Christopher Caldwell, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
The Woodberry Kitchen, near Druid Hill Park in northwestern Baltimore, is among the best restaurants in the mid-Atlantic. It shares a renovated cotton mill with an art gallery and a glassblowing studio. Washingtonians flock there. The restaurant website recommends taking the highway, but there is a shortcut for those willing to creep northward along Fulton Avenue in West Baltimore.
I suspect few patrons take that shortcut twice. The jazz bandleader Cab Calloway and the Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshallgrew up in the neighborhood, but it has, to put it mildly, gone downhill since then. This is Sandtown, where dozens were arrested this week in the rioting that followed the death in police custody of 25-year-old Freddie Gray (on Friday, charges were filed against the officers involved). Unless you have been to the worst parts of Detroit or Camden, N.J., you are unlikely to have seen anything like Sandtown.
More shocking, perhaps, is how little distance separates sophisticated, 21st-century Baltimore—where you can dine on wood-roasted Delaware River rockfish with pak choi and koshihikari rice—from the left-behind, boarded-up Baltimore that Americans have been watching on television with alarm.
The country can only hope that this week’s damage remains limited to one wild night. The fate of Baltimore and other troubled American cities often depends on how the violent parts get rebuilt after rioting. In most cases, riot-torn neighborhoods don’t get rebuilt at all.
Whole thing here.