Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This lovely neighborhood is located on the east side of Herring Run Park in the northeast section of Baltimore City. On the map, it almost looks like a little appendage to the Belair-Edison neighborhood, but there are many single family homes.

It is a residential neighborhood comprised of single family or duplex homes. It's tree lined, quiet streets look like an inviting place to call home.

There is a variety of architecture to be found, some brick duplexes, some bungalows and cape cods. Some are in immaculate condition and others are in need of attention.

There are fewer than 200 homes here, mostly owner occupied.

The average sale price for a home in 2006 was $103,000 and only two homes were sold in Belair-Parkside in that year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

B"more sports

OK, I'm dying here. I have nothing. I can't even bear to write the score here so just don't make me do it. My Ravens are losing. They are beating themselves. I don't think they could win if they played no one.

I just can't write about it.

Forgive me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Places to go, people to see

Paper Moon Diner is not to be missed. Located on 29th Street in Baltimore, the Paper Moon Diner is open 24 hours a day. It's a popular spot to go late at night, which is the only time I have been there. I can't really imagine being there during the day. Anyway, don't worry about missing it as you drive by. If you have been drinking and you drive past without noticing it, that is a big clue that you have had way too much to drink. Pull over and call a cab. You will be greeted by mannequins in the shrubbery and maybe a bathroom fixture or two.
Inside the decor is more of the same. There are doll heads wathcing you eat from the ceiling, and other toys and brightly colored, seen better days, items. Your menu will be in a story book. Your waiter or waitress will not be your waiter or waitress. Everyone working there serves everyone eating there and it looks like they just wear whatever they want to work.
The food, oh yeah, the food, they do serve food here. And it's good. I ordered scrambled eggs, bacon, has browns and toast. I ordered tea and was pleasntly surpirsed that they offer a variety of teas. The waitstaff seems very casual about what they are doing but actually is very knowledgeable and helpful. NJG ordered something other than breakfast, it may have been something in a tortilla, not sure, but he liked it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A take on Belair-Edison

Belair -Edison is located in the northeast section of Baltimore City. Established in the 1940's, the neighborhood was once home to Brehm's Brewery, which occupied 624 acres around Erdman Avenue and Brehm's Lane. Breweries were common industries in northeast Baltimore in the 1800's. Eventually the neighborhood became known as the Village of Georgetown and then Belair-Edison. There are approximately 7,500 mostly red brick row homes in this neighborhood with two blocks of semi-detached and single family homes. The homes found west of Brehm's Lane are the oldest in the neighborhood, dating back to the early 30's, to the east of Brehm's lane the homes were built mostly in the 50's. The last homes built here were in the northeast section which had been land where residents had once planted victory gardens.

The homes vary in width from 17 to 22 feet wide and you can find 2 to 4 bedrooms. The architecture varies block by block, as is common in the city. Some of the homes have garages.

Today the neighborhood is a culturally diverse mix of white and blue collar workers from all walks of life. It is common to find neighbors chatting on their covered front porches or over the back yard fence. All the homes in this neighborhood have front lawns and back yards.

Belair-Edison is one of the greenest neighborhoods in the city with the 300 acre Herring Run Park to the north and Clifton Park to the south and Lake Montebello just a short walk away.

Herring Run Park is a popular place to bring the kids to the playground. It was also voted the best place in the city to take a run in City Paper's annual "Best of" edition of 2007.

Clifton Park has tennis courts and an 18 hole golf course. There are also community garden plots, and the Clifton Park Mansion.

There is a popular track around Lake Montebello that is 1.25 miles and is used by runners, walkers, bikers and roller bladers alike.
The community association is active and there are incentive programs for home buyers who are interested in investing in the community.
The average sale price of a home in this neighborhood for the year 2006 was $106,044.
Next week we visit Belair-Parkside.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Born in Baltimore

George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born in Baltimore on February 6, 1895. He was the son of German immigrants who worked long hours and had little time for child rearing. When he was seven years old they sent him to the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reform school and orphanage, and signed custody over to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school. Ruth spent the next twelve years at that school, rarely visited by his family.

