Downtown Now: A Valentine to My (New) Hometown of Cleveland

One of my side hustles here in Cleveland is working as a freelance editor and writer for Great Lakes Publishing, the Condé Nast of Ohio responsible for a roster of magazines that started with its flagship, Cleveland Magazine, in 1972.

My boss is Lute Harmon, Sr., the executive publisher and founder. One might think of him as the S.I. Newhouse of Ohio. After a mutual friend connected us last year, Lute immediately assigned me to write about notable Cleveland figures who were doing good and making a difference for his latest venture, a magazine called Community Leader, a quarterly supplement to Cleveland Magazine.

When I announced to Lute that I was moving downtown, he asked if I’d be interested in editing a new section of the magazine dedicated to Downtown Cleveland, which would be done in partnership with an incredible organization called Downtown Cleveland Alliance. As a huge fan of my new environs, I jumped at the chance to do something that showcased how fabulous this town is, particularly through the lenses of a native Clevelander who returned home after 22 years in New York City. With that, a 5-page section of Community Leader called “Downtown Now” was born.

This February marks our second issue, and the theme of this issue is Downtown Cleveland’s walkability. I open the issue with a “letter from the editor” type of note, followed by stories that echo Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s tagline: LIVE (a story about living downtown), WORK (a story about working downtown) and PLAY (a story about having fun downtown). I also added a short section inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York series called… wait for it… “People of Downtown.”

We’re shaping the new section as we go. The job is challenging, but it’s also a lot of fun. Among my hopes for Downtown Now is a more pronounced digital presence on the web, on social media and with multimedia like videos and a podcast. But it’s all about the journey, one step at a time. For me, it’s an opportunity to feature the wonders of this fantastic town not just to readers in Northeast Ohio but to a wider audience who, like me two years ago, might be in the market for a smart, affordable and cosmopolitan place to live, work and play. (And, P.S., we have a stunning Great Lake in our backyard.)

Below are links to the stories in the February 2018 issue. I hope you enjoy them!

Showcasing Cleveland’s Walkability

Photo by Patrick O’Shea.

Discover the reasons traveling by foot is the ideal way to experience the 3.2 square miles of the city’s centerpiece. Read the story.

Living in Cleveland

Laurel Beverley, Tim Higgins and their daughter Casey in the Flats.

A family living downtown reveals a city that offers the perfect lifestyle for parents and children. Read the story.

Working in Cleveland

The lobby of Acrisure’s offices at One Cleveland Center.

Employees at Acrisure revel in the variety of opportunities to experience the city from their office downtown. Read the story.

Moving to Cleveland

A wellness walk for the Dwellworks team to Quicken Loans Arena for a Cavs game.

Discover the reasons Dwellworks’ founder considers downtown an ideal destination for business success. Read the story.

People of Downtown: Susan Winston

Susan Winston at Phoenix Coffee in the Warehouse District.

A downtown resident’s thoughts on living in the city’s core. Read the story.



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  3. bookishbutchesq Reply

    looks like a great town, I love to walk, Montreal, my hometown, also fun to walk

  4. I’m glad you are finding a niche for yourself in new/old hometown, George. There is so much more out there to see and experience than just New York and LA. Your new new gig is an opportunity to see, experience and convey some special things unique to your new environs.

  5. Tyler Brooke Reply

    I grew up on the West Side of Cleveland in Rocky River and Avon Lake. Came out West to Southern California to play junior golf and then college golf in Arizona. I now live in Orange County, CA but all my family is in Avon Lake, OH. I come to Cleveland every year.

    Dan Gilbert has done a lot for Cleveland and Detroit. I remember as a kid in the 80’s and Downtown was no place to go. People would go to the flats but you wouldn’t want to be walking around down there at night.

    Things have changed and the city is becoming much “trendier”. Let’s hope Lebron James stays and the Browns get better.

    Go Cavs

  6. Native Clevelander Reply

    Cleveland used to be the city everyone made fun of. The lake caught on fire, the Indians were always terrible, the Browns were a laughing stock, and there was nothing to do.

    I moved away from Cleveland at 13 but come back every year to visit close family members. Downtown is nothing like I remember it. It went from dangerous and dirty to hip and trendy. I eat at ‘Lola’ every time I come to town. Dan Gilbert is a big part of how the city changed.

    My wife and I talk about moving home (she’s from the suburbs of Detroit) to raise our young children and enjoy the lower cost of living.

    I’m glad to see Cleveland on the map these days

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