Amid the hubbub of Monday Night Football in Our Fair City, we wish to make a typically SWNIDish, contrarian and totally objective Declaration of Reality.
Downtown Cincinnati is on the rebound.
We say this not merely because Cincinnati is hosting two such Monday night extravaganzas this year. We say it not because the Banks project, delays and all, looks to be finally underway.
We say it because of what we observed Saturday night.
Following a SWNIDish whim, we decided to take ourself to the Reds game, accompanied only by our own sparkling personality. Procuring a $5 "outer view level" ticket, and thereby enjoying a superb view of the game, the river, and the summit of Mt. Adams as well as an unobstructed breeze wafting along the top rows, we settled in for a typical experience of baseball disappointment, watching the hometown millionaires commit mistakes in public. We found solitude very pleasant. As an incidental point, we recommend the experience.
But to the point of this post. Our impression of downtown is governed by a wider set of observations than the blessings of a cheap ticket at GABP. The Reds reported attendance that night of about 22,000, which represents, as knowing fans realize, not the turnstile attendance but the number of tickets sold. We'd estimate that actual attendance was considerably lower, maybe half, and would have been lower still had it not been for the modest but vocal contingent of Milwaukee fans who enlivened the atmosphere.
So the game was far from packed. But downtown was jumpin'. Sidewalks were alive with pedestrians, many well turned out and none down-and-out. On-street parking was completely full. Hoteliers, restauranteurs and publicans looked commercially busy. Tables at Fountain Square were significantly occupied.
We don't know what was afoot in our city center. We suspect that there was much afoot, however, and that it is the kind of thing that is generally afoot on what is becoming a typical downtown weekend. In other words, people were there for lots of reasons, not for one big reason.
That's the good news for our municipal prosperity: that it doesn't take a huge event to get people downtown. We hope the trend continues.