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Baltimore Living

Best Reason to Live Here

It's Cheap

Posted 9/18/2002

Sure, we bitch about life in Mobtown but, for better or worse we're here to stay. Why? Because we're spoiled. The cost of living is so low here that the sticker shock we'd get if we moved elsewhere would probably kill us. Where else can you rent a three-bedroom house in a nice neighborhood for less than a grand or have a gourmet meal complete with wine for under a hundred bucks? In what other city can, say, the drummer in a punk band defy all time-honored drummer jokes by buying his own home. Certainly not in New York or Washington. While we're proud of our city for a number of things, we sometimes find ourselves taking the most pride and pleasure in flaunting Baltimore's affordability in front of folks who hail from lands where the living is less pleasant on the pocketbook. There's nothing quite like the look on the faces of our friends from hipper-than-thou cities when we tell them how miniscule our rents are, or that we routinely get change back for our fin when we order a cocktail. They may make three times what we do, but they're scraping together pennies to pay sky-high rents for half a closet while we live like kings and queens, eating out, buying a round like it was nothing, and retiring to our beautiful, spacious homes.

In fact, homeownership is quickly becoming a single-twentysomething right of passage in this town, and not just among the upwardly mobile crowd. Waiters, retail workers, and other nonsuits can afford Baltimore's low mortgage rates and tiny down payments, especially with all the first-time home-buyer incentives the city offers. And they're not just buying houses, they're rehabbing them, returning dropped ceilings and shag-carpeted rowhouses to high-ceiling and hardwood-floor glory.

But it's not just the cheap living that keeps us here. We also love how cheap it is to make your dreams come true. Starting a club, a gallery, or a store is never cheap or easy, but it's affordable enough here that many of our coolest social and artistic destinations have been started by locals with very little scratch. Payan's Rugs, the Charm City Space, Gallery 409, and the Talking Head make sure we're never short of do-it-yourself shows. And the G-Spot, the Whole Gallery, and Gallery Four let us see both local and national art in the spaces where artists live.

So, no matter how much we complain about the so-called Greatest City in America, we're not going anywhere. We're too busy living the high life on next to nothing.

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Other Awards for Best Reason to Live Here:

You're already prepared for the collapse of society, 9/16/2009

The Eternal Return, 9/17/2008

Crime, 9/19/2007

To keep it from being taken over, 9/20/2006

We Can’t Wait To See What Happens Next, 9/21/2005

Because of What We’re Not, 9/22/2004

Baltimore Needs You, 9/17/2003

We're So Cool, 9/19/2001

Neighborhoods, 9/13/2000

It's cheap, 9/15/1999

One degree of separation, 9/17/1997

The architecture, 9/18/1996

All Awards for It''s Cheap:

Best Reason to Live Here, 9/15/1999

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