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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New York Media Loves Writing about Cleveland's "Revival"

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 11:02 AM

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Bright and early this morning, our friends at the New York Post posted this story to their website. "Cleveland is Seeing a Revival," reads the headline.

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!"

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