It was at the school that he learned to play baseball. Brother Mathias took young Ruth under his wing and taught him the game, coaching him in fielding, batting and even pitching. It is to be noted that while Ruth wrote with his right hand, he batted and threw left handed.

In 1914 Jack Dunn, of the Baltimore Orioles, then a minor league team, discovered Ruth and signed him to a contract. Because Ruth was only 19 at the time, Dunn had to have custody of Ruth so he could enter into the contract. The other players called him "Jack's newest babe" and that nickname stuck with him for the rest of his life.

Ruth eventually landed with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher with a winning record. He eventually moved to the outfield position and first base in order to be able to bat every day. In 1919 he was sold to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox were said to have been cursed by the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, "The Curse of the Bambino" that was not lifted until they finally won the World Series in 2004.

Babe Ruth became the first American sports celebrity and is credited with the great rise of the popularity of baseball in the 1920's. He was well known for his charity off the field but also his reckless and hedonistic behavior. Ruth set several baseball records, including the home run record of 714 which was long considered unbreakable. He is still regarded by most as the best player ever.

Babe Ruth died of cancer on August 16, 1948. His body lied in state at Yankee Stadium as the entire country mourned the loss. His boyhood home on Emory Street in Baltimore is now the Babe Ruth Museum and is located quite close to Camden Yards.

Monday, November 19, 2007

B'More Sports

What can I say? I guess all I can say is, it is good for my mental health that I had already written off this season for the Ravens, so it's not like I was still clinging to hope for a playoff spot at yesterday's game. Yes, yesterday I was actually at the game.

It was NJG's first regular season Ravens game and I wanted to give him the full experience. Well, be careful what you wish for because he sure got that. First up was tailgating. We parked far away because I don't like to pay $22.oo to park a car. But I think he would have preferred to pay since he was carrying the beer. As luck had it though, it was perfect. It was great to walk and see the trickle of purple jerseys heading in the same direction. I enjoy walking past Camden Yards and seeing the baseball diamond and remembering the games I got to go to over the summer. We could hear the Raven's Marching Band as we were walking and it was getting us excited for the game. The sound was getting closer and closer and it turns out they were marching right towards us, playing some Christmas music. We walked down the Raven's Walk toward the football stadium, crossed over the bridge and headed toward Sharp St., made a left at Ostend and found my brother's tailgate spot. Once we hit the Ravens walk we cracked open our breakfast beer (Youngs Double Chocolate Stout) and got in the proper mindset.

The game was interesting to say the least. I have never seen a ref use the excuse that there was an equipment malfunction and the play could not be reviewed. We had already seen the replay on the big screen, what was the problem? Anyway, that was nothing compared to the field goal that wasn't and then was after review, never mind that a field goal is not a reviewable play.... We had left the stadium and paused at a big screen outside to learn that the field goal was now suddenly good. We hustled back to the stadium for overtime and watched the Ravens lose it from the 50 yard line.

The highlight of the game for me was seeing Ray Lewis make a defensive touchdown, one of his many but perhaps it will be one of his last too, you never know these things.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Places to go, People to see

The Baltimore Museum of Art is a worthwhile trip. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays and general admission is free. They do have some special exhibits for which there is a fee.

The museum began in 1914 with a single object at a temporary location. It quickly grew and became a popular attraction. Architect, John Russell Pope was hired to design the current museum which is located between the neighborhoods of Remington and Charles Village. The current building opened to the public in 1929.

The museum is home to 90,000 works of art including the largest holding of Henri Matisse in the world. The collection also includes works by Picasso, Cezanne and van Gogh. The museum is known for its collection of contemporary art and includes several pop art works of Andy Warhol.

The Cone Sister's collection was donated to the museum in the 50's. That is one of my favorite rooms of the museum and includes a virtual tour of what the Cone sister's apartment looked like with all that art in it. Cool and interactive, but also a hot spot for unruly kids in need parental supervision last time I was there.

There is also a sculpture garden on the grounds covering nearly 3 acres.

Gertrude's is the restaurant on site and in the summer time I understand there are Jazz events there, but I haven't made it yet.

