown, I’m oftentimes stunned by the architecture. The amount of detail in some of the buildings is absolutely amazing. I got downright wistful two days ago when I was standing atop my neighbor’s roof-top deck looking out over downtown, the river and Mt. Adams.
I find this city to be an extremely low-stress environment. It certainly maintains that biggest-little-city mantra that the tourist board loves to stress. Just the fact that nothing is ever too busy lifts a great deal of stress off of the shoulders of a resident. The fact that I can decide to go to even some of the biggest shows on the day-of and still get a ticket is a rare thing to find in a city. The pace of life allows this. There aren’t enough people to make planning a month in advance necessary. As someone who’s lived in a couple densely populated cities, this fact is more than welcome. Hell, even going for a nice drive during the day as a means of relaxation is easy (though becoming less and less financially sound).
Face it folks, we’ve got a pretty good thing going here, and things are only going to keep getting better. It’s an amazing city if you allow it to be. If you constantly seek out the things you don’t like about it, you’re just noticing the trees and forgetting about the forest. So focus on the positives and life here will constantly and pleasantly surprise you.