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Writer’s Block

A Note From the Publisher

“Mother of mercy! Is this the end of Rico?” –Little Caesar

It’s time to say, “So long, Baltimore.” I arrived in Baltimore from upstate New York in December 1988, taking on a new position within my company, Scranton Times, as the general manager of City Paper. I had been to Baltimore only once before for a quick trip, so I really knew nothing about the city that would become my home for 23 years. My first apartment was on South Charles Street directly behind the old McCormick Spice Factory. I always loved the smell the spice factory produced, and will always think of Baltimore when I happen upon those smells in the future. Over the years, I have lived in many of Baltimore’s neighborhoods—each with its own personality. I’ve lived in Mount Vernon, Fells Point, Canton, Otterbein, and Federal Hill. All of the neighborhoods—although very different in their offerings—had one thing in common: their Baltimoreness. I learned early on how unique this city is—the people, the businesses, the history, the politics, and of course, the unique kitsch that makes us all love this city.

I soon started to see the things so unique to this city. The housecoats, the Avenue (Eastern, not 36th Street), crabs (still can’t crack one correctly), the markets, dem Os, and of course, the Baltimore dialect. I still find being called “hon” endearing, and still have an issue addressing anyone as Mr. Don or Mrs. Christine—yet that it is how it is done here. I can remember a co-worker telling me to rent a few of John Waters’ movies to see true Baltimore. I remember watching Desperate Living and Mondo Trasho and thinking, Holy shit, really?, but then realizing what Waters captured in his movies was the unique weirdness that makes this city Baltimore. Whenever I’m asked how I like Baltimore, I always respond that I see something every day that makes me smile or laugh.

As I think about departing City Paper and Baltimore, I think back to my firsts here. I met my wife on City Paper’s first booze cruise, held on Clipper City in 1989. I had my first “cherry bomb” at Rodo’s in Fells Point. My first Best of Baltimore party was at the old Power Plant. I had my first crab cake at Cross Street Market, my first Berger cookie at Lexington Market, my first live music show at Max’s on Broadway, my first time onstage at the 8x10, my first Thai at Thai Restaurant on Greenmount, my first yard of beer at the Owl Bar, my first trip to the Block, and my first and only child, Jesse, born and raised in Baltimore City, as well as many more firsts than I have space to mention.

And now to City Paper—what a ride. I have worked with many, many great people. These people have made City Paper one of the best alternative newsweeklies in the country. I’ve always said it takes a unique person to work at the paper—you need to love the job and want to be involved in all that City Paper does. This is who you will find here today, and there have been so many in the paper’s past. Passion seems to be a lost quality in today’s economy, but it has held strong at City Paper. It’s why we love to do what we do. I’ve met a lot of people through City Paper who have made an impact on Baltimore over the years—people such as Ron Furman, Don Wehner, Megan Hamilton, Giles Cook, Dave Rather, Alan Hirsch, Kevin Brown, and many more. These are a few of the people that bring the arts and entertainment culture to Baltimore, because without it, you don’t have a city.

My last day with City Paper is Sept. 1. I am heading to Scranton, Pa., to take over a new position with Times-Shamrock Communications as regional general manager. The new publisher of City Paper is Jennifer Marsh. Jen has been a part of City Paper for 22 years, and you can rest assured I’m leaving the paper in good hands. Goodbye, Baltimore. Open your eyes and look around—this city always makes me smile.

  • A Note From the Publisher “Mother of mercy! Is this the end of Rico?” –Little Caesar It’s time to say, “So long, Baltimore.” I arrived in Baltimore from upstate New York in December 1988, taking on a new position within my company, Scranton Times, as the general manager of City | 8/31/2011
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