July 02. 2012 9:00AM - Last modified: July 02. 2012 9:36AM

To Milwaukee, with love

By Sharon Waters


Editor's note: BizTimes Media LLC recently hosted the Summer Conference of the Alliance of Area Business Publications. Editors and publishers from local business publications throughout North America and even Australia came to Milwaukee, where they were wined and dined downtown. After the conference concluded, BizTimes executive editor Steve Jagler asked the editors of the publications to reflect on their impressions of Milwaukee. Those reflections will be featured in Jagler's column in the July 23 edition of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine. As a bonus, the following Milwaukee Biz Blog about her Milwaukee experience was written by Sharon Waters, editor of NJBIZ, a business news publication based in Somerset, N.J.

I echo many of the other comments: the waterfront, both lake and river, were beautiful. The Pfister was beautiful. It also is a clean city. I felt safe walking around by myself, even after 9 p.m. I enjoyed the food. I LOVED seeing the pedal tavern go by while we were at Graffito's restaurant. I also loved the visit to the press club bar…you are lucky to have something so historic and interesting in your city.

Also, I really loved the architecture and was often the one in the group, as we walked to a restaurant, pointing and asking, "What is that building?" I soon learned that (BizTimes managing editor) Andrew Weiland could tell me not only what the building was but who owns it, how long they've owned it, what they paid for it, what's in the building, etc. I really should have paid Andrew a tour guide fee, or at least tipped him a couple bucks. ;)

While waiting at Newark airport, I was joking via Twitter with two NJBIZ coworkers who hail from the Midwest (including Wisconsin) about how I couldn't wait to encounter all the stereotypically "nice" people. (They broke that stereotype by joking back with snarky tweets about the East Coast elite.) But I found there is a reason for the "nice" stereotype for Midwesterners: most everyone I encountered WAS very friendly and nice. I even noticed the driving habits were different, with drivers letting another car go instead of giving them a not-so-nice hand signal. At the intersection of East Michigan Street and North Lincoln Memorial Drive (on my way to the Pilot House), a jogger who was stopped at the light started chatting with me (again, that niceness). I commented to him about the "weird" traffic, with drivers being nice to each other. He replied: "We are soft-bellied Midwesterners, but give us time and we'll flip you the bird. Hard." And he said it in a very nice way.

Ha! Can you tell I had a fun time? Thanks again for serving as such a good host, along with Kristi (Jagler's wife) and Andrew. A trio of ambassadors of the Midwest niceness!