When I was navigating the path from adolescence to manhood, I discovered The Block. On some Saturday afternoons, my mother would dress me and my siblings in nice clothes and drive us downtown to Hecht Co., Hochschild Cohn and Stewarts to shop for clothes. Downtown Baltimore was a bustling commercial hub. We would shop, eat lunch and shop some more before returning home to Northwest Baltimore. I find shopping as unpleasant now as I did then, but once I discovered The Block, the shopping outings were not totally boring.