I’ve been working and working and working lately, totally overwhelmed by work. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding my bike, but it does mean I’ve largely been riding to work, to meetings, to acupuncture appointments, and to dinner and drinks and play when I can sneak it in. Grades are in for the spring semester, though, and summer school doesn’t start until Wednesday, so by Saturday afternoon I started to feel the loosening of vacation and a glimpse or two of the me that emerges when I have time to get just a little bit bored. And today the rain let up and the winds died down, and I got to take a bike ride just to see what I might see.
Old Town Mall
US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark Medallion on School 33 Art Center at Light & Birckhead
Monday was a day of appointments all over the city, which actually means a day of riding all over the city, if you are lucky enough to commute by bike. I started early, joining the morning traffic as I snaked my way south and east and south and east for an appointment at the eastern edge of Fleet Street. I skipped the usual route and got to ride through neighborhoods I normally don’t hit, including a bonus morning skip through the Old Town Mall, suddenly slated for redevelopment, thank goodness. I’m a suspicious li’l worry wart, though, so I should probably hold that thank goodness until we see what the city decides to subsidize there. Continue reading
Green Door on Luzerne at E. Baltimore
And finally I was back on the bike after a weekend of moving N. from up the block down and up the stairs to my house, a couple days of freezing rain, and a long holiday weekend in New York with the sister. N. spent her day reorganizing the never-been-organized kitchen, and she gave me a list of things to get from the stores over at Canton Crossing with strict instructions to get myself lost on the way there. I didn’t get lost, but I did manage to figure out where Greenmount Avenue goes if you just follow it down–that desolate place called Old Town Mall. Continue reading
Empty Storefronts in Baltimore’s Old Town Mall at Gay & Orleans
I’m back in Baltimore, and after some cat-snuggling and email-answering it was time to head out on the bike. Oh, Surly, I missed you! We made a quick stop in the neighborhood for a sandwich before heading down the hill and taking a right on Gay Street for a slow trip through the abandoned Old Town Mall. This place is just a few blocks off the main downtown drag, but it might as well be in, well, east Baltimore. I snapped this picture while pushing my bike along, and it felt like a ghost town. I idly wondered if they might make this an Ole Tyme Ghost Town or Colonial Williamsburg-type tourist destination–what’s the difference? Or will it someday be that–urban disaster tourism, a la New Orleans? I continued along, saying my how-you-doins (I missed those–the west coast doesn’t share this neighborly ritual) and noting the couple of storefronts that have managed to stay open, and then I was back on a bike lane and pedaling along through east Baltimore and down to Fells Point to stare at the water and then heading to O’Donnell Square for frozen yogurt before heading home through Patterson Park and back up the hill. It just felt good to be out there and on the bike, good to be home. I really, really like this place, from the parks and bike lanes to the Old Town Malls–all of it.
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. Continue reading
Old Town Mall From the Parking Lot at Orleans & Forrest
Today’s ride took me over to Hampden for brunch and some time reading about the history of Hampden–trippy. It was a mill town, set apart from the rest of the city, populated by native-born rural whites who moved there to work in the mills, live in company housing, and shop at the company store. And then there was a strike, and they lost, because the mill owners just flat out refused to bargain. There’s more, about how public space is controlled as a way to control labor, for example, but then it was time to get back on the bike and ride on streets I’m not used to, hoping to end up vaguely downtown. Continue reading