Cleveland got nice ink in Saturday’s New York Times travel section. Writer Brett Sokol’s piece 36 Hours in Cleveland spotlighted some of the great places to spend time in this town. The eating and drinking establishments that got a shout out- Lolita, Sokolowski’s, The Velvet Tango Room, Lily’s Handmade Chocolates, the West Side Market, Tommy’s and L’Albatros- are all deserving and I’m glad to see them praised in the national print media. And the absence of so many unique and wonderful restaurants, watering holes, and food shops- the ones those of us who live here know about and love- only goes to show that 36 hours and 1300 words isn’t nearly enough to do us justice.
But. And there is a but. Actually a few points I must take issue with.
It’s a very positive story. Nonetheless in the first paragrpah, the writer felt compelled to mention the burning river (yawn). Will that story never die? Besides the fact that it happened a long long time ago, it’s a cliché, an overdone hackneyed tale, a cheap and easy way to characterize a complex past that requires neither thought nor creativity.
The section about the West Side Market is headed Farm Fresh. Mistake. I love the Market, don’t get me wrong, and shop there often. But, with a few exceptions, what vendors sell is not fresh from the farm. Like what you find at the supermarket- it’s trucked into the Northern Ohio Food Terminal from all over the country.
In that same section about the West Side Market, Sokol suggests that visitors pull up a chair at Crêpe De Luxe’s counter. Which reveals he’s never been there. The busy aisles offer no seating and the chest high counter is standing room only.
Maybe next time some out-of-towner wants to write about Cleveland, they’ll come hang out here, go exploring, talk to a few genuine local experts, and get more of the real story.