Have you ever wondered what’s left of Cutty’s boxing gym from “The Wire,” or even what it may have been before it was a training ground for fictional West Baltimore youngsters? A recent tour of the building by filmmaker and YouTuber Dan Bell offers some insight.
“The Wire” fans will quickly recall the building seen in Bell’s recently posted YouTube video from Season 3 of the HBO show covering Baltimore’s inner workings. In the third season of the show, Cutty, a former street soldier fresh off a 14-year stint in prison, decides to transform himself from just another ex-con to someone contributing within his community.
With financial backing from kingpin and former Golden Gloves boxer Avon Barksdale, Cutty is able to renovate an abandoned building and get some new equipment. In the new space, he becomes a coach entrusted with training a crew of troubled young men from West Baltimore.
As it turns out, that building was actually in East Baltimore, near the corner of E. Oliver and N. Wolfe Streets. Recently, Bell and his crew brought in some flashlights and cameras for a full walk-through to see what’s become of it.
The first tell-tale sign that it is in fact Cutty’s old gym is the presence of two painted boxers’ silhouettes squaring off, bordered by red and blue stars on a first-floor brick wall. In the illuminated room, one can see a fair amount of trash scattered across the space where fictional teenagers once trained and sparred under Cutty’s watch.
The scene could creep out the average viewer, but it’s not out of the ordinary for Bell.
“I don’t buy into the ghost stuff,” he said in a phone interview. “I just enjoy seeing sort of a little snapshot of the past that’s still there…. I find it endlessly fascinating.”
He and his team have produced numerous other video tours of abandoned Baltimore structures, from an old car wash to sections of whole neighborhoods on the city’s Westside. These are just for his auxiliary YouTube channel, which has more than 40,000 subscribers. His main one, where he tours “dead malls” and low-rated motels, has more than than 230,000 subscribers.
In this most recent tour, viewers learn about more about the property beyond just what’s left of the old boxing area on the main floor. In the basement, Bell and company find tunnels large enough to fit whole streetcars that lead up to the cement floor. Bell suggested it could have been a carriage house where old streetcars from ages ago underwent repairs.
“Obviously it was used in some kind of public way,” he said.
Other gems from the nearly 12 minutes of raw video: An old “Baltimore’s Best” decal, a ornate, time-tested spiral staircase scaling the entire building and a wide open hole in the roof that lets Bell and his crew gaze out upon East Baltimore.
“This town has so much history,” Bell said. “It’s an interesting place to explore and kind of see what’s left. It’s definitely a snapshot of the past.”
Click here to watch the whole video, or check it out above.