Frustropolis


Since you’re reading this, chances are you have more than a passing acquaintance with Indianapolis. Whether you reside here now, once did, or have just passed through on occasion, I’d welcome your comments/ reaction at the bottom of this piece.

Indianapolis is my hometown and I want to like it. Actually, I want to love it, but since Indianapolis doesn’t generally promote such passions, I want to at least like it. But it’s a tough sell sometimes.

* * *

When I visit other similarly-sized Midwestern cities, such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, or St. Louis, they seem to possess an aura that Indianapolis doesn’t. They hold more of an “Old Europe” feel – perhaps a Czech, German, or Polish influence in particular, and a more pronounced multi-cultural vibe in general. Those cities feel more “layered” somehow, as if they have a deeper and more colorful history to share. This feeling holds true with other nearby cities, including Minneapolis, Kansas City, Nashville, and Louisville. Each of these cities seem to `have a much more vibrant local identity and unique feel compared to Indianapolis,

Indianapolis feels somewhat neutered ethnically and culturally by comparison and this can be most logically explained by its origin. The other cities mentioned all grew organically as a result of being located along a major commercial waterway. Conversely, Indianapolis was an artificial incarnation of the Indiana state legislature, designed to be a centrally-located capital city, and was first inhabited by Europeans ca. 1825. Consequently, Indianapolis lacks both the distinctive ethnic enclaves and mosaic-like mixture of old and new development that is experienced in other Midwestern towns .

WHAT”S GOOD HERE

In the past few decades, this city has grown up somewhat. Bike lanes have been added to major thoroughfares, the Monon Trail has been expanded, and roundabouts have appeared. “Poles” of nightlife development away from downtown and Broad Ripple have emerged and there appears to be more appreciation of, and not just tolerance for, social diversity. Traffic has gotten worse but isn’t hideous generally. One hears often that this is “a good place to raise children.”

However, the incremental changes here seem to occur despite the actions and attitudes of local leaders rather than because of them. I recall being lectured by my none-too-progressive mom when I was a child that “Indianapolis is twenty years behind the times,” a comment that has rung all too valid in many instances since.

* * *

A bright and motivated twenty-something friend bangs his head against the wall daily at his job with Indygo, the local mass transit entity. High-speed rail from the heavily populated adjacent northern counties is a long overdue option that here is often labeled as “revolutionary” or “communist” on Indianapolis Star comment boards. So my friend tells me, lamenting the limiting frustration he faces here professionally (and one assumes, personally), that he is looking into moving to Vancouver because he wants to live in a “grown up city.”

When people visit from out of town they often damn Indy with faint praise: It’s not as bad as I heard/ as I thought/ as it was the last time I was here. When Indianapolis hosted the Formula 1 US Grand Prix (2000-2007), 90 percent of the crowd came from out of town and much of it from foreign countries. This demographic provided a fertile perspective on our city.

“It’s easy to find your way around,” a woman from Monaco told me enthusiastically. One benefit of being an artificially created city is a clear geometric grid of streets. Like most things here, it’s a trade-off, both predictably boring and convenient.

An F1 fan from India told me honestly, “I wish the race was in Chicago or Vegas, but people here are friendly.” Again, a trade-off: not an overtly exciting locale, but the people are generally nice.

A friend from Houston was in for the race one year and we were traversing around I-465 toward the track when he spotted a prominent outdoor ad sign touting the local Children’s Museum as “the best in the world.”

“You know your city has an inferiority complex when it resorts to that,” he said. Admittedly, my friend is a bit of a pompous ass, but it was an interesting bigger-city perspective for me. I’ve thought similarly that far too much of Indy’s self-image results from Colts victories and hosting events such as the NCAA Final Four. Los Angeles, by contrast, lost both its NFL franchises in 1995 and hasn’t hosted an NCAA Final Four since Lyndon Johnson was president, but it has no qualms about its stature as a city.

