Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Cincinnati Sunday

Somehow my roommate and I decided to do Sunday brunch in the revolving restaurant atop one of the city's hotels. We were led to a stationary table in one of the corners of the restaurant. This worked out well in 2 ways. First, my roommate remarked that he didn't like taking a ride while he ate. Secondly, as we were stationary and the buffet was revolving, essentially the food was brought to us, as opposed to the patrons at the revolving tables who were forced to run around in a circle to sample their preferred dish.

We had a view of the art deco train station and, unfortunately, the stark public housing projects that had been built next to it. My roommate informed me that inside the station the arched front  of the building was constructed in such a way that if a person stood at one end of the arch and another person stood at the opposite end sound would be funneled and channeled along the arch and the two people could carry on a conversation. After brunch we sped, in our champagne haze, to the train station to check this phenomenon out.

As train service was no longer available to Cincinnati an attempt was made to convert the solid, art deco station into a mall. At this point this concept was not faring terribly well. There were large swaths of empty space. We sat on one of the worn wooden benches that had been there for decades and imagined the station in it's heyday. Men and women, dressed in brown, the proper color for traveling back in the day, suitcases in hand, heading off to the tracks where trains would take them to their various destinations.

In the spirit of the season, a Santa, looking lonely and forlorn, sat on a throne, looking like he was counting the minutes until his Santa shift ended.

We proceeded with our plan to test the voice channeling arch. My roommate went off to one end, I to the other. He and I had many longstanding and recurring jokes between the two of us. In deference to one of these we began, utilizing our best Katherine Hepburn impressions; a voice we both did extremely well; to recite lyrics from the Broadway show "CoCo". Giggling like little girls, we met back in the center. We happened to glance at the Santa. He was staring at us with a look that was a combination of confusion and terror. It took us a couple of seconds to realize that the Cincinnati Santa had heard our entire arch conversation, and, obviously, couldn't quite figure out what to make of it. At least we gave him something to ponder while he sat there.

We spent the remainder of the day seeing the "Cincinnati Sights". This amounted to a photo op in Fountain Square, and wandering into the Nederlander Hotel lobby. The hotel was in the process of being restored back to it's original splendor, which was still evident beneath the dust, debris and neglect. In the lobby the furnishings from the hotel rooms was being sold. Cheap, imitation leather chairs and headboards stood in rows with beat up bedside tables in the once grand space. The hotel's opulent past was evidenced by the tiered fountains, now dry and partially dismantled, presided over by demonic art deco figures, which stood on either side of a shabby staircase of grand proportions.

We returned to Ludlow to rest and change before returning to the city that evening for dinner, and more drinking. When I stop to consider it, with all the self abusing behavior we engaged in, it is truly remarkable that I have any memories of this trip at all.


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