Hampden Hawker: December 2007

Hampden Hawker

THE Hampden Gossip Blog

Hopefully Factual, Fueled by Speculation

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

This Just In: Hampden is Eclectic!

Um, like, hi.

Miss me?

You probably all thought Hawker was dead, but I was just vacating.

But, Hawker's back, Hampdenites.

And just in time for the Baltimore Sun's Real Estate Section feature on Hampden! (If you subscribe to the Sunday Sun, you got the section with the article today. Otherwise, it's out tomorrow.) If a reporter can write a story about Hampden and not use the word "eclectic," I think Hawker's gonna award a prize.

The piece is generally a fluff piece under the title "Insider's Guide to Hampden." So, as an insider, here are Hawker's concerns:

1) The article glosses over culture clashes in the neighborhood. Allen Hicks talks about parking and schools when he discusses the "transitional" nature of the neighborhood.

2) The article states that "parking is a big issue in Hampden." Ok, people, parking is a big issue in Hampden if you are used to having reserved parking right in front of everywhere you want to be for your big fat SUV. If you've ever lived in a city, parking in Hampden is FINE. Try DC or Chicago if you think parking is tough here. For that matter, try Federal Hill.

3) The closest grocery store, according to the article, is The Giant. Umm. . . SuperFresh, anyone? The store that attracts folks from Roland Park and Charles Village?

4) My favorite: "With the exception of neighborhood bars and restaurants, Hampden doesn't have a bustling nightlife scene." Without bars and restaurants, what the hell makes a nightlife scene? In Hawker's humble experience, Hampden has a crazy nightlife scene. R2V? Frazier's? Frijoles? One of the best parts of living in Hampden is the sheer number of nighttime activities available within walking distance. There are plenty of bars & restaurants, a movie theatre, professional and non-professional theatre and First Fridays--not to mention the number of special events (readings, art openings, concerts, etc.) sponsored by local businesses in the neighborhood.

5) The only restaurant mentioned by name is. . . wait for it. . . Cafe Hon! Again, one of the great things about living in Hampden is the huge number of dining options steps from your door. Think about it: we've got Bella Roma AND The Dogwood.

6) Lastly, the "news" from the article (in case you haven't heard) is that in fall 2008, Robert Poole Middle School with transfer its students to Hampden Elementary, which will become Hampden School. Why putting troubled middle school students with younger students is a good idea isn't clear. What will happen to the vacated portions of Robert Poole Middle School (there is a public high school in some of Robert Poole) will be discussed in the new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hampden Business News

1. David's (on Falls Road)* is getting a liquor license--well, a license for beer and wine. Considering a Hampdenite told me that her recent Caesar salad there featured raw stuffing mix, Hawker doesn't get it. Fans of David's, please speak out!

2. Sandy's is moving back to the Avenue in the new year. They'll be next to the pawn shop.

3. Living Roots will close in February--not for lack of business, the owner is just tired. It's the Fat Elvis/Oh! Said Rose phenomenon. Running a small business is exhausting, and eventually, your life starts to look more attractive than manning the store six days a week.

*When Hawker recently shared this news out at R2V, a friend thought David's (the furniture store) was getting a liquor license, which presents all kinds of ideas for new business models.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Wanted: Public Utilitarian Art Made by Locals

This just in. . . Not being a visual artist, Hawker can't tell if this sounds like a good opportunity for local artists or a chance for the architect to do less work in the name of "community involvement." Hawker wishes it was simply a call for entries for public art to be installed at the site, but maybe Hawker's just a cynic. Comments are welcome.

Deadline: February 4 by 5pm (postmarked or hand delivered)
Location: The Rotunda, 711 West 40th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
As part of an extensive redevelopment of the historic Rotunda in Baltimore, the developer, Hekemian & Co., Inc., is soliciting the submission of qualifications by area artists for participation in their Artist Collaboration Initiative. Hekemian, working with local architects Design Collective Inc., has re-envisioned the site, reorienting the existing retail towards the exterior and creating an opportunity for new public open space. The project will have a significant residential component of over 300 units while maintaining the historic former headquarters of Maryland Casualty Company as office space. The existing Giant grocery store will be relocated behind the existing building underground and beneath a new plaza, providing an opportunity for artisan involvement to create a range of outdoor public art and architectural details. Please refer to the project’s website for more information. The panel will select approximately 5 area artists for consideration by the developer for involvement in this project. These artists will be selected based on their demonstrated experience in producing lasting public artwork and performing on schedule and within budget. The selected artists will receive an honorarium of $2,500 with which to work with the design team to develop a concrete proposal and budget to present to the developer. Hekemian will then select one or more artists to participate in the redevelopment project and implement their proposal(s). While no specific sites have been identified as locations for artist involvement on the site, the majority of the opportunities for artists will be utilitarian in nature, with the potential for a large-scale piece of public art. Utilitarian items might include signage, metalwork, outdoor seating, tile work, and decorative paving. This RFQ is open to any professional artist who resides within Baltimore City or Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties. Experience with public art projects is preferred. Applications will be evaluated based on 1) artistic quality of the work samples submitted, and 2) experience and demonstrated success with previous projects of this scale. Application Requirements: Letter of Interest: Specific project proposals or descriptions are not required. Images: Up to 20, on CD-ROM Label images as follows: Last Name, First Initial, and Number that corresponds with Image List. Image List: Include title, date, medium, dimensions, location of projects, and a brief description. Resume/ C.V. References: In connection with completed installations. Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope: Include sufficient postage for the return of slides. Mail or deliver application to Alfred W. Barry, III, AB Associates, 1 South Calvert Street, Suite 1150, Baltimore, MD 21202. For further information call 410.547.6900 or email ababalt@yahoo.com


El Rancho Grande "Opens"!

