Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesdays About Town

So I'm back after a few Tuesdays off (sorry, Missy), and 'Tuesdays About Town' are my time to share Baltimore's unique qualities with my out of town readers (and visa-versa).

Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore. I love this town. We are all packed like sardines within the radius of a few miles, and somehow we thrive. Each rowhouse land plot is about 1/50 of an acre (correct me if I'm wrong on this, anyone), so you pretty much have your house, your front stoop, and a small concrete patio in the back to call your own.

Some folks setup their patios with a grill and table and chairs, or plant small gardens or hang clean laundry, but in increasingly large numbers, city dwellers build decks above their patios, and the building doesn't stop there. This city is covered with roof top decks, and not in the New-York-City-apartment-building-roof kind of way, but actual wooden decks... built over the very small plots of land (and houses) that we call home.

Now for those of us that live here, this doesn't seem like that big of a deal; But I assure you that my friends in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, California and Arizona didn't know that people did this.

A few years back I lived in a rowhouse that had a roof top deck. On New Years Eve and on the Fourth of July, we'd stand out there in the cold or heat and watch the fireworks over the harbor. There is a whole community of roof top dwellers up there: large parties cheering the holidays with drinks and food, families holding their children up over the railing so that they can see (but not in the Michael Jackson sort of way), and couples, young or old, that use that space as an urban sanctuary.

Decks can be small or large, with staircases that are indoors or outdoors. Some have the same grills and tables and chairs as their concrete counterparts, but they have something even more special. A view. And air. And sun. And many, many things that make you forget, if even for a moment, that you don't have grass or trees or any significant amount of property.

I miss having that deck, and I hope to have one again someday. These decks are the urban interpretation of the backyard BBQ, the yards we all ran around in, fell down in, and stained our clothes in green. City kids don't have backyards. They have patios. And some of them have decks. And although I miss the green grass in the backyard of my youth, my inner child in Baltimore desperately wants her own roof top deck.


Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

The roof decks are, I think, particular to the southern sections of the city -- Canton, Fells Point. I don't think I've ever seen a roof top deck in Remington. (They are very cool!)

June 27, 2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous west said...

West Baltimore past MLK BLVD has a few, and even if they don't it dosnt keep them from going up there.

I've always watched the fireworks from the harbor on a friend's deck

June 27, 2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Jason J. Thomas said...

Well, if you think about it, it does not make sense to have a rooftop deck in certain areas of the city since one of the appeals to such a deck is to have a view of something--downtown skyline, view of the harbor, or some similar view. That is one of the reasons why one will rarely see one in Remington.

Again, though, that does not mean you can't put one up there. Of course, the homes in these neighborhoods have different roofs than one encounters in Fed Hill/SoBo, Fell's, and Canton.

June 27, 2006 4:55 PM  
Blogger Missy B said...

Those are pretty cool. I bailed today and had to do an "I'm and idiot" post. Please feel free to read and laugh at me. (I sure am)

June 27, 2006 9:51 PM  

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