Hampden Hawker: October 2007

Hampden Hawker

THE Hampden Gossip Blog

Hopefully Factual, Fueled by Speculation

Email the tip line: hampdenhawker@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Roosevelt Park Auditorium News Round-Up

So this is totally old news now, but still of interest. Apparently the highly costly renovations of the auditorium at Roosevelt Park Rec Center have been a mess. $1.3 million and the air conditioning & heating don't work, the ceiling's falling in and there's flooding in the basement. And that's just A FEW of the problems. Apparently there was a even a break-in just days after the renovations were complete because there was improper weatherstripping on one of the windows & it was easy to get in. However, the intruders only played video games and ate some food, so they weren't ALL bad.

I first read about this in "Hampden Happenings;" it was in The Sun Sunday and now The Messenger. (Please note The Messenger link won't last forever.)

The good news is that The Sun reported yesterday that repairs will begin this week.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Traffic Nightmare on Elm Street Solved?

So this is great. You know those speed bumps that Hawker reported were coming to Elm Street?

Well, it looks like it's going to be a while. According to The Department of Transportation, work orders are so backed up that residents shouldn't expect the bumps to be built until the spring of 2008. DoT was hopeful that it might be sooner, but not optimistic. DoT has also made a recommendation that Elm be one-way southbound, but this would require community approval first.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Three Reasons Not to be Bored This Weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend?

How about starting your weekend by attending Burlesque University’s Graduation Glory tonight at 9 p.m. at the MobTown Theater in Clipper Mill? Tickets are available in advance from Atomic Pop. For more details, visit Burlesque University online.

Then tomorrow, take in Hampden's Halloween Fest from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. From 5-6 p.m., there will be trick or treating on the Avenue (with participating merchants), and there's a Halloween costume contest in front of Ma Petite Shoe from 6:30-8 p.m. Some merchants have put together special events and entertainment throughout the day.

Sunday, why not catch the 5 p.m. performance of Antigone at Baltimore Shakespeare Festival on Roland Avenue, featuring Hampenites (and professional actors) Jen Plants and Owen Scott.

Get out there!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Promoted from Comments

It's (unsurprisingly) difficult to determine who you should contact if you're interested in offering comments to the Rotunda development team.

Though at the meeting on October 22nd, it was announced that developers would like to convene a group of folks living adjacent to the Rotunda for discussion, how this would happen is unclear.

Hawker's best idea is to contact:

Chris Bell
Senior Vice President, Acquisition & Development
Hekemian & Co., Inc.
326 First Street, Suite 30
Annapolis, MD 21403

His email given on the Rotunda site?


That feels real personal.

I would also cc: your city council representative.

Lazy Hawker!

It's true. Maybe it's the weather, but Hawker's feeling lazy this week.

Here's some content swiped from another blog to keep you satisfied as fall comes in via a deluge:

Like dogs? Love attitude? THIS is the flyer for you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rotunda Update: Snark Free

So there's news on the Rotunda front, and I present it without comment on my end:

They're getting ready to begin construction in April 2008 and estimate that it will take almost 3 years. As expected, an expanded Giant & Rite-Aid will be part of the project, and there will be other national chains: "soft goods" and "a book store" and a movie theatre. There's talk of locally based retail moving in as well. The plan is for be 300 apartments, 40 condos, a hotel and some rowhouses.

There's lots of talk of creating a kind of fake "downtown" with a plaza and outdoor seating.

Traffic is going to be a mess as there are some problems that can't be solved unless "additional property is acquired." There will be, however, tons of parking and shuttle service from other Baltimore locations.

There's going to be public art, and the committee to select the work is made up of representatives from The Baltimore Cultural Alliance and The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, as well as an artist/college professor.

The only folks they're interested in getting feedback from are the following:

Elm Avenue Residents
38th Street Residents
Keswick Multicare
Roland Park Place
Apartment complex at 40th and Roland
Wyman Park residents (Keswick Road)

Talk amongst yourselves!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Random Greetings

To the middle school students sauntering down Cairnes Lane smoking pot at 8:45 a.m. this morning on their way to school: Aim high.

To Lisa at the Hon Bar who sang the ass out of "Don't You Want Me Baby" at Keyboard Man's Karaoke Friday night: You, my dear, know how to please a crowd!

To Rocket to Venus: Why, oh WHY, don't you serve Sunday dinner?

To Suzie's Soba: Thanks from this Hampdenite for staying open late and reopening outdoor seating to accomodate Hawker and her guests.


So, in Hampden, you might see middle school students pot smoking or you might meet a kind & special business owner who makes you feel like you're visiting her home when you have dinner.

