Friday, September 28, 2012
Uptown development opens with ribbon-cutting spectacle
As rush hour traffic bustled down Euclid last night, a man and woman clad from head to toe in blue spandex danced in fluid, slow motions atop black pedestals. They marked the entrance to the dedication and grand opening of a new home for restaurants and shops in University Circle, Uptown and Toby’s Plaza at Case Western Reserve University. In blue sweaters, suits and even berets, supporters of the project flowed into the event. Inside, blue lasers danced across the ceiling as servers circulated with neon blue beverages and hors d'oeuvres.
Amidst party-goers was Alan Glazen, part owner of ABC the Tavern in Ohio City and the new ABC in Uptown. “We’re neighborhood people," he said of himself and his partners. "We think this is a fine neighborhood and we want to serve the people in it.”
Major drivers of the development sat on a stage at the front of the tent. Among those were Ari Maron of MRN Ltd; CWRU president Barbara Snyder; Toby Devan Lewis, previous curator of Progressive Corporation's art collection and the plaza's namesake.
Mayor Frank Jackson put the excitement and work of those around him into words. “The best plan is the one you’re doing," he said. "Anything else is just a good conversation. Cleveland is in the process of executing plans, not just talking about them.”
After words from several others came the cutting of the ribbon. Two dancers from MorrisonDance who had previously welcomed guests took the stage, stood near each other and then slowly twirled apart, one dancer unwinding the ribbon from the waist of the other. Several cuts later, fireworks boomed and the plaza was opened to the public for free samples and fun.
Through one of the many glass walls in the new Museum of Contemporary Art building, which opens next weekend, staff could be seen shelving items for display. Synthetic fireflies glowed in the trees of the plaza as the public enjoyed free samples from the plaza’s vendors. While the people who had dreamed of this were inside the tent, their collective visions came to life outside.