To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
–Nursery rhyme

I suspect that every large city in America has at least one public market, which is similiar to a farmers market, but on a larger scale and in a permanent structure, open year-round. Here in Cincinnati, we have the oldest public market in Ohio, the venerable Findlay Market located in Over-the-Rhine, an area north of downtown which was once home to one of the largest German immigrant populations in the country before falling over time into inner-city blight. Here’s a look:

Today, the area is making a comeback, and gentrification (a progressive or derogatory term, depending on your point of view) is in the air, creeping ever-northward from downtown as real estate investors, entrepreneurs and residence-seekers buy and renovate century-plus old buildings, increasing property values. It’s an oft-repeated story — low-income tenants are no longer able to afford higher rents, and the demographic shift accelerates as the poor are squeezed out.

Change, of course, is inevitable. I recognize that. As a lover of “old stuff,” I don’t like change just for the sake of change, but I accept that change is going to happen — it’s how and to what degree change is managed that determines for better or worse. The extremes are often completely unrealistic or supremely shallow — witness the Tea Party’s ideological fixation with an idealized ante-bellum America,  and contemporary culture’s superficial noise: “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Where is the humanity in all-or-nothing? Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” I’m not that altruistic, but I figure his words should be at least half the equation.


2 comments on “TO MARKET, TO MARKET

  1. arekhill1 says:

    We in San Diego don’t have a centralized farmer’s market as you describe, Sr. Muse, although I am familiar with the concept…my native Philly has two and the Lancaster Farmers Market, in the heart of Amish country, a place I have been to many times, is a fantastic source of calories for the locals. Here, though, we have many smaller ones, all open air because of our fabulous weather. We prefer swap meets to farmer’s markets on the Left Coast, and have a huge central and several satellite ones in San Diego, all in accordance with the California principle that all the best things in life, buying, selling, reproducing, etc., happen in parking lots.


  2. mistermuse says:

    I’ve never been to San Diego, but it certainly sounds like a swinging – or should I say, parking – place. I actually lived in a suburb of Philly when I was 6-7 years old – too young to remember much, so I don’t know about the markets. That leaves Lancaster and Amish country, which I have been to a few times & enjoyed (& indulged my one-time hobby of photographing the many covered bridges which graced the countryside back then).
    Now you’ve got me all nostalgic, Ricardo, which there probably isn’t much of a market for, so I’ll close.


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