Hampden Hawker: June 2008

Hampden Hawker

THE Hampden Gossip Blog

Hopefully Factual, Fueled by Speculation

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Upgraded from Comments

Hawker's got two sources for this one, folks:

The grand opening of Dangerously Delicious Pies will be July 3rd. A great honky tonk singer, James "Slim" Hand from Texas, and his band will christen the place. The show isn't on Hand's calendar, but he'll be in DC for the Smithsonian Folk Festival, so this all seems to add up.

This time, Hawker's got her facts straight.

Uptown Gone

Nothing says, "Goodbye forever" like black duct tape over the name of your business.

Uptown Dog on Falls Road had been "closed for renovations" for some time. It is now closed for good. The woman putting up the duct tape on Saturday said that with the economy, the owner just couldn't make a go of the upscale dog accessories shop.

For those of you who couldn't drive or walk through the Falls & 36th intersection without singing "Uptown Dog'' to the tune of "Uptown Girl," Hawker will begin to search for a song that can have its lyrics easily replaced with "Bella Roma." I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

False Pie Alarm

After relying on email and rumor, Hawker decided to garner some EMPIRICAL evidence re: Dangerously Delicious Pies Hampden outpost.

It is NOT open yet. In fact, the space is still littered with ladders, and there's painters' tape on the floor.

Hawker will let you know when the pie competition in Hampden actually heats up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Weekend to Come. . .

It's hot, and when it is, Hawker (and Hampden) seem to enter a state of torpor.

What to do this weekend as a tonic?

There is, of course, the obligatory tasting at The Wine Source--this time it's beer! But for those looking to mix it up, let me make some suggestions:

1. Tonight, why don't you go check out Twelfth Night as presented by the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival at 8 p.m.? Sure, the performance is on the grounds of Evergreen House, which is north of Charles Village, but Baltimore Shakes calls Hampden its home (the St. Mary's Outreach Center on Roland.) Baltimore Shakes is one of three professional theatres in Baltimore, FYI. (The other two being Everyman and CENTERSTAGE.)

2. Tomorrow, hows about a flea market? At the Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church at 3300 Chestnut Avenue, there will be flea markets on the 4th Saturday of each month until November. Tomorrow, June 28th is the very first one. The market will run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and is being organized by Joelle (the former owner of Galvanize.) There will even be a table of donated goods for sale benefitting Hampden Feral Cat Rescue. Donations are welcome, and folks can reserve their own space to sell their own wares for just $7! (A 6-foot table can be provided for just $5 more.) Call Joelle to reserve a space at 410-467-3643--there are already 35 vendors tomorrow! They've got to be selling something you need!

3. Sunday, get your ukelele on! Join Atomic Pop for it's Uke-Pop party this Sunday, June 29th from 2-5 p.m. Tippy Canoe, Victoria Vox, Uni & her Ukelele and The Go-Pills will all be playing. Go herefor more details. It's free!

Join Hawker at one of these events! Plus, why don't you check out some of the newer gems of the neighborhood? Pie shop? Goods from India? Broaden your horizons, Hampdenites!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's all gone quiet.

Man, it's been a quiet couple of days.

Maybe Hawker should learn how to knit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend Update: Police Edition

1. Big raid went down this weekend at a house on the east side of Falls just north of The Avenue--the same place that burned on New Year's Eve.

2. DUI bust yesterday at the Rite Aid.

3. Parking Illegally in Hampden? There were patrols & plenty of tickets issued on Friday night. Be careful!

4. Escaped teen caught on the Avenue.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Nontroversy!

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

The letters to the editor have poured in at The Sun re:. . . you guessed it! Honfest!

Read all about a resident's complaint about a weekend without parking here. More complaints and voices of reason follow in the comments.

Then, there's these letters, which conclude with some thoughtful words from Mary Rizzo--a woman who seems to have had some Hampden connection in the past:

"Honfest, which may be the city's largest neighborhood festival, is a complicated event in a neighborhood with a long, complicated history. For that reason, there can be no one right perspective on it. All perspectives should be considered, including understanding how some women use it to connect with the past."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Depressing News

God, I don't want to make this a crime blog, but in this week's City Paper (Murder Ink), there were some details about a murder in Hampden last week.

