Flags were flying, champagne's flowing, and stretch limos with diplomatic tags were lining the drive way of the HarborView Condominiums. It was just enough fanfare to make the grand opening of the complex seem quite grand. And if that didn't do it, walking in and being greeted by concierge Roland Goodwin, did. Old-timers will remember Roland from his days at the Belvedere Hotel, many moons ago. Without question, Roland knows the names and faces of more Maryland people than I do, which is saying a lot.
He whisked me off to the private party being held in an 11th floor condo. It was a benefit for the Baltimore City Foundation, a city-controlled charity that funnels private donations to city projects. Foundation leader, Lenwood Ivey, was greeting guests such as Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt Schmoke. I couldn't help but notice how much easier it is on people, now that those two can be in the same room at the same time.
VIPs at the party included the folks who arrived in all those limos -- diplomats from the embassys of Yemen, Bahamas, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Sierra Leone, Latvia, Turkey, Indonesia, Tanzania, Argentina, Antigua and China were taking in the view and tasting the delicious hors d'oeuvres. The party goodies were prepared by Pier 500 chef Brian Boston and his staff and overseen by the vice president HarborView Waterside Catering, Amy Swirnow Lowenstein, who's the daughter of Richard Swirnow, president of the company developing HarborView.
While the VIP party was going on, thousands of people had arrived for the dedication ceremonies. In the crowd were people bearing names that belong to Baltimore's political past like Dick Bell, Joe Tydings, Courtney McKeldin, and Linda and Zelig Robinson. Others who made an appearance were Orioles great Brady Anderson, Don Hutchinson, Anne and Andy London, Londa Lee, Floraine Applefeld, Sam Winik, Councilman Joe DiBlasi and Clemis Kaikis, owner of Paul's Restaurant in Arbutus.
Then it was off to Harrison's at Pier 5, where the House of Ruth was having a fund-raiser. A buffet dinner followed by a Melissa Manchester performance at Pier Six pavilion raised $150,000, which will be used to provide life-saving services for battered women and their families. Carole Alexander, executive director, and Sue Dillon, president of the board of directors, greeted their several hundred guests.
Others who worked on this successful fund-raiser were House oRuth board members Amy Elias, Lainy LeBow-Sachs, Sally Thorner and B. J. Cowie. Guests included State Sen. Nancy Murphy, D-Baltimore County, who quipped that "women will not have equality until we have a House of Roger"; Hal and Dede Whitaker, Carolyn Burridge, Bill Fogle, Sloane Brown, Blair Barton, Carole Sibel, Skip Brown, and Democratic candidate for Attorney General Eleanor Carey, who was busy doing what politicians do best -- shaking hands.
As I was leaving Harrison's, owner Sondra Harrison McGee told me she had thrown a dinner party to celebrate the 89th birthday of her mom, Alice Harrison. Years do not stop this delightful lady, who spends every night overseeing their Tilghman Island restaurant and hotel.
Congratulations to WQSR radio FM-105's morning team, Rouse & Company, who celebrated their fifth anniversary on Wednesday. Steve Rouse, Linda Sherman and Tom Davis do a great job on this oldies but goodies station. And speaking of oldies but goodies, well wishers on the air that morning included yours truly, Charley Eckman, Art Donovan, and Johnny Walker, who quipped "You've had more dinosaurs on this morning than "Jurassic Park" . . .
Speaking of the media, Eddie Applefeld, who has two cable shows, has a new show on WITH-1230-AM on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. He calls it a free-wheeling show with live talk about what's going on around town . . .
After 20 years of running a Mexican restaurant in Virginia Beach, Ruben and Kathy Evangelista decided to move closer to their families and have opened a new restaurant on Brown's Wharf in Fells Point at the former Surfside Sally's site. Lista's, a waterfront Mexican/New Mexian restaurant, is having its grand opening all weekend, so stop by. They plan to be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and we wish them lots of luck . . .