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Author Topic: Baltimore or Providence?  (Read 6030 times)
2716340921374
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« on: January 10, 2011, 10:36:59 am »

Hello everyone:

I've never visited either place, but am applying to jobs in both.  Any perspective on the relative merits?  I am at a point in my life now where livability matters, and I'd need to sell the family on any new location. 

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spyzowin
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 10:44:59 am »

That's really a case of rock vs hard place.

Baltimore is creepy and deserted. The city depopulated by about half in the last fifty years. Manufacturing jobs went from a quarter of a million to almost nothing. The city survives on service jobs and hospitals. The night screams with the sound of sirens. I've never felt so physically unsafe in a place. But it's a cheap place to live if you want to work in DC. They apparently have good lemonade, but not quite as good lemonade as is in Rhode Island.

Providence is like a massive version of South Boston. It's full of mumbling swamp yankees and the idle unemployed. Area hotels are infested with rats and Brown is well, Brown. I wouldn't send my dog to Brown, even though they've gotten rid of their flaky non-major philosophy.  Providence is okay if you don't live anywhere near Providence.  The state is dirt poor and fairly corrupt. If you have children they will grow up illiterate.  Better than Baltimore, though, where your children will grow up dead.

The most commendable thing about Rhode Island is Roger Williams who abhorred slavery and racism.

I'd keep looking for work.
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southerntransplant
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 12:08:14 pm »

To the OP: Baltimore has good areas and bad ones. The bad ones tend to be scattered throughout, so there isn't generally one single monolithic area that's bad. The outer areas like Towson are nice, but the whole area is pretty expensive COL-wise - someone I know who left the Deep South for a position at JHU is paying twice as much for half as much house.

It's been a while since I've been to Baltimore. My primary purpose for butting in is to encourage you to monitor this thread for a response from someone with a lower tendency for hyperbolae than the previous poster.

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pournelle
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 12:27:21 pm »

I love Baltimore: a great, mysterious city; the violence is typically confined to a few areas on the west and east where no academics live anyway. Housing has gotten rather expensive lately, though still cheap compared with D.C., let alone NYC or Cali. JHU is very good, as is the art museum and the music scene, MICA is an excellent art school.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 12:30:00 pm »

Come back when you actually have a job offer at both and we'll pour over the difference.
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I can be happy anywhere I have a little money and the cops aren't after me--I'm still searching for this place.
prof_smartypants
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 12:32:16 pm »

That's really a case of rock vs hard place.

Baltimore is creepy and deserted. The city depopulated by about half in the last fifty years. Manufacturing jobs went from a quarter of a million to almost nothing. The city survives on service jobs and hospitals. The night screams with the sound of sirens. I've never felt so physically unsafe in a place. But it's a cheap place to live if you want to work in DC. They apparently have good lemonade, but not quite as good lemonade as is in Rhode Island.

Providence is like a massive version of South Boston. It's full of mumbling swamp yankees and the idle unemployed. Area hotels are infested with rats and Brown is well, Brown. I wouldn't send my dog to Brown, even though they've gotten rid of their flaky non-major philosophy.  Providence is okay if you don't live anywhere near Providence.  The state is dirt poor and fairly corrupt. If you have children they will grow up illiterate.  Better than Baltimore, though, where your children will grow up dead.

The most commendable thing about Rhode Island is Roger Williams who abhorred slavery and racism.

I'd keep looking for work.

amnirov - when was the last time you visited either city? 1985?

to the OP: I'd live in Providence in a heartbeat. It's experienced a dramatic revitalization in the last 10 years, and it's becoming well-known for its food, arts, and culture. It is very livable. I ALMOST landed a postdoc at Brown, and while I'm very happy where I am now, I'm still a little bummed that I didn't get the chance to spend a couple of years in Providence. These might be helpful:

http://www.providenceri.com/moving/
http://www.visitrhodeisland.com/pdf/movingtori2009.pdf

I've only visited Baltimore for conferences, so I haven't seen much of the city, but from what I hear from friends who live in and around it, there are some wonderful neighborhoods, and as ST says, there are lots of great places to live in the area, and you're just a train ride away from DC and everything that city has to offer.

http://baltimore.about.com/od/livinginbaltimore/a/movetobalto.htm
http://www.city-data.com/forum/baltimore/1156377-im-moving-baltimore-containment-thread.html

Both cities are relatively expensive compared to the rest of the country, but both cities are relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the NE corridor.
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aprilmay
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 12:34:57 pm »

Both of these are great places to live. In the unlikely event that you are offered both jobs and these jobs are equally appealing, you can take the family to visit each city.
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imawakenow
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 12:42:19 pm »

I grew up on one of the coasts (hint: not the left one), and I've spent quite a bit of time traveling and visiting cities in the BoWash corridor.

