Our neighborhood is immediately bordered by the third largest population of Somali refugees in the country. I love that. That’s one of the reasons I feel good about raising kids in suburbia. Now I think it’s valuable that we’re going to turn a corner and Tommy is going to see, every single day, that not every house and neighborhood look like yours. This is what, frankly, most of the world is living like right now. I feel really genuinely fortunate that our greasy spoons are going to be like the Somali bakery up the road where we can go get coffee and a couple of pieces of sponge bread. Some real authentic places.
My bone to pick is that that’s such a huge population of Columbus, and whenever I see Columbus marketed or represented or talked about in media or conversations, it’s all about buckeyes, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Columbus zoo, Short North, German Village. We never talk about, or don’t talk about enough, the really diverse population that we have here. I don’t have any numbers to back anything up, but in my experience of Columbus, it’s a richly diverse city. I think it’s a big part of who we are as a city that doesn’t get celebrated enough. If anything, people tell you not to drive down Cleveland Avenue. It is rough, it’s depressing. Parts of it are bleak, but it’s also who we are. You could fly into the airport and see all the pictures of German Village, Short North, Victorian Village, Dublin, Powell, but also Linden!
Yeah, it’s in the middle of corn, but that means anybody with a brain or a heart or an idea or a drive to be a little different can flock there. They’re going to hang out there and do cool shit together. We want to keep doing our thing. We like the sandwiches and the beer and the restaurants and the nightlife and the parks and the library and the zoo and everything. It’s as good here as it is anywhere. We’re just not aggressively pushing it on people. We’re just like, “It’s nice, come on in.” There is probably a certain amount of, “Keep Columbus Weird,” but I don’t sense that there’s an attitude of Columbus used to be cool, but now there’s people who are looking to leech off of the vibe we had for a while.