Even within the realm of sports as civic validation, Indianapolis evinces a curious ethos. The city was indifferent to Formula 1 to the point of losing the race to Austin, Texas, even though the US Grand Prix brought in $12 million annually, along with worldwide media attention for Indianapolis. Yet for the Super Bowl (which Indy will host this February), a one-time-only event which will net the city a similar $12 million, Indy has gone whole hog, investing in “cultural trails,” rebuilding infrastructure, and trying to put some gloss on ghetto neighborhoods via youth centers and the like.

In the run-up to the Super Bowl mania, the unlikeliest development was a city initiative to rebrand a nondescript stretch of downtown, Georgia Street. The mayor introduced an online contest to rename a few blocks of bars and restaurants but the attempt raised the hackles of local historical groups and their ilk. Keep in mind, no one I know has ever even spoken about, let alone cared about, Georgia Street. After the unexpected furor, the mayor relented and Georgia Street remains as was. (IMO: Vonnegut Square has a nice ring to it and is a long overdue bone for this city to throw to its most celebrated literary figure.)

TOO BIG FOR US

Another oddity about local civic leadership is its aversion to boldness. Example A: Sheraton submitted plans to develop a 44-story hotel downtown next to Victory Field a few years ago. City fathers responded that such a structure was “too big for Indianapolis.” Ultimately, yet another forgettable 20-story hotel arose in the spot. It’s hard to envision such a response from Cleveland, Nashville, or Milwaukee.

ISN’T IT GREAT?

Yet another unsettling local characteristic which inhibits progress is the idea that mediocrity is incredibly good. Victory Field is an okay minor league baseball stadium, but some people here speak of it as if it’s a baseball Mecca. It’s not. The canal downtown at night looks okay: concrete, water, and nice purple mood lighting. However, it lacks any establishments that would add sustainable nighttime vibrancy to the area: no clubs, no restaurants, no shopping – just concrete and purple lighting. In Broad Ripple one summer evening, I heard a woman who I assumed was abusing her Xanax prescription say in gushing tones re. the scraggly, duck-infested slope that leads down to the BR Canal, “Isn’t this beautiful? It’s heaven on Earth.” Unfortunately, she wasn’t being ironic, so I asked her if she had ever been to San Antonio’s River Walk district.

“Yes,” she said, “But we could never pull that off here.” Such easily pleased, yet limited expectations keep Indianapolis from becoming something more.

We had a mayoral race here this fall, with a dullard, lumbering cronyist incumbent edging out a shrill, negative challenger. The main campaign issue between the two was who had cost the city more job losses during their tenure in local government. (Greg Ballard, the GOP incumbent lost 30,000 jobs, while Melina Kennedy, D-challenger, helped lose 15,000 as part of the previous administration.) Locally, no one mistook either one of these candidates for Socrates or Aristotle. Instead, it seems a case of the unimaginative vying to lead the undemanding.

In conclusion, Indianapolis is a good city with some pleasant attributes. It only gets frustrating when I harbor dreams of a bolder, more unique city which strives to be more than this.

Comments 49 comments

Annie Plahitko 5 years ago

I think you nailed it with our acceptance of mediocrity, and our inability to think we can make big dreams come true about anything other than the Colts. And the mayoral race was so negative that my kids were scared for me to vote for either of them. "They raised crime, mommy." Frustrating pretty much sums it up for me.


Frank Baden 5 years ago

Right before a lack of jobs in Indy defeated me and forced me to move away, I was perusing a book on a shelf in a 5th grade class where I was subbing called "Indy: Then and Now." I was horrified at all the historical architecture demolished, and even more so by the nondescript excuses for buildings that replaced it. That was the nail in the coffin for me.


Angie Jones 5 years ago

Overheard at work yesterday...PS to Customer: Indianapolis is one of the top 10 places to live in the country!! Sorry Mr. Douche, that would actually be Fishers and I can't figure that out either...Indianapolis IS a good place to have kids, the people are relatively nice (w/some notable exceptions) and the traffic is decent...uninspiring compliments for sure. BTW...the canal is pretty with all that blue lighting. Just don't swim in it...unless you're Pat McAfee.


