It was gray and rainy out, but I was in no mood to drive a car over to Federal Hill, so I broke the “don’t start a ride in the rain” rule and pedaled down the hill, around the harbor, and up the hill on the other side. I spent part of my morning reading about Federal Hill, and once you know a little bit of history about the place you’re in, well, if you’re me, it doesn’t look the same. Take the Maryland Science Center, for example. Before today it was to me just a big behemoth of brick that marks the end or start of the bike path, depending on where I’m headed. According to David Harvey, though, it’s a windowless citadel guarding the “rebirthed” Inner Harbor, a cash cow for developers, from the “angry” poor whites and African Americans who used to live just up from here. The surrounding neighborhoods are now mostly comprised of young white professionals, but the Science Center is still there, blocking their view and complicating access, and i’d never know it’s history without the fine folks who remind us that our built environment and who’s in it is no accident. I rode up to Fort Avenue and down to the new McHenry Row. So many empty properties, but we’re still making new developments like this one, which was an empty lot today. Time will tell, I suppose, whether all this new housing will fill, but it seems like so much boondoggle to me. One thing’s for sure, though~these waterproof panniers are awesome on days like this one, because it was an awfully misty ride home.
Old Baltimore is angry because a lot of money was funneled into developing the Inner Harbor at the expense of schools and other services throughout the city. There are a lot of young families here now. A lot leave when their children get to school age or the small families just outgrow the tiny houses.
McHenry Row is fairly new. The Harris Teeter has been great for easily getting fresh produce in this part of town without having to drive around the harbor to the Whole Paycheck.
Is the Ritz Carlton still fairly empty? (There are only a few lights on in there at night, and I am not sure who they were going to sell million dollar condos to anyway unless the ultimate goal is to sell the whole development to Tom Clancy.)
Go visit Sherwood Gardens before all the flowers die.
In the right gear, with the right gear. Ahh, bliss….
I hope for you, a long and lovely bike ride – with no particular destination – this weekend.
Boondoggle is such a fine word.