More Toledo Then & Now posts to come. For now, I want you to get a sense of the emptiness in Toledo that I mentioned in my last post, the contrast between tall buildings and beautiful architecture, and “For Sale” signs in just about every other shop window. I don’t want to create the impression that Toledo is a terrible city to live in, because it’s not. Just like with South Bend, if you open up to it, there are things to do in Toledo. And there is definitely history.
It’s just that Toledo’s past seems to hover over every street, over every building that was once “grand” and isn’t anymore. The past is so present; elderly people smile and shake their heads at the thought of the “old days.” It’s really unsettling to watch a Walmart bag roll for a mile down a major street, never passing a car or another person. Because this is not a rural town, this is a city.
Which has made me question the definition of “city”–what even makes a city a city? Is it the big buildings? The arts scene? The people? Can a city ever lose its “cityness?”
I get the sense Toledo has lost something that can never be recovered. That’s what I want to pinpoint through these posts.
Sometimes I’ll take a walk around my apartment after work hours or on a weekend, and literally pass no one on the streets.
See slideshow below: