Saturday, June 28, 2008

moving to Baltimore!? Consider Mt. Washington

Ah, a reader suggested to me that I not forget about wonderful, beautiful Mt. Washington as a place for someone relocating to the Baltimore area. Actually, it has a fair amount of positive attributes:
  • It's nice old Baltimore neighborhood with a strong community association, which is pretty to look at.
  • If one works downtown close to the light rail route, it's a walk or short drive, depending on where exactly you live, to the light rail station in Mt. Washington village.
  • A lot of people from out of town haven't heard of it because it isn't much on the young professional circuit.
  • It has a fair number of nice apartment complexes, including at least one which is gated, and at a very reasonable price--much less than you'd pay in most of , say, Federal Hill, Canton, or Fells Point. Or you can rent apartments in privately owned big old houses.
  • There's only one bar in the village, the Mt. Washington Tavern, but it's pretty good.
  • You are very close to Whole Foods, Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness center, and the post office. Short drive to I83 or I695, and downtown.
  • A community consisting of pretty much upper middle class people, including African Americans of that socio-economic class.
  • Very close to Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods which are to the north and very safe.
  • Very close to Sinai Hospital for fellows, post-docs, or interns working there.
  • Relatively low crime in immediate area.
A couple negatives: 
  • Very close to high crime areas of Park Heights, with heavy drug trafficking.
  • Not close to someone working at Hopkins Hospital.
  • Traffic can be heavy during morning rush hour.
  • Buz likes Belvedere Towers apartment building--a high-rise with good highway access, large apartments for the money, hardwood floors, 24-hour doormen/desk persons, a small pool, small fitness center.
(Maryland Management took over the place last year. Huh. Wonder if they got rid of Peggy or Nikki, the two great, nice Property Managers.)

Thanks, Anonymous for the tips!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A tale of two cities

Buz is a regular reader of 2 websites: the Baltimore Crime blog ( and's talk forum on Baltimore. I am often confounded that the people on the site actually are talking about the same city! Your consultant thinks that the crime blog gives a more grounded, more realistic view of Bmore, it's bad, but in realistic context. Almost all the writers/commenters obviously live in the city and kinda have learned to deal with it (with some exceptions).

Then there are some posters on who are what I call urban spearheads/homesteaders. Every place in the city is wonderful, it's great, there are festivals, blah, blah, blah. Some poor person will post that they are moving to Baltimore for a job, and will ask for a nice, safe, secure place: they're told, oh, you should live around Patterson Park, you'll love Pigtown, or especially Charles Village. Huh? If their number one concern is safety?

Well, they're both right, after a fashion. Baltimore certainly has a lot of nice places to live, but one has to calibrate living suggestions with the tenor and demeanor of the seeker, as well as the price they're willing to pay, and their commute situation. Usually, when they talk about a "safe" place to live, they mean no open drug-dealing or gang activity and murders on their street. But often it mean an absence of "disorder"--such as one might find in Pigtown, and parts of Charles Village, and "Patterson Park" ( a very loosely-applied generic name for anywhere near the park).

So, people, take the postings with a grain of salt, hook up with a trustworthy native, come early, and check out several actually available rental properties-as well as their adjacent neighborhoods.

If all else fails, get Buz

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Everybodty who posts to talk forums and who are relocating to Baltimore want to live in a "safe' neighborhood. Who doesn't? Different people mean different things by that. Buz thinks that generally they mean that the risks of street crime in the area are relatively tolerable, and they feel confident in coming home at night, at least in their block. \

But he thinks that the posters really want is to live with upper middle class people and not thugs and disorder.

Buz wonders what you think and how to define a safe area.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Relocating to Baltimore

Buz has had some success as an Independent Contractor helping folks relocate to Baltimore. He sometimes sees bad advice on other websites, so decided to blog about it.
Most young people relocating to Baltimore are only told that 3 neighborhoods exist: 
Fells Point
Federal Hill
There are others!

Well, this is just not their fault. Many people move to Baltimore with only very cursory knowledge of the city or area. It is sad to see them relying on websites and talk forums in which the city boosters or haters are predominant.

Like most cities, Baltimore has a mix of good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, and in-betweens.

If you're moving to Baltimore, you kinda have to hook up with a native who knows their way around (someone like me!). Otherwise, you'll be spending a lot of time wandering abaout and being fooled