December 02, 2004
Down da Avenue, Hon.
The neighborhood that I grew up in has been transformed from a town of city-styled rednecks and racists to a hipster paradise. Unfortunately, Baltimore City has replaced the nice brick sidewalks on the Avenue with cement lately. On the bright side, the crappy hardware store is now a nice used bookstore (Salamander Books, where I spent way too much money last week). The sleazy video store is a Cloud 9. There are TWO coffee shops, and the restaurants get better and better. The old five and dime store is an upscale antique shop. There are two small apartment buildings going up on my parents' street. I can walk on the Avenue with my black wife, being white, and not be afraid of any ill consequences. I know that a lot of Hampdenites are not happy with the new developments, but -- as I've said before -- it's a hell of a lot better than the redneck dump Hampden was when I was growing up there and couldn't wait to leave. It's nice to not have to avoid mentioning where you grew up. Now, there is probably a tinge of snobbery when someone asks me where I am from: "Oh, Hampden? Damn, you're from the real Baltimore." You bet your ass, Hon.