Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Anniversary Cleveland

If I told the tale of a once-great city along the shores of Lake Erie whose residents have great pride, strong work ethic but few jobs and lowly sports teams to help pass the harsh winters what city comes to mind?

Cleveland, OH like Buffalo, NY, is a rust belt city and a cheap joke for most parts of the country. (The Edmund Fitzgerald was not really headed for Cleveland, for crying out loud.) So, when it comes to public shaming Cleveland should know at least one Buffalonian feels your pain. In many ways, Cleveland is Buffalo's big sister. As a kid, I remember going to Cleveland's new Jacob Field to see the Indians take on the Yankees. Right around then, the Buffalo Bisons signed on to be the Indian's new farm team. Aside from sharing one Great Lake and a little baseball history there are many facts that highlight a greater bond.So, we being with a quiz.

Guess the Lake Erie Rust Belt City!

Q: This city's average population declined 13.12 percent per decade since 1970.
Q: This city's last professional sports championship was 1964.
Q: Average high temperature in this city is 56 degrees.
Q: Named most miserable city by Forbes.
Q: Second largest city in its state.

What residents of the Northeast Corridor, the Southwest, and California don't know is that rust belt cities are beautiful. Cleveland is home to the Playhouse Square Center - second largest performing arts center in the country. Buffalo is home to more than 50 public art galleries including Albright-Knox and Birchfield-Penney. Steve Harvey, Arsenio Hall, Phil Donahue, and Drew Carey - all from Cleveland. Ani DiFranco, Rick James, the Goo Goo Dolls but also Cannibal Corpse and moe. belong to Buffalo. Both cities have some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. This barely scratches the surface.

Today, Clevelanders celebrate the anniversary of 10 cent beer night. While I haven't been to Cleveland in over a decade, I imagine they celebrate it in much the same way Buffalonians celebrate the anniversary of "wide right". You can read about the fun here and here but you can probably piece together what happened on your own. I also imagine that Clevelanders have the same sense of pride you find in Buffalonians, which is to say we're a little tired of getting kicked in the groin just so you can feel better about your elitist "real city" problems. We have poor economies but tough people with warm hearts and friendly smiles; real houses with yards and everything for less than condominiums in some cities; and the commute is wonderful. We have history and culture and great craft beers. OK, our sports teams suck but it keeps us humble. So, next time you need to feel good about yourself knock on somebody else's hometown.

Happy Anniversary Cleveland - you're a hell of a city!

Cleveland should adopt a similar philosophy!

Quiz Answers
Cleveland: Average population decline 14.4 percent per decade since 1970
Buffalo: Average population decline 13.12 percent per decade since 1970

Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964. The Buffalo Bills won the AFL Championship in 1965. There was not a Super Bowl to win in 1964 or 1965 but it's worth noting Cleveland has never played in the game and the Buffal Bills lost it four consecutive times (which is worse?). 

Average high temp in Cleveland 59 degrees (average low 42).
Average high temp in Buffalo 56 degrees (average low 40)

Cleveland, though asks "Really, worse that Detroit and Buffalo?"

Both Cleveland and Buffalo are the second largest cities in their respective states.

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