Good seats left to see Lexington Terrace razed


July 26, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

Fans of high-rise implosion need city-issued passes to the prime locations for viewing tomorrow's demolition of Lexington Terrace. (Just like anything else: It's who ya know.) But, if you don't have an official invitation to the grassy knoll at Franklin and Schroeder or the University of Maryland parking garage at Pine Street, allow me to recommend the corner of Poppleton and Baltimore streets in West Baltimore. The view is pretty good from there, and you're likely to find a hand-painted ice cream truck (its music box plays "Home, Home on the Range" repeatedly) that sells an excellent, single-twirl Mr. Softee for a buck.

A-rab pony ranch

This idea hasn't occurred to anyone in the Schmoke administration, so let me try:

The city ought to take some vacant space -- we've got plenty these days, haven't we? -- and turn it into a central inner-city ranch for a-rab's ponies. Build them a new stable. Plant some grass for grazing. Plant some trees for shade. Give them a blacksmith and regular visits from a vet. Put up fencing that will keep vandals out but allow the public to see the ponies at rest.

All of which will make it possible for us to continue to see the ponies at work.

A-rabbing is a Baltimore tradition -- you probably won't find fruits and vegetables being sold from horse-drawn wagons in any other city in America -- that ought to be maintained and even promoted. A-rabbing, with its street-hollerin' vendors and plumed ponies, is worth saving. Not because it's symbolic. Not because it's quaint. A-rabbing is real. It's a livelihood for men with colorful nicknames and hustle in their hearts.

Numerous politicians and public officials called for the end to a-rabbing a couple of years ago, after the horror of Castle Street. Two horses died, and three more nearly starved to death in the Castle Street stable. The incident received lots of media attention, and animal rights activists held it up as proof that a-rabbing's time had come and gone.

But what a loss it would be.

If the animals are properly cared for, and if the whole system of a-rabbing is better monitored and regulated, it could be something that serves the city's tourism and its neighborhoods. Dozens of people could find work selling produce through a good part of the year.

And it's time we had a ranch in the city.

Olympic moments

News item out of Atlanta: Five members of the Armenian Olympic weightlifting team were arrested after trying to break down a door to meet a woman to whom they had given $100. Speculation: These poor guys must have been watching "The Blue Brothers" in their dorm rooms and were demonically inspired by John Belushi's restaurant bit: "How much for your veemin? Ve vant to buy all your veemin." . . . . There are so many exhibition sports in the Olympics now, how about adding greco-roman Jell-O wrestling? . . . I always thought field hockey should have been offered as a fall scholastic sport for boys and men. (Seriously, I would have chosen it over football.) Turns out, girls weren't the only ones having all that fun. Guys have been playing field hockey for years, and in the Olympics! In fact, the U.S. men's team has never won a game in Olympic competition and, according to my colleague Ken Rosenthal, the players are more interested in partying than performing. Where do I sign up?

Back to the games

I don't know about you, but I think NBC is not giving us enough women's softball, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's soccer or baseball. And we're getting way too much Dream Team. Really. It's only a story if the U.S. blows it. . . . I have been listening very carefully and -- trust me on this -- not once has John Tesh pronounced Chinese gymnast Li Xiaoshuang's name correctly. . . . And I listened very carefully to what Bill Walton had to say about the Dream Team the other night and -- trust me on this -- I didn't understand a word he said. If I recall correctly, Commander Bill, his eyes filled with colorful, tie-dyed Lithuania T-shirts, made some garbled comparison between the Grateful Dead and sports. (And never once mentioned drug abuse.)

Never far from home

It's a small world. Guy I know, on vacation in Italy recently, climbed more than 400 steps of the bell tower by the duomo in Florence wearing a Baltimore Browns T-shirt. At the top of the tower, he found two guys from Maryland, who were not only amused at the collector's-item T-shirt but, it turns out, were waiting on word for personal seat licenses back in Baltimore.


You think they're getting a little desperate in Carroll County? Check out the following item in a community calendar notice: "Dinner, discussion: Parents Without Partners will have cookout and discussion on 'Gorilla Dating Techniques' from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at a member's home." For more information, call 861-8349. Bring Your Own Bananas.

This Just In appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact Dan Rodricks by telephoning 332-6166 or writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 7/26/96

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