keeping it klassy

I always dread coming to Cleveland. Berry and I have all sorts of nicknames for the city, probably the nicest of which is “Sucktown, USA.” Sometimes I feel a little mean being so hard on CLE. It’s really not that bad of a place; it’s just so damn depressing. Everytime you think the city is on to something to pull it out of its slump, it just gives up and slides back down into the sludge.

I moved to NE Ohio in 1998, and people were talking about the “Renaissance of Cleveland.” The Flats were the hot spot at the time, the Browns were returning to CLE the next season and the Tribe was on a streak. Then The Flats became known for crime and a couple people dying in fights and are pretty much a ghost town now. The Browns…well, we all know that story. The Tribe remained a bright spot for a time, but…

I left in 2002 and come back occassionally for work since then. There’s been a lot of other “Renaissance” moments in that time. LeBron energized the city for a while before he stomped on its throat. The Euclid Corridor project was meant to bring new life to the city with restored storefronts, tech offices and trendy loft living. But, the real estate bubble burst, and not many people want to pay $400K+ to live in what is clearly a dying downtown. We won’t even talk about all the corruption scandals with city government over the years.

So, while not a bad city, CLE is just a sad city. The only bright spots to me are the amazing restaurants that somehow stay alive and well downtown and in the immediate surrounding areas. It’s the one aspect of my trips I enjoy. Well, that and the people I meet in my travels. Yes, this is a granny wearing an Ozzy shirt. Klassy…

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