Cleveland is definitely showing off its red, white and blue with the first few days of the Republican National Convention already wrapped up. I’ve never seen our city look as patriotic. As a resident of the Warehouse District, I toyed with whether or not I even wanted to stay in Cleveland or if I was going to rent out our place and head for the ‘burbs. In the end, I decided to stick it out and work from home during the RNC.
As always, I couldn’t help but be curious about what was going on in the city. So with Nena in tow, we set off to see what was going on in our neighborhood. The biggest difference you see (and feel) is the amount of police stationed around the city. While part of me feels comforted, it’s also a little disconcerting to see that many police officers in one place. In the wake of the horrible acts of violence in our country right now, I pray for their safety and of the safety of everyone in the city.
Aside from increased security, the sheer number of people with cameras filming and photographing the events and activities around town is overwhelming. It seems like every other person I walked by was carrying a camera. On my run today there were detours galore, but I was interested to see that they were already moving those hideous black fences from around where events have already taken place.
Wannabe entrepreneurs fill the sidewalks selling Trump t-shirts and other presidential paraphernalia. Head to the Flats East Bank and you’ll find patriotic floats from the Duck Tape Festival including Mt. Rushmore and the Liberty Bell. In front of the Marriott you’ll have a photo opportunity with a large elephant painted in red, white and blue. And in Public Square you’ll be treated to a handful of civilians walking around with assault rifles. Yes, you heard me correctly. For the first time since I moved downtown three years ago, I felt uneasy just from the sight of them.
Aside from machine guns being spotted around downtown, the Republican National Convention seems to be running as smoothly as you could hope. While several of the restaurants downtown have been transformed into The Washington Post (Butcher and the Brewer), Twitter (Greenhouse Tavern) and The Atlantic (Blue Point Grill), I’ve been shocked by how many restaurants seem to be lacking customers.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the lack of delegates who actually showed up coupled with the fact that people were hearing horror stories about how bad downtown was going to be. I think that everyone decided to stay away from downtown, when in reality now is one of the better times to be down here. It’s just a bit of a maze once you get here due to the road closures.
While everything seems to be going as well as it could, I think that we’ll all let out a collective breath when this week is over. What is your experience with the RNC so far?! Share your thoughts below.