Last Fall, I moved downtown and was absolutely giddy about having a reverse commute. I work in Broadview Heights, and every day I get to whiz down 77-S waving to the chumps stuck in traffic to my left. It really is a wonderful feeling.
However, because I worked in Broadview Heights, I knew I would be missing out on some of privileges of living in an urban center. I would have to drive to work every day: the commute is too far for my bike, and unfortunately the closest bus stop is a mile away from my work…uphill. I am not able to run home for a quick bite to eat, have time to take care of a dog, and sit out on a patio at lunch. For the most part, I have gotten over all of this. Since it has not been a part of my life, I just have not had much reason to think of it. That all changed yesterday.
For some time now, a group of co-workers and myself have been pushing my boss to take us to an Indians game. We would call it a “group-building activity”, and it would “strengthen” our team. To be honest, he was all for it from the beginning, but it took the better part of a year for us to actually act upon it and find a date that would work. We settled on yesterday’s game about a month ago. The noon start time, and that it was only a day after the long Memorial Day weekend were no coincidences. What better way to start the Summer? So at around 11 in the morning, we packed up for the day and headed downtown.
I had my co-workers park at my building in the Warehouse District so we could walk through Public Square to the Jake. I like guiding little tours (it probably is more fun for me than who I am with, but eh, not my problem) and this would give me a chance to show off the city I love. Along the way I could see my co-workers looking up at all the buildings, admiring all the busy people racing around the city on foot, smiling at the people on the park bunches that were there just to enjoy the Sun and not beg for money. They were pleasantly surprised, and so was I.
This was the Cleveland that I had been missing out on. There were business men in suits reading the paper in the park, hot dog vendors on every corner, and packed restaurant patios with people enjoying their lunches. I cannot remember the last time I visited Cleveland during a non-holiday weekday, but it was long enough ago where none of this was familiar. It is almost hard to believe that one city could be so different at night than it is during the day, but that is Cleveland.
Right now roughly 10,000 people call downtown Cleveland home. Apparently, the city believes that by adding 10,000 more, a much more vibrant community will be established. This community will not only help Cleveland become a 24/7 city, but encourage more business and amenities (grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors, etc.) to establish a presence downtown. Maybe someday one of the businesses will be the company I work at now. Until then, I will no longer smirk at the “chumps” stuck in traffic on their way downtown, but envy them and all that they get to experience while I am cruising out to the suburbs.