Notice that I didn’t title this “Great View of the Game.” I mean the ballpark. Great American hasn’t been around quite long enough to operate as a postcard-ready icon– it needs to be far more Hall of Justice-y than that– but, in Cincinnati terms, it’s still the new place. Depending on when you joined the party, Riverfront is still the new place.

When Josh The Pilot and I explored the improvements at The Banks last week (this pretty much consisted of walking once down Freedom Way, saying, “Look at that bar!”) we also considered how much it would suck, as old people, to live in the apartments just above the party zone. Neither of us are urbanites, and as I grew up, Cincinnati was a city of rigified suburban neighborhoods and neighborhoods within neighborhoods.

Our idea of heavy traffic is a two-light slowdown at Western HIlls Plaza on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Every sortie of the house is calculated so as to avoid “going all the way over there,” and “all the way over there” is a ten-minute drive to a different subdivision.

How do they sleep, these downtown dwellers? When do they sleep? Where do they park? Where do they get their prescriptions filled? What happenes to their lives during Opening Day or Oktoberfest or bobblehead days or parades or Riverfest or anyone doing anything ever? Do they just gaze down at the maze of closed streets, all, “Well, I guess I live here now, and I mean that literally”? Do they go sit in the utility closet so they would have somewhere industrial-looking to brood and become supervillans?

They’re right up on the stadium, these apartments. I understand that in older parks, like Fenway and Wrigley (and our Crosley), the neighborhood grew up around the field, so if you want to live near the ballpark, you can live near the ballpark.

We did that bass-ackwards here in Cincinnati for quite some time, but we’re in Crosley territory once more. Now the ballpark is down the street. The closest I had to this was living in a college dorm that also contained classrooms, and I could go loft bed to 9 AM Spanish class in two minutes flat.

When I was growing up, this entire area was a wasteland of Scooby-Doo warehouses. Nobody cared that Riverfront was right there. Living downtown was not A Thing. Living with a lawn everyone hated to mow was. Going downtown was An Event. Then you left.

Can these apartment people see in the park, like the rooftop Wrigley people? What’s that like? You want to see how long you have until the Skyline dip is done, but you don’t want to miss the next at-bat, so you go to the kitchen window and check the action in the bullpen to see how much time you’ve got. That is quite the existence. But then when the game is over and the crowd makes for the parking garage, all those cars are going to pass by your bedroom.

When I worked at the Reds Hall of Fame, it was a daily exercise to see the field from the press box, and here I watched the seasons change: Growh tarp, no growth tarp. Mowing, no mowing. To measure this by the flux of people rushing beneath your living room is, I imagine, not a far measure from the changing of the leaves and the quantity of morning birdsong.

I suppose it’s an interesting way to live. You can see what Kentucky is up to at all times, and that’s no small matter.

But… where’s the nearest drive-through pony keg?

What do you think about living within hurling distance of an MLB park? Anybody there now? Let me know in the comments 🙂

9 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    My wallet and waistline would suffer, but I’d like to try being an urbanite before I die.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It would be pretty cool to have Smale as your front yard 🙂

  2. Mark Moore

    We’ve pondered that life at times. Right now, the view across the back half of my acre is to a freshly harvested winter wheat field (which will soon sprout soybeans). The night skyscapes can be incredible.

    I’d prefer to do my urban dwelling in smaller doses. When I do, I really like public transit options. One of the reasons why downtown Chicago has been a family favorite for Thanksgiving for years.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      hold up, wheat AND soybeans?!
      I’m coming to your house for the End Times.

      I am an enormous fan of DC’s Metro. Easy enough for even me to understand, and there are few places it doesn’t go!

      • Mark Moore

        The soybeans will be harvested in November or December. Then in 2022 if he follows his normal pattern, it will be tobacco (which is a pretty plant to watch grow).

      • Scott C

        We love the Metro in DC as well. The only issue we ever had with it was when the earthquake hit in Virginia a few years ago. But that is a long story. But generally when we were in DC we would get an all day pass and could travel all over DC with ease.

  3. Scott C.

    Well those people in Kentucky do need be watched, so maybe we need to give those urban apartment dwellers a big thank you. I am with you though, I would not like to be one, I like a yard, I like watching the wildlife and the fact that there is a Home Depot and Publix (alas no Kroger’s) just 10 minutes from my house the biggest traffic problem I have is waiting for the light to change so I can get out of neighborhood..

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I miss Publix! Publix>Kroger every day of the week! The SUBS!

      • Scott C

        Yes the deli at Publix is one of the bests. And they even carry frozen Skyline down here.