Interesting Sights From Northeast Baltimore(Spoiler Alert! There Will Be Wall Art)

I had lunch today at the Broadway Market and I always drive North on Broadway when I make my way home because it is just so interesting to see how Baltimore is developing in some areas and how there is still a lot of work to be done to improve our city in others. I love this city so much and I just can’t stop discovering it.

Well here is the awesome lunch I discovered; Bibimbop at Lucia Joanns in Broadway Market.  They serve normal diner fare AND Korean food.  AWESOME! Photo, please!

ImageStir fried veggies, beef, rice topped off with egg and srihacha sauce. Yum. You can get it without meat and egg for a vegan treat.

Afterwards, traveling North on Broadway, I took time to take a photo of one of my favorite pieces of urban art that I have been meaning to document here in this blog.  Finally, here it is.  Image

You may notice that in the left of the shot is a huge Scan thingy with the address of the vacant property.  I wonder if this is part of the Wall Hunters film project/social movement, ‘ya know as a way to ID the buildings.  I’ve seen these on other buildings with art on them so who knows?

As I headed farther up on Broadway I found this out of the way bar near Hoffman and Gay streets.      Image

It’s padlocked, I guess because it’s the middle of the day.  Maybe it is just closed for good, but admittedly, if it is shut for good, the immediate area around it is oddly clean.  The sign says, ‘Connie Torain’s Hideaway-Your Home Away From Home’.  Oh that Connie!

Now I only found Connie’s because I was turning around to take a photo of this Amtrak mural that oddly enough is visible from the Amtrak train tracks that run through Northeast Baltimore on their way to Penn Station.  I love the art but I wonder what the thinking was on that commissioning; “Hey, we need a mural of an Amtrak train to remind the people on Amtrak trains that they are on an Amtrak train!”  Here’s the mural.Image

Till next time, hons!

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The good news! You can still find MonkeySpank records in actual record stores!

Found this copy of ‘Daemons Flew Out of My Mouth’ at Baby’s On Fire cafe in Mt Vernon-Baltimore

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I’ve been threatening to post more of Baltimore’s aging store signs. I drive past this one on Edmonson Avenue in West Baltimore. I have no idea if this is still a functioning carry-out, but at night time it still lights up good and bright! #baltimore #publicart #signs

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If I didn’t tell you that I took this photo yesterday you might think this is from the late 60’s or early 70’s. Baltimore is chock full of old signs that just feel so sweetly artistic to me. I promise to post more of these odd beauties.

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Sacred Space in Sandtown-Winchester, West Baltimore

During my travels in West Baltimore yesterday, I came across this peaceful little plot of land after first noticing the wonderful wall mural that overlooks it.  I just had to stop and take a few photos. Little did I know that I would discover something truly unique.


I love this painting. In a way it’s “incompleteness” is a reminder of why this little space exists. This park at the corner of N. Arlington and Small Street is a Sacred Space dedicated to Baltimore’s Children that have been lost to violence. Lives incomplete and unfulfilled. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you will note that this isn’t the only one of these parks in West Baltimore.arlingtonstoneIt’s a poorly cropped photo, I apologize.

I noted that there is a park bench there and there was some kind of compartment at the bottom of it. Upon closer inspection I found that it contained a book. A journal, actually.arlingtonbencharlingtonjournalAnd here is a page from that journal.arlingtonthoughts

“Home is where the heart is…my home is definitely haunted”.

There is also this stone marker that is stark and beautiful all the same.arlingtonobeliskFor as much as I treasure these safe, sacred spaces, I long for a day that they would become a relic.

Posted in art, Baltimore, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Blogging, Carberry, Greenspaces, Maryland, md, Memorial Gardens, photography, Public Art, Sandtown-Winchester, statues and monuments, Uncategorized, Urban Art, West Baltimore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

David Simon is Right, “It is a lie”


Whenever we are faced with yet another shooting of an unarmed African-American by law enforcement, my mind flashes back to this passage in David Simon’s book, ‘Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets’. It, of course, references a police-involved shooting that occurred in Baltimore in the 1980’s, but that’s what gets me, police shootings have been happening since then, lots of them, yet the lessons of them seem to be taking a long time to take root. Simon expertly describes what lies at the bottom of this problem; our very normal humanness .

“A heavily armed nation prone to violence finds it only reasonable to give law officers weapons and the authority to use them. In the United States, only a cop has the right to kill as an act of personal deliberation and action. To that end, Scotty McCown and three thousand other men and women were sent out on the streets of Baltimore with .38-caliber Smith&Wessons, for which they received several weeks of academy firearms training augmented by one trip to the police firing range every year. Coupled with an individual officer’s judgement, that is deemed expertise enough to make the right decision every time.

It is a lie. It is a lie the police department tolerates because to do otherwise would shatter the myth of infallibility on which rests its authority for lethal force. And it is a lie that the public demands, because to do otherwise would expose a terrifying ambiguity. The false certainty, the myth of perfection, on which our culture feeds…..”


Posted in Baltimore, baltimore police, Baltimore Sun, Books, crime, david simon, Homicide Life on the street, Maryland, media, murder, tom pellegrini, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zodiac Killer’s Baltimore Connection!!

“Life is nothing without obsession.” -Pecker

If you know me at all, you know that I’m obsessed with Baltimore. If you  know me a bit better, you also know that, from time-to-time, I’m obsessed with the Zodiac Killer.

So today, I’m watching the excellent David Fincher film, “Zodiac”, for about the jabillionth time. But I have the super-mega director’s cut, so I’m watching it with commentary being done by Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Producer/Writers Brad Fischer&James Vanderbilt and weirdo writer James Ellroy. “Weirdo” is a compliment, by the way.

