Coronavirus Chronicles, October 16

We did not find Cincinnati as given over to Biden as Columbus was. I therefore declare Cincinnati in every way superior to Columbus. They have quite an extensive collection of buildings from the 19th century in Cincinnati and, everywhere, the buildings are being restored. I have never seen so many ongoing projects to restore interesting buildings. Somebody is investing heavily. I do doubt that Cincinnati is unique in this.

The (sometime) Cincinnatian Hotel been around so long that the marble on the stairs, after the second floor, have been worn in a scoop the way I remember it in the central metro stations of Mexico City. It has many deserted places where you can read, and the public nuisance of music is so unobtrusively soft it is nearly inaudible—almost perfect. You know what people are getting wrong in this age of so many lighting options? The quality of the light. Light bulbs are haphazardly employed at otherwise coordinated hotels, so that you very seldom get warm light. When it happens, it is very nice, but it is obviously not being attended to in the kinds of places I stay at.

I don’t know if it is a defeat that I only stopped at one place expressing support for the racist organization Black Lives Matter or if it is a triumph that I only did once. I think if it were Columbus, I’d say it is a triumph, but in a place less given over to signaling such as Cincinnati, perhaps it was a defeat. Yes, I think Cincinnati is a great place, obviously one that is on the mend from former dereliction. I hope this moment is not a huge setback. During this whole raging moment of hypochondriac power, two very good coffee shops were located there.

Cincinnati is a very interesting city for walking in, if you like exploring the basic grid to see what’s on the street level. The central skyscraper part is not as soulless as it could be, and the nearer surroundings have the old architecture I mentioned. There was a section along Main St. defaced by the aforementioned racist organization, but it was not extensive. Are there too few ultra-rich white people in Cincinnati? Both Columbus and Cincinnati showed little damage in that respect. They seem poised for a swift recovery.

The difference between Cincinnati and Lexington, KY is that people are more given over to wearing masks in the street in the former than the latter. (I do find that the farther south one goes, the more overtly polite people become. I’m for a less ornate and more Scandinavian approach to politeness, personally.) Kentucky looks both empty in the highway stretches and prosperous in the urban setting.

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