Old Town Mall on Forrest Street

I started my morning with S. and J. and our Sunday Morning Hiking Club, which is really the best thing going. I mean, what day isn’t better when it starts with a brisk walk amidst some good old fashioned natural beauty, especially when it’s followed up by a seasonal latte? After warming back up at home it was time to take the bike out for a ride. I headed down the hill in the vague direction of the gym, but took a left through the parking lot between the strip club and the prison instead of heading straight downtown. I bounced over some cobblestones, cheated on the sidewalk for a block or two, and then was at the Old Town Mall on Forrest where I took this picture. That place feels like a movie set, but it’s not; it’s the site of a very old open air market that was developed and redeveloped as a shopping area over the past 200 years. It’s blight now, awaiting another redevelopment, but how many shopping areas can this city support, and what are the chances this spot sandwiched between prisons and public housing will actually get the support necessary to thrive? Are there really enough Black Fridays to keep us all afloat? I got back on my bike and pedaled east along Fayette Street to see where it ended (Pulaski Highway) and then back through Highlandtown, Canton, and Fells Point for a quick spin at the gym and a ride back up the hill to home. It was so lovely to be out on the bike with the right layers to keep me warm but not too, a reminder that yes, there’s plenty of riding to do in the winter and plenty to see–but look alive. Today’s ride required dodging two recently-deceased squirrels, a dirty diaper, a bloody pigeon wing, and a tampon. Oh, Baltimore, I love you.

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