A bonehead learns geography lesson

THIS JUST IN ...

September 02, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

Twenty-two years in this town and he still doesn't know South Baltimore from Locust Point, for cryin' out loud.

He's walked the perimeter of Lauraville (on the eve of bulk trash day). He knows the difference between Waverly and Harwood. He knows where Canton ends and Highlandtown begins. He knows how to get to Walbrook Junction. He knows the short cut to Hampden from downtown, and he's explored the leafy border of Hampden and Remington. He knows where Irvington stops and Yale Heights begins. He knows the difference between Guilford and Oakenshawe.

And yet, despite more than two decades as a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, and despite having visited the south side so many times you'd think he owns a coin-op laundry there, he still doesn't know the difference between South Baltimore and Locust Point.

For cryin' out loud.

In Monday's column, he put Earl's Malt Shop (the one that offers haircuts and hairdos) in Locust Point.

I can just see Earl yelling up the stairs to his brother Buddy: "Hey, Buddy, gotta come look at this! Guy in the Sunpaper says we're in Locust Point!"

What a bonehead, the guy in the Sunpaper.

For cryin' out loud.

Anybody who knows anything about South Baltimore knows that Locust Point doesn't start until you get to Rallo's Restaurant, Fort Avenue at Lawrence Street, which is two (ITAL)long(endital) blocks to the east of Earl's.

For cryin' out loud.

Earl's is back at Fort Avenue and Webster Street, and people who live there consider themselves residents of South Baltimore -- not Locust Point.

"It is impossible to change the boundary," says TJI reader Bernadette Simon. "Rumor has it -- and we all know it to be true -- that the peninsula of Locust Point is chained to the rest of the city. At one end of the peninsula is Fort McHenry, at the other end Lawrence Street.

"Webster Street was part of a community known as 'up the hill.' When something went wrong down the point, it was done by the kids 'up the hill.' I've also heard that the people up the hill pointed the accusing fingers at the kids down the point."

Today, says Vince Rallo, who owns the landmark restaurant, "up the hill" might be a reference to Federal Hill, the boundaries of which constantly seem to be expanding in the real estate listings. "But where we are, on Fort Avenue, this is South %J Baltimore," says Rallo. "We're kind of a suburb of Federal Hill. Locust Point starts across from us, on the other side of Lawrence Street."

Let this be a lesson to me.

For cryin' out loud.

A doggone good trick

Here's a gripe: Patterson Park -- that's in East Baltimore -- has become "the world's largest bathroom for dogs," according to TJI reader Ray Alcarez.

The dog owners around the park ought to come to my neighborhood. A woman there has trained her canine to wait until she has carefully placed a square of paper towel on the

grass strip between the sidewalk and the street. Only then does the dog back up, positioning itself over the paper towel for the balance of the procedure. The woman then folds the paper towel, places it in a plastic bag and walks on with her dog. You don't believe me?

I've seen it with my own eyes, for cryin' out loud.

Take kids out to the ballgame

I saw in the Sunday Sun where Tom Bromwell, the Perry Hall state Senator with the Velcro hands ($437,894 in campaign contributions from industries his legislative committee regulates), gets a schweet deal from Crown Central for the company's skybox at Oriole Park. Check this out: Bromwell pays between $300 and $460 to rent the box for a party. This leaves a lot in a guy's budget for cocktail franks and dancing girls, even a pinata.

You try to rent the same box from the Orioles and they want between $1,400 and $2,000 a game. Crown pays $105,000 a year for its box, which comes out to $1,296 per game, which means Tommy B. is getting a nice break.

What are we to make of this? That Bromwell, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has been a good Crown customer all these years? That he has an uninterrupted string of fill-ups at all participating Crown stations, and always buys high-test? Did he collect Crown bonus cards?

No.

TTC If you ask me -- and even if you didn't ask me -- I think the Crown boys were just trying to stroke T. B. a little by giving him a deal with the skybox. Huh? Whaddaya think? Am I right or am I right?

Tell you what's insulting about this: I can name a half-dozen organizations in this town that would love to bring a pack of needy kids to an Orioles game. They scratch around for grants and contributions and freebies. So, if the Crown boys have an open night for the skybox, they can call me instead of Bromwell next time, and I'll get them in touch with these organizations. I've been a good Crown customer, too. I always fill up, I always use high-test. I even buy their machine-whipped cappuccino, for cryin' out loud.

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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