Tuesday, July 27, 2010

things i love about akron, ohio (pt. 5): the good the bad and the ugly

My first impression of Akron, Ohio was pretty grim. Even though we dropped our luggage off at the hotel, and even though I've been there before, thanks to the trusty Garmin and a nonexistent Target, Kris and I found ourselves driving deeper and deeper into unsafe territory. By the time we saw a man stop his car in the middle of a busy intersection to pick up a busted hubcap laying on the road, and especially by the time we passed a building with a big sign reading "Felon For Hire", we knew it was time to turn right back around. Kris was impressed by my ability to spot a crystal meth addict a mile away however. The cozy confines of middle-class suburban living we were not in. Yet, not only a few miles down the road, we found some positive signs of life, with a beautiful university, shops, museums and performance spaces. While I've always been leary of the yuppification of urban environments, it was good to see some balance in this town. I wonder what might happen if the university no longer existed in Akron and thought about all the life it has given what could have been another Detroit. Yuppies, college kids, average Joes, junkies, thuggies, freaks and geeks all made the visit all the more interesting, and I hope to see this town, with a lot of potential, through the arts, education and culture, continue to grow and transform into something even more special than it already is.

See my Akron, Ohio Flickr set for more, and BIGGER views of our visit.