The New Entrepreneur
February 22, 2013: Maryland songbird Francis Scott Key called America “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
But if Mr. Key were alive today, he may have added a line about “opportunity.” Entrepreneurship is alive and well, especially in Baltimore.
In fact, Forbes Magazine recently named Baltimore the number-two city in the country for high-tech jobs—second only to Seattle!
Jazz in Baltimore (Past and Present)
February 8, 2013: Every year, The Historic Charles Street Association devotes a special newsletter issue to Black History Month. In 2012, we uncovered evidence of the Underground Railroad in Baltimore. This year, we take a look at Jazz music – its important roots in Baltimore, and some of the country’s best jazz musicians living here, today
You don’t need to drive to New York or Washington, DC to hear good jazz; Charm City has an amazing jazz music scene!
Baltimore is home to several historic firsts in jazz. You might even say that we had a Jazz Renaissance. But for some reason, Baltimore’s fascinating jazz history has remained largely unsung.
Well, I’m hoping we can change that. This issue highlights the seismic musical shifts that happened within our city limits. It might just inspire you to seek out some ‘living history’ (i.e. a jazz performance) in Baltimore this weekend. So let’s begin!
A ‘Soul-Filled’ Song
To understand jazz’s beginnings, you have to start in church.
That’s because many jazz greats, such as Eubie Blake, Rivers Chambers and Marian Anderson, began their careers in the early 1900s by singing or playing the organ in the church choir.
Not a lot of people know this, but the musical form known as Gospel was attributed to a man from the Eastern Shore. In the sleepy marshes of Berlin, Maryland (just a few miles outside of Ocean City), Charles Albert Tindley was born in 1851. Click here for more.
The Restaurant Week Issue – Winter Edition
January 25, 2013: It’s that time – that magical week when Baltimore’s finest restaurants roll out their red carpets and shine their nicest silverware: It’s the start of Winter Restaurant Week!
Beginning today thru February 3, 2013, participating restaurants are offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $30.13.
Some restaurants even have two-course lunch menus for $15.13.
Lucky for us, many of these excellent restaurants are located right here on Charles Street. So I had to bring you the juicy details – just in time for lunch! Click here for more.
The Old Curiosity Shop
January 18, 2013: The next time you have lunch at City Cafe, take a moment to peer into the window of the building next door at 1013 Cathedral Street – it just might take your breath away.
Wait a moment and let your eyes adjust to the light. The 2-story, blueberry hued showroom is crammed with odds and ends that, somehow, pair perfectly together.
A bust of Marcus Aurelius watches over a Baltimore Chair that sits next to a heavy oak table displaying hand-colored drawings.
It’s the main showroom for McClain Wiesand, a custom furniture company and Baltimore institution for more than 25 years.
“In the late 80s and early 90s, I owned an antique shop on Howard Street,” David Wiesand told me, “I loved it. I ran the business by day, but at night, I built my own, custom designs.”
David graduated from MICA with a Master’s in Painting – he was the one who painted the beautiful murals that were part of the Tremont Grand’s restoration.
Eventually, he realized that his true passion was furniture design.
David particularly enjoyed a style known as Biedermeier, which catered to the German Middle Class of the early 19th Century. This style emphasized clean lines and minimal ornamentation, with a nod to the past. “The 19th Century Germans were looking at the French, who were an ornate team of architects looking back at classical Rome,” David explained. Click here for more.
The YOU Issue
December 31, 2012: I want to thank you for making our Historic Charles Street community even more vital and vibrant in 2012.
We sure had a lot of fun this year!
We organized two massive street festivals:
•Let’s Eat Charles Street, in May, which brought out over a thousand people and 40 restaurants and retailers!
Live music was sponsored by WTMD Radio – and even the Oriole Bird made an appearance.
•Then, in the fall, right before Halloween, we partnered with Station North Arts & Entertainment District to put on our Charles Street Fall Festival. Click here for more.
North America’s Oldest Blacksmith Shop
December 14, 2012: One block away from the crowds and vendors of Lexington Market, you’ll hear a sound that not a lot of people know about today – it’s the sound of history in motion.
Each day, Peter Krug and his team of blacksmiths take turns in front of a timeworn anvil. Using 200-year-honed techniques (and a 2,500 degree forge), they create wrought iron masterpieces – one hammer swing at a time.
