RNC impressions from East 4th Street


Residents and visitors of downtown Cleveland’s E. 4th Street take part in the evening events during the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday, July 18, 2016. 

Alex Delaney-Gesing

As the first day of the Republican National Convention began to wind down, downtown Cleveland’s nightlife along and around East 4th Street filled with city goers and GOP delegates alike.

Dubbed “Media Row,” East 4th Street has been entirely taken over by news organizations from around the country. From MSNBC to CNN and The Washington Post, the short street has a constant flow of media, pedestrians and politicians roaming outside and in the various eateries.

While a portion of the restaurants are occupied by media—and reserved for parties for GOP members—a number are still open to the public. Extra security patrol the area while regular restaurant staff hurry to serve larger-than-normal hordes of customers.

College student P.J. Nye, 21, works as a server at the Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street.

The Bay Village native is a student at Ohio University. Working at the tavern this summer, he’s seeing firsthand the impact of the RNC on downtown.

However, while the convention has brought a boom to business, the event itself and what it stands for isn’t something he favors.

“I’m not really a fan of either candidates, to be honest,” he said. “I was supportive of Kasich before he dropped out, but now I don’t know.”

Though not leaning more toward presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Nye firmly said he can count one candidate out completely.

“I don’t believe in Trump, at all,” he said. “I don’t know necessarily who I’m going to vote for, but it’s definitely not him. Our generation doesn’t need him.”

Following the same view as Nye, 18-year-old Jason Hahn an usher at East 4th’s Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant from Euclid, expressed his own distaste in the presumptive Republican nominee

Nonetheless, he admitted he couldn’t deny that though the convention has brought in “a bunch of crazies” to the city, it is also bringing an influx of revenue for local businesses.

“I just don’t think Trump and what he stands for is good for us” he said, “but this whole (convention) is good for the city, so I guess that’s one upside to it.”

Patrick O’Donnell and his eight-year-old son James came to East 4h Street to take in the beginning of the evening festivities Monday evening.

A first-time attendee of the convention, O’Donnell brought his son to watch the proceedings and get a glimpse of Cleveland’s involvement in the nation’s politics.

“I wanted him to see how things go,” he said. “It’s never too soon (for kids).”

Though not an initial fan of Trump, he believes that the candidate’s outspokenness on the country’s issues and current state has “hit a nerve” among American citizens.

“I intend to support Trump because he represents the Republican Party,” O’Donnell said. “I think it’s what our country needs (for the future).”

Contact Alex Delaney-Gesing at [email protected].