"Wednesday June 11:

5:40 p.m. Residents of an apartment building at 3551 Buena Vista Ave., in Hampden, notified their landlord of people in an unoccupied unit. The landlord found the body of a dead white woman in the apartment, but no one else and no signs of ransacking. He alerted paramedics, who pronounced the woman dead at 5:48 p.m. According to police, the woman appeared at first to be the victim of an overdose--there were track marks on her arms, and a crackpipe and syringe were found in the apartment--but the medical examiner determined the woman to have died as a result of strangulation and ruled it a homicide. The woman has yet to be identified."

We all see junkies in Hampden all the time, and when I see them, I always wonder what they could have been--like this woman who was murdered, for example. I don't mean that I have some lofty sense that maybe this woman could have been president, but maybe she could have been a great mom or sister or wife or friend, or maybe she could have had a really great job that she loved or maybe she could have found joy from something simple: like keeping a beautiful garden for God's sake. What simple joys could she have had in her life? What did she hope her life would be when she was a child? I don't think anyone dreams of dying this way or spending their life waiting for the drug car in front of the library on Falls Road. Whatever the details of her story are, it's a sad, sad one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can't we please just stop shooting each other?

Today's Police Blotter in The Sun shows this:

"Shooting: A man, 20, was in the 3600 block of Ash St. in Hampden about 12:30 a.m. Sunday when he was shot in the stomach. The victim was in good condition at a hospital."


Monday, June 16, 2008

Update: Breathe Books Makes DC Guy Happy!

The guy who came all the way from DC to Hampden on Sunday not for Honfest but rather for Breathe Books left Hampden fully satisfied!

Susan re-opened Breathe Books special for the unhappy visitor, but her reopening turned that frown upside down! Susan reports that he was "ecstatic."

Try to get that kind of service at the Towson Town Center.

Want to put in your two cents about Honfest?

Anyone got something to say?

From hampdenfrank@gmail.com:

"I am planning on writing an article about Old Hampden vs New Hampden and what they think of the Honfest. John Waters has come out against Honfest and has voiced what many Hampden people have felt and said for years (link.)

Tell me what you think.
--Are you Old Hampden or New Hampden? [Were you born in Hampden or a Hampden-like area and/or do you connect more with new or old Hampden]
--Have you ever been to Honfest?
--What do you think of Honfest?
--Have you ever been to Cafe Hon?
--What do you think of Cafe Hon?
--What do you think of Denise Whiting?
--Do you think when Denise came to Hampden she welcomed Old Hampden?
--Do you have any stories you know of personally (that you would swear to in court) about Denise Whiting where she was either welcoming Old Hampden or where she was shunning or dismissing Old Hampden (if you know of a person who can corraborate a story you know of please have them call 410.350.9864 or email me)?
--Do you know what happened to Hampden's original festival-The May Fair?
--Is there any other info you thing would be important for me to know for this article?
--If you have written something and I quote what you have said, do you want me to use your name or would you rather remain anonymous?
--If you ahve any photos of May Fair and can access them digitally, I would appreciate it if you would send them to me.

Frank the Realtor
Award Winning Realtor
2007 Rookie of the Year
2007 Team Spirit Award"

What if everybody behaved like you, lady?

To the woman who lives on the east side of Hickory near the post office who took her dog out this weekend to the grassy lot just north of the post office (between Hickory and Roland) and who let the dog poop there WITHOUT cleaning it up when there are FREE poop bags available literally across the street:

Dear Lady:


Hampden Hawker

Honfest 2008: Hampdenites Party Through Controversy

Honfest happened.

There were beehive hairdos, funnel cakes and art for sale.

My favorite image--I just couldn't get my camera out in time--was a couple of girls walking north on Falls Road early Saturday evening with Royal Farms plastic bags wrapped around their heads to protect their dos.

My favorite quote:

Scene: In front of Breathe Books at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday at Honfest
Cast: Well-dressed suburban guy, his wife & baby in a stoller

Guy: "It's CLOSED! My God! We came all the way from Washington to go here ONLY and it's closed."

Go, Breathe Books! You're the real draw, not Honfest.

