Letters To The Editor


July 30, 2008

Don't trash arena, memories it holds

I think Dan Rodricks' column calling the 1st Mariner Arena "dumpy" is an insult to all the great memories and tradition that the arena holds ("Quit thinking small, people of Baltimore," July 25).

The 1st Mariner Arena (still the Baltimore Arena or Civic Center to me) may not be a high-tech, state-of-the-art arena by today's standards, but so what? Can't we have anything old-fashioned anymore?

Some of my fondest memories as a child are of my dad taking me to Baltimore Blast and Skipjacks games in the 1980s and 1990s. I recently was able to take my own son to see a Blast game and was happily surprised to see that the arena still looked the same as it did back then.

It has character, and holds a lot of fond memories.

It's not "thinking small," as Mr. Rodricks put it, to keep things the same in the interest of upholding tradition, nostalgia and memories.

Perhaps the arena could use some polishing up, but do we really need to replace it with another big-business, money-grubbing arena?

Baltimore already insulted tradition in the early 1990s by replacing the great Memorial Stadium with a big-business stadium that caters to yuppies more than to the average sports fan.

Let's not do that again with the city's arena.

Damon Costantini, Catonsville

Let's not forget that the 1st Mariner Arena, originally named the Baltimore Civic Center, was part of the modernization of downtown Baltimore. And you either loved or hated those long, trapezoidal "things" on the roof that were so modernistic for Baltimore when the building was built in 1962.

The arena's problematic single entrance was a magic portal to me.

In the early 1960s, my father chauffeured me and my friends from Baltimore County to see Peter, Paul and Mary at the Civic Center every year they appeared.

A few years later, I was there to see Otis Redding striding across the stage telling my boyfriend to "Try a Little Tenderness." And the next thing you knew, the Beach Boys were at the Civic Center singing, "East Coast girls are hip, I really dig the styles they wear." (Being an East Coast girl, I was sure they were speaking of me.)

Recently resigned city Planning Director Douglas B. McCoach III says our old Civic Center "doesn't really contribute anything to the life of the city" ("Planners see arena reviving west side," July 26).

I just want Mr. McCoach to know that in its time, it definitely contributed to this fiftysomething's life.

And to Gilbert Thomas, who said the building "tends to be a dead box," I would like to say I knew the building was it was really jumping.

I'll be sorry to see it go.

Kate Moerschel, Port Deposit

Dave Brubeck. The Beatles. Neil Diamond. Frank Sinatra (twice). Elvis Presley (twice). Engelbert Humperdinck. Tom Jones. Luciano Pavarotti. The Baltimore Bullets, the Baltimore Clippers, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Baltimore Blast. Disney on Ice, the Ice Capades and thousands of other sports and cultural events of every variety and stripe. All of them have been experienced at the 1st Mariner Arena, formerly the Baltimore Arena and originally the Baltimore Civic Center, by me and hundreds of thousands of others over the years.

I object strenuously to this venerable place being called old and in need of replacement. Hogwash.

The same thoughtless and silly mindset has affected other buildings in Baltimore, much to the detriment of our urban landscape.

Since when is a building old and in need of replacement when it is less than 50 years old?

If the reckless and disposable attitude displayed regarding the Arena prevailed regarding all public buildings, we would have to tear down City Hall, the Shot Tower, Fort McHenry, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the State House in Annapolis and just about all the government buildings around the country.

Someone needs to enforce a little prudence and common sense on the talking heads who promulgate such nonsense in the name of progress.

David Manning, Towson

Apology needed for Burns' remarks

"I have learned over the past several months anything I, or individuals in my office, say or do in reference to the Zach Sowers case will in all probability be misstated, misquoted, misrepresented, misinterpreted and/or misunderstood," Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said in a statement in response to calls for the ouster of her spokeswoman, Margaret Burns ("Move to oust Jessamy aide persists," July 25). "Knowing this, I therefore decline to make any statement regarding past, current or future events related to this case."

I found this comment by Ms. Jessamy totally wrong. She acts as if she is the victim here.

But the victims in this case are the deceased Mr. Sowers, his widow and their family and friends.

Come down from your high horse, Ms. Jessamy.

Ms. Burns was so wrong in her hurtful and tactless comments about Mr. Sowers' condition.

Both Ms. Burns and Ms. Jessamy need to stop blaming the press and do the right thing and at least publicly apologize for Ms. Burns' remarks.

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