Baltimore is NOT The Wire

“Well, because my girlfriend is from a suburb of Baltimore she’d never had Indian or Thai cuisines, but now that I’ve shown them to her, she really loves Thai food,” recently said my friend, Tim, to an objective third-party whom neither of us knew well. Tim’s a native Manhattan resident. In an effort not to make a scene on the spot, I carefully concocted a response to his falsified information- spreading that I sent his way later. When I got home that night, I sent him the following text, “[What he says about Baltimore] isn’t true. It’s not becauseyour girlfriend is from a suburb of Baltimore that she doesn’t know those cuisines. It’s because she doesn’t know them, and I don’t know why she doesn’t, or didn’t.”

Baltimore, Maryland

             Already having the terrible taste of denigration to Baltimore in my mouth by Tim’s comment, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at what occurred a few days later. 

            After this millennial male in a business suit had asked me where I was from, I heard an audible groan come from him. We were sitting at a bar in my neighborhood when I had disclosed to him that I was from Baltimore. 

            In an attempt to make me feel lesser than he, and to compel me to feel ashamed of my roots, he continued on his negging ways by citing the high crime rate in Baltimore. He also referenced the discontinued fictional HBO series,The Wire, as “factual” proof of what I would have lived during my childhood in Baltimore City. 

            What a moron! 

         Yes, of course it’s true that Baltimore has some very dangerous and dilapidated areas. I know that, but there are some plenty of magnificent spots, too.


Sure, Baltimore Has its Bad Points

            God knows I’m in a constant state of defense up here in NYC when it comes to ever referencing my home turf. On the regular, I am confronted with negative stories about my hometown that I’m then expected to answer for. “Baltimore is so dangerous; seriously, no one should live there,” said one know-it-all bartender I remember from living uptown.

            Of course Baltimore is dangerous; that can’t be denied.

            But, to be honest, just as financial advisor, Baltimore native and current resident, Alex L., says, “Baltimore City obviously has some issues, but the crime is relatively isolated.” Most city dwellers know of “isolated” pockets within their own cities, too. Baltimore is no different. Its residents know to steer clear of these sections, so as not to be confronted with crime and danger.

            Even precious New York City has those areas, sorry to admit. 

            If one chooses to focus solely on said unsafe pockets, of course Baltimore can be made to look as awful as any poor, crime-ridden, drug-infested locale! In my opinion, that is exactly what happened with the national media coverage in regards to the Baltimore riots of 2017.          

            I was even home in Baltimore during the time of the charged protests of that year, and other than the strict curfew that had been imposed on all of Baltimore City, from the southern tip of West Baltimore all the way north to Mount Washington, and surrounding areas, I didn’t see any of the mischief first-hand. 

            But I, like the rest of the nation, did have a front row seat to riots that major news networks had come upon in regions of Baltimore that are infrequently visited by people looking to avoid crime, anyway. Specifically West Baltimore, home of the projects and the setting for The Wire, is where much riot footage was taken. 

            So yes, while Baltimore is fraught with a considerable amount of crime from the locals and from the corrupt legislators some desirable qualities continue to ring true.


Why Baltimore is Nice?


            Firstly, the excellent schooling of middle and upper schools, as well as colleges, is a cut above the rest. As mother, native Baltimorean, and co- business owner (with her British husband, Neill) of The Corner Pantry (café with locally sourced, modern British cuisine), Emily Baggan Howell, goes on to describe the Baltimore school system as follows: “The private school system in Baltimore is one of its finest attributes. And while this could come off as elitist, it should be known that Baltimore is comprised of schools that cater to every learning style, special needs etc [sic] unlike anywhere else in the country - maybe even world. “

            In addition, Emily attests to the location of Baltimore as being so ideal. “[Baltimore] is close to all surrounding east coast cities like philly, dc, nyc,” she texted me. In addition to neighboring major cities in different states one financial professional in Baltimore remarked to me how, “The [Baltimore] city is close to Annapolis and all areas of the Chesapeake Bay.” 

            But Emily Howell also named Baltimore’s healthcare network as being quite renowned. Between, “[Johns] Hopkins, Shepherd Pratt, and the University of Md,” there exist “amazing doctors and an outstanding healthcare network.” I, Françoise Gordon, should know about this estimable healthcare network. Many in my family have worked for this world-renowned healthcare system.

            Similarly, my second cousin, Neal Baroody, adjunct professor and partner in a law firm, attests to the same sorts of things. Neal says, “We have great schools, great colleges, beautiful parks, and one of the most beautiful harbors in the world…Families stay here and their children return home here because we love each other.” This sentiment was later seconded by his very own sister, the medical professional, Bernie Baroody.” “Families stay here and their children return home here because we love each other,” Bernie said. In addition to the sincere love expressed by its residents, Baltimore contains an incredibly vibrant art scene, as well.  She says. “The music, the neighborhood festivals, and of course the museums. The BMA [Baltimore Museum of Art] is amazing. The street art is always a great reminder of the people that live [there] and what is important to them.” 

            Baltimore doesn’t get the moniker, “Smalltimore” for nothing! The small town feel of this large metropolis is like no other.

            No matter what though, Baltimore still does get a bad rap. 

            And I, along with everyone I know and love from there

                                                            … We are just sick of it!

*Several names in this piece have been changed to protect privacy