More Sun photos and details re: the nontroversy here. If you still want more pix, try a few blogs (here, here and here)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Home Break-In: Hampden Style

A fellow Hampdenite had her house broken into yesterday. This sucks. Having your home broken into sucks no matter how much or how little the dirtbags take. The feeling that you're not safe inside your own home takes a while to shake--Hawker knows--and a home break-in is kind of a supreme violation of the social contract informally created by communities.

But this is the crazy thing. The robbers took only the following:

1) 7 (seven) cans of Natty Boh
2) a weed whacker

They left everything of value, including computers, TV, DVD player, etc.

AND they left behind a pair of pliers and a Big Gulp cup, which were dusted for prints and DNA.

Here's to that Natty Boh skunking on those clowns.

Honfest This Weekend

Again, in case you've been living under a rock & have missed the media onslaught, Honfest is this weekend. (In unrelated news, the talk of the Falls Road 7-11 yesterday was amongst Hampdenites talking about where they were going out of town this weekend to get away from Honfest.)

It's two days again (both Saturday and Sunday), and it features the obligatory Best Hon contest plus a ton of bands:

On Saturday: Jennifer Camp, The Country Devils, The Drop Tops, Garage Sale, The Garnet Hearts, All Mighty Senators, Groove Mammals and The Bobwhites

On Sunday: The Poorhouse Rockers, Lawnchair, Feinwood, Glenmont Popes and Cruise

The complete schedule of events can be found here.

Hawker is staying neutral on this subject, but there's a big article in The Sun today about folks who don't like the Honfest ideal--mostly the argument is that the festival makes fun of a stereotype that no longer really exists. The other side argues simply that what brings folks to the neighborhood is good for the neighborhood. Read the article for yourself here.

If you are in town this weekend, it's going to be beautiful, so get out of your rowhouse and enjoy Hampden, however you feel about those hons!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Battle Lines Drawn

In today's Sun, there's a front page (below the fold) article about Hampdenite Joy Sushinsky. She's trying to curtail the open-air drug trade and general bad behavior perpetrated by some of Hampden's toughest young people on Elm Ave.

Analysis from the police:

"Sushinsky, who has kept a meticulous log of events on her street, including a "bloody street fight" April 2, said she was told by police that with all the crime in Baltimore's Northern District, enforcing the ban on drinking by minors "is not necessarily" a top priority."

"Hampden is one of lowest-crime neighborhoods in the city," said Doug Gibson, the police community liaison officer for the district. "These are some of the tough neighborhood kids. They're not Bloods and Crips who have parachuted in from Los Angeles. Some of these kids, they're the second or third generation that's into substance abuse. Our officers know some of their parents well, and their grandparents. The parents are not functional, and their aunts and uncles are overwhelmed trying to keep them out of foster care."

There's a call for organizing a neighborhood watch in the comments . There's also some disturbing advice for Sushinsky: "Keep your head down, your gaze averted and mind your own business and no one will bother you." Since when is caring about your neighborhood and not wanting things blown up, destroyed or broken into something to be condemned?

Did you miss me?

There was no post yesterday because all Hawker had was news for folks who'd been living under rocks: a) heat broke and b) Honfest is a-comin'.

But today. . .

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let's Save a Little Green Space, People!

Ok. Before I get a lot of comments along the lines of "This is about MEDFIELD, not HAMPDEN!" let me reiterate Hawker's policy of covering neighborhood gossip and news of interest to Hampdenites. As far as Hawker is concerned, if you can easily walk there, it's Hampden-related.

This from a friend:

"Friends, Hampdenites, Baltimorons, lend me your ears!

A developer is trying to buy from the City a tiny triangular piece of land that abuts my back alley in order to increase the number of units/parking. This tiny little plot of land is the absolute reason I and all my neighbors bought our homes on the South side of Roland Heights. It adds a lovely buffer of green space, quiet or the wooshing of tall trees, birdsong, rabbit & fox burrow space and a path through the woods avoiding the Superfresh megashopolis... We maintain it through path clearing and trimming when the City does not, which is more than less as you might well imagine.

