Time for another trip back to base camp. The official reason for the trip was to attend the M.Arch. open house at the University of Cincinnati. Just as importantly, it was an excuse to get the hell away from the NYC pressure cooker and spend a much-needed few days back on my home turf, and look at things that aren’t made of asphalt or concrete.
I arrived in Cincinnati late Thursday morning, and promptly checked into the hotel, took a shower, and crashed for a couple hours. I had overslept that morning, and woke up about ten minutes before I was supposed to be leaving for the airport. The next few hours were a blur, but I made my flight and landed at CVG without incident.
That evening, I attended a debate at UC about Cincinnati’s streetcar project and Issue 9. I met up with Sherman Cahal and Gordon Bombay at the event. Long story made short, later that evening Sherman and I found ourselves having beers with Mark Miller and Chris Finney, the two people most responsible for getting this stupid referendum issue on the ballot. Talk about awkward. Mark Miller turned out to be a nice guy and I found myself agreeing with him on more things than I thought I would. Chris Finney? No comment.
The next day was spent almost entirely at the M.Arch. open house at UC. I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know, but it was still nice to be on campus and meet people in the architecture program there. UC was my first choice of architecture schools when I was in high school, but I didn’t get accepted there, and I ended up at a few other places instead. Now I’m hoping to go there for grad school. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high and jinx myself, but I think I already crossed that bridge a long time ago.
That evening I met up with Eighth and State, Maximillian, testell, Caseyc, thomasbw, Kevin LeMaster, and a few others (my apologies if I left anybody out) at Grammers in Over-the-Rhine, and ran into Michael Moore. Not Michael Moore of “Bowling for Columbine” fame, but Michael Moore, the City Architect for the City of Cincinnati. He’s the one working to build a streetcar line through OTR, and he’s got some other good ideas as well. Nice guy, and I wish him the best in making Cincinnati a better city.
The following day was spent driving around the city and checking out routes and locations for my thesis project, a rapid transit system for Cincinnati. I got as far west as Lawrenceburg and as far east as Milford. Google Earth is great, but nothing beats going out and seeing a place in real life. One thing that struck me was how badly aerial photos are at depicting topography.
That evening was spent at my cousin’s place in Silver Grove, eating chili, drinking beer, and engaging in good conversation. I think I had more of a social life in three days in Cincinnati than I’ve had in the past two years in New York.
On Sunday I checked out of the hotel, drove around for a bit, and headed back to the airport. In what’s becoming somewhat of an unfortunate tradition, my return flight from Cincinnati to NYC was yet another clusterfuck.
My flights to Cincinnati from NYC have invariably been on-time and incident-free. My return flights back to New York are another story. A year ago, Delta forgot to load the baggage onto the plane, resulting in 150 angry people about to start a riot at the baggage claim office at Newark Airport. Last June, after a series of delays and mechanical failures, my flight was ultimately canceled and I arrived in New York 26 hours after first checking in at CVG — enough time to drive or take Amtrak from Cincy to New York and back.
This time, the flight was two hours late, there were a half-dozen hyperactive brats in the back of the tiny plane, a screaming infant in the row behind me, and the landing was so hard I thought the pilot was trying to put a crater in LaGuardia’s runway. And of course, arriving in Queens from almost anywhere is like arriving in Tijuana after a weekend in Lake Tahoe. I’ve reached the conclusion that God really doesn’t want me to return to New York from Cincinnati, and I’m inclined to agree with him.
Well, if I get accepted to UC and things go the way I hope they will, my next trip to Cincinnati will be sometime in May, and the purpose of that trip will be to look for an apartment. Wish me luck.
Issue 9 debate at UC:
Main Street on the University of Cincinnati campus:
The old quad at the University of Cincinnati:
Main Street @ UC:
Grammer’s in Over-the-Rhine:
I love beer steins. My grandfather used to have a few, but I have no idea whatever happened to them.
Grammer’s. Some neighborhood thug threw a cinder block through the leaded glass window on the right a few months ago, but it has since been restored.
A name from Cincinnati’s rich brewing history.
Beer steins on display at Grammer’s.
More beer steins. Grammer’s has been around in one form or another since 1872.
The bar at Grammer’s. Lately the hipsters have discovered Grammer’s, but tonight it wasn’t too obnoxious.
Old railroad tracks on the Oasis line. In my thesis project, this right-of-way carries the Blue Line rapid transit route.
An old church along River Road on Cincinnati’s west side. The steeple reminds me a lot of St. Michael’s in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood.
Northside. I had a great sandwich at Melt.
No visit to Cincy is complete without stopping at Fountain Square and paying homage to the Genius of Water.
The so-called “Short Vine” business district near the UC campus.
Cincinnati’s hills offer great vistas of the downtown skyline from all directions. This one is from a steep street in the Prospect Hill neighborhood.
Cincinnati’s Pendleton neighborhood. Many parts of Cincinnati wouldn’t feel out of place in Brooklyn or Philadelphia.
My survival kit for the winter: