White Picket Fence and Houses at Orville & Chase

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I am still under the weather with a pesky cold probably picked up from my germy students, but I’m leaving town without my bicycles for much of the next two weeks, so I had to get a decent ride in today to stave off the fussiness that takes over when I can’t pedal about. I headed down the hill and took a left on Biddle to see where it would dead end. I finally ran into Edison Highway, took my right, and then a quick left and past stacks and stacks and stacks of something-I think roofing material-and one of Baltimore City’s storage and repair facilities for city vehicles. The snowplows are out on the street, but I’m assuming that’s for show, because I’m not ready for snow. I followed the dead end signs to the dead end, got off my bike, and walked us around the barrier. A couple guys were working an a car. They popped their heads up, and one said, “If you’ve made it this far, you’re almost home.” It took me a few minutes of riding around the neighborhood to figure out what he meant: I had survived black neighborhoods and was home in the white neighborhood. Shudder. The lawn signs were all No on 6 (our same-sex marriage act), and though I’m certainly no fan of aligning life chances with the arbitrary achievement of grabbing a supposedly permanent monogamous romantic relationship (that we do that is so weird, if you think about it), those signs are really just voting no on queers existing. Nothing but bigotry, really, and this white picket fence is just putting lipstick on that pig. This was Armistead Homes, formerly public housing turned into co ops after war housing was no longer needed. They can vote on who is allowed to live there, and surprise, surprise, the neighborhood is over 87% white. I rode around but quickly found my way out and snakes through Northeast Baltimore until I was back in the segregated neighborhoods that have become familiar to me in my regular rides. And then I was on Gough, Lombard, Pratt and Fait~though not in that order~and I was back in Fells Point, a quick stop at the gym, and up the hill to home. It was a good ride that left me thinking about the difference between the fates of public housing complexes~much to learn there. Good thing I get to teach about it next semester. I wonder how long I’d have to live here before finding this little northeast neighborhood if I didn’t ride my bike around aimlessly.

3 thoughts on “White Picket Fence and Houses at Orville & Chase

  1. Probably what i find most weird about Question 6 is that I actually have to vote for it. It’s just common sense. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness…unless of course, you’re queer.

  2. Exploring this city by bike is one of the joys I received when I moved here and I’ve been taking photos of buildings. This week the Atlantic Cities website posted a photo essay on why cities are prettier in the fall.

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2012/10/every-city-looks-prettier-fall/3714/

    I found this to be an interesting assertion, after all how one defines pretty and the images selected to represent fall matter quite a lot. I suspect that cities are beautiful and horrifying every single day. Sometimes we just deign to notice.

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