Dr. Know: The Longest Red Light, “Formerly Jillian’s,” and Damage at the United Jewish Cemetery


Which red light in Cincinnati is the longest? Everybody is certain it’s the one they get stuck in front of every day, but is there an official answer? —DRIVES ME CRAZY

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Dear Crazy:
Who among us has not felt smoke emanating from our ears as we sit endlessly before the Great Red Destroyer of Appointments? The Doctor, fearing an avalanche of anger no matter how authoritatively he answers this question, shall now bravely divert the topic over to city and state officials.

Cincinnati’s Department of Traffic and Engineering hereby shames the jagged double-intersection below Mt. Echo Park. That’s where River Road meets Steiner Avenue, followed mere seconds later by Southside Avenue—a one-two punch that can create a three-minute wait on a weekday morning. Have a nice day.

The award for Longest Wait in Suburbia? Ohio’s Department of Transportation officially bestows that to the red light in Union Township at Glen Este-Withamsville Road and State Route 32. “The” light is actually a platoon of 21 hanging and stationary traffic signals, nervously deployed to keep the peace. High volume can keep everyone here waiting up to three minutes in every direction. When either location feels like it lasts half an hour, here’s how to seek relief: Just call your internet provider and listen to the on-hold music. See which takes longer to end.

The old Bavarian Brewery in Covington is about to become Kenton County’s new administrative headquarters. All the reports, though, leave something out when they mention that the place was “formerly Jillian’s.” Wasn’t it another short-lived entertainment venue before that? Jog my memory. —BAVARIAN RHAPSODY

Dear Rhapsody:
Beware of jogged memories, especially if you attended opening night of “Brew Works” in November 1996. The Party Source in Bellevue, highly successful and looking to expand, had purchased the abandoned Bavarian Brewery and rehabbed the ground floor as a second Party Source. Above it, they built a glitzy multi-level brewery/entertainment complex. It was the “complex” part that got off to a rough start.

Swiping your own credit card was not common back then, so Brew Works customers were delighted to receive a special debit card upon entering, linked to their credit card. They could then quickly swipe with abandon at the many bars, restaurants, breweries, and gift shops on all five floors, settling up when they left. But as with so many new and flashy what-could-possibly-go-wrong systems, things went wrong. The system choked, making payments slow and frustrating. These ingredients don’t mix well with alcohol.

The system worked after that, but was unpopular and was dropped the following month. First impressions may or may not have contributed to Brew Works’ layoffs in January, changing of hands in July, and a sudden transformation to Jillian’s in 1998. Here’s looking at you, kid; we’ll always have Bellevue.

I was driving by the United Jewish Cemetery on Montgomery Road in Evanston. Three heavy stone panels along the wall are pushed all the way in, and the concrete railings above and below them look damaged. Is this a scheduled repair, vandalism, or something else? —JEWISH MOTHER

Dear Mother:
The Doctor will suppress the urge to spout Jewish clichés about tasty chicken soup, tasteless cardboard matzo, or the eternal questions “So when does Hanukkah happen this year? Can’t it keep still?”

Chances are that you noticed the injury along the cemetery’s wall because you’d stopped or slowed for the traffic light at Montgomery and Blair. This intersection, where Blair dead-ends into Montgomery, is precisely where the wall’s large stone panels were thrust inside onto the grass, unbroken but strewn about.

While you justifiably worry that a Jewish cemetery in today’s world may have fallen victim to vandalism, cemetery officials believe that a driver traveling on Blair simply ran the light and hit the wall. It is doubtful that the incident—the driver fled the scene—was intentional, as the offending vehicle most certainly suffered vastly more damage than the enormous, several-hundred-pound stones. Repairs may be complete by now. By the way, Hanukkah begins this year on the night of December 2, and all we can say about next year is that it definitely will be much earlier or later than that.

Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, weekday afternoon deejay on 92.5 FM The Fox. Submit your questions about the city’s peculiarities at drknow@cincinnatimagazine.com.

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