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Baltimore Symphony's send-off concert with music director Marin Alsop, an event for subscribers before the orchestra heads to the U.K. on tour. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

“The rats on the street/ All dance around my feet”

— from “Good Morning Baltimore”

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President Trump’s fly-in to Baltimore earlier this month felt like an arsonist’s return to the scene of the crime. In July, he set off a firestorm when he tweeted Baltimore “is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” a “very dangerous & filthy place” and “No human being would want to live there.”

But we know the truth. It’s time others did as well. Here are 10 reasons to love Baltimore:

1. Philanthropy

Baltimore is consistently ranked (by Charity Navigator) as one of America’s most charitable cities.

2. Arts and entertainment

Even The Wall Street Journal praised Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre as one of the best troupes in America. Plus, we’re home to the world-class museums (the BMA, the Walters and the Visionary Arts Museum), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Creative Alliance, Center Stage, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Baltimore School for the Arts and MICA, to name a few other hubs for the arts.

A bumper sticker for sale at Sideshow, the gift shop of the American Visionary Art Museum.
A bumper sticker for sale at Sideshow, the gift shop of the American Visionary Art Museum. (Christina Tkacik)

3. Health care

Nationally, Baltimore ranked the fifth-healthiest city among top cities leading the way in health care, according to Healthgrades.

4. Quality of life

Baltimore is named one of the best places to live in the country by U.S. News: “Baltimore’s elegant architecture, friendly people and lively pockets of nightlife and music make Charm City a pleasant and fun place to call home.”

5. Transportation

Baltimore lost the Red Line, but it is still ranked among the top shipping ports in the U.S. BWI Marshall Airport is a powerhouse hub for Spirit and Southwest airlines. And train service and interstate highways make getting around the Northeast Corridor a breeze.

6. We’re on the edge of greatness

Sperling’s Best Places placed Baltimore 22 out of 50 cities poised for greatness. Categories examined included housing, job market, population, income, education level, music, arts, sports, construction, opportunities for advancement and achieving personal growth.

7. Dating scene

Sperling’s Best found Baltimore No. 34 out of 80 best cities to find love.

8. We’re not among the worst cities to live in America

Regardless of what POTUS claims, according to USA Today Baltimore is not on the worst list, though at least 50 other cities are.

9. We’re not the most dangerous city

It is no surprise that big cities have problems. But according to Forbes, Baltimore ranks seventh out of the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities. Baltimore, plagued with drugs and poverty, has an unacceptable violent crime rate of 1,417 per 100,000. Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis and Detroit are worse.

10 . Best crab cakes in America

Food and Wine magazine drops the “Best Crab Cakes in the U.S.” award smack dab on Faidley’s in Baltimore.

In Maryland, crab cakes are a religion, and <a href="https://www.thedailymeal.com/faidleys-seafood">Faidley’s</a>, located in Baltimore’s Lexington Market since 1886, is widely regarded as serving the state’s best. The crab cakes here (which were created in 1987 by matriarch Nancy Faidley-Devine) are unlike any you’ll find anywhere else, and locals are unanimous in their praise. To make these crab cakes, whole jumbo lump Maryland blue crab meat (the highest grade available) is tossed with broken saltines, Old Bay, and a secret mayo-based sauce before being formed into fist-sized balls and flash-fried in very hot oil. The end result is a golden-brown crab cake, brimming with huge chunks of fresh crab, and light and creamy on the inside. It’s about as good as it gets. (Sophia Y./<a href="https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/faidley-seafood-baltimore?select=uIY_salwEz_SqXO122_b_w">Yelp</a>)
In Maryland, crab cakes are a religion, and Faidley’s, located in Baltimore’s Lexington Market since 1886, is widely regarded as serving the state’s best. The crab cakes here (which were created in 1987 by matriarch Nancy Faidley-Devine) are unlike any you’ll find anywhere else, and locals are unanimous in their praise. To make these crab cakes, whole jumbo lump Maryland blue crab meat (the highest grade available) is tossed with broken saltines, Old Bay, and a secret mayo-based sauce before being formed into fist-sized balls and flash-fried in very hot oil. The end result is a golden-brown crab cake, brimming with huge chunks of fresh crab, and light and creamy on the inside. It’s about as good as it gets. (Sophia Y./Yelp)

Of course, it’s not all wine and roses, dear Baltimore. We have many critically urgent real challenges in our beloved city. But who benefits from the most powerful leader on earth stepping on our neck when we’re trying to get back on our feet?

I leave you with this, lyrics from the signature song from “Hairspray,” a signature film from Baltimore’s beloved John Waters:

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Good morning, Baltimore

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Every day’s like an open door

Every night is a fantasy

Every sound’s like a symphony …

Abe Wasserberger is a semi-retired fundraiser, strategic planner, general manager of nonprofits and a proud resident of Baltimore. His email is abejwasser@comcast.net.

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