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naomikritzer: You live in Baltimore, right? What do you like and dislike about it?

(I visited Baltimore once, for a WorldCon, and had a miserable time and hated the city. So you could talk about how awesome it is and maybe change my opinion.)

From what I've heard, a lot of people came home from that Worldcon with that impression. But I love living in Baltimore.

Baltimore is a nice-sized city, about a million people in the metro area. It's small enough that getting around is not particularly onerous, but big enough to really feel like a city, and to have plenty of diversity, resources, and places to go. I like the museums and the science center and the aquarium and Camden Yards and the symphony and the theaters and the huge old public library.

Compared to other cities, Baltimore is extremely affordable - even before the housing market tanked, we always knew that we'd be able to afford a pretty nice house here. Also, Baltimore's central location makes it easy and relatively affordable to get from here to other places.

I think Baltimore is pretty. I like the long stretches of red brick rowhouses, and the Federalist architecture, and the big graceful stone mansions in my neighborhood, and the Inner Harbor, and the view of city and water from the top of Federal Hill, and the way the city looks from the upper deck of the ballpark. I like the 18th century houses and shops in the old shipbuilding neighborhood of Fells Point, and the covered markets in several different city neighborhoods.

I really love my neighborhood, which was the height of wealthy fashion in the 19th century and is now the arts district and the gay neighborhood. It's economically and racially mixed. I walk out of my house and feel like I am part of something connected and vital. We can walk to the main branch of the public library and our church and the symphony and the theater where we often get season tickets and a great art museum with free admission and a grocery store and the light rail and tons and tons of restaurants. We have great neighbors. People talk to each other on the street. And our neighborhood hosts the book festival and the flower mart and free concerts in the park.

Baltimore has some excellent food. I particularly appreciate all the fresh seafood, and the Greek and Middle Eastern food, and sitting on a terrace or deck drinking local beer and cracking open steamed crabs on the brown paper table cover.

I like living in a place that has so much history, even if portions have been extremely unpleasant.

Things I don't like about Baltimore: the entrenched poverty, drugs, and crime. The fact that Baltimore continues to be one of the most segregated cities in America. The godawfully miserable summers. Corruption. Rats.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
My new city is about the same size, and it's fascinating for me to compare them on these axes. Conclusion: the winter cold here prevents us from having rats, mice, and cockroaches. Fine with me.
Mar. 28th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, where do you live? Nome? We have all of those and plenty of winter cold too.

Mar. 28th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
During that miserable WorldCon trip, as I was walking back to the youth hostel with Lyda, we saw a cockroach walk across the sidewalk right in front of us.

That cockroach was FREAKING ENORMOUS. We have cockroaches that big in Minnesota. IN THE INSECT EXHIBIT AT THE ZOO.

Mice, on the other hand -- you'd think they'd avoid the house with four cats, but we get one every couple of years. (The cats usually dispatch it within 24 hours of me hearing the scrabbly noises of a mouse in the house. I do wish I could persuade them to kill them all the way before they bring them to me. Also, there is no sign on my bedroom slippers saying Dead Mice Go Here.)
Mar. 28th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Hey, we're proud of those cockroaches! But even better than that, Baltimore has an actual genuine rat fishing league. (Really. Just google "Baltimore rat fishing" if you doubt me.) Guys in bars go out in the alleys with fishing rods and fling bait down the alley. Then they reel in the rats. Prizes are given for the most rats caught.
Mar. 28th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Edmonton. Which, if I'm correct in guessing your location from the start of your username, is a good ways north of you.

We do have fruit flies - but I didn't find that out until I did an experiment with a bowl of cherries in August.
Mar. 28th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
By far the most pleasant part of the trip was ditching WorldCon entirely and going out for crabs at some crab place we had to get to by taxi. That was fun.

WorldCon was miserable. It's the only WorldCon I've ever been to, so I also don't have a good sense for whether the problems were typical for an event that size, or if it was just a bad year all around. (The hotel with the parties was catastrophically overloaded; the good parties were all private; the programming was invariably too crowded for me to get into the room; etc.)

The con stuff was down near the harbor, and there seemed to be this narrow corridor of gentrification surrounded by a sea of intense poverty.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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