We're Outta Here

My husband and I couldn't agree with more with Larry Gross' column, "Trashin' the 'Nati" (issue of Aug. 9). We've recently attended several events and, feeling energized, wanted to cap the evening w

My husband and I couldn't agree with more with Larry Gross' column, "Trashin' the 'Nati" (issue of Aug. 9). We've recently attended several events and, feeling energized, wanted to cap the evening with a bite to eat or a drink. Nothin' open. This includes a Thursday evening performance of Playhouse's Company, opening night of the May Festival and a Wednesday night Reds ballgame.

In fact, that Wednesday night was much to Gross' point about downtown's lack of restaurants and bars. We'd just read about Red Fish closing and thought we'd catch a late night bite (10:30 p.m., sooo late) at Shanghai Mama's. Found a spot on the street, walked to the restaurant and found that they now close at 9:30.

Even if you do manage to find a place that's still serving, you're usually dining with three other people and leave the restaurant only to walk to your car on deserted streets. This is true whether you're downtown or in places like Oakley Square, etc.

We were in Pittsburgh last spring and just loved Carson Street — a mixture of tatoo parlors, upscale restaurants and coffee shops. The place had a definite buzz in the air and, if you felt too intimated by the atmosphere, there was a new development (much like Newport on the Levee) a couple of blocks away.

Part of the problem might be Cincinnatians' inclination to want to go home immediately after an event. We asked some friends of ours who work in the arts industry what they did after seeing Company. They went home.

In fact, we saw plenty of loyal Reds fans leaving in the 8th inning at our recent game. Gotta beat the traffic, gotta get back to West Chester...

I've lived here since 1977, my husband since 1989, but once caring for my parents is no longer necessary we're outta here — unfortunately.

— Marilyn Nolan, Pleasant Ridge

Don't Ignore City's Problems
Just wanted to send kudos on Larry Gross' "Trashin' the 'Nati" column (issue of Aug. 9). I moved to Cincinnati a year ago from Chicago and have been dumbfounded by the way the city, business community and residents interact with one another. These three entities seem to operate with a "me first" mentality instead of a "we first" mentality and aren't willing to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Since they won't, it's refreshing to hear someone willing to ask why not.

The city offers no real incentives for businesses to move downtown or stay there — unless of course you're a large corporation like Kroger or P&G that's capable of holding the city hostage. Businesses that do open up downtown seem to have no clue as to how to work with the city and residents to sustain their business, and residents seem to have largely given up on downtown, content to instead go across the river or up to Mason for entertainment.

Nick Spencer might not want to admit it, but he's a poster child for this "me first" way of operating. When the city didn't provide adequate police protection, he whined about it instead of working with his customers and neighbors to get it done. When the city wouldn't cut him a deal on the rental of Sawyer Point for the Desdemona Festival, he whined about it instead of exploring other venues to reduce costs. The result was a festival so deep in the red that Spencer had to ask festival-goers to help bail him out.

When he closed alchemize, he trashed the city and praised Covington. The bottom line is that he's just as accountable, if not more so, for alchemize's failure downtown as the city is.

My co-workers and I have a pool going right now — which will be completed first, Columbia Square along Columbia Parkway or The Banks on the riverfront? I'm not sure I'll be living here long enough to find out.

So I say keep trashin' the 'Nati. It's better than what everybody else does: ignorin' it.

— Sean Biehle, Downtown

Regarding "Trashin' the 'Nati" (issue of Aug. 9), I am running a one-man campaign to trash this hateful, sexually repressive place of nothingness. And if it weren't for the white gay male population and the co-opting of the urban black social life, there'd be nothing here but night creatures feeding on suburban pink flesh.

I live downtown on the other side of the Nile — the Nile being Central Parkway that separates the real Over-the-Rhine from the business district. It's a term we downtown dwellers came up with when we had to show our IDs to get home during the 2001 riots. As a black gay male who lives sandwiched between Universal Grille (Hamburger Mary's) and Shooters, both white gay male bar/restaurants, trust me when I say this town is seriously infected with the xenophobia virus. You can't change the energy of a city that has no soul to reference from.

By lusting for one type of consumer base (white suburban) and blatantly disrespecting the one that kept you in business (black urban), you get what you get. Every time there's a street festival down here there's nary any color in the form of entertainment. Except, of course, when they do us a favor and smash all things black into one weekend each year.

People fear Cincinnati turning into a Detroit. Hell, I can only hope so. There are more black gay-owned businesses per square mile in Detroit's urban core than open white-owned businesses here.

Piss on Cincinnati. Maybe then it'll grow.

— Randall Wilson, Downtown

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