Dear Downtown

You were a shit show this weekend and I straight up don’t appreciate it — in fact, I still get so irritated when I think about this weekend that my butt and calf muscles tense up into tiny little balls. I was too hot, too hungry and too dressed up to dea

You were a shit show this weekend and I straight up don’t appreciate it — in fact, I still get so irritated when I think about this weekend that my butt and calf muscles tense up into tiny little balls. I was too hot, too hungry and too dressed up to deal with whatever you were going through trying to figure out how to cram a thousand events into a single weekend. You want to schedule some gigantic street-shutting outdoor parties during an almost-record-breaking heat wave? Be my guest. But next time, sort your life out and figure out a plan so it doesn’t take me an hour and a half of stopped traffic and road rage to get from Central Parkway to U.S. Bank Arena.

Here’s the problem, Downtown: You keep enchanting me with the promise of a metropolitan lifestyle (two hour waits at restaurants that serve upscale street food, boutiques that carry clothing with interesting hemlines, craft cocktails concocted with homemade syrups and egg whites…) without the added benefit of figuring out how the hell you’re going to transport me down there. I want to embrace urban living, but if making my way to the urban core sucks so much that I’d rather rent Captain America from RedBox and drink chardonnay on my couch instead of putting in the hair-pulling effort of finding parking, what’s the difference?

What’s that you say? Parking is a first world problem? I don’t care. I have a car. I drive my car, especially when I need to get downtown. Why? Because buses kind of take forever and I don’t want to have to pee while riding one. You want to schedule a Reds game, Taste of Cincinnati set-up, Creflo Dollar Ministries, the MadLove Music Festival and a one-night-only Michael Jackson “The Immortal” World Tour Cirque du Soleil? I want to have time to eat dinner before I fork over $10 for a plastic cup of Bud Light at blah-be-de-blah arena. 

Cirque du Soleil started Friday at 8 p.m. My boyfriend and I left the house at 6 p.m. Sure, I wasn’t delusional enough to think we’d make it to Senate in time for fancy hot dogs, but I thought, maybe, just maybe, we’d have enough time to down a couple happy hour cocktails and a pizza at Palomino’s bar before we were surrounded by MJ superfans in sparkly white gloves. Pipe dreams. I ended up eating an oxymoronically hard soft pretzel dipped in nacho cheese standing by a public restroom while a dude made fun of my sequins shorts. (If you can’t wear your sequins shorts to a Michael Jackson-inspired contortionist acrobatics show, where can you wear them?)

I mean, I’m all for the city making money, but, honestly, not at the cost of my convenience. After circling by Fountain Square trying to find parking for dinner, we realized Fifth Street was closed (and surrounded by U-Haul things trying to cram themselves onto one street to set up for Taste), so we tried to circle around and drive past the Duke Energy Center to hit Race and see if we couldn’t make it to the Moerlein Lager House in time to eat something, anything. Nope. 

The Creflo Dollar Ministries and their televangelical fans were not having it. So we waited in a snail’s line of vehicles and waited and waited, and looked at ladies in their big church hats, and waited. And finally got to the general U.S. Bank Arena area, after plowing our way through the Reds crowd at a glacial pace, at 7:15 p.m. Then we were surrounded by capitalist parking lot attendants taking innocent event goers for all they were worth. Haven’t these people paid enough already (figuratively and literally — the Cirque tickets in Dayton are $250 a pop) without forking over an additional $17 and $20 for parking?! 

We, as humans, drive because there isn’t a reasonable alternative in this city. At least respect that without robbing me of my puny salary to rent slivers of blacktop. 

So, basically, I hate you. Because, here’s the thing, if you don’t actually live downtown, it sucks to get there. Just because people decide they want to live in reclaimed lofts without yards doesn’t mean they get to drink all the sangria at Bakersfield. I like sangria, too. But I hate parking meltdowns. I was so scarred from Friday night that I didn’t even venture to patronize your establishments on Saturday. In fact, I headed out to the suburbs. Hyde Park has plenty of parking and beer flights for $8.

CONTACT MAIJA ZUMMO: [email protected]

Scroll to read more Opinion articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.