There’s a decent story buried in yesterday’s Washington Post travel piece about Baltimore – author Marc Fisher gets a porchetta-and-provolone panini at Trinacria, catches Ian Hesford of Telesma playing a didgeridoo in the Bohemian Coffee House and joins one of those Bromo Seltzer tours where you go inside the clock tower.
But the stinky cheese of condescension just completely gums up this journalistic panini. It’s everywhere:
“And my usual reaction to Baltimore — Get me a Bromo — fades away, at least for the moment.”
“I have about as much interest in news from the next big city up the Northeast Corridor as I do in, say, Pittsburgh.”
“Early stage gentrification,” he says, of Station North.
He allows as how, “even in decline, Baltimore has managed to add some glitz to its grit,” but of course at the Harbor East Greek restaurant Ouzo Bay “The crowd is noticeably Baltimore — older, more casually dressed, whiter and heavier than you’d find in a similarly priced spot in Washington.”
“I enjoy a great beehive hairdo as much as the next guy, but camp, ultimately, is as empty as Baltimore’s rubble-strewn vacant lots.”
And here’s his kicker:
“Baltimore is changing, but so far it’s still affordable, distinctive and grounded. I wouldn’t want to live there, but what a place to explore.”
Brunette with Personality
At The Brew, we occasionally like to take note of how Baltimore is perceived, framed and marketed by these out-of-town travel writers, but we’ve mostly looked at the evolving iconography found in New York Times pieces. (They’ve gone from “tall ships” to “Cafe Hon flamingo” to a hipster hoe-down at the Windup Space.)
The Times may not get it completely right but they’re secure enough in their own city-hood that they don’t have to lay on the snark. Anyway, commenters like mobtowngirl are giving it right back.
“DC is the hot blonde girl who waxes herself nearly bald, went to Penn, and works in communications for a prestigious nonprofit. Baltimore is the brunette who still plays D&D, argues about philosophy on Reddit, and has a taste for kink,” she writes.
“Baltimore will never try to be DC, much as some travel writers might like it to be so. Thank goodness my adopted hometown has a personality, even if that personality is too scary for the article’s author.”