Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mayor Invades Baltimore

It's not everyday that the Mayor of Affton gets to see another city, but I had reason to visit the City of Baltimore recently. This is not what most folks think of first for a vacation destination, but nonetheless I had a much better experience in Baltimore this time than the last time. I was hell-bent on meeting and getting a photo with Mayor Martin J. O'Malley and to discuss how he took the country's most drug and crime-infested City and began to turn things around. But alas, he was unavailable.

In my quest for Mayoral Greatness I instead sought inspiration from the memorial to Samuel Smith on Federal Hill. He was a decorated war hero, senator and representative, and served as Mayor of Baltimore from 1835-1838. (The Mayor is also a fan of a damn good nut brown ale named for an Englishman of the same moniker.) His monument now overlooks the City's Inner Harbor district from across the water. This area is really the one thing that Baltimore tourism has going for it. It's got tons of shops, restaurants, historic boats, dinner cruises and a large brick "boardwalk" that goes around the water on three sides. (See picture of me on the cannon above.) There was obviously a lot of corporate meetings in the area and lots of tourists. Transportation options are plentiful including water taxis. This is a good thing. My last experience in Baltimore was not so great and took me through some of the worst neighborhoods they have to offer. The Harbor seems to be catching on and spreading as there is a lot of condo construction going on in the very historic downtown area.

The oddest thing I found was when I noticed "stop demolition now" signs in the VERY historic Fell's Point district. An inquiry to a local shop owner revealed that there is a Polish church called St. Stanislaus in the area that was closed by the Archdiocese in 2000. (Sound familiar??!!) It and the attached community center are being slated for demolition. There is an organization of businesses and residents trying to save the place due to its cultural significance in the area. All in all, it was a great trip even though the First Lady and I were fighting off a sinus infection. Although I did not get to meet Mayor O'Malley I think he has done a great job for Baltimore and is a good candidate for the coveted award as World Mayor.


At 10:32 AM, Blogger Not Jennifer Gibbs said...

That's quite a cannon you've got between your legs, Mr. Mayor.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Mayor of Affton said...

You said a mouthful!


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