Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 412

Baltimore

Yesterday we had a massive rain storm in Maryland like, well like, a massive rain storm.

And this happened because of it.

How nuts is that!?

Poor old Baltimore and those people’s cars.

My mate, Bill Hughes (photographer extraordinaire) was there taking pics.

This is what he captured.

Going, going....

Going, going….

Gone

Gone

Baltimore certainly divides opinion out here in Maryland.

I like going to Baltimore a lot – I head there for drinks, festival and for culture.

I also get lost driving out of Baltimore and often see another side of the city to that of Fell’s Point, Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor.

Recently I drove to an American high school in the Carroll South area, and you know you’re heading in to a different area from those I mentioned above when you see houses like this:

A boarded up house (one of many)

A boarded up house (one of many)

When I posted this picture up on Facebook, with the caption: “When I drive through some parts of Baltimore, I’m still like ‘wow’….“, it was because these places, which are so obviously affected by poverty and crime, both fascinate and repel me.

Sure, every place has it’s areas that aren’t all that. Where I live back in Cheltenham, England, the area directly behind me has ‘rough’ areas, boarded up houses and places that are considered no-go.

A few of the other folks who also made their way to this school that day, and bear in mind, these are American folks, also commented on the area we had driven through. ‘It’s just like The Wire’ they said. And I think that has a lot to do with it. You see these places on TV shows and know that it’s all about dramatic license, and then you see these places for real and you’re like ‘Oh my, it really does exist.’

My Facebook post prompted quite the conversation and debate about Baltimore, and it’s worth sharing it with you to give you an idea about the divided opinions that people have about this city….

Here are the reactions / responses:

– Especially just two miles away are beautiful homes!

2 miles from Baltimore

2 miles from Baltimore

– I guess ‘The Wire’ wasn’t too far from the truth.
– Every city has its slums.
– What is interesting is there can be three boarded up houses and then one that has been totally restored. These neighborhoods are coming back. Just needs somebody to realise the potential and the neighbourhood will soon pick up.
– More than 40,000 houses like this in Baltimore. They need pulling down to be honest
The problem with Baltimore is it is a patchwork of good and bad neighbourhoods. One side of the street might be a great neighbourhood, and the other side is full of serious crime. And the good neighbourhoods soon become targets, and then people leave.
– It’s so sad! So many homes, that if they were not left to decay, could be lovely homes for people!
Pulling down the houses reflects what was happening five or more years ago. Look at No.3 in the picture, the owners has invested in their house.
– Investment in properties like this can be done,; a row house just sold on the corner of my street for 425k, but a block away, the houses are all boarded up and full of rats and drug addicts. That neighbourhood has been like that for at least the 9 years I’ve lived here. I’ve seen this neighbourhood come up from not a lot, make something of itself, fall back down due to crime, and it is now starting to turn around again. But, because it is a nicer neighbourhood it is susceptible to B&E’s.
Looks like Paisley, Scotland….
– I have lived in Maryland my whole life. I’ve never been a fan of our city. The crime has only gotten worse. The more I travel within this country, the more I realize how horrible Baltimore is. So many other cities are safer and prettier.
Baltimore has so much to offer everyone, great theater, movies, parks, gardens, museums the list goes on and on, time for you to explore:) Oh, and just as a side Haborplace was the seed that transformed decaying waterfronts around the world thanks to Mayor Shaffer and James Rouse.
– The problem is that whenever I go to events in the city I encounter bums, beggars and lots of loud and inappropriate language. Even in the “good neighborhoods”. As a woman, I feel very unsafe when surrounded by these conditions. The nightly news has become a joke at my house. We bet on how many shootings there were in Baltimore on any given day. – It’s not my cup of tea.
I love Baltimore – would love to have known it before the drugs/crime/homelessness. You can see the buildings were once handsome and the city has a rich cultural life and a place in national history. So many problems. Such a shame.
– I think of Baltimore as being the Sunnydale of the East coast, only without Buffy.
– I did live in Baltimore City for 10 years – it wasn’t really a rough neighborhood but my property value was going down. I wanted to put on an extension but it did not make sense, I would never have recouped the costs if I ever sold …so I moved to the County like so many do. I must say I do prefer the City though warts and all …
– Have you learned about the flashing blue lights in some Baltimore neighborhoods? The faster they flash, the higher the crime risk to you. Nice of the city, don’t ya’ think? Smh.
– The flashing blue light thing is an urban myth, by the way.
– I’ve been here four years and its all so true, just Sunday we went to the Orioles game and the stadiums, inner harbor etc are fine, its lovely where we live but what we have to pass through to get into the city just beggars belief, it’s so sad all that housing going to waste. I daren’t venture into the city alone because I need to get a new cell and feel vulnerable going alone. There are people asking for cigs/money. There are slums in every city but not to the scale ive seen here and I wouldn’t think twice about going anywhere at home without a phone, would walk about at night and not give it a second thought. When I asked about the blue flashing lights I was gobsmacked what they were about. There are shootings on the news every day, when I first got here, I would think OMG, now I’m almost blase about it and actually ignore it. Something needs to be done because it could be a lovely place. It really is a shame.

Baltimore

Baltimore

Patrolling the West District

Patrolling the West District

Whatever the view about Baltimore, it continues to divide opinion – there are the lovers and the loathers.

Me? I’ll be back for sure – in fact, I’ll be there this weekend. But when I visit I am always fully aware of the other side of Baltimore, and I don’t really know what can be done about that.

Over to you, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O’Malley……

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One Response to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 412

  1. Andy says:

    Great post!

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