Friday, January 29, 2010

downtown vs. the burbs

i know i already said it, but i love cincinnati re-adventure. it's a blog with a cincinnati imports perspective from a cincinnati native. many of our imports are actually natives to the area and i love meeting people who are both from here and open to meeting new people and learning more about their city.

today i found a great post by a guest blogger over there called in defense of the suburbs. jennifer, the guest blogger, talks about why she likes living in the suburbs and how she is sick of people who judge her negatively based on where she lives:
Why, then, do I read so many blog posts, news stories and message board comments that angrily assume that my zip code determines my love for or loathing of Cincinnati? If I'm to believe everything I read online, I'm a scared suburbanite and a silly sheep. I cross the streets to avoid other races. I am blind to the small business owner's plight and the beauty of Porkopolis. Oh, please.

Why do so many people feel the need to bash where I live? Most responses to my answer when asked are to the effect of "Why the hell do you live all the way out there?" Or worse, people are surprised by my love of museums and festivals and by my knowledge of local history when they discover I'm not a city dweller.

My answer to these jeers is this: I live all the way out here because I like it. I frequent Downtown because I like it too. The two are not mutually exclusive.
when my friend denise was visiting from new york a few weekends ago, she commented that she was surprised at how well-informed everyone she met was about local politics and issues, and how so many people were so insistent their neighborhood was the best. i thought it was interesting to hear her viewpoint, as someone who really knows nothing about cincinnati.

denise really liked all the different areas of town that we visited (downtown, otr, hyde park, oakley, northside, clifton) and i think it is important for us to remember that all areas of the city, and the suburbs, have cool things to offer. for example, i love west chester and mason because although it's mostly strip malls and manicured lawns, you can find some of the best food in the city up there because of all the foreign p&g execs living up there. and if you want laotian food, you'll find that in anderson. indian hill has a full on farm with some of the best eggs you will ever eat. ok these are all food related (sorry) but that is what i know about.

the point i am trying to make is that i think we should remember to look closely at all areas of the city before writing them off because there are a lot of hidden gems in all areas of cincinnati. we already have enough trash talking that goes on between the west side and east side... i hope we don't turn into a place that divides itself up even more.


Classic said...

This is exactly what I meant by "hood" bashing. I live in Price Hill, grew up in the Middletown/Trenton area, and work in Tri County and Florence. I've also lived in Oakley and Walnut Hills. Cincinnati and the surrounding areas are extremely diverse and this is a strength not a weakness.


julie said...

"....all the foreign p&g execs living up there."

Stereotype much? I don't think that is why "they have some of the best food in the city up there." I don't think a bunch of chain restaurants is great dining.

redrabbit said...

We love you, too!

--Cincinnati Re-adventure

liz said...

julie: clearly you have never ventured up there to try some of the best chinese, korean, lebanese, japanese, mexican, and indian in the city, just to name a few. and clearly you also don't know anything about the geographic location of most p&gers. what restaurants do you like? and where do you think all those p&gers live?

others: thanks!

beth said...

Thanks for this post! As one of the natives, I've really appreciate this blog and the group for its tendency to nudge us all towards focusing on the positives of this city and its surrounding communities. Even though some comments (not to this post, but others) continue with the negatives, I really think that, except for those in extreme poverty, we all choose where we live. And we can choose different places based on a lot of reasons, but just as living in Brooklyn doesn't guarantee you're cool, living in Cincinnati doesn't make you boring or small-minded. downtown doesn't make you anymore of a creative, dedicated citizen than living in some of the older suburbs or the new exurbs. It's what you make of where you live that matters.

julie said...

CLEARLY you are being narrow minded and stereotypical when you state that because of "FOREIGN p&g execs living up there" that is the reason for having what YOU call the best food in the city.

Yes, Liz believe it or not I have ventured up to Mason and West Chester a number of times; you have this holy than thou, my shit don't stink attitude that is so annoying and condescending at times. Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn't mean you have to get all high school mean girl, CLEARLY.

Yeah, a lot of people that work for P&G live in the Mason/West Chester, but they also live all over the city. All I was saying is that "Foreign" PG workers does not = great food.