There is also an auditorium hosting special events such as movies, concerts, etc.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Be There or Be Square

On the surface, it may look like there is just not much going on around Charm City this weekend. Being the weekend before what seems to be a very early Thanksgiving this year, perhaps people like myself should take this opportunity to do the grocery shopping and rest up for the days of cooking ahead. But noooo, I don't wanna miss what is going on this weekend.

Take another look, The Oranges Band and Karmella's Game are performing at Charm City Art Space 7:30 pm. OK, so I have never heard of Karmella's Game and have never been to Charm City Art Space, and the last time I heard The Oranges Band, they were missing a couple of key elements, but I still love them. I have read a little bit about about Charm City Art Space, sounds pretty cool, all ages are welcome, no smoking is allowed. So if you are into that sort of vibe, enjoy, if you are more like me then...

Head on over to the Recher Theater in Towson for the much anticipated return of Landis in The Almighty Senators. Landis had a successful kidney transplant over the summer and is now ready to perform once again. The Senators play rock/blues. Check it out. Joining the Senators is Kelly Bell Band. Always entertaining and playing what they call "Phat Blues", no white people, that is not a spelling error. Finally, also joining the party is JAH Works, reggae, mon. Well, their own special brand of reggae anyway. Doors open at 7.

Finally, on Sunday there is a Ravens game. "Ravens?" you ask, "But Charm City Girl, I thought you said they were done." You are right, they are done, but I'm not. I haven't been to a regular season game yet this season and I am not going to let a little thing like losing stop me from having a good time. The tailgating at a Ravens game is the best in the nation. Spirits might be low, but the beer bottles will be raised high as we all gab about what should and should not be done to fix this team and start dreaming about the spring draft. So, Ravens vs. Browns, be there or be square.

Suggestions from NJG:

It has been suggested that this would be a wonderful weekend to visit the farmer's market. The 32nd Street Farmers' Market is open all year, every Saturday from 7 am til noon. The Baltimore Farmers' Market is open on Sundays from 8 am til noon on Saratoga Street between Gay and Holliday (under the JFX). This market runs through December 23rd. These markets are in full swing and could be a place to find fresh fruits and veggies for a perfect Thanksgiving or even a gift for a hard to buy for person on your holiday shopping list.

Also, Automatic Slim plays Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point on Friday at 6pm for Happy Hour. They are a well known, well loved Blues band. How could I have missed it?

Thanks, NJG

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The neighborhood of Beechfield is located in the southwestern part of the city. The western acreage was once the estate known as Cloud Capped in the 18th century owned by Charles Carroll. Legend has it that residents were able to see the British fleet heading towards Fort McHenry in 1814 and sent a messenger to warn the city.

In the 30's Loudon Park National Cemetery was reaching its limit. It was decided that the city would take possession of Cloud Capped and turn it into the 72.2 acre Baltimore National Cemetery. The mansion was demolished in 1937 and a Federal Revival style Superintendent's Lodge was erected using salvaged materials from the mansion. A Tudor Revival style Assistant Superintendent's Lodge was also built about the same time. The cemetery was dedicated on Memorial Day of 1941.

The rest of the neighborhood is a quiet residential neighborhood.

Average sale price of a home in Beechfield in 2006 was $146,413.

Next week - Belair-Edison

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Born In Baltimore

Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore on April 6, 1942. He graduated from Forest Park Senior High and attended American University in Washington DC.

He started out as a writer on such shows as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, The Tim Conway Show and The Carol Burnett Show.

He moved on to screenwriting movies in the seventies with Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), And Justice For All (1979). He made a cameo appearance in High Anxiety as a bellboy. And Justice For All was one of Al Pacino's first movies and was set in Baltimore.

He is well known for a series of films set in Baltimore beginning with Diner(1982), Tim Men (1987) starring Danny DiVito and Richard Dreyfuss (I got to see some of the filming of this one), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights(1999). He wrote and directed these films and also produced the last two. His biggest hit was undoubtedly Rain Man, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He also directed The Natural and Good Morning Vietnam. He produced a film in 1996, Sleepers, which was a haunting film.