Indy Shmindy 5 years ago

All good points. I think the likely winner for the renaming of Georgia Street would have been Peyton's awesome street or victory lane. So, the end result probably would have made us look worse if they went by the voting. Your friend's observation of being desperate would fit.


David 5 years ago

Lived in New York, Detroit, and Chicago. Settled in Indy. I have to say that there is certainly more culture in New York and Chicago, but Indy is a good place to live and work. We need more ethnic restaurants, less political garbage and a new quarterback, but I am staying.


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

David; I'm staying too - @ least for time being. It sure beats The Rez. Everyone: thanks for your comments. Sometimes I wonder if the people who "settle for mediocrity" here have visited other places. I would have loved it if MKennedy had shown commercials of say, Portland, OR or Minneapolis or somewhere, showing progressive aspects and saying, "This could be us."


Mr. IndyGo 5 years ago

Right on for Vonnegut Square, Keith! Your mom was saying it 30+ years ago; I'm pessimistic that anything will change in time for me to enjoy it. Uninspiring and uninspired on the whole. No commercial waterway, no geographic limitations to the sprawl, people that are too nice to say what needs to be said, cul-de-sacs and parking lots, no regard for community or desire to improve-- thoughtless consumption of food, land, gasoline, and housewares.


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Mr. IndyGo: I like the cut of your jib: Vonnegut Sq. would have rocked! (Ga. St.? Who cares?) Melina bit the dust...having said that, if everyone who is frustrated beats it, "they" win...but I don't hold us accountable for wanting/ deserving more and perhaps moving on to get it.


Mr. IndyGo 5 years ago

Yea, I feel guilty thinking it, but every place has a unique set of factors that make it "what it is" (nudge). Lots of things can change, but getting people get their heads out of their asses and care about other people is a tall order. If we as Indy residents are generally anesthetized to how sucky it is, hope is minimal. (btw, I never used to be so pessimistic. Drinking and age, I guess)


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Incrementally (and occasionally, exponentially), I have seen huge changes around here. It does get frustrating, agreed. Intelligent zoning/ usage/ mass transit will come in smaller doses/ slower doses than desired, but it will happen. Keep lobbing ideas at 'em. You have good ones and know how M-T should evolve, be funded. In a city where Erika D. Smith is a "communist" according to Star message boards, it's an upstream swim. Let's get some people and drink. (Hubpages will browbeat me for that, but I still like 'em...they're a San francisco co. you know! Used to be so "First Amendment"....


Mr. IndyGo 5 years ago

Thankfully zoning overhaul is in the works and getting off the ground. MT-- that's a can of worms...


