Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

On TV, No Bull

As Brian notes (“New Beginnings”), this blog has recently awoken after a prolonged slumber (two words: bio statistics; if you understand that stuff you can also use the words together, and good for you). You may wonder who Brian is. We wrote about him every now and again. Now he’s here to get things going again. On with the show.

While the blog lay dusty in a desk drawer, an episode of the celebrity chef program No Reservations re-energized debate about the city’s Wire-imposed rep.

In a whirlwind tour of the American Rust Belt, featured in an episode aired in late July, Anthony Bourdain touches down in West Baltimore for lake trout at The Roost, “football sized” crab cake at Moe’s and gossip with Felicia “Snoop” Pearson. Now a megarich globe-trotting chef-cum-memoirist-cum-reality star, he confides to Pearson that while living in Baltimore in the 80s, he drove to New York to score dope, not being savvy enough to find heroin here in the city where grandmas shoot up. On the show, Bourdain strolls with Pearson down a street lined with burned out rowhouses and abandoned couches. It could be The Wire‘s Hampsterdam but that’s besides the point: it could be almost any block in East or West or South Baltimore. (more…)


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Civic Duty

logo“With a strong work ethic and a focus on education and skills training, Civic works continues to kindle positive change in the lives of Baltimore’s young adults and in our communities.”

-Former Mayor Martin O’Malley, City of Baltimore

A delegation from the block inaugurated the spanking-new hot weather by digging in the dirt with the Civic Works AmeriCorps volunteers of East Baltimore. A crew of Hopkins students eager to get out of the lab met in the squinting sunny morning on Monument and trekked east in a herd to one of CW’s gardens nearby. Built abutting a drug-running alley–the east side runs cocaine–the garden is about a block long and half a block wide. The city had raised a block of dilapidated rowhouses here, when a local church came to Civic Works and asked them to transform the vacant lot. They created a vegetable garden and oasis of calm shaded by apple trees. (more…)

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Recycling in Baltimore

recyclingbinsA friend commented recently that from my blog it seems that I have “given up” on Baltimore.

Banish the thought — especially today, when the sun showed up for spring. In shirtsleeves and sunglasses, we ate lunch by the harbor, looking at the water shimmer blue. A giant papaya shake stand on Broadway was nearly equivalent to that on Mexico City streets, except you could wire your remittances home inside the shop. After work, we walked down Broadway again for $3 margaritas at Arcos.

I relish much of my adopted city, the Charming Quirky City on the Harbor. But before stepping outside to walk the dog, I grip my mace, open the door a crack and look both ways. With good reason: Last night, there were guys in big jackets standing on 3 corners of the intersection of Cathedral and Park for hours, pacing and keeping watch for something I didn’t want to stick around for.

Tonight I cracked open the door and peered out into the eyes of a man digging through our dumpster that sits by our back door. “I’m not messing anything up!” he said, as startled as I was. This may explain the old underwear, hair nets and cat food cans strewn around our doorstep on many mornings.

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