OT- moving to Baltimore

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Bikelove2010
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My husband with finish grad scool next year, but they start interviewing for jobs in sept. We need to have a decent idea of other cities we’d like to move to incase no jobs are available in Pittsburgh. There are a lot of open positions in his field in Baltimore. Has anyone ever been there ? We’re not able to go visit until July, but I’d like an idea about it before then. I’d like to continue to at least live car-lite (I’m currently car-free) and be close to the city but don’t really need to be IN the city. Any thoughts?


dwillen
Participant
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I spent a week there about a month ago for a convention. I didn’t explore too much, and was mostly stuck around the convention center. There were a bunch of bike lanes, even separated ones down by the water. Lots of busses and some light rail thing that got me from the airport pretty easily (and CHEAP — compared to every other light rail I’ve been on).

One night, I got sick of the tourist traps by the water and I walked to some bar with craft beer, a few miles through the “projects” (google neglected to inform me of this when providing directions) and the bartender told me I was crazy and insisted I take a cab back to my hotel.

I’m sure there are plenty of nicer parts of town and hopefully someone on the board can suggest some, but I didn’t see them on my limited travels. I was glad to be back in Pittsburgh. I’d definitely recommend a visit before you sign any papers.


fungicyclist
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Lived on Auchentoroly Terrace (Dutch I believe, for where the trolleys turn around), for four or five years before moving to Pgh about a decade ago. Though I visit regularly, I miss it. Over the past few days have been perusing what’s happening in the bike scene there, since I left. Here’s what I have up in various browser windows right now (which is in no way meant to be comprehensive):

http://www.velocipedebikeproject.org/media/ (their “freeride”)

http://bikemd.org/page.php?id=1

http://www.freestorebaltimore.org/page9/page9.html

B-more’s a flat city and bike friendly, more so then Pgh. I miss B-more. It has a lingering blue collar sensibility yet is more urbane and urban then Pgh. It’s city in transition to becoming an extension of D.C. The MARC flies to D.C. in a heartbeat. The Museum of Visionary Art is a treasure. I will caution you that B-more is significantly less “safe” then Pgh. Baltimore is a real, gritty city.

Pgh is Disneyland by comparison.


Marko82
Participant
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I lived an hour North for a few years. I loved going into the city on the weekends. The light-rail and water taxis will get you to an amazing number of neighborhoods – some safe, some not so safe – just like any city. They had a good band seen going too, but I havent kept track of what’s happining there lately. I always found the people to be friendly (every waitress will call you Hon). I also liked that DC, NYC and Phily are so near by.


fungicyclist
Participant
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@Marko82 – Were you up near Prettyboy and the Gunpowder River(s)?

Is that a “Cut” in your photo?


rsprake
Participant
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Watch “The Wire.”


edmonds59
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I was there a long time ago and I had a thing called a “Dutch apple pancake”, that was more like a baked deep dish apple cinnamon pizza-like thing than a pancake. It was incredible. Does anyone know of these things? I need a recipe.


dwillen
Participant
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Hah, in Minnesota, when I was little, we had these Dutch restaurants with a big windmill in the front of them. The “pancakes” were filled with air upon cooking, and they ran them out of the kitchen to your table still in a hot pan, and got them in front of you before they deflated, yelling “PANNEKOEKEN!” as they did this. Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannekoek


fungicyclist
Participant
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My former housemate from Auchentoroly, who owned the abode for more then a decade(and now lives in Greenbank WV at NRAO), recently recommended “The Wire” as a way to reminisce about our times in Baltimore. The library has the first few seasons. Well, sort of. I have the first full season here on my desk. Put in a request and that’ll motivate me to marathon my way through it and return it promptly. According to her, some of it was filmed a block from where we lived, as was “Avalon”, “Home for the Holidays”, “Pecker”,”Homicide: Life on the Streets”, and a few other features. (Studio owns a building there.) She had a bit part in “Hairspray” and is finally getting over her crush on and being crushed by a very young Depp.

John Waters rules, and is Baltimore personified. Unlike Warhol, Baltimore embraced and continues to embrace Waters.

Apologies for prattling on so; hope this is in some way helpful and responsive?


Marko82
Participant
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@fungi, I was over the PA line in York, but fished the gunpowder just the same. The avitar is a brookie (PA state fish!)with my favorite slow-tapered 4 wt. I love small stream mountain wild/native fishing.


fungicyclist
Participant
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Thought it might be a Brookie, the only trout indigenous to the East Coast. I’ve a custom, six and a half foot, three piece 3-weight I use for my small stream adventures. Gunpowder River ABOVE Prettyboy held some of the last vestiges of the coastal plains Brook Trout (who used to be sea-run!), from which we sourced eggs for posterity. They’re frozen in liquid nitrogen on the off chance we’ll have the opportunity to restore the species. Brookies are ever so gullible and delicate, they are nearly gone.

Mostly fish WV extremely high mountain streams for them these days, way off the beaten path.

Do you do your small stream stalking in PA? (I won’t ask for locations; finding them is half the fun.)

(Sorry, don’t mean to hijack the thread.)


Marko82
Participant
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Yeah I mostly fish in PA, occasionally in MD. There is nothing as pretty as a native trout, unfortunately we will lose thousands of years of DNA with this fracking nonsense. We’ll have to talk fish sometime.

(OP, sorry for the tangent)


ejwme
Participant
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I lived in the dorms at Peabody (5 walking minutes from the water @ Inner Harbor, not sure if this is part of “inner harbor” or not – did NOT explore much, it’s at “Washington Monument” – pales in comparison to the DC one, but that’s what they called it). Lots of nice places to live (structure-wise, lots of beautiful old brownstones and whatnot).

Where I lived, I used to describe it as sandwiched between the transvestite crack whores and the scardy cat yuppies, with the gunshots mostly staying on the one side. I learned to keep the windows shut at night. Day time it was nice as could be and looked great. Night was scary. Most people I knew who lived there more than about a year all got mugged, but we were an artsy, distracted, and discontented lot.

Visit, and go out at night, and talk to locals. By the end of my year, I yearned for just one person to walk at a decent pace, rather than the “well, I might have somewhere to be before I die, but maybe not” pace that it felt like the locals moved at. Took a train to DC for the afternoon and was totally refreshed by being surrounded by people who simply walked faster. Determined to leave Baltimore permanently shortly after.

It’s not my favorite city, but I was more than a little nuts when I was there (it was music school, for crissakes, and I’m an engineer now – I know I’m just “not right” in the head).

Oh – a good bit of advice – Don’t take a taxi from the greyhound station to anywhere – they’ll rip you off and take you for a ride, 100% of the time, even if you know the law and the fare, they simply won’t agree to it. I usually just walked, but I wasn’t going far.

And if you’re a music lover, Peabody throws tons of concerts all the time for next to nothing (mostly free? don’t remember, was free for me). Seriously world class musicians with tremendous talent. The creativity positively crackles from those buildings. CMU and Pitt have nothing on it, IMHO.

Wow but I was miserable there. Sad, because most everybody I talk to (now) loves the place and says it’s an awesome place to live. I’m convinced they’re right, I just wasn’t there in the right frame of mind/location. I did really like the area where Johns Hopkins Main campus was, much nicer than where Peabody was. Cherry trees (I think?) on campus were breathtaking.


hshoch
Participant
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Having relocated from Baltimore to Pittsburgh in ’09 after 10 years living on the outskirts of Johns Hopkins, I can’t help but smile at this note. I really love Pittsburgh, but miss Baltimore.

As far as cities go, Pittsburgh & Baltimore are very similar. Balto has a harbor and a gradual uphill as opposed to Pitt’s rivers and hills, there’s more grime and decay there, and it’s definitely got the edges of a southern vibe.

Bicycle culture is less well-developed than here, but two interesting bike shops have opened in the past few years, my favorite being baltimore bicycle works (http://www.baltimorebicycleworks.com/).

As much as people complain about Pittsburgh buses, they’re much worse in Baltimore. That said, if you pick your housing carefully relative to your work, car-free life is definitely possible.

I lived on the edge of Charles Village, where downtown was about four miles away and a doable bicycle ride: downhill to downtown, gradual uphill back. Hampden is also a good bicycle neighborhood – convenient to the Fallsway, which is a great way toward downtown. I can’t say anything about the suburbs.

PM me if you want more feedback. Good luck.


Bikelove2010
Participant
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wow! so much feedback!

ive heard the crime rate is high, but i grew up next to a real ghetto, so i think that part is okay. not what id like, but wont be to much of a culture shock.

I’ve also heard that pittburgh and baltimore are very similar, which make me really like it. it wont be a permanent move, we just really need a change for a while and they have so many more open positions than pittsburgh.

thanks guys!


helen s
Participant
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I have inlaws living there on Park Heights Ave- Large jewish population there, but have never taken my bike down even though I spent a few weekends a year. It does remind me of Pittsburgh some- not a large downtown, many distinct neighborhoods. although it has high crime stats, I have never had a problem, but I don’t hang out at night anywhere there or here. Just outside the beltway it gets rural pretty fast, at least in the nothwest corner, but other directions also from what I have seen. Beltway rush hour is horrendous, so living a bikable distance form work would defintley be advantageous.

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