While watching a scene that is set in Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Robert Graysmith’s , San Francisco kitchen, I noticed a yellow and blue square in the bottom right of the frame. Could it be…


That’s’s a can of OLD BAY!!!  I know that you can buy Old Bay in San Francisco nowadays, but was Baltimore spice giant, McCormick & Sons really marketing the greatest seasoning ever created, there in the late 60’s? Of course, my fantasy is that someone on set was from Baltimore and just snuck it in to see if Fincher would notice. But knowing David Fincher’s  sometimes painful attention to detail(actors often joke about how many takes Fincher requires) he probably had Robert Graysmith do an inventory of his kitchen in the 1960’s from memory.


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Great Art Donovan Photo!

I was doing a search for a photo of Brooks Robinson’s restaurant , because, for the life of me, I cannot place it from my very early childhood. It was located at 511 Gorsuch Avenue and even though the google image that popped up does show what I think is a dry cleaner in that spot, I’m not sure there is anything there now. The image I found is from 2009. I’ll drive by tomorrow to take a gander.

As the title of this blog insists, I found a photo of Baltimore Colt Hall of Famer, Art Donovan. I thought that I had seen every photo of any consequence of this awesome guy, but this one never crossed my transom. I doubly love it because it shows him running out on the field at Memorial Stadium. Makes me want to tie on my cleats and run corridor drills.

Here’s our boy! The world is less awesome since Art passed away.


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“Ghost” sign Advertising in West Baltimore

I took a few moments today to drive around West Baltimore after I picked up a Vitamin C Blast Smoothie from my friend Andre’s excellent juice stall in the Avenue Market on Pennsylvania Avenue in Upton. It’s called Just Juice It and you should stop by and grab a juice or smoothie.

During my drive, I came across a corner rowhouse at the intersection of Riggs & McKean Avenues that had some of that wonderful old-school painted advertising on it. I’m guessing that the house had been a store of some sort because it said, A. Heim Groceries & Provisions. This alone would be cool but below that…and I almost didn’t see it at first was…well look at it yourself:bulldurhamI looked at it for a minute or two and then it dawned on me that it might say ‘Bull Durham’. I vaguely recalled that ‘Bull Durham’ wasn’t just one of the better Baseball/Soft-Porn/Poetry movies, but that ‘Bull Durham’ was a tobacco company.

I did a little google image searching to help verify my hypothesis and while there was a lot of ‘Bull Durham’ tobacco signs painted on the sides of many buildings throughout the country, none of them completely matched this sign. I’m sure that it was probably very normal to have local sign painters execute a national companies’ advertisements with an essential guideline on how to do it without corporate oversight. I guess, right?

Something also of note is that the words are partly painted over. Above the A.Heim lettering, it’s natural brick. Between the A. Heim lettering and the supposed ‘Bull Durham’ ad there is a bit of lighter paint and then the “Bull” sign is a pale yellow. That pale yellow appears in other ‘Bull Durham’ painted advertising. Here’s a look at a sign that is kind of similar to this one: BulldurhamghostsignThis sign isn’t in Baltimore but it is reminiscent of the sign at Riggs & McKean.

As I discovered in my look through google images, many of the advertising posters for ‘Bull Durham’ tobacco utilized  very offensive racist images of African-Americans. I’m wondering if maybe some of those images were included in the ad on Riggs & McKean and that is why the lower half was painted over. I’m speculating, of course, but could you imagine how troubling it would be to be Black and have to pass by an offensive depiction of African-Americans. Again, to be fair, I’m merely speculating as to why it was covered over.

Baltimore is full of these ‘Ghost’ signs and I hope to find every last one.


Posted in Advertising, art, art history, baltimore, baltimore history, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Blogging, Just Juice it, Maryland, movies, painting, Public Art, Uncategorized, Urban Art, West Baltimore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Paying it Forward Baltimore Style


You see that? That’s 30 bucks. I received that 30 bucks from a gentleman as thanks for finding his cell phone on the street.

About a month ago I was running errands on Saint Paul street and as I stepped out of my car, I saw a Samsung cell phone lying on the street just inside the curb. It was fairly obvious that someone had let it fall out of their pocket.

I gave it the once over and decided to send the last person that had sent the owner a text, a text back. I was hoping that maybe they would have a way of letting the owner know that I had found it. In that text, I let them know that I was going to turn the phone into the Eddie’s supermarket that is on that block.  I drop it off there and just continue on with my day.  A couple of days later, I’m in the Eddie’s doing a little shopping and the manager, Jason(of Jason and the Moon Mites, fame) tracked me down and let me know that the owner of the phone had indeed picked it up and left me a cash reward as thanks. Yup, it’s that 30 bucks you see up top.

The cash was nice but I figured that it would be far better to have that money serve a greater purpose. So I have donated that cash to my favorite charitable organization in West Baltimore, Jubilee Arts. Here is the link to their website

Check out their website and maybe consider sending them a few dollars so that they can continue doing the awesome work they do.

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Baltimore-Land of Misfit Shoes Part III

Well maybe this is part 4 or 5…I forget.  Anyway, I was walking through Hampden today and while crossing the intersection of 36th street and Roland avenue, I looked up and noticed this.

bootmisfitYes, that’s a cowboy boot about 15 feet in the air on a cross walk sign. Hipster “art” installation or it’s raining Western footwear in Baltimore? You decide! #Shoegaze? #ShoeCity4real

Posted in Alternative Lifestyles, art, Baltimore, Baltimore Neighborhoods, baltimore neighborhoods, Blogging, Carberry, fashion, Hampden, Humor, life, md, Public Art, Shoegaze, Uncategorized, Urban Art, weird Baltimore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment