Editor’s Letter, December 2021: The Best New Things in Cincinnati

In the spirit of positivity, our annual Best of the City highlights local people who started exciting new adventures, arts initiatives, businesses, communities, and movements in this pandemic year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’ll remember 2021 in the future. In many ways, we’ll probably consider this two-year pandemic period a black hole in our lives, when very little positive energy escaped the virus’s gravitational pull. Most of us don’t do nuance very well, and so our memories tend to be one-dimensional: high school was horrible, college was great, our first job sucked, our second job was fun, the Big Red Machine was the highlight of our childhood. The pandemic likely will be recalled in similar black and white terms.

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

It’s difficult and maybe disrespectful to argue that any good came out of a global pandemic that’s claimed 5 million lives. Especially if it sickened someone close to you, shut down your livelihood, or triggered a battle with depression or anxiety. Especially as COVID variants continue to ravage parts of this country and the world.

But there’s no dispute that positive things happened throughout 2021. People got married, babies were born, students graduated, new businesses and careers took off. Scientists developed effective COVID vaccines in record time, which bodes well in fights against other diseases and future viruses. Companies changed business models on the fly and made changes they’d been afraid to or didn’t know they needed. Some people quit jobs they hated or sold their homes for a big profit.

In the spirit of positivity, our annual Best of the City highlights local people who started exciting new adventures, arts initiatives, businesses, communities, and movements in this pandemic year. It’s never easy to launch something new and capture the public’s attention, but to do it in 2021 with so much uncertainty? They’re worth celebrating.

Come to think of it, maybe 2021 was the perfect year to try something new. We had more time on our hands and definitely needed distractions from the daily bad news. In the end, makers make, doers do, and creatives create, even in uncertain times. Creativity is their rock when storms of negativity or chaos howl around them. I’m thankful so many survived the damage this year.

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