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Monday, September 15, 2014

Tale of two cities


     No I am not referring to the old blog that Dennis Lane did that referred to Ellicott City and Columbia (see P.S. below).  The cities to which I am referring are Washington (DC for locals) and Baltimore (Charm City).  Living in Columbia, between the two cities, we have a population that is probably evenly divided between residents who are oriented to one of these cities.  Because we are geographically a little closer to Baltimore than DC we get placed in the Baltimore Metropolitan area.    It is not unusual to have families in our area divided between their loyalties to either the Orioles or the Nationals.  Same with divided families between the Redskins and the Ravens.  I once saw a report that the split between Washington Post and Baltimore Sun readers in our County was fairly equal.  Personally moving to Columbia from the DC area I continued to watch the DC TV newscast and subscribed to the Washington Post.   But after living here for 5 or 6 years I started to gravitate to the Baltimore area channels and started a subscription to the Sun.  Both covered Howard County better than the DC news outlets.  I even (horror of horrors) gave up on following the post Joe Gibbs Redskins and started following the Ravens.  With the Ravens generally having a better team this transition was eased.   DC didn't have a baseball team at the time so following the Orioles (with Cal Ripken) was also an easy transition.
     So is Howard County more DC or more Baltimore?  If you look at the income and educational demographics we are a better fit for the DC Metropolitan area.  Our housing prices are probably more in line with housing prices in the DC area than the Baltimore area.   When you look at the housing price and sales trends for the Baltimore Metro area Howard County seems to always be an outlier.  When home sales are booming in Baltimore City they seem to be slow in Howard County.  Housing sales prices seem to also follow this trend.  That is why I always look at housing trends of the DC area to know what is likely to be happening in Howard County.
      Maybe it is because I lived in the DC area before the move to Howard County but I still find myself attracted to restaurants and activity locations more the DC direction than in the Baltimore direction when I go out of Howard County.   Baltimore will always have a problem in comparison to attractions of the National Capitol.  When we have out of town guests they never seem to want to see the attractions of Baltimore even though I tell them about the great Aquarium and Science Center.   I do wish that Harborplace didn't seem to be in need of a major reworking.  Where would Baltimore be without the Rouse Company built Harborplace the past 30 years?  Somehow the new attraction of a casino in Baltimore doesn't do for me or the city what Harborplace did.
      For all these reasons I feel that Howard County needs to be included in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area rather than in Baltimore's Metropolitan Area.  Geographical closeness does't do a very good job of defining Howard County.  It is better to know the trends and living styles of DC than Baltimore in defining Howard County.

     The title of today's post being the name of Dennis Lane's blog made me go back to read some of his old blog posts.  The last ones of the demise of the LL Bean store at the Mall and the "rain tax" seem like news from ages ago.  Amazingly I still get readers of my blog from the link on Dennis' blog.  Dennis' perspective on local happenings will always be missed.

   Recently Jon Stewart of the Daily Show suggested this as a way to address our border problem with Mexico.  His suggestion was to "dress up our border guards as Canadian Mounties and then when the illegal immigrants saw them they would turn around thinking they had gone too far."   Maybe worth a try.


     Baltimore this past week had it national exposure with the nationally televised Ravens game, the Blue Angels here for the Star Spangled Spectacular and finally the nationally televised Oriole game.  Too bad the Ray Rice and Chris Davis stories happened last week too.



The Unmanly Chef said...

Definitely agree with you that I think HoCo is more DC than Baltimore when you talk to folks. Other than support for the Ravens it seems like people have a stronger affinity for DC. Working in the northern counties gives you some perspective on how different they view Baltimore from DC. Great post!

Anonymous said...

The outstanding Baltimore Symphony which also performs at Strathmore is a major Baltimore attraction.