Thursday, March 14, 2002

March 15

If you love this city, c'mon down

        Beware the Ides of March.

        Downtown Cincinnati might not look like a ghost town that day.

        Shoppers might come down to buy things. Diners might eat at restaurants. Office workers and strict suburbanites might even stick around after sunset to have a good time.

        All downtown.

        On a Friday. In March.

        If downtown's crowded, it'll be a potent indicator of e-mail's appeal, the degree to which average citizens are fed up with the boycott of Cincinnati and how much people love this city. A show of strength downtown will send a message that the boycott is being combated, not just with words, but with action.

        For weeks, a chain letter has been circulating on the Internet. The letter invites people to come downtown March 15.

        In case you nodded off in school the day your English class read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the Ides of March is the 15th.

        March 15 is also the date Bill Cosby planned to do two shows at the Aronoff. But, bowing to pressure and ignoring the facts, he canceled both performances to honor the misguided boycott.

        Bill Cosby might not be coming to town, the chain letter reasons, but everyone else still can. Buy something downtown. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. Get something to eat. Stop by a swank restaurant or a burger joint. Just come on down.

Downtown boosters

        Ironically, the chain letter has yet to reach Mary Kuhl. She's the co-founder of Westwood Concern.

        For months, the west-side citizens action group has been promoting downtown trips at its meetings and on its Web site .

        On Jan. 12, 45 concerned Westwoodians went downtown. They made a night of it, something they plan to do every three months. They had a progressive meal at three restaurants. They invited the mayor and five councilmen to join them. Everyone showed.

        “Normal, right-thinking people believe the boycott is goofy and wrong,” Mary told me.

        “They just can't sit at home in Green Township, Mason and Anderson and complain. They have to do something.”

        She advocates a night on the town. “We had a good time. If you're uncomfortable going alone or as a couple, go with a group. Make a party out of it.”

Party town

        Ways to increase the fun factor for Friday's downtown party are many. And easy.

        For starters, the city could declare downtown streets a free parking zone for Friday. Extend it into Saturday. See how much business picks up.

        Take in a show. The three-stage Aronoff might not have Bill Cosby. But it does have an 8 p.m. Friday performance of the Ovation Theatre Company's production of Woman in Mind at the Fifth Third Bank Theater.

        The Aronoff's box office will be open until 9:30 p.m. Tickets will be on sale for upcoming shows. Support the Aronoff. Buck the boycott.

        Act like a tourist. Visit the Tyler Davidson Fountain on Fountain Square. Take a snapshot.

        Go to the Carew Tower's observation deck. Forty-nine stories above the city's ground floor, the deck is open on Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Maybe, the admission fees could be waived for the Ides of March.

        The deck offers a spectacular view of Greater Cincinnati. This vantage point shows how the neighborhoods are inextricably linked to downtown Cincinnati. Their fates depend on how they help each other.

        Can't make it downtown on the Ides of March? There's always Saturday. Take the kids. Spend the day. There's no law against it.

        Come on down.

       Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; e-mail


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