Jonathan Logsdon 5 years ago

Excellent article. No question that Indy is definitely lacking something to give it a strong and unique cultural identity. Like you pointed out, many of the so-called gems in its crown (the Children’s Museum, the art museum, zoo, a minor league baseball field, the NCAA Museum, the Eiteljorg) are nice places to visit, but do not have an aura of representing something unique, either culturally or historically, to Indy. Even the football team, the biggest thing in town for years, has just as many ties to Baltimore as it does to Indianapolis. Having lived in 4 different cities since leaving Indy, you hit the nail on the head when you point out that other areas in the mid-west that have a much more pronounced identity. By way of comparison, let me throw out Cincinnati and Louisville (I also lived in Savannah and Charlotte, but Savannah drips with history and culture and wouldn’t be a fair comparison and Charlotte, frankly, has many of the same problems as Indy). Indy, Louisville, and Cincy all have historic theatres (The Murat, The Palace, and Music Hall), bohemian art districts (Broad Ripple, Bardstown Road, and Hyde Park), houses of formerly famous people (Benjamin Harrison, George Rogers Clark, and William Howard Taft) and weather that fluctuates by the hour. But Cincy and Louisville go beyond that. Cincinnati has beautiful art deco architecture from the 30’s, the biggest collection of Italianate buildings in the county in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati style chili and goetta, the oldest professional baseball team in the nation, and a world class museum that tells of its unique role in the story of the Underground Railroad. These are things unique to the area and, even if you aren’t a fan, at least they set Cincy apart. Likewise, Louisville has the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Muhammad Ali Center, historic Churchill Downs, the Hot Brown Sandwich and Burgoo stew, and a strongly supported cultural scene that is producing name bands like My Morning Jacket . Granted, both cities have their own share of issues (Louisville naming its new sports arena “The Yum! Center” and Cincy insisting on using the cringe worthy “Who Dey!” moniker for the Bengals) but at least they have their own cultural identity. Cincinnati and Louisville have also both preserved many of their historic buildings and neighborhoods and utilized name modern architects like Daniel Libeskind and Michael Graves to try to spice things up a bit, while Indy has the unfortunate distinction of having a bland skyline dominated by the hideous Bank One tower. Indy has produced some great cultural heroes, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Wes Montgomery, but the best recognition they could come up with for a hometown artist was the “Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds” highway”? I do think that Indy is not totally barren- the Indy 500 still leaves its mark, even if it is not nearly the big event it was 40 years ago (granted, I couldn’t care less about auto racing, but the Indy brand does still get some “mileage” from it), Conseco Fieldhouse is a great, locally themed basketball arena (but a lousy place to see concerts), The Slippery Noodle and the Chatterbox stand out among the cookie cutter meat markets in Indy and actually have cultural relevance to the city, Butler’s basketball program has been fun to follow (excepting the painful NCAA championship), and the Heartland Film Festival and Franklin’s B Movie Celebration are great developments. But it could do so much more and it could start by having the city planners read your article.


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Jon: You twist a phrase very nicely indeed. Thanks for the input and the more detailed Indy-Cincy-Lou'ville comparison. It's extremely enlightening. Hope you're back here soon and we can visit somewhere worth visiting.


Jonathan Logsdon 5 years ago

Forgot to mention this in my book of a reply. I was flying out of Indy a couple of years ago and the most prominent t-shirts in the locally themed airport shop were playing up Indiana as the cow tipping capital of the world. Here's an example: http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/21071/Cow+...

Embarrassing doesn't begin to describe it.


Brijin HALES 5 years ago

"Indianapolis is my hometown and I want to like it."

I always tell my students: good readers predict. So when I saw where you were going, I made a list in my own head: Monon Trail, Broadripple in general, Burritos As Big As Your Head in particular, big-city amenities minus big-city traffic, the Children's Museum, top 20 sports market for obsessed b-ball/football/racing fans in armchairs, and an incredible albeit incomplete list of native Hoosiers including Sir Vonnegut/James Whitcomb Riley/M.J. + all Jacksons/Mellencamp/Cole Porter/Crystal Gayle/Axl Rose/David Lee Roth/James Dean/Amelia Earhart/Chuckie Taylor/Larry/Letterman/Shelley Long/Brendan Fraser/Greg Kinnear/Steve McQueen/Johnny Appleseed, and Orville Damn Redenbacher.

You hit almost everything. I loved your article and learned from it. And you also bingoed that everybody associated w/ Indiana is going to have something and then some more things to say, & after living outside the U.S. for 11 years now, I tend to see and say what is good about the homestate. I subscribe to the cliché--I do think it was a good place to grow up. Mostly for solidity's sake. It's not pretentious and doesn't pretend to be. Indiana and its residents are real. Every third billboard does not advertise plastic surgery. I for one love corn. Yes, it's frighteningly Christian and conservative and sports obsessed and average and boring, but the Midwest is the Midwest is the Midwest, if I may twist the Stein. If you want progressive, yes, move your ass to Portland. Not to mention that living in Indiana has the decided advantage of making you feel really original and progressive when you may in fact be only moderately so.

