Unexpected Catcalling – Gettin’ My City On in Millvale

*This is the twenty-second in my series of walking Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods during the year of the city’s elections to find what makes each community relevant to me. What have I learned? How far do I have to go?

I had an afternoon free of manuscript edits and the sun shone brightly onto my map of Millvale.

I knew exactly how to drive to Millvale since I had already visited South Cumminsville and accidentally walked a portion of Millvale, before realizing how often smaller neighborhoods overlapped without any notice.

I had my route plotted out, as well as the estimated time I would commit. The only event I hadn’t planned on was the catcalling I experienced later in my outing.

I parked near the south end of the neighborhood and walked north on Beekman Street, with the Millcreek running along the backside of many abandoned industrial properties. The Lang Ironworks, in business for over 120 years, had a fascinating collection of iron implements out front, of which any iron / steel sculptor would salivate over the remains.

It was a short jaunt really to the northern end of the neighborhood, around the Millvale Recreation Center and pool. The rec center listed ten neighborhoods served, however, a few redundancies were listed. The website referred to itself as a “hub” for these communities but I found that rather inefficient and disingenuous to lump that sprawling web of communities into one center.

My walk took place before the fill.

The Ethel M. Tayler Academy was located in Millvale. Read this story because the reporters did justice to every last detail I could have inserted here and more.

There was another side of Millvale and other neighborhoods that ran along the “tortuous” Mill Creek (as referred to in A Guide to the Queen City and its Neighborhoods) and that was one of industry. So I trekked down a side road and discovered the Cincinnati Firefighters training facility. As I continued further along Mill Road, I came upon Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Operations plant.

In an old abandoned industrial site, plenty of garbage cans had been laid to rest. City trucks moved in and out of the Lego-like town of moving parts.

I approached the bridge over the creek and stopped to shoot a photograph. When I turned back on my path out of the industrial area, I heard the loud, obnoxious whistle.

A catcall.

Originating from inside a city truck. On city property. By a city employee. A part of me wanted to run up and scream at the idiot in his face. The other part of me just yelled, “What a boor!” For the record, I had worn my old jeans and pulled my hair back, to any critic who might have accused me of wearing Lycra that day.

Infuriated, I marched on, coming to an endpoint for the Mill Creek Bike trail.

“Queen City-South Mill Creek Greenway Trail

When all phases are complete, the Mill Creek Trail will extend from the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Carthage to the Ohio River. From the mouth of the Mill Creek, the trail will extend east to the Cincinnati Riverfront Park, with connections to the Ohio River Trail traveling east and west and to other regional and statewide trails. Currently the trail extends from Winton Road to the Mill Creek Bridge. The hike-and-bike trail is a major component of the City of Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Greenway Program, managed by the nonprofit Groundwork Cincinnati. The program seeks to create opportunities for bike commuting to work, walking and biking for short trips, and outdoor recreation and exercise. Other objectives are to improve the health of the degraded river and its natural resources, to economically revitalize neighborhoods and communities within the river corridor, to create jobs, and to retain and attract residents and businesses. For information about the Mill Creek Trail and other Mill Creek programs, please visit Groundwork Cincinnati.”

FullSizeRender_1In every neighborhood I had visited, I had been treated with respect if not even kindness. But there, where city employees didn’t have to care whose life they were encroaching upon, I had felt less safe.

I circled back south along Beekman Street, past Simmering Tile Co. Check out the website for a fun viewing of tiles you have seen around town.

I veered slightly off Beekman and decided to walk up Moosewood for a short while, a street whose entire length is committed to affordable housing through CMHA. The south end of the Moosewood, where one once accessed Westwood-Northern Boulevard, had been blocked off long ago, so I couldn’t complete my circle.

I felt a certain anguish walking here, seeing a street blocked off, a challenged community sandwiched between other neighborhoods that struggled. These were areas in need of attention and children in need of options.  There were many sprawling, industrial sites, accessible to the interstate, where development could occur.

But I took solace in that fact that even guys hanging out at the Cumminsville Market offered, “Good day,” without the catcalls.

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