Monday, November 3, 2014

Who Cares?

I have lived in Baltimore since 1984. I happen to love this city. There are some thing however about Baltimore that suck. If you are poor, Baltimore can suck really badly. 

This is Walker. I met Walker while I was taking a walk. I had my truck in for a front end alignment. The alignment grew into two tie rod ends and I needed to both kill some time and walk off some frustration. Walker stopped to tell me all about the neighborhood I was taking photos of. I was actually in a state of disbelief as to what it was I was seeing.

This is the area of Baltimore called Oldtown. Maybe because it is the Oldtown no one in the rest of town cares about it's state.

Right there, not even ten blocks away, guys in suits are making 6 figures. Some are making more.

No one in Oldtown is making 6 figures. Not even the drug kingpins are since no one actually lives in Oldtown any longer. 

I am sure there are a few drug addicts living in the area. It is rife with abandoned buildings, perfect for those abandoned by society or themselves.

Every store front is tightly shuttered. I can only hope the buildings are owned by someone hoping the city will remember where Oldtown is. 

What happened here is called urban revitalization by some. It started in the late 1970's when Johns Hopkins, 5 blocks to the East, began buying up buildings to expand their campus. Those buildings they could obtain were quickly torn down. 

There were some hold outs. 

Instead of trying harder, Johns Hopkins headed East where the neighborhood was all houses instead of businesses. It is far easier to get the poor people to move than to buy out all the commercial businesses.

Now it is all left in shambles. A once thriving commercial district in a total state of abandonment. 

Large blocks of vacant land. Streets that go no where. Stagnation.

Walker told me this was the grocery his mother sent him to. The nearest grocery store is now more than 20 blocks away. It is Whole Foods in Harbor East. You think many in this area are buying their groceries at Whole Foods? The guys in the suits down town are. The people around here rely on the small corner stores, their mostly Korean, owners hidden behind bullet proof glass.

"Not even the street lights work in Oldtown much less any of these broke ass niggers" is what Walker told me as we walked up the block. I had to actually stop and write that down. 

If these photos were in color you would be amazed at the stained glass in what was once a department store. There is not much color in Oldtown.

This is a real slice of the Baltimore very few ever see. Keep driving. Look the other way.


steve said...

Such great buildings with amazing character and no one to love on them.
Wish there was a way to make both the people and the buildings whole again.
BTW, love your pictures

Sanderson Sandy said...

Frank, I know where you're coming from. I grew up in Paterson, NJ. "Urban renewal" started in the 50's. Projects went up at the same time to house those who had been displaced by the renewal.Low income housing was torn down for no good reason, and those displaced had to move to another town. This was before the laws that if you displaced someone, you had to find them housing in your town. I could go on...