News & Community

Counting The Ways

It’s Charm City cheerleading time.

About a month or so ago, the editorial and art staffs had a massive
brainstorming session about all the unique virtues of Charm City, and
you’ll enjoy the fruits of that session this month in “101 Reasons to
Love Baltimore Right Now.”

There are some relatively serious
things we’re grateful for on there, like the vitality Kwame Kwei-Armah
has brought to Center Stage, the unparalleled excellence Baltimore has
in its hospitals, and the metro area’s bargain housing values. But
there’s no shortage of whacky ones, too, like our toilet races or pickle
pops. All of which makes for a great parlor game: Maybe our readers can
think of some that didn’t make the cut.

My personal list? It
would have to include some bigger-picture things, like Baltimore’s
strength as a sports town, not just because of the rabid fanbase that
the Orioles and Ravens enjoy, but also because of the other thriving
sports attractions, from the Blast to the Preakness Stakes.

then there’s the food: Baltimore punches above its weight when it comes
to both the range of cuisines and the high regard in which many of its
restaurants are held.

Of course, much of the success of those
dozens of great restaurants is due to the city’s status—and the
Chesapeake Bay’s, generally—as a prime tourist destination. And that’s a
draw that can only be magnified by the arrival of the casinos,
particularly Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County and the Caesar’s
casino coming soon near M&T Bank Stadium, which we can expect to
pump hundreds of millions of dollars into city and state coffers. It’s
worth noting, however, that the fresh talk about revitalizing the Inner
Harbor isn’t just about tourists and conventioneers—it’s also about
making a very liveable and walkable city even more so for its own

But most important, perhaps, is the fact that we’re a
place without much of the pretentiousness and frenetic pace of other
major cities. And finally, I’d add to my list our collective
personality: We’re pretty self-effacing, laid-back, and tolerant in our
dealings with each other. (A simple gauge: Count the angry honking you
hear in traffic in New York, Washington, or Boston; you rarely hear
horns here.) And that patience is an important trait that certain other
nearby metropolises (they know who they are) have lost—or never had in
the first place.