Every big town has a one word catchphrase describing a neighborhood, an event or a famous person. D.C. has The Beltway, the Jersey shore has The Boss, Vegas has The Strip, Chicago has Da’ Bears, The Loop and Da’ Coach. New York City’s prisons are known as The Tombs and Frisco has The Bay.
Cleveland, Ohio is no different, only the berg on the shores of Lake Erie, (Or simply referred to as The Lake), has multiple nicknames for area landmarks and events.
Cleveland has always been a rabid sports town that has been punctuated by a series of crushing disappointments throughout the years.
It all started back in September, 1954, Game 1 of the World Series, New York Giants at Cleveland. With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth, Larry Doby at second and Al Rosen at first, Vic Wertz was at the plate and with a 2-1 count. Wertz crushed a pitch 420 feet to deep center and Willie Mays playing shallow turned and made an on-the-run over-the shoulder catch on the warning track. He immediately spun around and threw a strike to second base leaving Indians runners stranded. It was known as The Catch, and the Giants went on to sweep The Tribe in four games.
Cleveland Municipal Stadium, (Or, The Stadium), also hosted the 1986 season. AFC Championship game between The Browns and the Denver Broncos. Denver and John Elway trailed and got the ball back with just under 5 minutes left in regulation on their own 2 yard line. Elway drove the Broncos 98 yards and tied the game with 37 seconds left. It became known as The Drive, and Denver went on to win in overtime. But they didn’t stop there. On January 17, 1988 it was a rematch in the title game and with 1:12 left and Cleveland trying to score the game-winning touchdown, running back Ernest Byner took the hand-off from Kosar and fumbled, giving the Broncos the ball back on the two-yard line. The Fumble allowed the Broncos to win 38-33.
Cleveland sports teams were not finished however. In the 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs at The Coliseum in Richfield, The Cavs had a one-point lead against Michael Jordan and the Bulls with 6 seconds left in Game 5. Jordan got the ball, dribbled to the top of the key and jumped. Craig Ehlo rose to block the shot but Jordan seemed to hang in the air forever and made The Shot. Cleveland lost 101-100, and it seemed to put an accent on Cleveland sports disappointments. There was also Red Right-88, the ’95 and ’97 World Series and The Move, when Art Modell snuck out of town.
The Sports scene also has had in the past; the baseball park formerly called The Jake and now boasts an arena referred to as The Q. The arena is home to the Cavaliers, the Lake Erie Monsters, the arena football Gladiators, the Mid-Am basketball tournaments and the LFL Cleveland Crush.
In 1977, 31-year old Dennis Kucinich was elected the 53rd mayor of Cleveland. A colorful character he survived a recall, tried to sell off utilities, unplugged microphones at press conferences and had breakfast every morning at Tony’s Diner. Later he ran for President in 2004 and 2008, and though he was known as Dennis the Menace for his antics, many called him just The Kid.
The Shoreway was the first major high-speed artery for getting around town. Began as the largest WPA program in the 1930’s The Shoreway was finally completed in 1963 and is also famous for Dead Man’s Curve, a harrowing curve that claims many vehicles.
The Cleveland Metroparks system is 21,000 acres of nature unofficially known as the Emerald Necklace. We always just called it The Valley. It includes The Zoo, eight golf courses, fishing, hiking trails, beaches and premier sled riding hills. Ever been up to Stinchomb’s Monument? That’s the guy who started it all in 1902.
Murray Hill on the eastside is famous for its culinary, historic and cultural landmarks. It is home to pizza joints, art galleries, boutiques and the Feast of the Assumption. It has always been known as The Hill. It began in 1895 with a flood of Italian immigrants, (Chef Boyardee lived there), and it has grown to restored restaurants, townhouses, and world-class bocce courts.
Cleveland had its share of burlesque and strip joints back in the day but the most famous was on East 9th and Chester. It opened in 1906 as a theater and by 1909 it was named The Orpheum. By 1933 it became a nationally known venue for big boobs, tassels, off-key music and bad jokes. It was The Roxy and it hosted entertainers like Abbott & Costello, Blaze Starr, Phil Silvers, Tempest Storm and yours truly as the emcee for a strip contest in 1975. Backstage I must have seen fifty-seven breasts that night.
Want to go out partying in Cleveland? Take The Rapid down to The Flats.
With all of these one-named traditions lurking about the Cleveland area, I decided to take it upon myself to inspire a one-named culinary creation that reflects all of the influences in the Cleveland area. I give you…
8 Oz. Ground Beef
1 1/8-in Slice Canadian Bacon
4 Oz. Hot Sauce Williams Pulled Pork
1 Tbs. Sauerkraut
1 Slice Provolone Cheese
2 Tbs. Mole
1 Orlando Bakery Bun
Grill you burger and top it with everything on the recipe in the exact order. You can add lettuce, tomato and onion if you feel the need. Or throw on a beer-battered onion ring to give it that County Fair texture.
Wash it all down with a local brew of your choice from the Great Lakes Brewery.
Again, the video is cool and the slideshow puts a name to the face. Check them both out.
Everything Cleveland everybody.