Blog: Albert Pyle

The Mercantile Library's mercurial Executive Director, Albert Pyle weighs in on everything from scooters to West End housing stock. You won't want to miss this four-part series from the man who keeps Cincinnati's oldest and most unique literary treasure running.

Post One - Best In Class

A few years ago the Powers That Be, faced with impossible expense and nearly insurmountable technical difficulties, backed off of a plan to make Cincinnati’s convention center roughly the size of the airport in order to compete with Chicago’s McCormick Place and other enormous convention centers.  The fallback position was to make the place a little bit bigger and a lot better.  The catchword was Best In Class.  

That was smart.  The changes are good, and business seems to be coming back.  It’s an intelligently planned and well executed convention center, and I think Duke Energy got a great deal.

Best In Class seems to be where we’re headed with the city, and that’s even better. There were years when the planners and fixers seemed to be perpetually apologetic for Cincinnati’s not being New York.  They never seemed to grasp that Florence doesn’t apologize for not being Milan, that Oxford has no desire to be London, or that Denver is perfectly fine with being Denver rather than Seattle.  

A different mentality seems to be in place now, and it shows.  The moves the city has made in recent years, the moves the city is making now seem no longer to have as their raison d’etre to be the next Jacksonville or Charlotte or even, God help us, Indianapolis, but to be the best Cincinnati.  There appears at last to be an understanding in the right places that the intellectual wealth here is at a level with the great physical beauty of our city, that we can make adult decisions with the involvement of people from every reach of the metropolis, and that the past is the past.

It will be good to be best.

Editor's Note:  Don't forget to check back tomorrow to read Albert's views on urban living.

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