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The Wire Tour

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[[Image:The Wire Tour map overview.png|thumb|550px|Overview map]]
'''The Wire Tour''' is a grand tour of [[Baltimore]], taking you past various important filming locations for the highly acclaimed HBO TV series, ''The Wire''. It is a driving tour 54 miles long (87 km87km) past 54 filming locations. It would take about three and a half hours without stopping at the sights, but to properly do the tour, you'll want to make stops for photos, food, and general gaping. It's wise to plan for a full day.
==Prepare==
 First, watch ''The Wire''. The whole thing. Otherwise do not read beyond this section, as <big>'''''major spoilers'''''</big> follow! If you haven't watched it yet, many major news organizations and arts and entertainment journals have called it the greatest TV series of all time, on par with great literature. Entire classes devoted to studying the TV series are becoming common at top U.S. US universities. You won't likely regret watching the full five seasons.
There's really only one thing you need to bring along (aside from a printout of the itinerary): a car with a full tank of gas. There is a surprising dearth of gas stations in the city, so fill up first! The only other thing you might find useful to bring is a camera to capture some of the more interesting surprises you'll find along the way.
==Get in==
 
The tour begins on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, heading north from I-395 off I-95. To get there from [[Baltimore/Downtown|Downtown]] or the [[Baltimore/Inner Harbor|Inner Harbor]], take any major road and head west, then turn right (north) onto the boulevard.
==Get around==
 
Bring your car. This is a '''driving itinerary''', as there simply is no other realistic way to tour the various filming locations—Baltimore's system of public transport is lacking, and furthermore there are parts of this trip where it is [[#Stay safe|safer]] and more comfortable to avoid traveling on foot, particularly in West and East Baltimore, as well as the eastern portion of the North Central section. Granted, chances are fairly slim that anything bad would happen to you, but if you are unfamiliar with the city and walking around snapping photos in areas that wouldn't dream of being a tourist destination, prepare to feel extremely visible, stared at, and uncomfortably out of place!
==Eat==
 
There are lots of great places to eat filmed in ''The Wire'', all of them dripping with local character and a real sense of place. Look for them in the following sections of the tour, and plan to finish on a full stomach!
[[Image:West Wire Tour map.png|thumb|380px]]
[[Baltimore/West Baltimore|West Baltimore]] is where it all begins, right on Lexington and Fulton Ave where '''Snot Boogie''', the man of unfortunate name and unfortunate life laid dead in the street. While nearly the whole of the drug gang plotlines plot lines theoretically take place in West Baltimore, only the first season was extensively shot here. The directors found East Baltimore's relatively treeless streets much easier to film in, as they could film throughout at least three of the seasons without losing seasonal continuity. To reach the series opening scene, ''head up MLK Jr Ave, turn left onto W Fayette St, then after going a ways, right on Fulton Ave and up two blocks to Lexington''. The scene was filmed on Lexington on the block just to the left. As you drive through West Baltimore, keep a lookout for the famous '''horse cart fruit vendor''' (known locally as an Arabber) in good weather—he's very much real, and quite the living legend.
''Turn right on Lexington and turn right onto Mount St. Go about four blocks'' and look for the '''Viva House''' (44 S Mount St) soon after crossing Hollins St, where Bubbles cooked and served at the '''soup kitchen'''. ''Turn left on Lombard and left again onto Gilmor St to get back to Lexington St.'' You will pass by beautiful Union Square on the right, with the HL Mencken Fountain in the center. Mencken, the "Sage of Baltimore" lived at 1524 Hollins St at the north of the square for 67 years, and to this date, despite the surrounding urban decay, this remains one of West Baltimore's best kept, wealthiest, and safest neighborhoods.
''Head north on Charles'' past '''Penn Station''', where Herc made his abortive arrest of Marlo, and its giant Male/Female Statue. Once you reach North Ave, look right for '''Pearson's Florist''', where Bodie headed into "the back room" to get his gangsta flower arrangement for D's funeral.
''Turn left on North Ave and then right into the parking lot'' of the distinctive '''North Avenue Motel''', where Omar shot Brother Mouzone. ''Head back out to North Ave and make a uU-turn to start heading back east''.
This is a good time for a side trip: You're near another fine food establishment that, while not a filming location, was referred to several times in the first season as a favorite place among the gangsters for their delicious coddies, '''Sterling's Seafood''' (401 W 29th St). To get there, ''turn left off North Ave on to Charles St to 29th, turn left again, and drive eight blocks''. Here it's time to hop out and get yourself some delicious food. The coddies may be an obvious choice, but there's a whole long list of seafood items worth your while. ''(To get back to North Ave, just turn left, then left again onto 28th, right on Maryland, and then left on North Ave.)''
[[Image:Pobmd.jpg|thumb|450px|Seagirt Marine Terminal]]
Your grand tour is over! If you still haven't eaten dinner, remember the Brewer's Art from the North Central Portion of the tour? It would be hard to do better, although if you are in the mood for something else, there are a lot of good options right on Charles St [[Baltimore/Midtown|nearby]]. ''Head north on Calvert past the Baltimore Sun building, then turn left on Madison St. You will turn right on Charles St'', but first look left down Charles to see the beautiful Washington Monument square (this one predates pre-dates the big monolith in [[Washington, D.C.]]). Anyway, turn right onto Charles and head north back to the Brewer's Art.
==Further out==
 