As if he hasn't done enough in film, he has also produced some pretty fantastic TV. Homicide: Life on the Street, a gritty crime drama based in Baltimore. This series ran from 1993 - 1999 and was filmed differently from any TV show I had ever seen. It was critically acclaimed, it's not just me. Also, HBO's series, OZ, which I have never seen.

I can see my life in his films and I can see my city there too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

B'More Sports

Ravens lost to the last place team in the division, the Cincinati Bengals. This was the second loss to this team this year and makes the Ravens 0 - 4 in the division. Can it get any worse? Well, tune in next week and we will see. I just don't have the heart to write about any other sports news today.

Sorry for the short post.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Places to Go, People to See

The Hippodrome Theater is a treasure and a must see. Designed by Thomas Lamb, a prominent theatre architect, the theater opened for business on November 23, 1914 as a movie house which also hosted vaudeville performances. The theater seated 3,000 and had a weekly attendance of 30,000. Sound for the performances was provided by piano, an organ, and an orchestra.

In 1931 a huge marquee was added and new seats. At the time the theater had three price levels, 25 cents before noon, 35 cents from noon til 6, and 50 cents after 6pm. It was the period between 1931 and the 50's that the theater was most successful, becoming one of the most popular vaudeville houses in the country. Performers such as Bobe Hope, Jack Benny and Red Skelton perfomred at this theater. It is the place where Frank Sinatra first appeared with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The theater maintained a house orchestra into the 50's. The last stage show was performed in 1959.

The theater underwent a major renovation in 1963 in preparation for the regional premiere of Cleopatra. In 1969 it hosted the world premiere of Slaves.

During the 70's and 80's the Hippodrome was the last theater showing movies in downtown Baltimore and attendance declined severely. The theater closed it's doors in 1990.

The theater has been lovingly restored to it's former beauty. I went not long after it reopened to see an off Broadway production of The Producers. It is just a majestic theater. They have done a wonderful job with the restoration.

The theater is currently showing My Fair Lady.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Be There or Be Square, Hon

The Opera Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart) opens this weekend on the 10th at 8:15 pm. There are also performances on November 14th at 7:30 pm, November 16th at 8:15 pm and November 18th at 3pm. I don't think I have ever been to the Lyric Opera House, at least I cannot remember a time. I have always wanted to see an opera just so I can know if I like it or not. One of my favorite movies is Moonstruck and I just love how Cher's character is so moved by her opera experience, so I imagine having a similar reaction myself. Who knows. The opera is about the cousin feud (British version of Hatfields & McCoys?) between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I. From what I can gather, Lizzy I wins this one as Mary loses her head in the end. It is an Italian opera with English surtitles. I love the way the Italian language sounds. I remember watching Life is Beautiful with the subtitles and when it came on TV and it was dubbed in English, it just lost all appeal for me.

Ani DiFranco is performing at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Saturday the 10th. I must admit to not knowing who this is, but I know someone who loves her and that is good enough of a recommendation to me on a slow weekend.

The Athenian Agora Greek Festival takes place Friday, November 9th and Saturday November 1oth at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Preston Street (can't miss it, it's round with a big dome). There will be traditional Greek dancing and Greek martinis. What more could you want on a blustery November weekend?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Barre Circle

This is a gem of a neighborhood located on the west side of the city, quite near the stadium complex and not far from the inner harbor area. It is a tiny neighborhood consisting of less than 120 homes. This neighborhood is a historic district and was homesteaded in the 1980's. The houses were built between 1840 - 1890, during a time when industry was booming and houses were being quickly built to serve as homes for the laborers who were moving here. They are modest, unadorned, brick rowhomes that are 12-15 feet wide, two to three stories high.

This neighborhood is sometimes referred to as "Little Georgetown". There are interesting renovations and gardens. Some of these homes have big backyards. There are two large common areas where there are daffodils planted by the residents and where annual croquet tournaments are held.

There are many professionals who work right at University Center and live in this neighborhood. There is an active community association and it is a racially and culturally diverse area.
The average sale price of a home in this neighborhood for the year 2006 was $231,000 and there were only five sales.
Next week we will be going to Beechfield.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Born in Baltimore

A.A. Bodine was born in Baltimore on July 21, 1906. He attended St. Paul's Bays' School until the 8th grade when he left the school because he felt it was too expensive for his parents yet he loved the school so much that he didn't want to go anywhere else.

