Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Morning Papers: Well, was it worth it, Indy?

Today's Indianapolis Star asks the question about whether last week's Super Bowl was a blip, or whether it was the beginning of a full-scale revival.  Really?  You are asking the question?  Of course it was a blip!

I don't think it's a surprise that I really do not understand why Indianapolis exists.  It was built on spec that a canal would open up trade, but unfortunately built on a non-navigable river, with a better canal built in Chicago, and a larger river running through Lafayette/Terre Haute.  What it had was a marketing campaign that declared it the state capital.  In the Midwest, it's still one of the more forgetable capitals, with Des Moines really the only competition for Most Forgetable Midwestern State Capital.  Madison, St. Paul, Lansing, and Columbus all have large universities, and Springfield has Lincoln.  Indianapolis ends up being a convention center tied to a mall by a series of skybridges.  My first trip to Indianapolis was a bit of a surprise to my mom.  I think her first reaction to the fact that I was going to Indy for the weekend was "Why?".  As she explained, it's pretty much a sprawling suburb with no real town.  I can't argue with that.  There's really no reason for this town to exist except the desire of it's residents not to admit that they are wrong.

The Indy Star article references city leaders who think that the Super Bowl is going to increase tourism and convention business to Indianapolis.  No, it's not.  With the game between Boston and New York, you are expecting people from the East Coast to say that there is something worth going to Indy for.  If you are going to get onto a plane for a two-hour flight, why Indianapolis?  Why not even Detroit?  Cincinnati?  Cleveland?  St. Louis?  What does Indy bring to the table? 

TripAdvisor lists the Top 10 Things to Do in Indianapolis as: The Mind Tripping Show (a Vegas-style show playing at the Hilton), a children's museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lucas Oil Field, Victory Field (Minor League Baseball), Crown Hill Cemetery (no, seriously, a cemetery), the zoo, a museum of Native American and Western art, the Indianapolis 500 Speedway (FINALLY!  Something unique!), and the Buck Creek Winery - one of a growing number of Midwestern wineries.  What is there which is going to make me opt for Indy?  Better museums could be found in Chicago.  Better zoos are available in St. Louis and Milwaukee, and if I'm a cemetery junkie, then I'm off to DC.  The reviews themselves are suspect - almost all of them are from residents of the State of Indiana.  Could it be that the great reviews of the Buck Creek Winery are because they haven't been to Sonoma?  

Unfortunately, while hosting the Super Bowl in Indianapolis put a spotlight on Indianapolis, it also put a spotlight on Indianapolis.  Those wanting to attend the Super Bowl were locked into 4 night minimum hotel stays, which meant that they arrived in Indianapolis in the week that the legislature passed Right to Work and allowed the teaching of Creationism in science class.  If you wanted to reinforce the idea that Flyover country is populated by ignorant Bible thumping rednecks, you couldn't have orchestrated a better demonstration.  So, why come to Indy when Vegas is available?  Kudos, Indy!

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