Contributor Joseph Martin, a Remington resident, analyzes the Baltimore neighborhood’s controversial conversion.
Baltimore’s love for urban rehab can feel unseemly; veil of chic aside, Woodberry’s broken windows still conjure the blight of hard times past. But neighborhood reboots also do a world of good, often throwing each area’s innate style and aspirations into sharp relief. When the Inner Harbor and Harbor East began to rebuild, they peppered the waterfront with tourist bait, such as swank cineplexes and paycheck-chewing eateries. Meanwhile, Hampden and Fells Point have both staged boutique revolutions, transforming their quiet storefront strips into bustling meccas of quirk and class.
Still, some neighborhoods beg a subtler facelift than others – Remington, for example. A residential salad of schools, parks, and playgrounds built around a core of auto shops, the area has long been a model of nondescript living, housing blue-collar families and lifers, as well as a persistent (if nonviolent) mix of daylight drug deals and boarded buildings. Neither a Wire-style war zone nor a bustling nexus of commerce, Remington kept to itself. So when gluten-free bakery Sweet Sin arrived in 2010, it raised many a local eyebrow.