Hampden's always a crap shoot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Soon, Foodies, Soon.

No word on the true opening date of Clipper Mill's Woodberry Kitchen, but it must be fast approaching. There's a Creative Alliance benefit there tonight (as part of the annual Art to Dine For series of events.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Got money to burn?

This commercial property for sale caught my eye, as it was one of the featured properties that open each month's Baltimore Magazine.

These two brick warehouses built in 1879 are on Falls Road, south of Hampden (along Hampden's favorite shortcut to the The Charles.)

The magazine ad (and web description) say suggest that this commercial investment property might offer a "possible condo conversion/restaurant with package."

The pricetag? $1.8 million.

Keep Your Clothes On, Mystery Dude.

Ok, Hampdenites, here's a disturbing piece of news: There seems to be a serial masturbator practicing his disgusting art on the Avenue.

Sources tell Hawker that he showed up at a local business and asked an employee to take a photograph of him. (The employee thought this was weird, but the dude somehow made this request seem plausible by saying he had a job application that needed a photo--he had a copy of the application and seemed legit.) The employee agreed to help him out, and they planned to take the photo outside. Once they got outside (and from the sounds of it, away from the sight lines of the street,) the dude took off all of his clothes (gym shorts and a T-shirt) and started doing his thing. The employee ran back into the store, and the dude disappeared.

I hesitate to offer a description of this dude, because basically the vague description Hawker received fits about 75% of guys currently living in Hampden.

Apparently, this is not the first time such an incident has happened to a Hampden business. If it happens to you (though you will be traumatized by your inability to unsee the crime once you've seen it,) call 911 ASAP.

Hawker wishes all Hampden business a public masturbation-free Friday!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rotunda Edges Forward

So the Rotunda project seems to indeed be moving forward. (Here's a grainy photo of the proposed layout from a year ago.) There's a task force meeting scheduled for Monday, October 22nd. (Hawker's not 100% clear who's on the task force and what authority they have, but the members seem to be made up of an appropriate group of local business and community leaders.)

Word is that a general contractor has been retained for the project (and he/she will be introduced) and that "design refinements" and "construction details" will be announced at the meeting.

I'll keep you posted as I get more news.

Until then, please amuse yourself with the video from The Rotunda development website. There's all these shots of Baltimore in the beginning, and NOT ONE of them actually shows Hampden. Nice.

Seems like the time for Indy Hampden still feels right.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random "News" You Might Have Missed

Ok, and by random, dear readers, I mean random & I use the word "news" loosely. It's a slow news week for Hampden out there on the Internets.

1. A lovely photograph of the dining room of the much anticipated Woodberry Kitchen from Dining at Large. It's supposedly opening by the end of the month, but even their website doesn't offer an exact date. Also, Suzie's Soba puts the "charm" in Charm City and everyone's favorite hobby: bitching about the service at The Golden West!

2. Apparently, Hampden RULEX!!!!!!

3. Also on craigslist (remember, this is "news" people,) there's a fight over whether Fraizer's is a dump, full of gorgeous babes, the sight of the "I Know What You Did Last Summer: Hampden", or hated only by those who are from Canton (apparently a neighborhood free of dog feces.) WARNING: These links are NSFW. The latest in the Craig's List Frazier's battle is here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I ask for forgiveness as I ask for a tissue.

Forgive Hawker's scant posts of late. Someone in Hampden gave Hawker an award-winning cold that knocked me off my game, but I'm back.

Favorite sighting this weekend: There's a weird little alley off Hickory just above 38th Street and some houses there have back decks and yards that face this alley. On a sunny, breezy, perfect Saturday morning, I saw a approximately 60-year-old dude catching some rays, reading the paper and enjoying a stunner of a weekend. What made it Hampden style? His T-Shirt: "Slutz: They go down easy!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Be Kind to Your Neighborhood Baristas

In bad karma news, a few days ago, someone stole the bagels from Common Ground. I won't report exactly how it happened to prevent any copycat crimes. Hawker must say, that stealing bagels from your local, independent coffee shop is very, very low.

In other Common Ground news, Hawker's heard a rumor that Glenn has divested himself of the Evergreen on Coldspring. The assumption would be that he sold it, but there's no firm confirmation.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Development Rumors

Hawker took a walk tonight after the rain, in the dark of the evening, and everything seemed so quiet, and most every house was decked out in Halloween pride that Hawker, for one, felt such love for Hampden that my heart grew like the Grinch!

Then, there's these thoughts from a tipster:

Regardless of what you may have heard, lots o' folks are under the impression that The Rotunda project still is happening. Rumor has it now that development should start in April 2008, but (no surprise,) there are still (thankfully) wrenches in that plan.