So at the age of 14 he became a messenger for the Sunpapers, earning $8.00 a week. He took an interest in art and started helping the artists complete the detail work that they didn't have the time to do. Eventually he started going out with the photographers to help them carry their equipment. One of the photographers was not all that interested in it and let Aubrey actually shoot the pictures. When one of the photographers was injured by an explosion of the flash powder, Aubrey was able to step right into his place while he was in the hospital recovering. In the fall of 1923 he submitted two pictures of the Thomas Viaduct and they were published in the Sunday Sun. He was only 17 years old. This was the beginning of his long career as a photographer.

He didn't like to talk about his early years and his humble beginnings with the Sunpapers as a messenger. He wanted people to believe that he started his career as a commercial photographer with the Sun.

He was a very well known photographer and published several books including My Maryland and Chesapeake Bay & Tidewater. You can see most of his photos and even purchase note cards online.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Just in from the Ravens game. OK, so I left early. I think this is the first time I ever left before the game was over. It's that bad folks. I don't even care if, by some miracle, the Ravens pulled off a victory after I left. They played so poorly tonight that I truly don't care if they did. Tonight's game was more disgusting than I could have imagined. To see Ray Lewis even trying to get pumped up after some routine play he is paid dearly to make, well, it just makes me sick.

The season is done. It ended tonight,


B'More Sports

Well, the Ravens didn't play this weekend, they are on Monday Night Football tonight. I expect them to be completely humiliated on national TV. They never seem to do well in these situations. I hope Kelly Greg sacks Big Ben two or three times, but I expect the Ravens to lose. They just don't seem to have it this year, for whatever reason. I hope perhaps, Brian Billick will add a few more plays to the play book, or just learn when to pass (not when it's 3rd down and one). If the Ravens can pull off a win tonight in Pittsburgh, I will be hopeful that they can go to the playoffs. If not, I don't think they stand a chance. They need to win in their division. The have lost to the Bengals, who aren't even that good, and the Browns. They really need this in my humble opinion.

In other football news, the Patriots beat the Colts. Way to go. I hate the Colts and always will and that is just the way it is.

The Baltimore Blasts are now a 3-0 team after defeating the Orlando Sharks on Saturday. Go Blasts.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Places to Go, People to See

I really didn't know what I was going to recommend until I sat down to write this piece just now. Then it came to me, often overlooked in today's world of Internet and other media, the library. Baltimore has one of the oldest library systems in the country, the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Established in 1882, the library was opened to the public in 1886. The founder of the library, Enoch Pratt, stated "My library shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them."

The library opened to the public in 1886. The first location of the central library was on Mulberry Street. Also that same year, the first ever branch library was built in Canton and is still in operation in it's original location to this day.

On October 15, 1886 the library issued a borrowers card to Harry S. Cummings, the first African American to receive an Enoch Pratt Library card.

In the 1940's the library started a horse drawn book wagon that traveled throughout the city getting free books to people who may otherwise never get to the library. This eventually evolved into the bookmobile which is still in operation this day.

Today the central library is located at 400 Cathedral Street. The current building was erected in the 1930's with an expansion done just a few years ago. It boasts an H.L. Mencken collection which contains many of his personal correspondence. Unfortunately, that room is only open to the public one day a year, the Saturday in September which falls closest to his birthday on the 12th. The library is fantastic, it makes you want to read again. I feel my IQ increase just by walking through the enormous doors.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Be There or Be Square, Hon

OK, gotta admit, it's slim pickins this weekend...

The evevt of the week: Guy Falks Day Celebration,
Nov 3, 4 pm, 402 Nancy Ave, Linthicum.

Featuring bonfires, fireworks, and artcars (World Artcar Day).

A celebration of a night in 1605 when a group of Brits tried to blow up the Parlaiment with gunpowder....and failed.

Hosted by the Center for Fawksian Pursuits.

Admission is Free