News: Being Here

A Primer on Cincinnati.

Nov 16, 2000 at 2:06 pm

Let's say you're the CEO of a major multinational corporation. Or you might be a protester who's driven here with a carload of buddies. Either way, you're visiting Cincinnati for a few days and wondering what to make of this place.

Here's a quick primer on Cincinnati colloquialisms and quirks:

"Please?": Our way of saying, "Huh?" Has something to do with the city's German roots.

Over-the-Rhine: Another tie to of the city's original German immigrants, who settled in OTR to create the city's first real neighborhood. Central Parkway, which separates the central business district from the neighborhood, used to be a canal back in the 1800s, and when people would cross the canal into the neighborhood — where all street and building signs were in German and where German-language newspapers thrived — they said it was like going over the Rhine River into the old country.

Pop: All carbonated soft drinks.

5-Way: Arguably (and perhaps regrettably) our major gift to American regional cuisine. A 5-way is chili, beans and onions over spaghetti and covered with grated cheddar cheese.

The chili is mild, with hints of cinnamon and chocolate. You'll see several downtown stores of the two major local chili chains, Skyline and Gold Star. If you're up near UC, stop by nearby Camp Washington Chili, the epitome of mom-and-pop Cincinnati chili.

UC: University of Cincinnati, sometimes referred to as Clifton or Clifton Heights or Corryville, neighborhoods that surround campus.

Fort Washington Way: The highway (Interstate 71) through downtown, paralleling the Ohio River. It's been ripped up for years in order to be made thinner so downtown can reconnect to the riverfront area, which for 30 years has been nothing but parking lots for stadium activities.

Kentucky: A whole 'nother state, right across the river; but to Cincinnatians, it might as well be Georgia. A lot of cultural tension (and jokes) between Ohio and Kentucky.

Pete Rose: Sports is huge in this city, and there's still no one bigger than the Hit King. Sure, he's been disgraced and barred from baseball for life, but Pete grew up and became a star in Cincinnati, and that's good enough for most people here.

Junior: The likely heir to Pete's throne. Ken Griffey Jr., born and raised in Cincinnati, came home to the Reds this past season for below-market value and was elevated to god status.

Big Strong Men Will Very Rarely Eat Pork Chops: A native's way of remembering the order of downtown's north-south streets, starting on the eastern end: Broadway, Sycamore, Main, Walnut, Vine, Race, Elm, Plum and Central. Vine divides all downtown addresses into east and west. ©