Urban sprawl and a shit ton of people living in the 'burbs seems to make sense for restaurants to open up out there; I don't think it has anything to with P&G.

liz said...

hahaha, wow, you really hate me and something tells me it's not just b/c of this post. the reason i made the comment about the foreign p&gers is because i have gotten most of my restaurant recommendations up there from friends who work at p&g, are not us-born, and who live or have lived up in that area.

and trust me... my shit stinks. a lot. i am more than happy to blog about that instead if you want. :)

julie said...

i don't hate you, i enjoy your blogs but sometimes you can reply to other posts a little harshly as if your opinion is the "right one" and when you kept saying "clearly" in response to my post it was annoying and somewhat snobby. you don't know me but quickly assumed i had never been to that area.

I was just commenting that your correlation of P&G employees and good restaurants is ridiculous.

liz said...

ok. well we can definitely agree to disagree here, but i just don't think it's fair to accuse me of being snobby and holier than thou when you responded to me in such an accusatory way.

JR said...

Jenny here, author of the quoted guest post in defense of the suburbs.

While I am glad that post opened up some discussion and maybe even generated some understanding, I still think some of the compliments about the suburbs were a little backhanded.

I like to look at Greater Cincinnati this way. Downtown is where you find a large concentration of interesting people and places. However, the suburbs of Cincinnati also have a lot to offer--it just might take a little longer to discover the cool, unique things in each neighborhood.

I grew up in Amelia and now live in Eastgate. While many people would dismiss these two places as boring, I spend countless weekends seeking out cool landmarks, interesting cemeteries and wonderful parks within miles of my house. I think there are interesting things and people to be found just have to have the imagination to look.

liz said...

thanks jenny!

Tamia said...

Hmmm...interesting post. I admit to being a bit of a snob about living downtown, even though I grew up in the suburb of Forest Park, just barely inside the 275 loop. Had a wonderful time there, too.

I think people get so caught up in picking a "team" (ie urban vs suburban, east vs west), that it's easy to forget that neighborhoods, like people, are unique and deserve to be regarded as such.


Anonymous said...

While foreigners bring foreign food, executives do not. However, an area with lots of implants will bring foreign (to the region and the country) tastes, and that can account for variety in restaurants, as well. But the general wealth of the people in the northern suburbs probably means they've had money and life circumstances that lead to finer dining, as well as traveling, exposure to which gives them a taste for more exotic foods.

So your comments make sense, and don't have to be construed offensively. I'm not sure why julie freaked out about stereotyping. Other parts of the city don't have such a concentration of wealth, nor such a concentration of well-traveled and worldly people. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Hey, pretty much every neighborhood in Cincy has a chili parlor (or ten). You won't find one of those wherever those foreign execs came from.

As for the general point of the blog entry, I appreciate it. I understand that suburbs have their place, but I am also a bit of a burb-hater. Particularly when it comes to Cincinnati, I see people's choice to take part in the sprawl as hurting the health of the city core, and hence the region.

For some people, it's just what they want, but I think a lot of people move to the burbs for bad reasons. For one, I think many have false perceptions about the city, the biggest one probably being that it is dangerous (some places are; many are not). But the overall effect is an unhealthy urban core which has been hemorrhaging population for far too long. (Do you realize, in 1960 the city had over 500,000 residents?)

An unhealthy urban core leads to an unhealthy region, generally. The more Cincinnati looks like Detroit (which many "burbarians" think it already does), the worse everything will be for everyone. You can't be a suburb of nowhere (with a few notable exceptions, as seen in California...but that requires a very large population over a large space; Cincy-Dayton is simply too sparse).

5chw4r7z said...

Its funny that all the transplants complaining about how hard it is to meet people live in the suburbs. Meanwhile new people living in the densest parts of the city are meeting new people faster than they can get to know them.
Why dig for those hidden gems when tons of them are laid out before you in the CBD and OTR?
Viva la Downtown

Anonymous said...

Two things. One - as an import who lives on the West Side, I never understood the whole West Side East Side thing. I mean I kind of get it, but I always thought it should be the East Side and West Side vs the Northern Burb people. In my experience most Northern Burb people think that downtown is a crime laden hell hole that will give you herpes just by thinking about it too much. But most East and West people actually go downtown and love it.

Two - I love that this blog was started because you guys couldn't make friends in Cincy, and now you have so many that you don't have time to blog.

Lauren Bishop said...

Re "I love that this blog was started because you guys couldn't make friends in Cincy, and now you have so many that you don't have time to blog":

We didn't start Cincinnati Imports just to find friends for ourselves. Liz, Avani and I had already found our own ways of meeting people and making friends before we started writing this blog and holding Cincinnati Imports events; we just felt like it was more difficult than it should have been. Our primary goal was to make the whole process of meeting people easier for other imports who felt the same way.