|Clevelander Katie O'Keefe takes to the streets. Photo by Bob Perkoski|
Meet Cleveland's Super Hero.
That's what Katie O'Keefe's friends call her. Any why not? I mean come on: Look at this chick! She doesn't even need a cape. Hey Gotham City? Our O'Keefe will kick your Batgirl's ass any day of the week.
"In Cleveland," says O'Keefe, "you can have everything." And when you meet her, you'll believe it.
O'Keefe is one of seven incredibly fascinating people I interviewed for this story in this week's Fresh Water about boomerangs--Clevelanders who've left the city and then returned. Every one of them loves this town as much as I do. Like me, they know that Cleveland is the best kept secret in the country.
I've been here a long long time and I've seen it all, from the heartbreaking sports debacles to the collapse of the steel industry, but our unfailing Rust Belt grittiness has never faded. Clevelanders are authentic and tough. The heart of this city is what the boomerangs missed most and what they fell in love with all over again when they returned.
Cleveland's energy is returning right along with the boomerangs. For those of us on the inside, the evidence is everywhere. For anyone on the outside who doesn't believe me, just try to rent a downtown apartment. Waiting list lengths range from a few dozen to hundreds.
Yep, you read that right. The Residences at 668 has a waiting list of 600. I know. I checked.
"Apartments are usually only vacant for a few hours," said the rental agent to me.
So the secret may be out of the bag. That shouldn't come as a surprise. Cleveland's got cool new stuff and cool old stuff. We've got great sex milkshakes, a Blimp House, and the toughest Thinker on the planet.
And oh yeah, and I live here--so there's that.
* * *