• is so unmiserable it hurts.
  • is the city that sleeps just the right amount.
  • is plum happy to be here.
  • loves Taco Tuesdays.
  • is a bothsider.
  • bikes to work every day. Yes, even in winter.
  • doesn't get cold in winter, just awesome.
  • plays by the lake.
  • loves CLE Critical Mass.
  • would love to see a Euclid Beach Park rebirth.
  • can't get enough of one of the world's best orchestras.
  • = way rad.
  • has no grassy knoll (but some pretty incredible Metroparks).
  • loves plums.
  • wants a bratwurst from the West Side Market.
  • was made in 216. Really.
  • is so happy city enthusiasm has made the Cleveland Marathon a race to be reckoned with.
  • thinks the river caught fire just to get your attention.
  • appreciates enthusiasm.
  • hearts long walks on wholly underrated beaches.
  • will try Lake Erie surfing this fall.
  • would host the Olympics, but is a little busy right now.
  • would never be a free agent.
  • loves you too.
  • is home.
  • can't pick a best pizza because they're all pretty damned good.
  • enjoys having all four seasons.
  • plays outside in winter and summer.
  • rides a bike to work.
  • needs to visit A Christmas Story house (again) this year.
  • understands there's so much yet to do.
  • loves it here.
  • high-fives others who love it here too.
  • gets the veggie dog with chorizo chili.
  • enjoys rainy days at the art museum.
  • thinks Ian Hunter rocks as well.
  • believes in the power of innerburbs, uptowns and downtowns.
  • gets excited whenever How I Met Your Mother refers to Ted's NEO origins.
  • believes Liz Lemon actually does heart Cleveland as much as we do.
  • wouldn't mind the return of streetcars.
  • loves to travel the world and then come home to the best place in it.
  • owns, perhaps, too many shirts that mention a love for the city.
  • could probably make a killer plum pudding.
  • always knows which way is north.
  • is really pumped about Collinwood and Gordon Square going awesome.
  • likes to ride the bus all over town.
  • has so much to say.
  • should be in movies, don't you think?
  • will host a bread-pudding tour of Cleveland this fall.
  • has never been to a wig shop, but could tell you where to find one.
  • has a big lake as its backyard.
  • can totally swim to Canada.
  • kayaks the Cuyahoga.
  • wants to make you so freakin' unmiserable you cry. Happy tears.
  • loves Boston cream pie and plans to spark the revolution that changes its name.
  • feels a little too happy about Presti's bringing back doughnuts.
  • puts the eastside-westside battle aside.
  • crosses the river.
  • sees smart people.
  • has access to some pretty serious health care.
  • doesn't have to pretend getting ripped off on rent is OK.
  • loves architecture.
  • is home to an impressive collection of universities and other higher ed institutions.
  • digs a grid system.
  • loves all of NEO equally. Mostly.
  • thinks you choose to be happy (or not).
  • believes in the magic of a good bread pudding.
  • feels no shame in loving polka.
  • has been to the Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame.
  • hearts polkamaster DJ Kishka.

Opera for you

If the Cleveland Cultural Gardens isn’t on your top-10 things to see in Cleveland, put it there.

Virgil dedicationRockefeller Park was set aside by John D. Rockefeller in the late-19th c. as Cleveland’s own version of Central Park — a lush splash of nature in the middle of the city — and the Cultural Gardens grew organically to reflect the history of immigration to Northeast Ohio.

It started in 1916 when Leo Weidenthal, father of the Cultural Gardens, dedicated the Shakespeare bust in what is now the British Garden. It was a big deal: actresses Julia Marlowe and Ethel Barrymore planted trees at the opening.

Hebrew and German amphitheaters followed the Shakespeare Garden to form Poet’s Corner. By the 1930s, the gardens expanded to 13 new spots. The Cultural Gardens were renamed and they born.

The Italian Cultural Garden is one of the earliest settlers in the park. Imagine more than 3,000 local Italians congregating in October 1930 on a swath of green at Parkgate Avenue between Martin Luther King and East Boulevards. They were celebrating Columbus Day and Virgil’s 2000th birthday with the dedication of the still-standing bust of the Roman poet.

Modest beginning for what’s now one of the most elaborate, elegant and must-see stops on the garden tour. It’s a two-level garden designed in the spirit of Italian Renaissance, featuring two curved staircases, a huge marble fountain, a stone parapet and a block of stone hewn from the side of Monte Grappa. Medallions, insets and statues abound, honoring the artists, poets, composers and inventors that spark pride in Italian heritage.

But one of the most prideful parts of the garden is the annual Opera in the Italian Garden concert, which happens this Sunday, July 21, in the Italian Cultural Garden.

Opera Per Tutti (“opera for all”) opera company performs Puccini, Verdi, Leonvacallo, Tosti, Bellini and Rossini around the Renaissance Fountain. Bring a chair, bring a family, bring a picnic. Opera fan or not, you’ll get lost in the music, the voices, the atmosphere. It’s yet another event in Cleveland that no one expects to find here, but only because they’re not looking.

The event is free, but packs up fast. Get there early, and ditch the car. Consider making an afternoon/early evening of it. Bike through the Cultural Gardens, from University Circle to the Shoreway. Brush up on your Cleveland Cultural Garden history and indulge in an international, historical journey all within city limits.

Opera in the Italian Cultural Garden
Opera Per Tutti performs classic Italian arias around the Renaissance Fountain. Performance is Sunday, July 21, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Italian Cultural Garden at Parkgate Avenue and East Boulevard (get event details). Street parking is available. Carpooling, cycling and bussing are recommended. Get. There. Early.