The legendary if notorious slice of Baltimoriana known as The Block will soon be just memory, the victim of inexorable downtown redevelopment that is transforming the face of this city. Few will lament the demise of the tawdry strip of bars, sex showcases and adult bookstores along East Baltimore Street that today is but a vestige of its former self. As The Evening Sun's Thomas W. Waldron reported last week, Baltimore's Block gradually is becoming just another block.
Most of what people remember of Baltimore's tenderloin district was just that -- legend. Yes, Blaze Starr once performed there when burlesque was a minor art form and almost -- but not quite -- respectable. But like most aging remnants of faded glory, Block history is highly embellished with nostalgia. Truth to tell, the area was always more rot than glitter.
Now that rising commercial real estate values are pushing the trade from downtown, the problem has become one of dispersion, as individual businesses scatter and relocate on any available fringe of the metro area. Human nature being what it is, there will always be a market for such enterprise. Yet the problem becomes more rather than less difficult when it is not confined to a single, sharply defined section of the city.