Easter is casual affair to Inner Harbor strollers Most dress down, soak up live jazz on waterfront

March 31, 1997|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

People in a subdued, sometimes sparse, Easter crowd at the Inner Harbor yesterday seemed more interested in looking and listening than being looked at and talked about.

Jeans, sneakers, sweat shirts and other casual attire were the apparel of choice for most people strolling the waterfront and listening to the free jazz at the Inner Harbor amphitheater.

They seemed to be taking seriously a handwritten sign at the water-taxi billboard which read, "Today's events: Have a beautiful day!"

Michael Tunis, the skipper of one of two sailboats anchored in the Inner Harbor near the Aquarium, said he was finding the day exactly as advertised.

Tunis, 40, sailed into the harbor four days ago, nearing the end of his journey from Florida to Cape May, N.J.

"It's a fantastically excellent thrill to [be anchored in the Inner Harbor and] see Baltimore's Easter parade and learn things like which restaurant is most popular," he said.

Ashore, the Rev. Jansen String, rector of St. George's and St. Matthew Episcopal Church in Dundalk, and his daughter Emily, were listening to live jazz and, he said, "having a little fun people-watching."

String appeared to be having the best of it, fun-wise, however. His daughter, upon learning the Orioles were playing an exhibition game in nearby Camden Yards, exclaimed disappointedly, "Oh man!"

His daughter learned about the ballgame when String asked about the conspicuous presence of uniformed police in groups of two, three or more on steps, balconies, and other places of prominence throughout the Inner Harbor. String, who visits the Inner Harbor about once a month, attributed the low-key mood of the crowd to the police presence -- a presence he "felt was a little too obvious."

"We want to have high visibility," said Maj. Bert Shirey, head of the city police tactical division. "If people want to enjoy themselves, that's fine. If there's trouble, we'll deal with it."

Yesterday, Inner Harbor shops closed at 5 p.m. Security personnel closed the pavilion to everyone except restaurant patrons.

Pub Date: 3/31/97

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