Yesterday marked our “One Month Anniversary” of moving to Ohio!
Jan 1, my fiancé and I got on a plane in NYC – we left as New Yorkers, and landed as Cincinnatians!
Steven has been living downtown in our condo for a month, and I have been living 30 minutes away at my parents – until we’re married in June!
It has been an exciting time, and definitely a bit of an adjustment to the Manhattan living that we’ve grown accustomed to these last 12 years.
So – I thought it could be fun to examine 10 idiosyncrasies of Cincinnati, as told by a *former* New Yorker. And please note — these all are LOVING little “wink wink-nudge nudges!” We are extatic to be Ohioans…this is all lighthearted and in good fun!
1). CINCINNATI MEN LOVE A VEST
In the Midwest, men love vests! You know the type — a thin puffer, Northface style VEST! It’s the perfect article of clothing for those chilly days where it’s just warm enough to get away with going outside briefly without a coat!
2). DRASTIC WEATHER CHANGES — SOMETIMES HOURLY
The trope is true: you can experience all four seasons in a day here in Cincinnati. The weather can – and does – change on a dime!
3). THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS WHO DEY — EVEN ON NON-GAMEDAYS
No matter where you go, no matter what day it is, no matter the time of year, you will ALWAYS see people wearing Bengals jerseys, or some sort of NFL Bengals paraphernalia. WHO DEY BABY!
Also: All city lights on the buildings are lit up in orange, for the Bengals during the football season. Every house has a Bengals flag out front. Cars have flags, bumper stickers, liscense plates. This town has reinvented itself as “The Jungle.”
4). THE CITY SHUTTING DOWN ON GAME DAYS (except for the bars with Watch Parties)
If it’s Sunday during football season, the city is zoned in on the Bengals. The only places that are open are in operation solely because it’s a place to watch the game! And the workers will, of course, be wearing Bengals gear.
5). DRIVING ACROSS THE PARKING LOT, INSTEAD OF WALKING
I think the motto is: why walk when you can drive? In New York, our threshold of whether to walk or call a cab was 17 minutes. If the walk was 17 minutes or less, we’d walk. Here…if it’s across the parking lot, you drive to find a closer spot.
6). STORES/RESTAURANTS CLOSE EARLY/NOTHING IS 24 HOUR
This was a difficult one to get used to: especially pharmacies. I made many a midnight trip to CVS for this and that in the city. Now, I’ll have to wrap my errands up by 7pm.
7). HIGH SCHOOL IS THE GREAT CONNECTOR
It’s a funny Cincinnati trope, but everybody knows somebody you went to high school with. It’s the great connector…a la, the “Bacon Number” — which is the number of degrees of separation you have from Kevin Bacon. When you meet someone out somewhere, you WILL, FOR SURE, WITHOUT A DOUBT have someone in common that you or one of your siblings went to high school with. There are really only a handful of high schools here: Public, Private, Catholic, and All Girls/All Boys. And they’re all interconnected — you’re neighbors, your club sports teammates, your church, your youth group — you know people from everywhere, and yet you’re fiercely loyal to yours. It’s just the law of the land here. You just accept the quirk, and know that this city is ultra connected.
8). PEOPLE SMILING AND GOING OUT OF THEIR WAY TO BE HELPFUL IN STORES
People are SO NICE HERE! You don’t realize how border-line rude New Yorkers are, until you interact with people that actually give you the time of day, make eye contact with you, and — shocker — speak to you with kindness! And it’s such a beautifully courteous culture here, often times you’ll see people wave you through a 4-way stop, just to be nice!
9). HAVING NORMAL SIZED TABLES AT RESTAURANTS AND AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF SPACE BETWEEN TABLES
This was also really hard to get used to in NYC: dining on top of people. Obviously in NYC, space is at a premium, and restaurants need to maximize profits in order to pay their rent, so as a result, table were obnoxiously small, and to boot: about 2 inches away from other tables. To the tune that, the host would move the table out so you could squeeze in past the other tables beside you to the back chair. Good luck if you needed to use the bathroom during the meal.
10). GROCERIES DON’T COST HALF YOUR PAYCHECK
I can go to the grocery store and not spend $100 on one day’s worth of food. That…and I don’t have to go everyday because I have a normal-sized fridge that can hold a week’s worth of groceries, AND I have a car to drive them home in…instead of walking and carrying them a mile. Life is good!
