Whenever I tell people from my home state of Connecticut, or my adopted state of Pennsylvania, that I love Ohio, I get the same response: “WHY?” The “whys” either come from some preconceived notions about Ohio that I can not connect to, or they are the blanket smart-alek response you get out of someone who thinks New York City, L.A. or San Fran are The Metropolises of the U.S., and therefore are the only places worthy of inspection when traveling in the U.S. Almost every city in America, in some way, strives to be their state’s defining -opolis of culture or society, but the truth is, with so many conglomo corporations trodding over the mom-and-pop places, Times Square, Chicago’s Michigan Ave., San Fran’s Market Street and L.A.’s Rodeo Drive are pretty interchangeable with any upscale mall.
Enter Cleveland, yet another notch on the walls of “Gateways to the West!” I entered Cleveland at night, 9:15 to be exact, and checked in to the Doubletree Suites downtown. The reception area is full of lesbian and gay softball players visiting the city for some sort of conference or event. Outside, on the streets of Cleveland, there is the sound police sirens bouncing off of buildings and a light breeze coming off the shore of Lake Erie. I drop my bags off in my room and venture towards what I think is the heart of downtown—an area just east of the Terminal Tower.