Column: Time to show Cincinnati some love

This week’s column in The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post deals with something a little less political, but, I’d think, probably just as controversial: Why we choose to hate the town we live in.

I, for one, don’t hate Cincinnati – but feel alone in that sentiment sometimes. In fact, I feel quite the opposite – most of the time. But think about it: How many times have you heard someone call this place “The Nasti” – a twist on people referring to Cincinnati as “That ‘Nati?” Or, how often have you apologized for being from here? Been apt to complain about this place? Say there is nothing to do here?

I have been guilty. Probably you are, too. But why do we do this?

Truthfully, I think there are plenty of very wonderful things about this town. That’s why I was very happy to learn about one woman’s effort to get people to write down why they love Cincinnati.

Even if you don’t think you love Cincinnati, I bet if you tried to write a letter you could come up with things – and lots of them – that you do love about this town, whether it’s your hometown or you moved here for other reasons. Maybe it’s not the Cincinnati Art Museum or the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra that gets you excited, but instead your local favorite bar, the houses on your street, your neighbors or your friendly bus driver, letter carrier or police officer. Maybe you love Alms Park or Miami Whitewater Forest or the park in the center of Blue Ash? Maybe it’s Kaldi’s or the new Starbucks in Mason? Perhaps it’s been the new ice skating rink on Fountain Square and the new large TV overlooking it? Or you love the Loveland bike trail or sitting on the Purple People Bridge watching barges travel underneath you or going to the sorta secret spot where you can park your car and watch airplanes take off and land at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Possibly you like looking at the city lights from Mount Adams and having a moment to yourself just to stop and think, the busy city below you? Maybe you enjoy eating at Cumin in Hyde Park or you like your quiet corner of the Frisch’s in Walnut Hills?

Perchance you love the city’s people. We’ve got all kinds. Black, white, Asian, Middle Eastern and everything in between. Natives, immigrants, transplants and our special breed of this-is-my-hometown-and-I’m-going-to-die-here (aka “West siders”). Maybe it’s the conservatives you identify with or are grateful there is a strong, vibrant and gutsy progressive community thriving under the radar.

But you found this place, this Queen City of the West, and you love it. And maybe you don’t know why or how you got here. I bet, if you think about it, there are people you love in your life and have not thought about why or how lately – or maybe ever. But, if pressed, you could come up with a laundry list of reasons why they make you feel special for knowing them. You might even feel angry or frustrated at them sometimes, but in the end, it’s love.

Try that with this city we love to bash; the place you love to complain about. Maybe the love will start to show. Then go write Cincinnati a letter. She needs to hear it.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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