The developer has property right below that has been fallow for some time. This action is a land grab for the paltry sum of some $15K, to increase the number of units (& parking) from what was originally proposed as 11 to...12, 13 and now 14. This is in addition to their 43-residence development Skyview directly below 42 & Falls, all of which directly impact Falls Road below Cold Spring Lane. An aerial view is available here.

This proposal been in the works for some time, but of course, they did not inform the residents of tiny Hoes Heights and tiny Heathbrook who are directly affected. Clearly this is intended to steamroll over a population of our elder residents, but thankfully there are some community-minded peeps that are keeping a sharp lookout. Having an engineer and lawyer or two on the street helps.

Happily, the City contacted the Medfield community association (across the way on the West of Falls Rd, much larger) to mediate and they have offered to speak for us. (Medfield has long been agitating for the replacement of the failed traffic light at 41st & Falls, which affects EVERYONE IN HAMPDEN due to the necessity to exit at Cold Spring Lane to enter Hampden from the north, and also for speed bumps to mitigate the speed-short-cutters on Hickory and Evans Chapel Rd (trying to avoid Falls & 41st) .

The Time Group development will happen, but it is the triangular plot on a hill directly north of it that is in question. The proposal is that we will end up with our backyards facing a) a 14 ft retaining wall and some of our natural trees if they don't get the land; b) a "forest conservation" landscaping of shrubberies and young trees, retaining some old growth and a 14 ft retaining wall.

My deepest concern is the water runoff question, which was answered at the community mtg I attended Monday. Currently, our alley fills up with ice and is impassable during the worst winter storms. We have an average of 3-4 water main breaks during the winter on Ro'Heights. The development will install new storm runoff routes, which thankfully for us will dump south, but into Falls & 43rd St sewer lines, so lookout down below!

If you live/work/play along the Falls Rd corridor, in or around Hampden/Medfield/Hoes Heights/Heathbrook please consider the impact of these two new developments and start paying attention to the City sale of land in this instance.

Thanks for your attention,
The Lady Hoe"

Monday, June 09, 2008

This Just In

The Golden West just lost power!

Squid Invades Hampden

So, as previously announced, Atomic Books will be moving. They will move into the current Atomic Pop space at 3620 Falls Road--creating a mega Atomic One-Stop Super Shop!

Of course, the next question is what will happen to the lovely old Agusta Bank building that has been Atomic Books' home? Well, Squidfireis moving in!

If you don't know Squidfire, you should. They're a local collection of artists who make the awesomest T-shirts (pictured here--what's not to love?) Their line also features related stuff like printed hoodies and bags, as well as quite possibly the best children's book ever: I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean.

Squidfire co-owner Jean-Baptiste Regnard told Hawker that he's signed a lease & renovations to the building will begin August 1st. Squidfire hopes to have its brick and mortar store open by Hampdenfest! Plus, the focus will be on offering men's and baby/children's clothing. (Yeah for Baby Hawker!)

Squidfire often sets up shop at neighborhood festivals, so if you see them around this summer, welcome them to Hampden and buy a freaking T-shirt already!

Friday, June 06, 2008

What to do Tonight

Tonight is First Friday in Hampden! Next First Friday will probably not be happening as its the 4th of July, so get out on a hot night and explore your neighborhood! Here are some highlights (the usual suspects and then some):

1. Ma Petite Shoe
There's an all-day sale at Ma Petite Shoe today from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. It's the pre-Hon Fest sale, and they've got tons of new summer shoes and new chocolate (for dad, maybe?) on offer.

2. The Wine Source
From 4:30-7:30 p.m., there's a free wine tasting at The Wine Source. The theme tonight is "Misfits." In their words, you can taste wines that they "love that failed to fit into the confinements of our geeky theme-based newsletters." Plus, if you miss tonight's tasting you can try it again tomorrow from 1:30-5:30 p.m.

3. Minas
There's performance art at Minas tonight (suggested donation is $5.) This new series titled Pasa (Spanish for "It happens") opens tonight with host Elisa Urtiaga and artists Theresa Columbus and Hermonie Myrna Byrd.

4. Atomic Pop
Starting at 7 p.m., Pop will host a toy trading and Wii playing party.

Oh, plus there's the show I told you about yesterday at El Rancho Grande.

