From the Editor’s Desk: Explore Baltimore’s underbelly
This past Friday at around 6 p.m., I was just leaving my internship at the Sun. As I cut across the street to the parking garage, I passed a woman dressed inconspicuously in a dark, old tweed pantsuit. A single grocery bag was at her feet, but in her hands was a wild tangle of a book, with pages ripped and fluffed by the wind.
She called out to me,
“you’re pretty young, aren’t you?”
That question, understandably, creeped me out a little. Was I being cat-called?
No, I was just being cynical. The woman had put her hand to her forehead to shield the sun from her face, and began to talk to me about Jesus.
My religious practices extend to a few Christmas parties during the season, one church service Christmas Eve, and a Hanukkah dinner with my Jewish side of the family.
I use my Sundays to sleep and to produce the paper.
In one breath, this woman told me about the moral disintegration of our society, how we must return to the days of family dinners every night, around the table, praying to Jesus for good mercy and his coming.
For nearly ten minutes, I listened, just listened, answering the few questions she asked about my background.
I had a few questions for her, too. Why here, on the corner of Center and Calvert streets are you preaching to a college senior about God on a Friday evening?
I asked her. She said “I want you to know Jesus loves you, and He does you know.” Do you do this often? “All the time.”
I didn’t get a name from this woman, and she didn’t have a card, nor a cell phone.
Rambling up and down the street with a ratty Bible was her part-time profession.
This wandering devout is a wonderful example of the eclectic personalities of Baltimore.
I enjoy the adrenaline rush of news reporting, but my background is in the arts, and in features – and this woman is a feature, and I hope I return to her one day.
It amazes me how few students truly explore the greater Baltimore area, adventuring into the streets that honeycomb all over Canton or drooling over the penthouse suites of Federal Hill.
The University is a hop, skip and a jump to a historical and visual goldmine. Part of a journalist’s duty is to cover not only the institutions of Baltimore, but also its underbelly.
And reaching the point of my anecdote: the closing of the Urbanite magazine greatly saddens me.
I feel that this monthly publication enriched its reader’s lives through a perspective of city life that many cannot capture.
The Urbanite occupied a niche in the reporting community that highlighted the individuals, the local shops and bars, and the rough hands and fishy smells of Baltimore.
I don’t know what could have prevented the Urbanite’s closing, though a friend and mentor of mine suggested several possibilities – either way, in memoriam to the Urbanite and its manifesto, I urge students to venture into Baltimore this weekend and have an adventure – meet someone new, or just take a minute to admire the cobblestone road and fountain at the Fells Point traffic circle.
Smell the roses, so to speak, because that’s what the Urbanite did.
Rest in peace, Urbanite.