Cincinnati can be incredibly surprising to people who don’t know much about it. Cincinnati was the Queen City of the Midwest when Chicago was a small village. And it has an incredible legacy from that day. Cincinnati simply has the greatest collection of assets of any city its size in America. It’s an embarrassment of riches. Yet Cincinnati has not been a strong economic performer in some time. It’s not doing poorly, but it isn’t great either. I examined Cincinnati in one of my signature overview posts a couple years ago called “A Midwest Conundrum” that goes into detail on Cincy’s assets and challenges. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already read it.
This is a follow-up of sorts. My last article didn’t give nearly enough photos to do justice to Cincinnati’s neighborhoods. I was there for a presentation recently, and was fortunate enough to have UrbanCincy’s Randy Simes give me a tour. The result is this photo-centric post. You can view all of the photos in this post as a Flickr set. I also have another Flick set with even more Cincinnati photos that didn’t make the post. With that, let’s kick off our neighborhood tour.
Over the Rhine
Wendell Cox said Over the Rhine “may be the nation’s most important historical district” awaiting redevelopment.
Here’s a shot looking down Vine St., which, along with Main St., is one of the two principal north-south corridors through the area.
Also like many such districts around the country, the city has targeted this as an arts district. Here’s one theater:
One reason is that there are still such an incredible number of vacant and boarded up buildings that few development projects have resulted in displacement.
But it’s time to move on. Cincinnati residents are justifiably proud of OTR, but almost to a point where you might think it is the only thing they’ve got going on. It’s a constant chorus of “Over the Rhine, Over the Rhine, Over the Rhine…..” But there are at least 10-15 other neighborhoods in Cincinnati that most cities would kill to have.
Northside is the neighborhood Greg Meckstroth called the “gayborhood minus the gays.” It’s one of Cincy’s premier hipster districts.
Clifton might be the most complete neighborhood commercial district in the city. It has not only coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, but also a grocery store, a drug store, and as you can see here, even a library branch. It pretty much has everything you need to take care of your daily needs.
University of Cincinnati
Clifton is basically where the University of Cincinnati is located. One interesting thing about the campus recently is that they hired a number of well-known contemporary architects to design their new buildings. Here’s one by UC alum Michael Graves:
DeSales Corner was once a rival to downtown Cincinnati, as the major buildings there will attest. It isn’t often that you see seven story buildings in neighborhood commercial districts. This is like some of Chicago’s more intense districts, like Uptown or Wicker Park.
Hyde Park Square
When I visited this place, only one word came to mind: money.
More on Cincinnati
A Midwest Conundrum
Cincinnati Is Cool – by Mike Doyle at his blog CHICAGO CARLESS
Agenda 360 – a review of Cincinnati’s regional strategy
Water Works and the Commonwealth – a look at Cincinnati’s proposed water works transaction