Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Hometown

A piece I wrote for the Times about Cleveland, my hometown, is a good excuse to break from my New York City musings here at Polis. On a more personal note, I grew up in Cleveland Heights, an inner ring suburb kind of like Montclair. I moved in and out of Cleveland several times, first to Northern California, then to D.C. and finally to New York with two tours of duty in Cleveland in between. The last time I left, I knew I wasn't ever going back for a whole host of reasons. But I remember feeling almost angry at my hometown for being so lame that I couldn't possibly stay -- despite the fact that my friends and family lived there, and I owned a house that I loved -- because the job market was so shallow and the city was nearly devoid of life. I had been an editor-in-chief of a weekly paper there and worked for a member of Congress who represented Cleveland, so I knew the place like the back of my hand and had deep connections with civic life. I do hope that Cleveland really does make a comeback, and not in a boosterish, PR-kind of way, but in real way. And I'm not one of those people who thinks that's impossible. Anyone in Cleveland who doesn't think it's possible should come to New York City and tour a few neighborhoods in Brooklyn that were all but left for dead 10 years ago. Things can and do change. It's a question of, for better or worse?

P.S. I took the above photo for the Times, and here's a link to a brief photo essay of downtown Cleveland.