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I was wondering why the Washington City Paper would publish such an error-filled, nonfactual, and cutesy article by Elissa Silverman on Baltimore (“Romancing the Crab,” “Bewitched,” 9/10) until I examined the masthead and observed that she is an assistant editor. Most editors would not have let something so opinionated in a newspaper; however, it must have been her feature, so no one else edited it.
Silverman must have had a very rough childhood and should stay out of the coffeehouses in D.C. She claims New York, Chicago, and a couple of other cites are much better than a city like Baltimore, which is living in its past industrialization.
Well, Hon, most Baltimore schoolchildren, even the ones not going to City or Poly, know that not only is Baltimore’s industrial economy going downhill, most U.S. cities also have that problem. After all, isn’t that why they call most of the northeastern U.S. the Rust Bucket? Blue-collar employment is on the decline. Most cities face the same plight as Baltimore—but many, including New York, have copied the Inner Harbor.
Now, not being a native Baltimorean, I realize that Baltimore may be only your stepmom, as it is mine. We have something in common in that. We both have our roots in Brooklyn, N.Y. That is home, regardless of where you were raised. I have never seen a job application or questionnaire asking for where you were raised. I am sure that for most of your family weddings, events, and funerals, New York is where you went. I stayed in Brooklyn a little longer than you, until I was in the eighth grade. Then my family moved to Chicago, which is like Baltimore, only bigger. Also in Brooklyn, as well as Staten Island and Queens, most who were born there stay in New York or move to the Island. Hon, not everyone moves away, and the neighborhoods in most major U.S. cities are very ethnic. But, of course, in your 26 years and your massive research, you knew otherwise.
As for your KKK comment on Hampden, what about the D.C. suburbs where a school’s athletic team practices racism? Unfortunately, racism is everywhere. Baltimore has a lot less of it than D.C. and its suburbs. You fail to mention that in your article. Most Americans stay in the towns that they grew up in. Sorry that you had to move from Westchester, N.Y., your home, to Baltimore.
Now, since you are such a John Waters fan, I am glad to see that you know so much about him. Especially his movies, which he wants in Baltimore, because he is proud of the city, as am I in my adopted home. As far as the mayor’s race, not one of the candidates who had any criminal past is even close to being selected. Being a citizen of the U.S., you should realize that you are afforded the opportunity to do things and not be discriminated against. But what was that about the D.C. police force a while back? Also, one cannot say that about D.C. and Marion “I Like Drugs” Barry, the former convict mayor. Besides, if you had read more of Mencken’s articles, you would know that he would have called it Charm City if he had thought of it. But since you’re so worldly at 26, what could I expect?
In closing, like most people, I concede that thinking about some good things in the past has its advantages. However, Baltimore is growing leaps and bounds and at times losing some of that good old blue-collar attitude. Maybe you should see Canton, Fells Point, Charles Village, and even Hampden. Incidentally, they have Donna’s and Xando coffeehouses in Charles Village now for your pleasure. Besides, I would be happy to debate you in any one of those coffeehouses. But, of course, I am just a little bit worldlier than you and have also lived in many more cities—however, I find Baltimore one of the most charming.
Thanks for the time in this abridged article about someone who is a bitter person. Besides, Ms. Silverman, Hon, you could save money and just get Home Team Sports and watch the O’s on that and get some Asian blue crabs from Phillips on the Potomac, since Baltimore is not your style. Trust us simple people here in Baltimore, we would not miss you at all.