But I hate any cities for longer than a short visit--even really great ones like grown-up Vancouver or our nearby Windy one. I spent only those four F.C. years in Indycity and thought then that its only charm was in being so uncool that it began to border cool somehow. And I agree w/ the Xanax lady--the circle city is never going to pull off any kind of real big city guise. When a California friend came in once, he kept repeating "In...dianapolis," pausing w/ seriously substantial silence after the In again and again every time he saw something Indianawhack. He was a bit of a pompous ass as well, but my best friend Sauder and I still stole it from him and say it ourselves to this day.

Indiana's real gems are its small towns, the places that don't aim or aspire or attempt any other ambitious A verb. I think the layers and vibrant local identity that you seek may be in Santa Claus, Indiana. French Lick, Indiana. Pete's Candy Store in Cammack. Jug Rock in Shoals. Ivanhoe's in Upland. Turkey Run State Park. I love that my uncle goes mushroom hunting for morels and brings back bags and bags from the forest. That I grew up making mazes amid the maize and catching tadpoles with my bare hands from the creek beside my house. That surely there exists no greater tomato soil than Indiana tomato soil...

Love Vonnegut Square. Love the whole article. Thanks Mitchell, and let me know when you finish your next piece. ***Brijin


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Briji: Thanks - honestly it's great just having a conversation w/ you, albeit this way. Your perspective enlightens. When/ if you do return, we have to marvel at the wonder that is the Broad Ripple Canal together. Thanks for reading/ commenting.


Allison Hazel 5 years ago

As comedian Bill Hicks said of New Kids on the Block: "'Oh, Bill, leave them alone. They're so good, and so clean-cut, and they're such a good image for the children.' Fuck that! When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children listening to people who fucking rocked!"

I'm not breeding, but if I did, I don't think I'd choose to raise them in a "comfortable", "easily-navigable" city of which the most popular praise is "it's not that bad". How is that "a good place to raise children"?


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

You captured the entire syndrome here: it's a "pretty clean" city and the murder is "lower than Pittsburgh's" and [I"m guilty of this one], there's more ethnic cuisine/ decent jazz/ fill in the blank, etc. etc. than there was fifteen years ago... And this is the ideal place to spawn life? Safety (to a degree) is certainly valued, but not mediocrity; runny shit is not apple butter. Perhaps I said this previously, but a third party mayoral candidate could have so readily captured a substantial vote total by just showing a commercial of Portland, Austin, Seattle, or some other more progressive city and saying, "We can learn from these places but still run w/ it in a unique way that works for us. We miss tapping into so much creative talent here, so let's run with it, before more of said talent gets frustrated/ desperate and relocates." I would have been inspired to actually work for such a campaign.


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c1234rystal 5 years ago

My hometown is a lot like this. I'm sure it's worse though since it's just a suburb that's not around a city... It's not even rural, which I think would somehow be more exciting. People get all in a tizzy about mediocre events and projects around town. That's why I left and never plan on living there again.


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GoGreenTips 5 years ago from Indianapolis

Liked your hub, and glad to meet a fellow Indianapolis resident!

I'm originally from Buffalo, NY have traveled and lived extensively throughout the US and world and your right Indy lacks some well pizaz. Like the canal, no restaurants etc., but you know I like it that way. I live downtown Indy, go for a walk around the canal daily, nearly and just enjoy the serenity. Frankly this world has become so commercial it's nice to go someplace without all the commercialism.

Been to San Antonio river-walk and that is what distinguishes our canal. The San Antonio river-walk is a bunch of restaurants, malls and shops. Nice to get away from.

Everything you said about Indy is why I settled here after twenty some years of moving and travelling.