11). GOETTA (Bonus)
Cincinnati is famous for this unique breakfast “go-with!” This savory patty, made with a mixture of pork and oatmeal — yes you read that correctly — was born during hard times as a way to “stretch meat” and people loved it so much that it stuck! And it now has been elevated to “gourmet status” in many restaurants around the city! Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
So there you go! We have loved Cincinnati, and can’t wait to experience more of the little things that make it what it is! What are some quirks of YOUR city?!
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15 responses to “10 Ohio Idiosyncrasies, as Told by A New Yorker”
It sounds like you made a great decision to get out of NYC! Pharmacies are open very late in Las Vegas but this city never sleeps…
I’ve always thought it must be nice to live somewhere where everyone supports the same team. With more than one team nearby, I always have to deal with haters even in my own neighborhood.
Idiosyncrasies of people here… good question. People here seem to love to complain about how much they hate it here, but I’ve noticed that’s true of a lot of places, and that’s not exactly something I want associated with this area.
I’m in Louisville, and there are so many similarities to Cincy! The “where did you go to school?” question comes up all the time, and sure enough you’ll probably have mutual acquaintances! The weather is the same here too— we say “if you don’t like the weather, stick around— it will change in an hour.” Although we don’t have any pro sports teams, we are relatively close to Cincy and there are so many fans here— our adopted pro teams! The Reds and the Bengals especially. Even within my own family we have some huge Cincy fans! So glad to have you in this area of the country now— hi neighbor! ❤️
Love #8. Here in French France everyone, but everyone says ‘bonjour’ to you. When you enter the hairdressers, like I did yesterday, everyone there says hello to you so you have to do a group hello as soon as you enter… bonjour à tous !
I am still in DC where groceries are most of your paycheck, and nothing shuts down.
Living in the UK this sounds familiar😂
When I moved to Michigan ten years ago, I thought of writing a book on the cultural differences between Philadelphia and Detroit. The first time I drove across a parking lot instead of walking, I knew I had acclimated! I still say “soda” and still advise people not to order “Philadelphia cheese steaks” because they are not really Philadelphia cheese steaks, but mostly, I have become a Michigander–and so happy to be here.
“In the Midwest” We lived in Cincinnati (Northside) for nine years. You will soon learn that Cincinnati is *not* the mid-west. Like Pittsburgh and Memphis, it is its own thing–almost a city-state. You don’t live in Ohio. You live in Cincinnati.
It is a great city. Enjoy! Oh! Ambar in Clifton is THE best Indian restaurant.
Lexington, the “Horse Capital of the World” (and validated by a court judgment in the early 2000s) is also home to the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team where everyone “bleeds blue.” Anita and I tried for a decade to leave here after moving to this fair city in 1990, and now after 30 years, we are retiring here. About the same as Cincy in “culture” if you can call us that! 😄
Hey, on another note, where is YOUR recipe and demonstration for Goetta!!??
Hi Caralyn, I loved your 10 idiosyncrasies. Welcome to Melbourne weather we have four seasons in an hour. Its 13 degrees here and the rain is bucketing down. February is usually our hottest summer month, I might add they are having a heatwave in Queensland it was 37deg yesterday and in the high 20’s overnight. Nobody ever asks what school you went to and whenever you go out to eat there is always a ‘Parma’ on the menu. (Chicken parmigiana seems to be mostly loved by men)
Great post! Congrats on your move. I always enjoy reading about “cultural differences” between regions in the U.S. I grew up in Portland, OR where “everyone is nice” and now live on the East Coast of Florida where it’s *not* the same… a lot of transplanted New Yorkers, haha 😉
I will second the vote to see your recipe for “goetta” although it’s probably not something you would usually cook. Never heard of it til now.
Keep posting! Love your content. Blessings!
Makes me home sick.
Welcome, Caralyn (did I spell that right? it’s been a while)! We moved to Cincy 18 years ago this week, so we’re semi-natives. You’re off to a great start, but I’m excited to hear about your further adventures here: food (it’s a real foodie city) like Cincinnati chili, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Jeff’s Ruby’s steakhouse, Pepp & Dolores, Prima Vista, Findlay Market, some great brew pubs. The zoo, art museums, and symphony are all world class, btw, and there’s some terrific theatre here, as well.
My only connection to Cincinnati – my husband proposed to me there, on the top of an overlook of the Ohio River, near my sister’s home in Mariemont Village. The date? 1/4/1975. We married in the tradition of both of our parents, they married within four months of meeting each other after WWII. Bill and I married on 4/11/1975. Our engagement was 48 years ago. It is still as fresh as yesterday! We are still love birds and I pray the same for your marriage!