There are two Baltimores
June 27, 2014 10:40 PM   Subscribe

My black friends call it Murderland. My white friends call it Charm City, a town of trendy cafés. I just call it home.
posted by josher71 (20 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
pretty real place. a lot of folks just in from west virginia. and the toughest areas. Don't know if it is still open, but Maryland's Death Row was in the middle of the city. A friend lived there and prisoners would accost persons walking by from the windows. Pretty nuts.

the downtown is east coast, old buildings with the names of ship insurance companies and law firms. Late '70s the last actual building boom. Since then, downtown is a tourist destination, and not a lot of business gets done there.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]




So how has it changed since the last of The Wire was first broadcast (2008)?
(I'm just finishing up a rewatch of The Wire... I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion of The Wire itself - just curious about how the city has changed or stayed the same since that period (bearing in mind The Wire is not a documentary in the first place). I remember watching some middle season of The Wire when it first came out on cable VOD... it was packaged with a short film of interviews of real world Baltimore officials and civic leaders all saying "Baltimore is getting much better in real life!!!")
posted by Bwithh at 10:53 PM on June 27, 2014


That's a well written article. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:53 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]




Thanks for posting this; I am extra-ashamed to hear about his philosophy professor.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:02 AM on June 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Excellent. I look forward to hearing more of Watkins' voice.
posted by squasha at 12:24 AM on June 28, 2014


Woah. I know the Loyola philosophy department: they're mostly pretty great. What a shitty thing to say to a student.

I agree that this is a great article, but that's got me bummed.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:27 AM on June 28, 2014


Ironmouth, you're behind the times. Maryland abolished the death penalty a few years ago, the prison is still there but I don't think the windows open, and the development of Harbor East has been a huge building boom. Other parts of the city have seen significant development too.

As for Baltimore post The Wire, it's safer, the schools are in better condition, but it's losing political power in Annapolis and there are more vacant homes.

I largely agree with the premise of this article, but I do think that he's missing some subtleties of white Baltimore. Few white people belong in his business partner Tyler's world either. Even so, the author's point about the metaphorical, psychological distance between black and white Baltimore is largely true.

Those of us who live here have to keep working to change that.
posted by postel's law at 5:19 AM on June 28, 2014 [13 favorites]


I believe in humanity.

This guy has a big heart and a open mind. Nice article.
posted by kozad at 6:36 AM on June 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm curious as to why he uses UK English spellings like "neighbourhood" and "learnt". Is this a Baltimore thing or just a personal affectation?
posted by tommasz at 6:41 AM on June 28, 2014


A few years ago I tagged along on an architectural tour of Baltimore with a bunch of historical preservationists. They did their best to be inclusive and sensitive to the racial history, but it was totally surreal standing there listening to a bunch of white grad students argue intensely about those concrete veneers that are molded to look like stone, while you could see crack sales down one end of the block and someone gentrifying a row house at the other end of the block. The close physical proximity and huge social disparities that the author talks about were very apparent, it was easy to walk from one to the other but people clearly didn't do so.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:54 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm curious as to why he uses UK English spellings like "neighbourhood" and "learnt". Is this a Baltimore thing or just a personal affectation?

Copyediting. It's a British site (publication?).
posted by hoyland at 7:08 AM on June 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you ever want to see both Baltimores together, check out a Baltimore Club party at the Paradox. (Check the crowd-- gang bangers right next to rave kids from Dundalk.)
posted by empath at 8:13 AM on June 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Few white people belong in his business partner Tyler's world either.

I got the impression it wasn't Tyler's personal cohort that was interesting as much as his ability to move smoothly through a wide variety of white subcultures. A salesman has to have a pretty good bead on his demographic no matter what he's selling.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:53 AM on June 28, 2014


After living in a bunch of other cities I think Baltimore (where I lived while the Wire was being filmed) actually ranks pretty high in the integration department. There are areas where rich/white people don't go, but they are mostly directly adjacent to well-off areas instead of hidden far far away, plus there is a large black middle class. On the other hand, it also ranks #1 on the list of "Places where I've heard working class white people say the N-Word."

Great article, thanks for posting.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, coke was huge while I lived there, among yuppies and punks and grad student alike.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2014




How about we just rename the city "Wired".
posted by stbalbach at 8:08 AM on June 30, 2014


Great article, thanks for posting.
posted by vignettist at 12:43 PM on July 1, 2014


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