Traffic considerations in that area are, of course, huge. The rumor is that businesses on the north side of Falls & 41st and the south side of Roland & 40th may be taken by eminent domain. Also, rumors say that a block on Elm near the Rotunda will be closed to ALL traffic. This of course means, you could live on Elm, but you won't be able to park there.

Oh, and if that doesn't make you nervous, how about this rumor: Baltimore City has been privatizing a lot of its parks, and there's some thought that Roosevelt Park may go up for sale.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Well, today is a special day.

There's this person in Hampden, and it's this person's birthday. Her name is Rachel, and she's a co-owner of Atomic Books, Pop, etc. Rachel doesn't like calling attention to herself, but don't let her demeanor fool you. She's a driving force behind HampdenFest. Plus, she cares deeply about Hampden, and her businesses are examples of what makes Hampden so great and special.

If you see her today, wish her well and tell her how much you love HampdenFest. Oh, and you might want to ask her if she'll model the plastic vampire teeth complete with gummi tongue that she got at her surprise party Saturday night. She'll say no, but you can ask.

Friday, October 05, 2007

When did this become a crime blog?

Got this text message today about 1:00 p.m.:

"Cops seem to be forming a perimeter around Cold Spring/Greenspring/Falls/41 st. Helicopter is flying over and K9 is on the scene. I assume there's someone in the woods that the cops would like to speak with."

Tipster also commented that she was off to a wedding, hoping for "less police action, more cake." This is now Hawker's new motto.

Follow-Up: The "Body"

I received this in my inbox today:

"Hi... I happen to be the guy who drove by at 7:00am on my my way to the Common Ground. And there sure was a gray haired neatly dressed (not one of the indigenous peoples of Hampden) male with a bad head wound laying in a pool of blood, very pale with a couple of bystanders and an officer standing over him and the sound of sirens from an ambulance approaching. I really don't know what happened but I do hear that there is a sort of drug war going on in the hood (gangs and such!) . I don't really know why nothing has been reported about this. But I did see this and I'm sure it wasn't good!!"

Let's just say that his email address and a little research supports him as a fairly credible witness.

Hawker would like to say that being found the victim (in whatever sense) of a bloody head wound on The Avenue in Hampden is horrific, and let's hope that the body (who appears to be a grown man) is recovering.

Get out!

It's First Friday tonight in Hampden: wine tastings, free food, lots of discounts. What's not to love?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The "Body"

Hawker has been trying to get to the bottom out this "body found on the Avenue yesterday" rumor all day.

The only fact that seems not to be under dispute is that a large pool of blood was discovered on the sidewalk in front of the Golden West early yesterday morning.

One source claims emphatically that as he drove down the Avenue just before 7 a.m., there were two fire trucks on the scene and a body.

Then, there's this report. I offer it with no comment.

Baltimore Crime claims there was no body (but offers no support for the denial.) The comment section offers you loads of Hampden hate--so that's special.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

UPDATED: Tough Morning


Ready to get disturbed?

Bodies have been found with increasing frequency in Hampden these days.

Hawker has it from a reliable source that a body (whether the person was alive or dead at the time has yet to be determined) was found early this morning in front of the Golden West. Two fire trucks were on the scene about 7:00 a.m.

The rumor floating around is that there some sort of vigilante taking down known drug addicts in Hampden.

This is not what I meant when I asked Hampden to get gossip worthy. This rise in violence against ANYONE at ANYTIME in our neighborhood is deeply unsettling.

I'll do some more nosing around today and see what I can find out.

I welcome any knowledge Hawker readers have on the subject.

UPDATE: Apparently, upon further fact checking, there was no body. Just a pool of blood outside GW. I don't propose that that correction is somehow comforting, however.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Random Brief News Round-Up

1. The dining room at Dogwood is now officially reopened, and Elizabeth Large from The Sun has some tips--including the one that Dogwood is one of the few restaurants in Hampden to have its own parking.

2. This story in The Guardian UK a few days ago makes me sad. Oh, Fat Elvis, we still mourn your loss! However, the author's take on Hampden is refreshingly uncondescending: The Avenue "looks not dissimilar to main street in any number of small American towns," but Hampden's defining feature is that "the biggest crime you could commit here is to be boring." I'm cool with that assessment, Eddi Fiegel.

3. Hampden resident Thomas Spande lands art show in his own neighborhood.

4. News flash! Hampden has vintage shops!

It's a slow week, Hampdenites. Get out there and get gossip worthy!

Lazily, I post this.

It's a slow news week in Hampden.

Hawker is searchin'. Hopefully, I'll have something later today.