The Cincinnati That I Know

The day is cloudy, cold and typical for a Cincinnati fall morning. Growing up and living in Cincinnati for most of my life has been filled with good times, as well as not so good times. As a city, Cincinnati - the queen city, the city with the seven hills, is a place of contrasts and contradictions.

As with most cities, Cincinnati has always had a general undercurrent of divisions – racial, ethnic, income, etc. The divisions that I’ve seen and have been a part of are barely noticeable until something happens to disrupt that smooth undercurrent and cause waves. It is when the current is stirred up that some of the ugliness of a really great city are seen.

While not having the constant nightlife of a Chicago, another great city that I’ve lived in, the small town, yet big city feel of Cincinnati is evident with the variety of festivals, concerts, plays, museums and other cultural attractions that occur throughout the city. A few of the contrasts and contradictions are evident in the fact that some of the most beautiful and historically relevant architecture can be found in some of the lowest income areas. And some of the newer and more modern, yet not as finely crafted buildings and architecture are in some of the higher income areas.

Cincinnati boasts some top rated schools, colleges and medical universities and they are a selling point to the city. But, the constant struggle for those ratings to be found throughout the city is evident in the areas that are least supported both internally and externally. When I started my education, my elementary school was not in the least bit racially or economically diverse. But after elementary school, every other school was so diverse that as one person told me, “You grew up in the United Nations.” From high school onward, my educational environment was filled with people from various nationalities, races and income groups. This involvement allowed me to get a broader perspective on life and the world.

And so, within the Midwest City of Cincinnati, you can find almost everything that you could hope to find in a city. You can also find some things that you wouldn’t want to find in a city. That’s the Cincinnati that I know. And, that’s what makes a city, a city and the world, the world – contradictions and contrasts. The best of humanity and the worst of humanity, walking a fine line of civility.

Photo by © Chuck Eilerman 

Robert Bradley is an entrepreneur, freelance writer, a website creator and a life coach with a passion for helping people develop their passion and get their vision accomplished. He can be reached by email at
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