About a month or so ago, the editorial and art staffs had a massive brainstorming session about all the unique virtues of Charm City, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of that session this month in “101 Reasons to Love Baltimore Right Now.”
There are some relatively serious things we’re grateful for on there, like the vitality Kwame Kwei-Armah has brought to Center Stage, the unparalleled excellence Baltimore has in its hospitals, and the metro area’s bargain housing values. But there’s no shortage of whacky ones, too, like our toilet races or pickle pops. All of which makes for a great parlor game: Maybe our readers can think of some that didn’t make the cut.
My personal list? It would have to include some bigger-picture things, like Baltimore’s strength as a sports town, not just because of the rabid fanbase that the Orioles and Ravens enjoy, but also because of the other thriving sports attractions, from the Blast to the Preakness Stakes.
And then there’s the food: Baltimore punches above its weight when it comes to both the range of cuisines and the high regard in which many of its restaurants are held.
Of course, much of the success of those dozens of great restaurants is due to the city’s status—and the Chesapeake Bay’s, generally—as a prime tourist destination. And that’s a draw that can only be magnified by the arrival of the casinos, particularly Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County and the Caesar’s casino coming soon near M&T Bank Stadium, which we can expect to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into city and state coffers. It’s worth noting, however, that the fresh talk about revitalizing the Inner Harbor isn’t just about tourists and conventioneers—it’s also about making a very liveable and walkable city even more so for its own residents.
But most important, perhaps, is the fact that we’re a place without much of the pretentiousness and frenetic pace of other major cities. And finally, I’d add to my list our collective personality: We’re pretty self-effacing, laid-back, and tolerant in our dealings with each other. (A simple gauge: Count the angry honking you hear in traffic in New York, Washington, or Boston; you rarely hear horns here.) And that patience is an important trait that certain other nearby metropolises (they know who they are) have lost—or never had in the first place.