by Sam Allard
The miniature travel-style piece is basically a rundown of the Ohio City, Tremont and University Circle neighborhoods, highlighting their trendiest new joints and a few iconic landmarks — the West Side Market, St. Theodosius, etc. — with little commentary other than the hackneyed, wide-eyed "dying industrial town gets hip" angle.
It's not like I'm completely over that angle. I mean I still dig the postindustrial aesthetics and the fact that I feel entitled, by birth, to compensatory grit. It's just that I've seen so many stories celebrating this "renaissance" — Cool chefs! Unlimited microbrews! Arts out the wazoo! — that, in the first place, I think media peeps can stop peddling this "revival" as something new and unexplored.
"Hold your horses," a chorus of pundits interjects on what feels like a quarterly basis. "Cleveland — You heard right, Cleveland — is cooler than you always thought."
Plus, there's definitely been an emotional shift, at least from a native's perspective (i.e. mine). There was a time when seeing stories like these in national media outlets was exciting, almost validating. We have been acknowledged by the New York Times; therefore we are.
Now it's like, I don't know, we get it already. Nothing feels unique or worthwhile about this genre of "Cleveland-as-Phoenix" finger-pointing, especially because we've seen replicas of these stories (featuring the exact same content) a hundred times before.
And is there anything to be gained from this coverage, other than a potentially modest boost in regional tourism? Are New Yorkers suddenly flocking to get their paws on the goods from "Cupcake Wars" winner Bon Bon Pastry & Cafe?
I doubt it.
I don't get the sense that "cosmopolitan" folks on the coasts suddenly respect us or something. I feel like Cleveland is the fat kid who got fit ten years ago, and New York (as a symbol for bigger, more established cool cities) are the popular kids who approach us every month announcing, "Oh my God, you've lost weight!"