Cincinnati is named after the Roman hero Cincinnatus. Just as Rome is surrounded by seven hills, so is Cincinnati. Those seven hills on the Ohio side are quite well known, but even across the river and in another state, there are hills that surround the Queen City. If you didn't know any better, you'd think the neighborhoods of Newport in their expanse between the white lights of slowly passing cars and the downtown skyline of the frame above, were still part of the city and not in another state entirely.
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In 1988, Cincinnati celebrated its 200th birthday. The Bicentennial was a huge celebration that even helped the Reds land an MLB All Star Game. It marked the opening of vast redevelopment projects and ushered in a new era for the city. Cincinnati Magazine produced a special bicentennial issue which partially inspired this photograph. Hence the name "Nineteen Eighty8."
Ryan Texas Ranger came along for this one. The day had gone from bright sun to overcast and cold within the matter of minutes that it took for me to get from my apartment to downtown. Using the old magazine we had, we lined up where the cover shot had come from. Although I never really recognized it, Newport has some incredible hills just as Cincinnati does.
Much like Cincinnati, these hillside steps seen above were overgrown and closed. Looking down the hill, a crumbling "Closed Steps" sign could be found in the brush.
The overcast sky seemed too bleak and boring when we got there. I decided to hold off on this location until night came and everything would be illuminated. I ended up going further down the hill to shoot #5: A Crossing in The Commonwealth instead.
Clearly there had once been some sort of path for the abandoned stairs here. Was it an overlook at some point? I don't know. Even with its overgrown and unofficial status, we weren't the only ones out shooting photos here. Just down the hill, a couple parked their car and broke out their cameras while we had ended up meeting with three more of our own photograph friends - everyone using a similar vantage point to that Cincinnati Magazine photographer in Nineteen Eighty8.
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