Don’t assume anything. Not about Cleveland, the second-largest city in Ohio and site of the Republican National Convention from July 18 to 21. Nor about its hometown-boy-gone-game-show-host Drew Carey.
“If you’re a library person like me . . .” the “Price Is Right” master of ceremonies said during a phone conversation about his old stomping grounds.
He finished the thought with a recommendation to visit the Cleveland Public Library and its sweeping marble staircase and reading garden.
The Forest City native, and creator of the namesake show with the catchy “Cleveland Rocks” theme song, still returns to the scene of the sitcom — as recently as late spring. For attractions, he says the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a “no-brainer” and urges visitors to stop by the Great Lakes Science Center (“people forget it’s next door”), the Cleveland Museum of Art (“a fantastic art museum”), the Cleveland Botanical Garden (10 acres of gardens, plus the Glasshouse) and the Museum of Natural History (home of Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor). GOPers with a hankering for Polish or Ukrainian cuisine will “be in heaven,” he said. Sterle’s Country House, for one, pairs food (schnitzel, pierogies, haluski) with dance moves (polka nights) from the old country.
“It’s stupid fun,” Carey said.
For condensed nuggets of entertainment, Carey directs conventioneers to Public Square and East Fourth Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare packed with bars, restaurants, live music venues and comedy clubs such as Hilarities, where he performed stand-up as a new comedian.
“It’s such a nice city to walk in, and it’s on the lake,” Carey said in all seriousness. “I really do miss it.”
If Hall and Oates ever remake their 1970s song “Fall in Philadelphia,” they might consider changing the season to summer — or, specifically, July 25 to 28, when the Democratic National Convention comes to the City of Brotherly Love. As for the lyrics about the leaking shower stall and collapsing ceiling: Hopefully, the Dems will find better lodging. (Try the Rittenhouse or the Ritz-Carlton.)
Daryl Hall — the tall blonde who jams on the monthly webcast “Live From Daryl’s House” — grew up in nearby Pottstown and resided in several Philly neighborhoods (Center City, West Philly, Mount Airy) with his bandmate, John Oates. He credits the city as the source of his creativity.
“Philadelphia is very, very musical,” said Hall, whose family’s roots go back to the 1600s. “The arts in general are very important on every level, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the club scene to me or Todd Rundgren.”
The pop star praises the city’s green space (see Fairmount Park), ethnic diversity, cross-cultural vibrancy and food scene, which embraces comfort food (cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies) as enthusiastically as fine dining (Vetri, Barclay Prime). On the subject of historical architecture, Hall said, “Nothing beats a Pennsylvania stone house.”
Many of the concert venues that welcomed Hall and Oates during their heyday are no longer standing. The Spectrum is gone, as is the Uptown Theater. However, the Theatre of the Living Arts is “alive and well,” he said.
Hall divides his time between Connecticut and Charleston, S.C., but returns to the city of his youth to perform. The events, he said, often feel like homecomings.
“It’s like family when I play in Philadelphia,” he said, “and everyone in the room is my cousin.”
If you get a break, or simply need an escape, here are some suggestions.
Where to . . .
|The Republican National Convention |
|The Democratic National Convention |
Buy a political party outfit
|Kilgore Trout||Boyds Philadelphia|
Chill out after a heated debate
|Edgewater Beach on Lake Erie||Devil’s Pool at Wissahickon Creek|
Cure your hypochondriac tendencies
|Dittrick Museum of Medical History, at Case Western Reserve University||Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia|
Blow more hot air
|Popcorn vendors at North Union Farmers Market (various locations)||Balloon ride over the Philadelphia Zoo|
Fork a signature dish
|Double bacon cheeseburger pierogi at Pierogi Palace at West Side Market||Roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich at DiNic’s at Reading Terminal Market|
Sip a patriotic cocktail
|The Chocolate Bar’s Let’s Make America Great Again Martini: apple vodka, Goldschlager and cranberries stirred with a golf tee||McGillin’s Olde Ale House’s Red, White & Blue cocktail: a mix of strawberry daiquiri, piña colada, Blue Curaçao and rum|
Freeze your tongue
|Mitchell’s homemade ice cream||John’s Water Ice|
Track down an elephant or a donkey
|African Elephant Crossing exhibit at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo||Nearly 60 painted donkey statues citywide|
Feel tiny amid outsize art
|Free Stamp, a 28-foot-tall Claes Oldenburg sculpture||Clothespin, a 45-foot-high Oldenburg sculpture|
Float down a river with a paddle
|Upper Cuyahoga River||Schuylkill River|
Raise a glass in a presidential watering hole
|Millard Fillmore Presidential Library||City Tavern|
Saunter down a cultural row
|University Circle||Benjamin Franklin Parkway|
|Whipps Ledges in Hinckley Reservation||Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art|
Tiptoe through the petals
|Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park||Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania|
Roll in the money
|Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Learning Center and Money Museum||Philadelphia Fed’s Money in Motion|
Act like a team player
|Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians||Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies|
Honor POTUS No. 20
|Garfield Memorial at Lake View Cemetery||Garfield Memorial at Fairmount Park|
Bridge the divide
|Lorain-Carnegie Bridge||Ben Franklin Bridge|
Release your inner film fan
|“A Christmas Story” house (a.k.a. Ralphie’s house)||“National Treasure” building (a.k.a. the Franklin Institute)|
Hide if you pledge allegiance to the opposing party
|Coventry Village||Union League|
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