Come to ogle the towering monolith in that...


March 28, 1992

LIKE CAVEMEN come to ogle the towering monolith in that famous scene from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," dozens people trickle over on any given day to steal a glimpse of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

They climb up a gate to get an unobstructed view, cup their hands like blinders to peek inside the restored rail station, stroll the entire circumference to get a feel for the Orioles' new stage before the world arrives for the show.

You can feel the excitement already.

The mind's eye sees thousands of fans, spilling out of the spanking-new light-rail trains nearly at the stadium gates, crossing the concourse behind center field, entering a ball yard made to recall why their fathers or grandfathers, or grandmothers, fell in love with the game.

This is such an impressive setting: a throwback of a baseball park only a brief stroll from the revitalized downtown harbor and accessible from the north or south by rail.

One can't help but wonder what Gov. William Donald Schaefer would have done for his next trick had the economy not bottomed out. . .

Created the "Daytona of the East" in the Bainbridge Naval Station in Cecil County?

Made possible a Disneyesque theme park in Middle River?

Built an intercounty-connector highway, opening Montgomery County to Baltimore and environs?

Primed engineering research at College Park and Johns Hopkins to do battle in the global arena of emerging technologies?

Fashioned a C&O Canal Park in Cumberland?

Welcomed a world-class hotel straddling an enlarged convention center downtown? Added a huge "medical mart" bazaar over the air rights of the light-rail terminus?

Sure, it's all pipe-dreams, like visiting Futurescape at the World's Fair.

Some would insist such dreams should not be mentioned because so many are hurting in this recession.

But we often forget that Don Schaefer's a victim, too. The timing just wasn't right for this admirer of the Grand Scale.

Alas, he needed a money tree. There were plans for one of those, too, but that was before hard times hit.

* * *

FOR SOME YEARS in the 1970s, Girard's was Baltimore's hottest disco.

Located at the corner of Cathedral and Eager streets in the Mount Vernon area, it had a bi-level interior, blinding strobe lights and a truly deafening sound system. One day, it mysteriously burned down.

So what happened to Girard's clientele, which used to include some of the city's beautiful people as well as its oddest?

Judging by recent ads, they have left the Mount Vernon area and now reside in Parkville. At least that's where a Girard's reunion party has been scheduled for April Fool's day.

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