July 1, 2013
While perusing an urban planning website recently from my office here in Honolulu, I learned with great sadness that the iconic and unique Baltimore Formstone building material is to be banned under new city design guidelines. Having lived my early adult years in Mount Vernon on St. Paul Street after a stint overseas in the Peace Corps in the mid-1990's, I have fond memories of Charm City, its quirky eccentricities, its incredible people and its unbelievable neighborhoods. No other streetscape better identifies Baltimore to the outside world than a block of Formstone-clad row houses with their scrubbed white stoops and sprinkled with a few painted screens throughout.
January 29, 2014
Just what the Hons of Hampden wanted to hear -- more proof that yuppies have commandeered the neighborhood. According to a poll conducted by Gawker , Hampden has been voted Baltimore's equivalent of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Let's see.... Hand poured cups of single source coffee? Check Charcuterie dangling from the ceiling? Check Cloth diapers and woven wraps for babywearing? Check Faux-old fashion barber shop with a straight razor shave? Check A Belgian beer bar in the former Red Man's Hall?
August 22, 2013
Twenty shootings in 80 hours - and the week is still young ( "Fatal Pigtown shooting brings city count to 20 in 80 hours," Aug. 20). Did I miss the mayor's press conference in which she and the police commissioner appear on stage together with a plan to assure citizens that everything in their power is being done to stop this senseless warfare? James B. Astrachan
September 27, 2012
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has a bold plan to increase the number of families in Baltimore by 10,000 during this decade, reversing a trend of population decline in Maryland's largest city. The mayor sees this plan as a "collective effort. " As dean of the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore (and a recent transplant to the city), I embrace this plan and understand its call to civic action for all of us who are proud to call this amazing city our home. I would like to join this conversation by offering a few ideas about how we, Baltimore residents, can help.
October 7, 2013
For more than a week I've watched the white U.S. Navy blimp circling over Baltimore ( "Baltimore blimp not affected by federal government shutdown," Oct. 3). But instead of hanging out on social media on the subject, I've contacted the mayor's office, the city council president and even the police. Apparently, no city officials were told about this beforehand. To me, that's a lapse in protocol. This lighter-than-air vehicle has been funded by contract, and therefore it's immune from the government shutdown.
August 13, 2014
The story is told that in 1787, fake villages were erected along the Dneiper River so that Czarina Catherine and her elite guests would not see the deplorable state in which the peasants of her country lived. Well dressed serfs waved happily from the shore as Catherine's barge floated past, only to be stripped of their clothing and returned to crushing poverty after their ruler had floated by. Whether true or myth, such false facades now bear the name of Catherine's favorite General who orchestrated the plot; "Potemkin Villages" have come to symbolize a cynical effort to hide the truth and present a picture of prosperity where none exists.
August 21, 2013
As an American merchant sailor, I came to Baltimore for a week of training and was very pleased to find the Baltimore public transit system an efficient alternative to renting a car. The buses and light rail vehicles are clean and the drivers do not tolerate rude behavior. And the all-day pass made worrying about exact change irrelevant. At several different light rail stops I was the only passenger waiting on the platform. But my feelings of anxiety were quickly fixed as the MTA police came through on their patrols.
September 21, 2012
It's sad to see a good idea fizzle, and that's what's happened to Occupy Baltimore ("The 1 percent are winning," Sept. 18). But, the movement didn't just "fizzle," it committed suicide. I never pitched a tent in McKeldin Square. However, I did spend time discussing issues, stood with a homemade "Bring Back Glass-Steagall" sign on the corner of Light and Pratt streets and marched in a "Save Post Office Jobs" picket line. Occupy Baltimore's inability to communicate is much to blame for its apparent deterioration.
April 21, 2014
I just wanted to reach out after I read Dan Rodricks ' column and say, it's nice to read something that is aligned with my hopeful attitude toward Baltimore ( "Investment in Baltimore, beyond our expectations ," April 15). After I moved back from New York City, I was struck but the momentum that was picking up with investors and residents. We are on the ground floor building up and opportunities to make profitable investments are all over the city. I love it! I have a few historic buildings that I keep a watchful eye on, hoping some rich developer sees the potential that I do and renovates.
April 29, 2014
On a brutally cold January day I waited for a Yellow cab to take my mom to chemotherapy. I had booked the cab the night before on the Yellow cab website. It never showed. Neither did the second cab the dispatcher sent. The next time I used Uber. It worked perfectly, and I have never looked back ( "Make room for ride-sharing," April 28). Uber is popular for one reason: It works and the cab companies don't. Uber provides accountability. You rate the Uber driver on your smartphone by awarding stars.