Heading for Maryland? Baltimore has its charms

August 02, 2007|By DAN RODRICKS

Dear People Who Are Moving to Maryland Because of the Military Base Realignment,

Hello from area code 410. While you're stressing about the move and trying to decide on a place to live, here are 100 reasons to consider the City of Baltimore: 1. We have lots of room. Population was 950,000 in 1950. It's about 635,000 today.

2. There's new energy in this city, and we need new citizens to keep the momentum.

3. You'll feel wanted.

4. Friends from the suburbs will consider you urbane.

5. We have oodles of rowhouses waiting for new owners, new paint, new decks.

6. Save on gas. Walk to the supermarket or the dry cleaner.

7. Keep in shape. Walk to the supermarket or the dry cleaner.

8. Bump into friends as you walk to the supermarket or dry cleaner.

9. You're not that far from Washington, assuming you consider that a plus.

10. Not that far from Philly, either.

11. We have trains that can get you to the Fort Meade area or Aberdeen.

12. We have light rail.

13. Matthew's Pizza is as fine as any you've had in your life.

14. The Orioles are going into a long, happy winning cycle.

15. If you're from New Jersey, you'll finally have a decent NFL team to cheer for.

16. The Army-Navy game is coming downtown again (Dec. 1).

17. Two farmers' markets per weekend, almost all year.

18. Great hospitals: If you're going to get sick, this is the place to do it, baby.

19. If you're not a drug dealer or a gangsta, your chances of being a violent-crime victim are low. (If you're in the military, and you don't want to live in Baltimore because you think it's dangerous, you probably shouldn't be in the military either.)

20. We have curbside recyling.

21. Dental hygienists call you "Hon."

22. Pink flamingos are sacred.

23. Snow panic at local supermarkets -- cheapest entertainment in the East.

24. It'll still take a while, but the public schools will become the pride of the city again.

25. We're going to have a smoking ban.

26. You can expose your kids to lacrosse, a sport they might not otherwise play.

27. You won't find Gebco Girls commercials anywhere else.

28. We have a good public water supply -- better than the bottled stuff.

29. Supermarket chains are actually opening new stores here.

30. In the next five years, we'll have a new arena.

31. You can engage in high-quality people-watching at the Canton Safeway.

32. Ditto Harborplace.

33. There's fun in Patterson Park with the Baltimore Sports Social Club (if you're single, and even if you're not).

34. We have New York-quality (but not priced) Jewish delis on Corned Beef Row, and Attman's is expanding.

35. Move here and you get the sushi buffet at New No Da Ji.

36. The view from Federal Hill.

37. The whole Homewood Hopkins scene.

38. The Walters Art Museum -- and it's free.

39. Lunchtime music at Lexington Market.

40. Flowers, fish and fruit at Cross Street.

41. Fort McHenry picnics.

42. J. Patrick's Irish Pub.

43. Sophie's crepes on a cold night at the Charles.

44. Halloween in Fells Point.

45. Christmas in Hampden.

46. The Flower Mart.

47. Tulip time in Guilford.

48. Duckpins, still bowled here.

49. Great trout fishing, 30 minutes away.

50. The Preakness.

51. The Senator.

52. The BMA.

53. Great Blacks in Wax.

54. Noontime concerts at Old St. Paul's.

55. Artscape.

56. Vaccaro's Italian pastry shop. Take the cannolis!

57. The Bradford pears bloom as the Orioles return from spring training.

58. Catch a 30-inch rockfish right in the Inner Harbor.

59. Bocce games in Little Italy.

60. Raw oysters at Faidley's or Nick's.

61. Dozens of great restaurants, new ones opening all the time.

62. St. Vincent de Paul Church, where the homeless are welcome.

63. College lacrosse.

64. Baltimore Book Festival.

65. Caribbean Festival.

66. Baltimore Marathon.

67. Fells Point Fun Festival.

68. DiPasquale's Italian store.

69. Greektown.

70. Greg's Bagels.

71. We have the artist Spoon Popkin.

72. The second baseman Brian Roberts.

73. The free safety Ed Reed.

74. The great pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

75. Rick Dempsey is an O's broadcaster now, and that's a smile.

76. Good old-school bakeries -- Fenwick, Woodlea, Edelweiss.

77. Peabody Library.

78. Mount Royal Tavern.

79. Coffee at the Daily Grind.

80. Kayaking in the harbor.

81. The Enoch Pratt Free Library.

82. The Hippodrome on downtown's developing west side.

83. Boog and his barbecue.

84. WPOC's Laurie DeYoung.

85. The Mimi Dome (ice rink in Patterson Park).

86. New Year's Eve shows at Center Stage.

87. Baltimore Opera -- better than you think.

88. Northwood football.

89. Ostrowski's Polish sausage.

90. Roma's Italian sausage.

91. Christmas tree mulching day at Poly.

92. Video Americain.

93. We're finally building a convention hotel near the convention center.

94. Chicken pot pie at the Sip & Bite.

95. The Natty Boh guy (on top of Brewer's Hill) winks every 15 minutes.

96. A guy leaves brandy on Poe's grave every January.

97. You'll love the Poe statue at UB.

98. Jim Palmer talkin' pitching mechanics during an O's telecast.

99. Movie night in Little Italy.

100. The radio flea market on WCBM. (Great for those learning to speak Bawlmerese.)

Move here and I'll tell you more about all of this, or just drop me a line and I'll fill you in:

dan.rodricks@baltsun.com

ONLINE Find Dan Rodricks' column archive at baltimoresun.com/rodricks

More BRAC stories and resources at baltimoresun.com/brac

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