I just got back from a conference (the Eastern Sociological Society) in Baltimore. It was well organized and all three sessions were quite interesting. I got to meet old friends and new. My two contributions were speaking on a panel about the Baltimore Ghetto and also having the privilege of being the discussant for a panel on "The Wire" featuring (among others) William J. Wilson and Sudhir Venkatesh.
After lunch at Faidley's I joined a tour of the "Real Baltimore" and it went through the Eastern (yes, it was a classic "slumming" tour). The Eastern looks the same as it always was... but emptier. That's strange, because it always looked pretty empty.
But I'm thinking that since I was there (2001) the Eastern has probably lost about 1/4 to 1/3 of its population. [update: though one man was shot in the morning and another stabbed probably about 15 minutes after we rolled by the location.]
Baltimore overall is looking pretty good. It's a great place to visit... It's amazing how that whole new area between the harbor and Fells Point has just sprung up from nothing so quickly.