Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Postcards From Boston

I love Cincinnati dearly. I’ve been here all my life. I’ve helped support progress and have the utmost respect for those who also strive to see this city reach its true potential, whether it’s their lifelong or adopted home. I’ve been an advocate and preached the glory of the Queen City to all those who’ll listen, whether they be local naysayers, visitors, or people I meet while traveling. Every now and then though, I contemplate what it would be like to leave, go someplace else for awhile.

If I liked where I ended up, maybe that’d become home. Born in Cincinnati; buried in Chicago, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Seattle, or any other place. When I was in college, I rolled my eyes and internally groaned at the people who “couldn’t wait to leave” upon graduation. I’d come to see Cincinnati for what it can truly be. It annoyed me that others couldn’t see that potential too. Sometimes what you already have is truly worthwhile. As time has gone on though, the idea of being someplace else has grown appealing. I’m certainly not the first person to consider going someplace else, but these aren’t the feelings of a middle aged man on vacation at some South Carolina island. Even if you wear a shirt that says “life’s a beach,” it doesn’t change the fact that often, life’s a bitch. Deciding to live somewhere comes with the realization that life isn't always going to be like vacation. You won’t spend every evening beneath palm trees sucking down buckets of Coors while a Jimmy Buffet cover band pairs an acoustic guitar with steel drums. You have to find a place to exist, where you can make ends meet, and find purpose.

The last few years when traveling, I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to live in certain places I’ve been. Wheeling, West Virginia and Louisville seemed too small, but Pittsburgh and Cleveland seemed fine. While recently in Boston, I really started to feel a pull that maybe there’s someplace out there worth being for awhile besides Cincinnati. It came to a head when we had lunch in a Boston restaurant. I found myself trying to make home sound so great in conversation, yet found myself having to insert “but” followed by a disclaimer after most statements. At a nearby table, a child wearing an FC Cincinnati hat recognized the same logo on my t-shirt. I talked with his family and it really set in just how small Cincinnati can often feel despite being a major American metropolitan area. When I returned home and went back to work, it felt like I could walk across Downtown in twenty minutes compared to the endless streets and alleyways of the city I had just been in.

So here’s some photographs from Boston, made with the intention of having a handful turned into postcards that I print and send to a few friends the past few years. There’s a few tourist spots in here and places that I’m most definitely not the first to see or document with a camera. However, as I shot them, the intent was not find way to tell a story of vacation. I was looking at a place and its details trying to imagine what it would be like to exist there. I love home and always will, but lately the allure of living elsewhere, not just visiting, has been creeping higher and higher.

- Departing the subway's Red Line for a Commuter Rail station.

- George Washington statue in the Public Gardens.

- An apparently can't miss photo opportunity. 

- Green Line subway.

- The landmark Citgo sign.

- Tow zone and sailboat.

- Green Line train transitioning from below ground to above ground running.

- Boston Public Library 1/4

- Boston Public Library 2/4

- Boston Public Library 3/4

- Boston Public Library 4/4

- Cambridge.

- Central station of the Red Line. Cincinnati's incomplete subway was based on this station.

- Laura and the Charles River.

- Passing by selfie-takers.

- Blue Line subway train bound for Wonderland. Wonderland was a greyhound racing park named after a former amusement park. The name isn't quite fitting.

- Departure.


  1. I'm one of the few who visited Cincinnati and loved it enough to stay. In a couple of years it'll be the longest I've lived anywhere. Boston was nice to visit, but I couldn't see myself living there. I find people in Cincinnati to be more welcoming.

    Friends of mine who left Cincinnati have regretted leaving with one that still has an eye out for jobs here so that they can move back.

    1. I can definitely sympathize with that. I think most of the people here are truly wonderful and compared to say, New Jersey, you'll meet far friendlier people here. I think a lot of it for me stems from living in an urban environment. Cincinnati is great, but sometimes it feels too small. This morning I ran into a good friend on the bus and we had a great conversation and walked to work together. Running into people I know constantly can be great, but at other times makes this area feel small.

      Glad you're here, Clyde!

  2. Dear Ronny,

    Forgive me for being forward.

    Seldom have I seen such angst played out in a popular and respected blog/website. The worthiness of Cincinnati as home base for a personal, or even a professional, life deserves wider thought – for all your Cincinnati readers. The recent direction of your blog very eloquently and visually provokes that.

    Then again, QCD has always been personal. The “Discovery” part of QCD is part of its appeal – not just the fascination of the illustrations shown in quirky or creative photos – but in the personal self-discovery of one’s place in life. It seems QCD has stepped over a line recently becoming even more personal. In the light of such thoughts, I can’t help but wonder what you could be leaving – or what you could be moving to. More bluntly: what you’re running from, or to. But then, maybe you’re not running at all. Since I’ve been there, I’ll try to avoid being judgmental.

