Living

  • Best Reason to Live in Baltimore: Baltimore Uprising

    When Freddie Gray died, Baltimore hit its boiling point and could no longer go along with the status quo of extreme segregation and police violence. As the protests made news across the country, the national media ran footage of fires and looting on loop for days, but those of us in the city saw...

  • Best Reason to Leave Baltimore: The Red Line's Cancellation

    About a third of us Baltimoreans live without cars, a percentage surpassed only by New York, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Public transportation here, however, leaves a lot to desire. For the past decade, that desire has been something akin to hope—we were finally getting a new...

  • Best Baltimorean: Kevin Moore

    If it weren’t for Kevin Moore, the world would probably never know the name Freddie Gray. It was Moore who pointed his camera phone and taped Baltimore police as they dragged Gray into a police van while he screamed in pain. The video went viral, leading to protests and, when Gray died a week later...

  • Best Neighborhood: Sandtown-Winchester

    The West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester was ground zero for the Baltimore Uprising and not just because it was where six police officers picked up 25-year-old Freddie Gray for looking at them and then proceeded to somehow break his spine, which would kill him one week later. Sandtown...

  • Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhood: Mondawmin

    Mondawmin got a whole lot of bad press during the uprising, but it’s press that’s believable only if you don’t check out the neighborhood. Mondawmin is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city in terms of social class. It boasts a mall with a grocery store, a high-achieving elementary...

  • Best Perennially Up-and-Coming Neighborhood: Reservoir Hill

    With a wealth of beautiful Victorian mansions just waiting to be restored, prognosticators have for years speculated this neighborhood, just north of Bolton Hill with easy access to Druid Hill Park, was bound for an influx of development dollars. And yet it never happened. On July 22, The Sun published...

  • Best Down-and-Going Neighborhood: Mount Vernon

    Mount Vernon is still a beautiful, world-class neighborhood with beautiful parks, trees, monuments, and architecture. But it feels like it’s on the wane. In the last couple years it has lost First Thursdays (we know, if you don’t like WTMD’s brand of Bro Soft Rock that could be a plus) and the...

  • Best Return: Baltimore Pride

    Last year, the city moved Baltimore Pride out of the so-called Gayborhood of Mount Vernon up to Mount Royal, in the footprint of Artscape. It kind of sucked—and not in a good way. Drinkers were cordoned off in a “beer garden,” which was as much of a garden as those glassed-in smoking lounges at...

  • Best Do-Gooder: Rebecca Nagle

    Nagle’s do-gooder instincts are both hyperlocal and wide-reaching. As a co-founder of the Baltimore-based FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, she traveled around the country last year with FORCE’s Monument Quilt, a crowd-sourced art project that provides a platform and a “public healing space by and...

  • Best Escape From The City, in the City: Cylburn Arboretum

    4915 Greenspring Ave., (410) 367-2217, cylburn.org Many people may not realize it, but Baltimore has its own 207-acre park nestled into the hills between the Woodberry and Coldspring neighborhoods that’s the perfect respite from city living. Cylburn Arboretum is home to 150 acres of woods—most...

  • Best Death Scene: The Morris A. Mechanic Theatre

    Was it a brutalist masterpiece or an eyesore? As its demolition drew closer, a decade after it had stopped operating as a theater, half-obscured behind fencing, affection for the Mechanic started growing. And then, last fall, they started tearing it down. “For a while, the destruction was slow...

  • Best New Canopy: 700 Washington Place

    A triumph of glass and steel, the canopy was installed over the entrance of the Washington Place apartments just in time for the reopening of the Washington Monument. We had seen it, by chance, a few months earlier, hanging in midair at the Gutierrez Studios at an open house, when it looked like...

  • Best On-Schedule Comeback: The Washington Monument

    On a rainy Saturday morning, after an 18-month, $5.5 million restoration, the Washington Monument reopened to the public. It was July 4, the bicentennial anniversary of the dedication of the first architectural monument to George Washington in the United States. Here’s the funny thing. That’s exactly...

