This week on Yahoo! Travel, filmmaker Stephanie Laing wrote a post listing “5 Reasons Baltimore is the New Brooklyn.” Laing does seem to have a real affection for the place she calls “the Charm City,” but I’m not sure she understands that calling somewhere “the new Brooklyn” isn’t entirely a compliment.
Here are Laing’s five reasons Baltimore has become Brooklynized — and my five reasons that it hasn’t:
1. Coffee! Laing: “I’m obsessed with the Cafe Con Leche at Lamill inside the Four Seasons. They layer in cinnamon and brown sugar as they make this deliciously addictive concoction…. The best coffee shop in town is definitely Spro. Their menu changes weekly and they offer multiple ways to brew the perfect cup, from vacuum pot, chemex, eva solo, and aeropress to a cold brew drip tower (I have no idea what that is).” True, both of those coffee places are awesome. But they are still the only two spots in Baltimore (as far as I know) where you can spend $7+ on a cup of coffee. Brooklyn? That’s, like, the going rate.
2. Hampden! Laing: “This neighborhood in northwestern Baltimore rocks. It is a mix of Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, and Fort Greene, with its eclectic storefronts, art galleries, and restaurants.” Yes, we have a neighborhood with cute, quirky shops catering to hipsters. And those cute shops span about… 5 city blocks? In Brooklyn, it’s half the borough. We have one hipster mustache barber, which is fine–we like a man with a nicely trimmed beard!–but you have at least half a dozen. That’s too many.
3. Locally owned restaurants! Laing: “Try the gastropub, Fork & Wrench. Have an intimate dinner at Henniger’s Tavern or my favorite restaurant, Birroteca. They have delicious pasta and craft beers. For the best sidewalk dining, head to Peter’s Inn. If you’re in the mood for an ice cream sundae, head to Woodberry Kitchen for the best one in town.” Okay, I’m not going to argue with this. Locally owned restaurants are awesome. However… New York City ranks 4th in the nation in terms of restaurants per capita, with 25.3 restaurants per 10,000 households. Baltimore didn’t even make the top 10.
4. Food trucks! Laing: “It’s hard to keep 150 cast and crew members happy [on the set of Veep], so we’ve had many food trucks visit our set and one of our favorites is Iced Gems. We are also obsessed with one of the grilled cheese trucks: GrrChe. Soup and grilled cheese on a cold day makes everyone happy, at least for an hour.” Yes, we agree, food trucks are great. Too bad the city is trying to impose restrictive new rules on them….
5. Parking is terrible! Wait, what? Laing: ” If you’re the new Brooklyn, you’re bound to have Brooklyn-style problems. The biggest one for Baltimore is its parking predicament, which feels like ‘parkingmageddon’ every time you venture out. Good luck trying to find a spot anywhere in Federal Hill. I suggest parking on Key Highway and taking a hike up the hill or leave your car and cab it. In fact, parking in Baltimore might be worse than in Brooklyn.” Um, depends on where you’re parking…
Other reasons Baltimore is not the new Brooklyn? When they make an HBO show about us, it’s about cops and drug dealers and struggling schools; when they make one about Brooklyn, it’s about the romantic and friendship struggles of upper middle class 20-somethings. Our name is not shorthand for “artisinal, twee, expensive.” Our Whole Foods does not stock these silly items. Oh yeah, and the cost of real estate here is a lot more reasonable.
I don’t mean to sound grouchy. I enjoy Brooklyn! I love Baltimore! I just think there are better ways to compliment Baltimore than comparing it to somewhere else…
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