    Would you have a more fulfilling and fun life elsewhere? I really don’t know. I do know that your talents are uniquely yours. They’ll follow you to Timbuktu and back. (And that would be a great place to take pictures as well. Just an idea.) For myself, at 69, I’m in a happy place. Best wishes on your journey to get there too.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking piece.

    Nick Rechtin

    1. Dear Nick,

      No reason to ask for forgiveness haha, I appreciate the thoughtful comment, feedback, and insight as well as you taking the time to read the post.

      I didn't intend for the post to be overly angsty or dramatic. I do love Cincinnati and I think there's a lot on this website over the years that speaks to how worthy this city is of praise. True, QC/D has always been personal and in recent years more of these posts have been that way. This site is a reflection of things I see and find interest in and over time the subject matter has fluctuated a bit. I've often wrestled with: do I make it more of a personal thing, a history/exploration thing, a hybrid, or do I split the two up? Ultimately, I've enjoyed just keep it all in the same place. If I were to relocate, I'd probably have posts and content follow with stories from wherever I go.

      Nothing really to leave or run away from, more so just wondering if there's something else out there I'd enjoy just as much as I have Cincinnati. Maybe stepping into a different location for a bit would give more appreciation for the place I consider home?

      When you say "stepped over a line," do you feel that the more personal posts/stories are detrimental to the site? Truthfully, I appreciate any further feedback or thoughts.

      Most importantly, thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts! Getting to connect with so many people through this website is one of the best parts!


  3. While the content of QCD has evolved over the years, I wouldn't change a thing, Ronny. I've enjoyed it for a long time. Loved it how it was as strictly urban exploration; loved it how it is now, a bit more personal; and I'm sure I'll love it in the future even if it changes in unforseen ways.

    1. Hey Dave, thanks for checking in and reading! We'll see where QC/D goes haha tons of stuff to upload.

  4. I for one second Dave's sentiment. I stumbled across QCD about a decade ago and have been following it since then. I like your writing and how the site has evolved over the years. And I was glad when Denny introduced us.

    That said I do understand the thoughts of leaving. If you're in certain careers, Cincinnati isn't going to help you grow. I do look back and wonder where I'd be if I'd have picked somewhere else to start my career. But I've known people who have moved away and regretted it.

    In the end, life is about making choices and not regretting them later. Of course it's peppered with random events too, but the choices are for you to make for yourself.

  5. Sorry to be a few days late adding in, but before you uproot yourself, please consider where you'll be in the not-too-distant future. Do you want to settle down and raise kids? Buy a house? Be there for aging parents? Is somewhere else where you genuinely want to be, or is it here? Are you ready to accept that life is going to move on here without you--losing touch with friends, not being around for family as much as you are now, discovering how much changes when you're gone, so that when you come back to visit, Cincinnati has become both familiar and disorientingly different at the same time?

    I have personal reasons why I think about moving to Boston, but I couldn't right now even if I wanted to, and when I was there (three months in 2005), although I was starting to settle in, I still found the size of the city overwhelming--too much to do, too many places to go, too many strangers. Even then, I was starting to get to the phase in life where I didn't really enjoy the excitement of being a little fish splashing around in a giant pond anymore. (Realistically, if I did move now, I know I'd just hole up in a suburb there and make life in Massachusetts as Ohio-y as possible, but that's just me.) Nearly infinite possibilities become exhausting for most people as they age, and what you want from life now may not be what it will be 10, 20, 30, or more years from now. It's not like once you move, you can't change your mind and go back, but it's such a hassle and expense to get there, only to find the "vacation experience" isn't the "living-there experience," especially if your SO isn't on quite the same page as you.

    On the other hand, life just weighs you down as you become middle aged, and this is probably the most freedom you'll have as an adult until you retire, and you can't guarantee your golden years won't be affected by health problems, so now's the best time to transplant yourself. You have to do what feels right for your life, and it's a big decision.

    1. Hi anonymous,

      Thanks for taking the time to

      A) Read the post


      B) Provide such a thoughtful response. I really do appreciate it. There's a lot consider and I think you've raised a lot of good points. Trying to figure things out now and there's a lot of factors. Particularly with losing touch with people. Although, there's times I feel like I've lost touch with a lot of people here already, just not enough time in a week to try and do everything you wanna do. There's definitely an appeal to start doing something new and now would be the time. The vacation experience is always at the forefront, I don't want to fall into that trap.