There! Hawker has just planned your evening for you.

Today's Signal

Today on WYPR's The Signal, Atomic Books co-owner Benn Ray will be offering his recommendations for summer reading. Find out why a book about Celine Dion (33 1/3 Volume 52: Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste) is on the list. The Signal airs on 88.1 FM at 12 noon and 7 p.m. today.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Relax at The Ranch

El Rancho Grande has a blog !

There are some great photos of the coffee shop/performance venue on the blog. They're getting ready to start showing local visual artists in the space in July, and they're already serious about booking music--both local (Wednesday night's jam session often features Caleb Stine) and touring acts (Bruce Hughes from Austin, TX, plays tomorrow night.)

Check out a recent review of The Ranch here.

Soup's Off

As most of you probably already know, Soup's On is temporarily closed. Soup's On is one of Hampden's BEST restaurants. I dare you to feel stress after a lunch of their soup & salad on their sunny porch (followed of course by Rose's cookies or one of those nut bars made with crack!)

Cynthia just had a baby (so Baby Soup and Baby Hawker can duel to see who really is Hampden's newest resident,) and she's taking some time off. Word is she won't be back until September--maybe mid-August, but September looks more likely.

Hawker wishes her and her new baby all the best, but man, Soup's On is missed!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Strange Bedfellows Perambulate

This evening, about 5:30 p.m., there were two teenage dudes walking down The Avenue. One dude had a fat iguana on his shoulder; the other had a slinky ferret in his arms.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bar for Sale

Want to buy a bar in Hampden?

First, you just have to figure out where it is!

At least it's good to know that we all live in "one of Baltimore's most upscale areas."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Eleven Things Hawker Missed Blogging About & Maybe You Missed Too

1. Dangerously Delicious Pies is coming to Hampden! On June 14, Dangerously Delicious Pies Savory House will open at 3547 Chestnut Avenue in the old Finnerteas' spot. Hawker does love some Cafe Hon pie, but I think Hampden is big enough for the both of 'em. The DDP Savory House will serve dessert pies and coffee during the day and savory pies at night.

2. Baltimore Magazine contacted Hawker for an interview, and Hawker missed it. (It's all Baby Hawker's fault, FYI.)

3. The Keswick Auto Center is trying to start selling cars. There was a hearing in April, and Hawker will try to find out what happened.

4. The Hampden Republican Club got busted for illegal liquor sales.

5. There are real hawks in Hampden! A tipster recently reported two cooper hawks spotted by the park on 33rd and Keswick helping out with the rodent issue and harassing smaller birds.

6. On behalf of all of Hampden, I'd like to offer a sincere apology to Judge Davis. Just don't read the comments after his editorial if you're not in the mood to puke at how any idiot can post whatever racist crap they want on the Internet with total immunity.

7. Truck loading zone on Chestnut may be unnecessary, and only YOU can fix it!

8. Has anyone seen the juggling busker on the Avenue!?!

9. The city apparently held up improvements for the Roosevelt Park ball field.

10. Atomic Books is moving! They're staying in Hampden, but it looks like another local business will be opening up in the old Books space. Details to come. . .

11.In very sad news, as most all of you know already, Marty from Frazier's died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack in early May. He was a true Hampden fixture, and he will be missed by many. Rest in peace, Marty.

Hawker's Back!

Ok, Hampdenites. I'm returning today & back to the Hawker minimum of at least one post daily.

I am proud to say that Hawker is now the mama of one of your newest neighbors! Baby Hawker was born May 22nd and has already visited The Wine Source, Atomic Books, and The Golden West. She's even already met a junkie on Falls Road! Baby Hawker is officially a Hampdenite!

Over the past year, Hawker has appreciated Hampden in myriad ways. It's a neighborhood that changes with you. From the magical way R2V's bathroom seems to attract drunken late-night shenanigans (before I got pregnant) to the loveliness of Wyman Park as the perfect walking spot for pregnant ladies trying to walk their way into labor, and now the way GW is baby-friendly (but you can still have a beer)--Hampden doesn't disappoint.

To come today is a list of things Hawker (and maybe you) missed while Hawker was otherwise occupied. . .