El Rancho Grande at 3608 Falls Road had a pre-opening party last night! Baltimorean Caleb Stine and The Brakemen played with Quote from Nashville. Hawker wasn't the only Hampdenite who was thinking about stopping by, but didn't when she saw how jammed up the place was!

The renovations look great, and El Rancho Grande is going for the "you're just hanging out in someone's living room" vibe. (There are no counters, for example.) The owners are looking forward to a grand opening soon and see El Rancho Grande as the newest place in Hampden to hang.

Hawker's all for it!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baltimore Wants Bins!

The line at Baltimore Polytechnic to get a recycling bin today boasts wait times of TWO HOURS!

Hawker was on her way when she got this news. Two hours? TWO HOURS?

Lots of Hampdenites gave up waiting. Here's hoping there's a more efficient way to get bins to the people in the future.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mamie's Reopens!

Holiday parties make for a lazy Hawker, but at least I got something today:

Mamie's has reopened! Sort of. In Aberdeen. Elizabeth Large has details.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hampden in USA Today

USA Today featured The Miracle on 34th Street as one of "10 Great Places to Plug into the Christmas Spirit" this week. Here's the little something about Hampden's Baby New Year:

"The Hosiers; Baltimore

Bob Hosier fell in love with decorating as a child when "the old lady" across the street draped her house in lights and played Christmas music on her porch Victrola. Bob then married into a family that loved Christmas as much as his own family, and moved into his wife Darlene's childhood home in Baltimore, which his father-in-law had been decorating since 1947. Bob got neighborly and swagged the lights back and forth across the street, sparking a tradition. "The block looks like Santa's sleigh flew in from the southwest and skidded down the rooftops, spilling Christmas about," Littlefield says. Address: 726 W. 34th St., Baltimore."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bus Beating Provokes Conversation

More on the MTA bus beating from WBALTV. There are pictures of the victim, which are frightening.

There are conversations everywhere about this beating--from folks saying that the kids should be tried as adults to folks thinking that whether or not the victim had a criminal record is somehow pertinent to the discussion. The incident is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Let Hawker say this: NOTHING justifies nine kids beating ANYONE into shock trauma FOR ANY REASON. Hawker would like to think that we can all agree with that.

Medfield Likes Rotunda

This just in (at least to me, because for some inexplicable reason, the entire contents of Hawker's gmail mailboxes disappeared for two days and just returned minutes ago):

On December 3rd, by way of community vote, the Medfield Community Association, voted to give a clear directive to Support/Approve the Rotunda Re-Development at the Planning Commission Hearing on December 20th at 1:30 p.m.

At this meeting, the Baltimore's Planning Commission will be reviewing the design plans for the Rotunda.

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First Friday Tonight!

Tonight is another First Friday in Hampden. Most stores are open late, and many feature treats to soothe weary shoppers. Get out there and buy local.

You might want to hit the beer tasting at The Wine Source from 4:30-7:30 p.m., and the fact that all dresses at doubledutch are 25% off through Saturday, December 8th--but tonight from 6-9 p.m., they're an additional 10% off that.

Buy yourself something nice for the holidays, why doncha?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hawker interrupts snow news to bring you this.

I'm not sure what the lesson is here. A woman was apparently attacked on a city bus (there's some dispute about the bus line) leaving Hampden and then dragged out the back door of the bus and beat up on the street (again, the exact location is unclear.) The woman was attacked by a group of Robert Poole Middle School students.

Am I supposed to believe from the mother of one of these students that sometimes it's ok for a group of kids to jump an adult and beat her into the hospital?


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hawker: Now with extra irony!

Considering that the snow is tumbling down as Hawker types this, this may not be news you can use.

However, in a bit of nifty repurposing, the old parking meter posts on The Avenue have been turned into cleverly designed bike racks.

Keep in mind that this sunny photo was taken YESTERDAY!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No longer do we have to cross streams!

Single stream recycling is coming to Baltimore on January 8! (For some reason, this makes Hawker think of Ghostbusters, but let's get back to the subject at hand.)

This means that you can put all your recyclables into one bin, and there will be just two pickup days to keep track of a month. Your new recycling day will be your current paper collection day.

You can use any container that is clearly marked "recycling," a cardboard box or a yellow bin or trash can available from the city.

You can pick up one of these new yellow bins or trash cans at Baltimore Polytechnic at 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane on Saturday, December 15th between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Bins are $5, and trash cans are $6 (which is half price.) Only cash or money orders will be accepted.

For more information, visit baltimorecity.gov or cleanergreenerbaltimore.org.

Keep Hampden tidy!


Hawker offers an apology.

Hawker apologizes. She's been absent, but with good reason.

Hawker's job is such that occasionally it demands a week or so of brutal 14-16 hour days. That was last week.

On top of that, Hawker was struck with a nasty cold AT THE SAME TIME that left her wrecked last week and resulted in a weekend spent in bed like an invalid! Hurrah! Hawker did rally for the parade, but is just back to herself today.

Look for a slew of posts later.

Hawker's back.