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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Baltimore Ridiculous

It is no secret that I adore Baltimore for all of it’s weird, wild and wacky elements.  But even an unapologetic Baltimore booster like me gets peeved, now and again, at some of the dumber things that my fellow citizens do. One of the more irritating and idiotic things that rubs me the wrong way is the fact that it seems that almost everyone thinks that it is perfectly okay and normal to leave used tires by the side of the road. For the life of me I can’t figure out how this became a thing, but it’s been a thing for many years.

When I find a discarded tire that I can get to, I pull over, put it in my hatch and take it to Firestone or Pep Boys so they can recycle it. AND you can do that too!

Yesterday, while driving up the Alameda, I saw a tire. But it wasn’t just any old tire…it was THIS!


How!? What??!! Why!!  I mean it wasn’t dropped in a vacant lot, it’s at the intersection of Woodbourne and The Alameda!!?

In what scenario does this happen? Who is just driving around with a crapped out MONSTER TRUCK tire?!

So I will call 311 to have the city come pick it up, but what if they don’t have truck big enough?

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Baltimore Mayoral Race Random#LizEmbry

Heading home this afternoon, I was driving up Greenmount Avenue and happened upon Baltimore Mayoral Candidate, Elizabeth Embry behind a podium and being interviewed by WYPR’s Fraser Smith.

She was also being filmed but it didn’t seem to be from a news organization. Nothing big to report other than there weren’t any spectators??  Here’s my lame, non-criminal stalking cellphone photo.

EmbryOnly thing to note is that she was speaking in front of a closed Bank of America location, near some trash bags that were set out to be picked up and wall mural depicting, Ghandi, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Baltimore Native, Eubie Blake.  Like I said, random.  Maybe someone from her campaign will read this and provide a little context.

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Kindness, Food&Fun@Dovecote Cafe

0I have stopped by Dovecote Cafe twice and here is what I know: The owners and staff are so gracious and kind and fun-loving that you just know that opening Dovecote is a dream come true for them. They make the most PERFECT Kale salad I have ever had and they will brew you a great pretension-free cup of coffee…and they make that fun, too. Apparently, when it comes to coffee, I’m a “Smidge”. Who knew?!

When I was there today, they had a Pixilated Photobooth contraption and one of the owners, Aisha, wanted me to get in on that. So she and I did a little vogueing for the camera. It’s so wonderful to have this charming spot in Reservoir Hill.  Do yourself a favor and stop by and say, Hi!


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Collectors’ item?


Since the Orioles have disallowed Adam Jones from smashing Dangerously Delicious pies in teammates faces after a clutch, game-winning performance,  it seems that this Dangerously Delicious T-shirt might stop being printed. In fact, my lovely wife,  Anna said that this was the last one in the beloved Hampden pie shop when she bought this for me. Might be the last of its’ kind.

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Baltimore’s Barclay Street Beauty

For the first time in a quite a while, I had the opportunity to just relax on an actual day off.  While running errands and trying to track down a small piece of architecture that is supposedly a standing remnant of the International League Baltimore Orioles’s home, the original Oriole Park in Northeast Baltimore, I found some more of Baltimore’s amazing public art pieces that I am so fond of and write about so often.

These are all on Barclay street in the neighborhood of Greenmount West. 1800 block and below to be precise. These pieces are just so great and I wanted to share them.Barclayart2

This little one is fun! BarclayYawningSee! It’s an awning that’s yawning! Some nifty photo-realism going on here.

This next one is great. Malcolm X, Nina Simone and James Baldwin. That rendering of Baldwin is spot on. BarclayArtBaldwinI’m off again tomorrow so stay tuned!

Posted in art, art history, baltimore, Baltimore Neighborhoods, baltimore tourism, baseball memorabilia, Blogging, Carberry, celebrities, grafitti, Humor, James Baldwin, life, Maryland, painting, photography, Public Art, statues and monuments, Uncategorized, Urban Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frederick Douglass, Devin Allen & The Language of Image

The Baltimore Sun of December 21st, contained an excellent Op-Ed piece written by Harvard University’s, John Stauffer. In it, he dispenses two amazing facts.  The first being that Frederick Douglass sat to have his picture taken no fewer than 160 times and that, in fact, he was the most photographed American in the 19th Century.

