We can to keep that wall intact -- the on...


December 05, 1992

WE DO ALL we can to keep that wall intact -- the on separating the fractious, jumbled world of the news pages from the pure and lofty calm here on the editorial page.

But individuals keep climbing over.

Richard O'Mara was content to write editorials for The Evening Sun during the editorship of A. D. Emmart.

But then a desire to mingle with the masses came over him, and one night over the wall he went. At present, Mr. O'Mara files news stories and features from places like London, Dublin and Mogadishu.

In youth, Mr. Emmart himself felt the urge to break out; he, too, was for several years chief of this newspaper's London Bureau. Throughout, he wrote of art and foreign policy, books and federal budgets. On his death in 1973, friends established a prize in his name -- "for published writing in the humanities."

Changing panels of judges seem to enjoy finding that the best such writing in Maryland has gone on outside whatever wall surrounds The Baltimore Sun. At 2.30 p.m. tomorrow, however, when the annual presentation occurs, in the Poe Room at Pratt's Central Library, three of the four runners-up (Linell Smith, Patrick A. McGuire, Tim Baker) will have won for Sun writing; plus Robert Goldblum of the Jewish Times.

And the winner, for his wrenching account last August of life and death in Somalia, will be Mr. O'Mara.

* * *

THERE was a time when the vicinity of Baltimore Street and Guilford Avenue was to this town what Times Square is to New York.

Those time are gone, but there may be reason for optimism these days in that area of downtown.

Although the future of The Block, Baltimore's seedy strip tease and porno area nearby, is still somewhat uncertain, that intersection is experiencing major changes because of the construction of the 30-story Commerce Place office building now nearing completion.

The mini-park -- and gathering place for winos and drug addicts -- that occupied the site of the old Tower Building ever since that landmark was demolished is now being paved over.

It will become a parking lot.

The legendary old Horn and Horn, gathering spot for generations of city politicos, media types and the Court House crowd, is no longer a Wendy's. It has been turned into one of those places where noontime patrons can build a meal for themselves from the salad bar and from Chinese assortments sold according to weight. It seems to be popular with City Hall officialdom.

The Little Tavern hamburger hut at the corner also is gone. The space has not gotten any bigger but the establishment is now known as Manhattan Grill!

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