(The eldest daughter being a big Ravens fan this was a must. It was not a great game, though the atmosphere improved dramatically in the final quarter as the Ravens went ahead.)
One lasting impression is going to be of the depressed nature of Baltimore – this really does seem to be a city that was dying on its feet. For sure, I had faithfully watched every last episode of The Wire but it was still a surprise to see a city that only appeared run-down (one daylight rail journey, one taxi journey and one light rail trip are hardly comprehensive, but it is still remarkable that nowhere seemed to shine with prosperity).
But one thing struck me more than anything else – and that was that Baltimore appears to be the living rebuttal of the idea that high quality higher education could and should be at the core of urban economic growth and renewal.
Baltimore houses what is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest scientific universities – Johns Hopkins – and travelling from Penn Station to the Ravens’ stadium also took us past buildings of Baltimore University and the University of Maryland. What there was not was the sense that Baltimore was a city thriving on the scientific and medical spin-offs and the thriving cultural and knowledge economies that we should expect.