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Anthropology in Practice

Anthropology in Practice


Understanding the human experience.
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Cleveland Rocks

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Cleveland rocks. Or so the saying goes. I’ve been traveling for work this week, and have spent the last two and a half days in Cleveland, Ohio. It was my first visit, and it offered me a chance to do the things I love most: talk to people, see places through the eyes of others, and discover new things all on my own. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I managed to learn a little bit about the places near my hotel. And while people were admittedly a little taken aback when the stranger sharing the bus shelter (it started to pour and the rain was freezing) started asking questions, they opened up and shared what they knew. It was clear that to some people, Cleveland did rock.

It reminded me of something very important: civic pride should never be underestimated. Every place has a story to tell. Every place is loved. When people settle somewhere and the place becomes steeped with their life stories and informs their collective histories, it has the power to woo you—if you’re willing to listen.

Here’s a look at Cleveland through my eyes:

Built in 1890, The Arcade is a Victorian structure that was also home to America's first indoor mall.

The Free Stamp was created by Danish artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. It was commissioned by Standard Oil Company of Ohio in 1982, and represented a common office supply at the time--a stamp.

Lake Erie is freezing. Literally.

Special exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center included the mummified remains of a female from 220 BC

Am I moving to Cleveland? Doubtful as my heart already belongs to a City, but every place has a story to tell. When you travel, no matter where, no matter the reason, don’t be afraid to ask questions and allow yourself to see what makes that place home to others.

For more on these places, see the full album on the AiP Facebook page.

Krystal D'Costa About the Author: Krystal D'Costa is an anthropologist working in digital media in New York City. You can follow AiP on Facebook. Follow on Twitter @krystaldcosta.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. jburkhol 11:31 am 02/28/2013

    Kudos for an article that tries to demonstrate present day Cleveland rather than dragging up the “burning river”, etc. Too bad there was inadequate space to include the Cleveland Orchestra in its wonderful Severance Hall, The fantastic expanded Cleveland Museum of Art and so many other amazing things in a vibrant city.

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  2. 2. Krystal D'Costa in reply to Krystal D'Costa 1:35 pm 02/28/2013

    jburkhol, by no means is this an extensive view of all of Cleveland–it’s just what I was able to see in the two hours I had free of meetings. Lake Erie was by far my favorite: I had never seen a body of water freeze before!

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  3. 3. jh443 4:26 pm 02/28/2013

    I lived in Cleveland for 25 years before moving to Florida in the mid 80′s due to the recession at the time. Before leaving, I took a ride on the “Goodtime” (“2″ I think, but might have been “3″). What I saw nearly made me cry. It was obvious the heights the city had seen industrially… and would never see again. Broken windows in factories that would never be repaired, grass growing up through the cracks of abandoned parking lots… not to mention the various types of refuse that had been disposed of.

    Sad, very sad.

    I visited the city again in the mid 2000′s – and saw no reason to believe it was getting any better.

    Link to this

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