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

GGT: Thanks for sharing your perspective. You're right: it's all in the eye of the beholder and lest I sound too negative, there are obviously things about this place I like. I'd just like to us "carve our own path" a little more. We don't have to emulate San Antonio or anywhere else, but push for more in the arts, neighborhood revitalization, honor people like Vonnegut more, etc. Thanks for reading/ KM


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torosteelbuilding 5 years ago from Ontario

Personally I've never been to Indy but I feel that visitors would have some good highlights to point out. When you've lived in a town for a while I feel everything starts to become comfortable and you stop to recognize the unique points of your city that other people admire since for you they've become the norm.

I feel the same way about Toronto but when other people come to visit they love it.


krosch profile image

krosch 5 years ago

I haven't seen a large amount of the city but I do enjoy the trip every year there that I take to attend the Gen Con Game Convention. One of these years I plan to branch out much further into the city than the 10 blocks or so around the convention center. It does seem like an interesting place with a number of attractions from what I have seen in various fliers at the convention site.

Anyway the hub was well written and thanks for posting it.


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Toro & Krosch: Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective. You both struck a chord. First, I LOVE Toronto...the ethnic sections especially, but just in general, dining there, strolling around downtown by the lake....yep, I get your point; 'old hat' to you but I'd drive all - and have - just to get there. KR: Gen Con is awesome! It's the center-piece of my 16-year-old daughter's year. She's deep into anime and does the whole trip @ Gen Con. I'm glad you come here for it and hope you get to venture out (maybe out of downtown) even next year. Thanks for the compliment, the perspective, and to both of you for commenting. KM


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Carlon Michelle 5 years ago from USA

Well after reading this article I'm not sure I want to come see this place, and I love to travel. I'm a big nature girl so if there are places to hike, bike, canoe and sit at a large body of water and write, I can more than make due. I am a big fan of diversity and ethnic blending. But I am also a fan of predictablility. I like to know what's around the corner. So maybe I will pay your town a visit one of these days. I will definately add some ethic flare to it. LOL Smile!


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

We need you! Thanks for reading and do hope you come here and decide for yourself. We're completely flat in terms of terrain, but there is some good canoeing within an hour in several directions. The ethnic flare: awesome. Thanks for reading and commenting. Indy has its "ups" - just many of us here apparently are dreaming of more. Hope we can make it happen. KM


bigtentourist 5 years ago

I'm here for the Big 10 championship fball game - from Madison. Indy has sort of a dull, corporate veneer to it. It lacks, as you indicate, a flavor to distinguish it. I was this game was in Chicago or Milwaukee.


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

I was out Saturday and saw a lot of fans from Michigan State and Wisconsin and they seemed to like it, but I obviously appreciate your point. It's come a 'ways' as a city, I just hate to see it get satisfied and think, "This is it." PS- I like Milwaukee a lot.


MCL profile image

MCL 5 years ago from Indiana

Great Hub! After a 39 years in Chicago and a 10 month stint in Florida, I moved to Indy. This article totally sums up my feelings about the small town mentality that folks here have. This is considered the 14th largest city in the US and when I mention to the fellas at work that Indianapolis should have a major league baseball team I always get the response that Cincinnati will never go for it. Or St Louis will never go for it. I know there are territorial obligations but damn if a team like the RAYS would want to relocate here and rename themselves THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 than there should be no issues. The Nationals and the Orioles are 60 miles apart and co exist just fine.


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keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

MCL: Amen, Brother. When I mention the same sentiment re. an NHL franchise, I get the same, "This town can't support three professional sports franchises" negativity. Why not - because you say it can't? Nashville, Columbus, St. Louis...Tampa Bay have NHL but here we sit with some ridiculous bush-minor league operation playing at the Fairgrounds. If the Devil Rays became the 'Indianapolis 500,' right on...but remember, "Victory Field is an amazing park"...not quite. Thanks for reading and commenting, and more importantly, for spreading a bigger-city mentality here. PS- One of my least favorite local figures is/was Jeff Smulians, who took his Indy made mega-millions and bought the Seattle Mariners instead of bringing Indy a team. He too said we were too 'small' to support major league baseball yet had no compunction about taking millions out of the city via media outlets he owned. Huge turd who, by the way, ran the Mariners into the ground and then sold them.


