I chuckled when I first read the title of the Peter Greenberg book, “Don't Go There!: The Travel Detective's Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World.” I laughed because in the late 1950s, when I was very little and living on West 50th Street, my dad used to tell a story about something scary at the end of the street at West 50th and Denison, always ending the story with a spooky voice, saying, “ Donnnn’t…. Gooooo There!” It was his way of telling us not to wander off too far. It made me so scared that I don’t think I ever walked out of the yard without a parent with me. But he made his point, we never did wander away from the house.
So when I read the title of Greenberg’s book, I subconsciously heard my father and his dire warnings to stay away. It must mean something, I thought; maybe an inner voice telling me to avoid the book. Imagine my dismay when I heard that in his book, Greenberg put Cleveland on his hit list of cities to avoid.
Regular readers of my blog know how I feel about this city. There are many great things to be found here, great things to do here, and great ways to be entertained here. We know we aren’t perfect, and we know we’re not New York City. But plenty of visitors who come here every year for business or pleasure have plenty of nice things to say about the city and the area. Sure, some don’t have perfect experiences, but they also don’t have perfect experiences in New York City, either. I am sure that there are select areas of New York City that if you singled them out, you wouldn’t want to go there either. For example, in an article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer about the book, Greenberg said:
"I love Jacobs Field [now known as Progressive Field] and I've been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so many times. I'm just saying, guys, know what you're getting into before you go," said Greenberg, who names the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood from East 70th to East 123rd streets and Kinsman Road from East 55th to East 130th streets - hardly top tourist areas - as places to avoid.
It's a shame that people who don't live in the city or spend a lot of time here can get away with bashing the city and then make money off of it. Many use their own contrived criteria to justify their opinions, rarely (if ever) seeking advice or input from the people who actually live here or work in the area. I suppose that Peter Greenberg should have read my blog – which is free by the way - before he wrote his book. One thing is for sure, I won’t be buying his book. And neither should any self-respecting Clevelander. Why put money in his pocket when his commentary may take money out of the pockets of the city and its business owners by reduced tourism?
By the way, I’ll be happy to take suggestions on where we think Greenberg should go.
Further Reading: Article, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Travel writer Peter Greenberg calls Cleveland a 'must-miss' destination
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