Hang in there, Youngstown. You’re all right.
Youngstown has a certain appeal that you just can’t understand unless you love this city to the bone.
The erudite and articulate writers at Forbes.com listed Youngstown as one of America’s most miserable cities last week.
Apparently, we’re not as miserable as New York City or Detroit, but the magazine doesn’t think highly of the Yo, citing a 20-year net migration of residents from the city. Forget that!
Youngstown is rich in culture if not in economic opportunities. A lot of people look at the soot-covered buildings and think “grimy.”
We see gritty, tough, colorful, real. This city has a deep history and a resilient nature that won’t let even industrial ruin damper its spirits.
If Youngstown were a guy at a bar, you’d all want to hang out with him.
He’d be the tough-guy badass at the counter, entertaining a crowd with stories of adventures that richer cities wouldn’t understand.
He’d lean closer to you with a scotch on the rocks and a glimmer in his eye.
“I was down and out,” he’d say. “No one thought I’d survive. I was hemorrhaging jobs and money so fast I couldn’t count it.”
“Really?” you’d swoon (you know you would). “Then what?”
“I took a moment to grieve and decided I was too damn stubborn to let that kill me,” he’d say.
He’d wear his scars with pride, and invite you back to his place to listen to some Bruce Springsteen.
“He wrote this song about me, you know.”
But once you got past the grizzled exterior, you’d find a cultured gentleman. He’d take you to the Youngstown Symphony or perhaps an art show at the B&O featuring some of his most rustic artists and artisans.
And for dinner, he’d cook you a plate of ribs served with a “cup of love.”
He’d talk about all the famous people he knew: Jim Traficant, the Warner Brothers, Al f—ing Bundy.
He’s no one-trick pony either.
He’d take you on long walks in Mill Creek Park or a day of bargain hunting at Four Seasons (Campbell is close enough).
OK, so he has a downside too. He’s a little too quick to latch on to any opportunity, and then he breaks down when it falls apart.
“The blimps were supposed to save us all,” he’d cry.
But he’ll pull himself together in time to face the next challenge, because that’s his only option. He’s got too much life in him to give up on a fight. He’d rather be broken than beaten.
If you need any more evidence that Youngstown is more than it’s cracked up to be, listen to these wise words from the author of the second-greatest song about this city: “Seasons come and seasons go for progress we’ve both found. [He] may be running a little low, but nothing’s gonna keep [him] down.”
1 comments Anonymous Thu Feb 28 2013 01:09 Thank You, you have given a true account of the Youngstown Character. I hope you stick around for our encore success, we’d like you all to come along!