First, like any major metropolitan area, Baltimore has some great neighborhoods and some not so great neighborhoods. As a city, Baltimore has indeed seen its better days, and there has been and continues to be a persistent crime problem in certain areas near downtown. But to be honest, a lot of that crime is localized in specific areas (although recently I have talked to friends who no longer feel safe visiting the Inner Harbor).

It also depends on which school you are talking about and whether you are referring to downtown or the metro area. As southerntransplant suggests, living in or near Towson and teaching at Goucher is a whole lot different than teaching at JHU and wanting to live in one of the neighborhoods near campus.

I've only been to Providence once or twice, so I don't have enough information to comment.

Anyway, I guess the other piece of advice I have is not to get too caught up in making plans about relocating your family until you have an offer or offers in hand.
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offthemarket
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 12:47:30 pm »

amnirov - when was the last time you visited either city? 1985?

DNFTA.
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spyzowin
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 2:14:55 pm »

amnirov - when was the last time you visited either city? 1985?

DNFTA.

Bite me.

I spend my summers in Rhode Island, and have been to two conferences there in the last five years. Similarly, I have been to two conferences in Baltimore in the last five years, and have done work in DC and have attended conferences in DC in the last five years.

Baltimore and Providence are both armpits.
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madhatter
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 2:20:32 pm »

I've spent several months in Baltimore over the past eight years or so. It's a "gritty" city, no doubt about it, but it has pretty liveable areas and good cultural opportunities. I don't know anything about the school systems there, but you wouldn't have to live in the city itself if there are suburban areas that are preferable.

Also, I love the Inner Harbor (despite the rampant colonization by chain stores and restaurants) and crab cakes.
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2011, 2:40:21 pm »

amnirov knows not what he speaks.  Or maybe he was trolling for rough trade in some of the seeder Baltimore areas during his visit?

FTR, I live in Baltimore.  Have lived here for over 8 years.  TT at JHU Medicine.

If you are single, or married no kids, Baltimore can be a rockin place.  Good night life, cheap cost of living (at least to my west coast-raised self).  You can get a rowhome in Fells Point for under $190K, walking distance to some great bars and the inner harbor.

Steamed crabs!

If you have kids however, it may not be for you (more on that below).

Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods.  There is no "good" or "bad" part of town.  There are very swank neighborhoods a couple blocks over from crackdens.  You need to know where you are going.

Is there a lot of crime?  Sure.  But the VAST majority of violent crime is criminal-on-criminal.  If you stay out of places you have no business being in, and use some common sense, you should have no issues.  I grew up in downtown Los Angeles, in my opinion, LA was worse in general.

IF YOU HAVE KIDS, Baltimore may not be the place for you.  Most of the public schools are atrocious (there are a few notable exceptions).  The taxes in the city are high (less in the county though).  If you have kids, pay attention to the schools for your neighborhood. Most are bad, you will  pay a high premium if you happen to buy in one of the few areas with good schools.  Most people I know send their kids to private school - not cheap.

If you read my other posts, you will see that I am leaving Baltimore this summer for State College.  This is because we have a baby now and don't want to raise her in B'More.  That's the only reason - if not for her, we would stay.

If you move here, I have an awesome house you can buy :)
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venerable_bede
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 2:41:12 pm »

amnirov - when was the last time you visited either city? 1985?

DNFTA.

Bite me.

I spend my summers in Rhode Island, and have been to two conferences there in the last five years. Similarly, I have been to two conferences in Baltimore in the last five years, and have done work in DC and have attended conferences in DC in the last five years.

Baltimore and Providence are both armpits.

I have watched all of The Wire and Brotherhood, and I can assure you that both cities are filled with corrupt politicians, crime, and excellent acting.
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Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. --H. L. Mencken
bluezebracat
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 2:58:36 pm »

I would suggest visiting both cities and seeing where the faculty live.  Baltimore is not the Wire, just as a side note.







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ls410
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 3:04:06 pm »

I lived in Baltimore for several years.  I moved there from the midwest and found the cost of living very high - my rent, food, and car insurance all doubled.  City taxes were very high as well.  I lived in the city in a decent neighborhood but was within walking distance of awful places.  It's a block by block city where you can see a mansion down the street from slums.  Public transportation is a nightmare and traffic and parking can be difficult.  That said, I miss the food, the shopping, the museums, and being so close to DC and a really nice airport (BWI).  
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