A few scenes from the series were filmed outside of the Downtown area.
===Northwest===
 Further out of the downtown area covered by the tour but still very much within the city limits is [[Baltimore/West Baltimore|Reservoir Hill]]. Forming most of its northern border is Druid Lake. At 901 Druid Park Lake Dr, at the corner of Linden Avenue, is the '''Riviera Apartments''' building, the site of Monk's residence and the exterior shooting location of the infamous Season 5 gunfight between Omar and his accomplice Donnie (played by Donnie Andrews who was the inspiration for the character of Omar Little) and the forces of Marlo Stanfield, namely Chris Partlow, Snoop Pearson, and their protegeprotégé, Michael Lee. The southeast corner of the building on Linden is where Omar made his spectacular leap from the balcony when his ammo ran dry and improbably disappeared from sight to the utter astonishment of his attackers. Please remember this is a ''private'' residential building-don't anger those who live there by trying to enter the building!
==Drink==
 
This tour purposefully ends in Central Baltimore. You've completed a tour around much of the city, including some of its more interesting and decidedly less visited neighborhoods. Pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with a drink by the Harbor, at the Brewer's Art, or in historic [[Baltimore/Fells Point|Fells Point]]! A couple rounds at a Fells Point faux-Irish pub would be a classic McNulty-esque end to the day. Just don't take a page from his drinking and driving handbook—not only is it immoral, but also rest assured that the police look hard for this type of thing in bar-heavy neighborhoods. If you do choose Fells Point, be sure to look for '''The Ritz''', which was the filming location for Orlando's strip club, on Broadway just south of Eastern Ave.
==Respect==
 
This part is crucial. The hand-wringing associated with the terribly distasteful and offensive term "ghetto tourism" is a bit overwrought and contrived, but there are pitfalls to be aware of. This tour will take you through examples of some of the more impoverished and alienated urban communities in the United States, and if your purpose is to "gawk at poverty," you are here for the wrong reasons. These are real neighborhoods with a vibrant culture that the locals ''are proud of'' in spite of the obvious social problems, and as a sophisticated traveler you should accept them on their own terms. You should be here to reconnect with your favorite scenes from the TV series and to better appreciate that which is Baltimore.
==Stay safe==
 
Yes, you are touring some high crime areas, be smart about it. Behave as you should in ''any'' major American city.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Do not leave valuables in a parked car visible to any passersbypasserby.
Be cautious about valuables on your person (purse, phone, camera).
As noted [[#Get around|above]], walking on foot around the East and West Baltimore sections of the tour could be more risky. Yes, they are high violent-crime areas, but you are more likely to be offered drugs for sale or get hit by a car than become that kind of victim, and there are really great hospitals near all tour locations. Additionally, you may be more likely to become the victim of petty crime (like someone running off with your phone) in the less residential neighborhoods.
A nighttime night time stroll in many locales would be ill-advised, but no one is likely to bother you beyond asking you what you're doing there or advising that it's not safe for you to visit. Unless, you are or look to be "in the game" people will probably leave you alone.
==See also==
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