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chicagoguy 5 years ago from Chicago ,USA

my brother lives in Indianapolis ,, i been to that city many times ...loved the downtown !!

good article !! thanks


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 5 years ago from Indianapolis Author

WindyCityDude: Thanks man! I appreciate the kudos for the city and for the article. When you come back, I suggest you hit Fountain Square and/or Broad Ripple to see what you think. Meanwhile, I'll look forward to my next visit to Chicago.


Backlash Bill 4 years ago

The entire mindset of Indianapolis is evidenced by the run-up to this year's Super Bowl: Many things that should have happened long-ago are now happening in a transparent "Potemkin Village" attempt and many other things that are probably needless are being rushed into with reckless abandon. The city would never just do these things because they were needed or worthwhile, but only because they (the city, its officials. it reputation0 will be "judged" by "important outsiders," whether that by the national media, NFL, tourists. Indianapolis reflects a middle-class ethos in the deepest, most pretentious sense: "clean up because important company is coming over." It doesn't think it's important enough by itself to just "clean up for its own whims or needs."


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

You may be my hero. Without the supporting anecdotes, you wrote my piece in a paragraph. It's a good point - thanks for reading and writing.


Kevin Schmidt 4 years ago

I love Indy, grew up there, and will be coming back. I'm headed to California for two years after spending the last two in DC. I'm coming back for one reason, to raise a family. Cost of living is another huge factor. For $500,000 I can buy a huge house on Gueist and in DC or California that gets me a shithole condo with no yard.


Justin Leffler 4 years ago

First of all...

HA! HA! HAHAHA!

And secondly...

http://www.theonion.com/articles/indianapolis-anno... you must scroll down and watch the videod!

And finally...

HA!


keithmitchell5 profile image

keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Scrolled down and watched the video. Too much! 2020 will truly be our time to shine. Thanks, JL.


Kathleen Sparks 4 years ago

"Indianapolis reflects a middle-class ethos in the deepest, most pretentious sense: 'clean up because important company is coming over.'" I would say that's dead on. Great article, too, btw.


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keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Q: "Don't I know you?"

A: "You used to."...courtesy, "Fandango," 1984....:)

Thanks for the compliment and for reading, Kat.


Hobbsie 4 years ago

I share your sentiment. My solution was allowing my college town of Bloomington to adopt me. I traded professional opportunities for community. Indy feels so stark when I go back. "Oh look this major road has taken me to another strip mall for cash checking, tobacco, alcohol, and ribs." I never felt a sense of civic pride there. Although Indy does have its Jewels. There was a coffee shop on Lockerbie that made a 10 minute Chai tea that hugged me from within. And Vonnegut alone gives the city weight forever.

B-town isn't perfect. It took our major several months to put an end to the occupy turned homeless tent village that destroyed a park with inches of human excrement with no accomplishments worthy of its own blog. And our auditor thinks it fine to use her county cards for public use.

But we have layered community rich in culture and music where your pizza delivery guy may very well have a masters. The city built my Leed certified home. We have the b-line trail, a bustling farmers market, a 90 acre Eco plex of sustainability and a huge park in development. All these are within my walking distance.

I do bare witness to a flow of unthinking bodies passing our home in oversized hoodies making there way up the hill for polar pop and cigs, dragging their toddlers by arms. They thoughtfully leave garbage so I know they were there if I happen to miss them. It's a small price.

Come visit anytime!

L


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keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Hobbsie: I visit Bloomington fairly often....well, if three times a year is fairly often. I like it there and would love to hang out with you/ yours and discover somewhere or something new.

PS - When a new major raod takes me to a new strip mall that, fifteen months ago was a soybean field, and notice cash checking, dollar store, alcohol and ribs, I think "Those other people are right - this is Nirvana." :)


Dana Awad 4 years ago

Very nice article :) I grew up in Cairo and visited a lot of the big cities in the USA like Chicago, Boston, LA, San Diego, and SF! There is definitely a lot more culture in these cities but I love Indianapolis and would not go live anywhere else :) it's definitely boring sometimes but u just get used to it!


