If you look at my recent posts you can tell I spend most of my time on the West Side of the city.
No big deal, right? Made-up lines on maps don’t mean much as long as passports aren’t involved. Still, I view the East Side as foreign territory.
The East Side/West Side rivalry is ever-present in the city. Little Italy/Coventry or Ohio City/Tremont? Legacy Village or Crocker Park? East Side Irish or West Side Irish?
I am a West Sider. I grew up spending my time in the suburbs of North Olmsted, Berea, Brunswick, Strongsville, Brook Park, Westlake, etc. We went shopping at West Side malls, visited family in West Side cities, and ate at West Side restaurants. Even in travel soccer, most of the teams we played were west of the Cuyahoga.
I don’t have any issues with the East Side. It has plenty of fun places to visit and enjoy. Its own University Circle may be my favorite part of the city. But tongue-in-cheek, I feel guilty telling people that I like the East Side. Especially other West Siders. That’s not what we do.
The problem is I didn’t explore the East Side much. I don’t know the cities and neighborhoods as well as I do on my side of the river.
Convenience comes up as well. Getting to the East Side isn’t the easiest unless you live along the I-90 corridor. A trip to Beachwood Mall, around 20 miles as the crow flies becomes a 35 mile and 45 minute drive because of the extra roads I need to take.
Both sides have many similar features, making sure their side is not left behind in any aspect. These then become part of the rivalry. The region’s top schools are split between the two sides. Or the Crocker Park and Legacy Village shopping centers, as mentioned before.
Both sides of the river offer their strengths and together they make Cleveland a better metropolis as a whole. The rivalry takes on a sense of fun, even if there is no single thing that makes one side better than the other.
That said, the West Side is still the best side.