I have included the link to the piece but I wanted to highlight one paragraph in particular because it plucked a string within me that I feel I don’t illuminate well enough when I find myself ruminating upon the weight and far-reach of racism in our country. In this paragraph, Stauffer notes that even though photography was becoming an incredibly popular and powerful medium, slave states were less accepting of it.

“Defensive about slavery, white Southerners seemed to tacitly agree that there was much about their society best left un-illustrated.  Photographic portraits bore witness to blacks’ essential humanity, countering the racist caricatures evident in lithographs and engravings based on drawings.”

It causes me to wonder, if Southerners of that time were indeed, “defensive” about slavery, wouldn’t that be ample evidence, coming from their own consciences, that slavery was cruel, inhumane and frankly a seriously flawed business model.

Here are two of my favorite portraits of Frederick Douglass:Frederick_Douglass_c1860s


I like these two the most because he is looking almost directly at the camera as opposed to the semi-profile angle that was so prevalent in portraiture of the time. I believe these photos are from the 1860’s.

It would be awesome, if by some trickery of the time-space continuum, that Baltimore’s Devin Allen could photograph Frederick Douglass. Mr. Allen’s almost-exclusive use of black&white photography in our instagramfiltered world would yield something magical; not to say that the 160 photographs of this most powerful man of ideas, morals and letters, done by different photographers over 100 years ago, aren’t.

Devin Allen has been thrust into the international spotlight because TIME Magazine used one of his photos for the cover of their issue that covered the unrest in the City of Baltimore. He has used this new-found “celebrity” to further document the struggles and triumphs of Baltimore’s African-American community, not only through his own photography  but through  his work with Baltimore’s youth, getting cameras into their hands and teaching them how to find their art and give voice to their experience.

You can follow his work at @byDVNLLN on Twitter.


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Old, Beat Down Baltimore Bus, Beautiful in Its’ Degradation

I’ve always enjoyed driving down Falls Rd between Hampden and the area now known as Station North. I enjoy any swath of land in the City that is devoid of the typical urban features.  Part of this stretch of road is the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. I have to admit that I’ve never visited the museum, but I have to admit that, more interesting to me is an open air version of the museum that is completely dilapidated.  For the longest time, there has been a huge tarp over something.  I now know what that something is. Dig this!busGLongview It’s definitely a bus from the 60’s or 70’s, at least that’s what my memory thinks, I have nothing to back that up. Here are some more photos of it.BusSideviewBusSOSHAvefunthat’s right, SOS Have Fun! BusCASHObviously, the artist is a BIG Johnny Cash fan!

BusWindowWhat’s really amazing about this photo is that this only shows half of the side doors.  They have this interesting patina that is highly reflective as evidenced by this horrible selfie.BUSreflectionIsn’t that zany!!  I wonder if any of ya’ll old school Baltimorons can verify if City busses had these almost mirror-like windows in their doors.

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Best Halloween Album EVER

If you


are hosting a haunt this #Halloween,  you simply must use the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Eraserhead.  Prepare to creep out the world!

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Toynbee Tile outside Oriole Park!


Toynbee Tile outside Camden yards

I was just walking to Camden Yards to see what will be the final game that I can attend this snakebitten season and as I was crossing Camden street from South Paca street, I looked down and saw this Toynbee Tile! I never approach the ballpark from South Paca and I was only doing so because I found awesome street parking for a game that will be poorly attended due to the Orioles being officially eliminated from playoff contention and the fact that it has started raining steadily. If you read my silly little blog, you know that I am a little Toynbee Tile obsessed. Recently I found two near Lexington Market that I blogged about and watched the documentary,  “Resurrect Dead” on YouTube. Anyway,  if you are Toynbee Tile obsessed like me and are fond of going to Orioles games , you are in luck. This tile is always part of a cordoned area free from Automobile traffic on game days. If you are in Pickles pub, you can stumble out on to it.


Lexington Market tiles

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Happy Birthday to Me!


I was cruising through Mondawmin Mall today and came across a kiosk that sells Classic Kung Fu, Anime and Blaxploitation movies. I picked up this classic!
The kiosks’ business name is Foreign Cinema.  It’s in front of the Popeye’s on the first level.  Go check it out!

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