  • Best Resource: Station North Tool Library

    417 E. Oliver St., (410) 347-0850, stationnorthtoollibrary.org Founded in 2012 by John Shea and Piper Watson, Station North Tool Library makes us want to do things with our hands. And that’s saying a lot, because we always just assumed we’d be the first to go in the apocalypse. Now, we can fix...

  • Best Chicken-Industrial Complex: The Hamilton RoFo

    One business empire has trained its sights on a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood. Their sinister plan? To construct massive vats of hazardous materials in the name of profit—and that’s just the deep-fryers. Royal Farms has been fighting to move its Harford Road location a few blocks north, a...

  • Best Monument: The Black Soldiers Statue at War Memorial Plaza

    Mad respect to the organized citizens responsible for relocating James E. Lewis’ black soldier’s memorial to the War Memorial Plaza in front of City Hall in 2007; this 1971 bronze sculpture of a proud, uniformed black soldier holding a wreathed scroll couldn’t be in a more appropriate location....

  • Best Brutal Holdout: McKeldin Square

    Brutalist structures, with their raw concrete and fortress-like heft, aren’t for everyone, but they’re undoubtedly a unique facet of architectural history. They’re monolithic temples to the Cold War—behemoths of minimal and mute reflection. The current fashion is to let brutalist buildings and...

  • Best Neighbors: The Neighbors who Rallied to Save Belle Hardware in Bolton Hill

    240 McMechen St., (410) 728-4844, belle.doitbest.com Open for nearly 40 years, Belle Hardware in Bolton Hill has served not just that neighborhood, but Reservoir Hill and Druid Hill as well as hundreds of MICA students each year. During the Baltimore Uprising, the store was one of several that...

  • Best Bus Line: Quick Bus 48

    Yeah, we’ve all heard about how terrible Baltimore’s bus system is, and that’s largely true. Buses often don’t operate on reliable schedules, as anyone who has waited for the phantom 27 or watched multiple 11s go by as the 3 never appears can tell you. If you’re traveling by bus and need to be...

  • Best Cynical Park Endorsement: Brentwood Village Kid's Zone

    Parks are awesome, a reminder that yes, even in this society that fetishizes the individual beyond all measure, we can manage to share some things, once in a while. Parks are public spaces that ideally let any kid come in and play on shared equipment while allowing caregivers a chance to sit down...

  • Best Festival: Sowebo Arts and Music Festival

    soweboarts.org/festival Baltimore summers are peppered with festivals, and this year our favorite is Sowebo Fest. Held on the streets around Hollins Market, the festival hosts a wide range of musicians on four different stages along with all the festival food and fare you could want. It’s Baltimore’s...

  • Best Nonprofit: Wide Angle Youth Media

    2601 N. Howard St., (443) 759-6700, wideanglemedia.org Watching the news during the curfew was an excellent reminder that Baltimore’s uprising brought as many media mavens as it did National Guard troops, both of which often seemed to greatly outnumber the people they were brought in to cover or...

  • Best Target: Mondawmin

    3201 Tioga Parkway, (410) 369-1007 Sure, most of what we need we can get at our local hardware, corner, drug, or grocery store, but every once in awhile we need to amass large quantities of paper towels and toilet paper and pick up a new digital camera, PJs, and party supplies at the same time....

  • Best Tourist Trap to Visit When High: Seadog Cruise

    Seadog Cruises, 521 Light St., (888) 822-5992, seadogcruises.com/baltimore Is there anything better than a warm Baltimore summer afternoon spent wandering the Inner Harbor, just a little bit high, watching people and gorging at the new Shake Shack? We think not, especially if we’ve got the cash...

  • Best Finally-Kept Promise: Waverly Branch Library

    400 E. 33rd St., (410) 396-6053, prattlibrary.org/locations/waverly/ Waverly was promised a new library. Plans to rebuild the branch, which originally opened in 1971, started in 2008, and residents looked forward to a new place to get books, check email, take the kiddos, and find community. Five...

  • Best Information Superhighway to Nowhere: MTA's MyBusTracker

    mta.maryland.gov/bus-tracker Like a growing percentage of its buses, the Maryland Transit Administration’s real-time bus tracker arrived late. Rather than hand over real-time data to app developers, MTA built its own fugly website. Then, with just one day’s work, Transit App got Baltimore bus data...

  • Best Opportunity to Quench a Food Desert: Madison Park North Apartments Pending Redevelopment

    738 W. North Ave. As Baltimore real estate develops, gentrification has the ability to worsen the income inequality crisis that seems all but insolvable in this city. Watching where development money is being allocated, we can’t rely on city leaders to improve living conditions outside the “White...

  • Best Reminder of What Gentrification Really Looks Like: East Baltimore Development Inc.

    The Station North Arts and Entertainment District, created by the state in 2002, is typically Exhibit A in local gentrification discussions. Here is a 100-acre region of the city spotlighted for the creative labor of its residents and habitués, where young white arrivistes decry the influx of development...

  • Best Place to Break Your Ankle: Herring Run Park

    3800 Belair Road Once an overlooked series of trails near the more popular Lake Montebello, Herring Run Park has been anything but quiet in 2015. After The Friends of Herring Run Park announced an oncoming “face lift” in early 2015, huge signs appeared stating the trails were closed for renovation....

  • Best Cheap Exercise: Yoga to Save the Bay

    Fells Point Pier It’s challenging to find the inspiration to drag ourselves out of bed early on Saturday morning to go to the gym after imbibing during Friday night happy hour. However, the waterfront views and the promise of produce from the Fells Point Farmers Market are siren songs that draw...

  • Best MTA Troll: The Route 27 Bus

    @mtamaryland Storied for the callousness of its operators, cruising past unfortunate souls attempting to wave it down on Howard Street when it should have stopped at the stop near the Meyerhoff, legendary for undependability, arriving oh, 20 minutes early, half an hour late, or never at all, the...

  • Best (And Only) Public Transportation Expansion: The Circulator's Purple Route

    Baltimore may have struck out with the east-west Red Line or any funding for the major highways under state control that run through the city, but hey folks, the year in transit wasn’t a total loss. After years of being on the table, the Circulator’s Purple Route is finally going to be extended...

  • Best Giveaway: Buck Showalter Garden Gnome

    Stadium giveaways are a pretty basic ploy to drive up attendance, but the shirts, hats, and other tchotchkes handed out for free at Orioles games are pretty inspired. Just look at what the items go for on eBay and you’ll get a sense of how desperate Birdland fans are for the limited-edition freebies....

  • Best Oriole: Manny Machado

    Ever since selecting Machado in the first round of the 2010 draft, the Orioles have pinned the future of the franchise to the young third baseman. Machado has shown flashes of brilliance ever since being called up as a 19-year-old in 2012, but this is the year he’s put it all together. On top of...

  • Best Raven: C.J. Mosley

    It can’t be easy to come into Baltimore as the heir apparent to legendary middle linebacker Ray Lewis. That’s just what happened for inside linebacker Mosley, the Alabama product drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2014 draft, and he more than impressed. On his way to finishing second...

  • Best Blast: William Vanzela

    Nowhere is the fact that indoor soccer is awesome and the Baltimore Blast are one of the most dominant teams in the sport more evident than in the stellar play of goalie William Vanzela, who won the MASL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award en route to another appearance in the championship game. The...

  • Best Window Display: The boarded-up windows as seen from the 300 block of North Paca Street

    If you’re stuck in traffic or walking north on Paca Street, just before you pass the fire-station-turned-wholesale-store on the 300 block, pause a moment and look to the right and upward. Etched onto the boards covering the windows of a condemned Mulberry Street warehouse is a two-story cartoon:...

  • Best Opportunity for Vandalism: Confederate Monuments

    After white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans during a prayer meeting at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, his long electronic trail of hate came to light, filled with Confederate flags and symbols. Then folks looked around and noticed, hey a...

64°