Alex G 4 years ago

You pretty much summed up all of my thoughts on Indianapolis in this one article. Unfortunately that is why I have made a clean break with the city and will not be moving back there at any point. I just don't see any opportunities there and that deficiency is not being made up for by any other amenities.

What makes that so unfortunate is that the size of Indianapolis is more my style (probably because I grew up there). I'm loving London, but it is frankly just too big and too crowded for me to stay here for more than a few years. It seems more likely that in the future I will end up in a San Francisco/Boston/D.C. type city, which are not quite as big but have a lot of opportunity, both career and otherwise.

If you want a brief article to read that I think hits the nail on the head in regard to the entire state and recent policy, this one is pretty good: http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?Sect...

Anyway, really enjoyed your piece.


Hayley Huff 4 years ago

It seems to me that the underlying tone is that Indy doesn't offer what you're looking for, and more than anything else, you mentioned the lack of the commercial development and locale of night-life venues. There are plenty of other cities that do, and there are a couple of places in the city where this night-life is more concentrated, but existing. (A point to which I am personally grateful, but if you're looking for it, you can find it.) I think that Indy has quite enough cultural diversity and plenty of history for a city it's size, and offers a plethora of societal wants/needs (meaning the 'culture' in reference to art, music and the like). Indy has some pretty remarkable landmarks and attractions that will continue earning money and attracting tourism. The art museum, the Eiteljorg, the colleges, the NCAA headquarters, the ISO, Ben Franklin's to-do, and so on. Indy hosts more conventions than Las Vegas (and perhaps Chicago) because of the great design and forward thinking of those that put the convention center together.

F1 didn't get the attention you were seeking, because Indy, and most cities in the US AREN'T F1 cities. They ARE football, baseball, basketball and NASCAR (*shudder*) cities. The majority of F1 races are held in Europe, and for a reason. The same would happen, reversely, if one were to hold a basketball tournament anywhere else in the world. It just wouldn't get the attention/income that it would where that attraction is more popular.

Indy seriously lacks in the public transportation department, the obvious remodeling of the education systems, and the overall progressiveness to further improve the city. This, I believe, is due to the more red, current generation, and as long as Indy/Indiana stays a red city/state, I think the best thing we can do is to just sit, enjoy what the city has to offer and wait. Continue voting for the intelligent, and travel to see other cities to enjoy what those cities have to offer and you might find what you're looking for.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree that Indy doesn't offer enough, but that it definitely has room for improvement. It is an American city, and I think a fine example of one at that. People go to different cities for different things. If one city was just like every other city in every major way, people wouldn't travel or need to travel. I could be wrong :)


KSchmidt 4 years ago

I still think Indy is a great place to raise a family.


Antranik Askander 4 years ago

As a native to the city, do you perhaps feel desensitized to Indy's appeal? for example, I know several people who are originally from chicago. I went there for the first time last year and had a blast. There was soo much to do and so much more for me to do when i go back. However, those I know who are from there seem rather content with the appeal of the city. They almost seem like they have a 'been there, done that' type of opinion for the city.


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keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Everyone from Alex in London down, thanks for the feedback: AA - I'll answer your query. Yes, I think that's possible. As the writer from Toronto said above, one gets immune to their own city's charms, it seems. But also, I think that traveling and comparing spurs Indianapolis to be more than it is and not just to "settle for" its admitted good points.


Super Bowl Lou 4 years ago

Indy has been a surprisingly good Super Bowl host! I went from "What was the NFL possibly thinking?" to "This isn't half-bad."


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keithmitchell5 4 years ago from Indianapolis Author

Agreed. Your comment got me thinking and helped spur the following. Thanks for reading.

http://hubpages.com/sports/XLVI-The-Sweet-Super-Bo...

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