G. Krug and Son’s wrought iron workshop is the oldest continuously operating blacksmithing business in North America. It began in 1810 under the auspices of Augustus Scwanka. In 1848, Gustavo (or ‘G’) Krug joined the business, and by 1871 he had purchased it as his own. It was a thriving operation that at its height employed over 100 people.
“At one point, [they]… could proudly boast that virtually every building in Baltimore contained something made in the shop, even if that something was only a nail,” writes Eli Pousson of Baltimore Heritage. Click here for more.
Holiday Traditions in Baltimore
December 5, 2012: I’ve been waiting all year to bring you this issue… the best time to be in Charm City has got to be early December, when we break out our favorite traditions and simply go overboard with holiday spirit!
Last weekend Fells Point reminded us that ’tis the season for cheesy holiday movies, eggnog, and mistletoe. They hosted the Old Tyme Christmas market and Holiday Boat Show.
There’s just something about seeing Santa arrive on a tugboat…
The Nutcracker comes to the Meyerhoff later this month, with special performances by the dancers of the Baltimore School for the Arts.
But what’s Baltimore’s best holiday tradition? (And I’m not just saying this because it’s on Charles Street.) Click here for more.
Turning Artists Into Entrepreneurs
November 23, 2012: One of the biggest success stories on Charles Street has been quietly doing business here for more than a century.
It’s a mecca for artists to sell handmade textiles, clothing and jewelry – but it offers so much more than that.
This place is known as the Woman’s Industrial Exchange, although it features art from men as well as women.
And it’s been on Charles Street since 1880.
After the Civil War, women used to bring their handwork to the home of a prominent Baltimore resident named Mrs. G. Harmon Brown. She would sell these items to other residents and promoted the service as a way for women who were poor or who had lost their husbands in the war to ‘discreetly earn a living.’
It was a huge success. Click here for more.
October 26, 2012: In just a few short hours, Charles Street will be filled with the sights, the sounds (and the delicious smells) of our Final Friday at Penn Station: The Charles Street Fall Festival!
Our favorite local businesses are pulling out all the stops – just for you, from 3pm ’til 7 pm.
Cazbar and Homeslyce are joining forces to bring you the most delicious Mediterranean style pizzas this side of Italy. We’re talking pizza ‘boats’ – personal pan pizzas – made with a subtly sweet tomato sauce, spicy sausage, bacon and veggie toppings, on a piping hot, thin crust.
The Peabody Issue
October 19, 2012: I’ve written to you before about the glorious restoration of the Peabody Institute’s buildings, but this week, let’s take a look inside the institution that dates back to 1857 and adds so much to our Baltimore musical heritage.
Did you know The Peabody Institute was the first academy of music in the United States?
It was founded by George Peabody, a London-based investment banker, whose career first blossomed in Baltimore. Deeply affected by the plight of the homeless and destitute in Dickensian London, he vowed to do something worthwhile with his incredible fortune.
Peabody is considered to be the country’s first philanthropist. In fact, Peabody had tremendous influence on other Baltimore figures – helping to inspire Johns Hopkins to establish his eponymous university and hospital, the Walters’ family to found their world-famous art museum, and Enoch Pratt to underwrite America’s first public library; all right here in Mount Vernon. Click here for more.
New Developments on the 300 Block
October 12, 2012: Change is in the air on the 300 block of N. Charles Street, and we couldn’t be more excited.
One of the most historic parts of Baltimore, the 300 block is a showcase for some of the city’s finest architecture.
This is the stretch of Charles Street where you first notice – with an ahh – the Washington Monument.
But the 300 block faced particularly tough times in the recent recession, and it once sported an alarming 25% vacancy rate.
Well, not anymore.
The New 13th Floor
October 5, 2012: After a 6-month renovation (and more than 14 months of planning), The 13th Floor is back! And doesn’t it look beautiful?
The Belvedere’s top floor was once used as a storage space for wealthy Turn-of-the-Century travelers; they filled it with their trunks and luggage.
In the 1970s, after Victor Frenkil purchased the old hotel, the 13th floor became a lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows. They called it the Skyline Café.
And… this was how it looked, more or less, for the next 20 years. A facelift came about in 1992, but still…
The 13th Floor felt trapped in a distant, disco era. Click here for more.
The Book Festival Issue
September 27, 2012: It’s finally here! The best weekend of the year: The Baltimore Book Festival.
From Friday, September 28 through Sunday, September 30, Mount Vernon becomes a literary marketplace.
Over 200 authors will be on hand, as will dozens of tents surrounding the Washington Monument, and piles and piles (and piles) of books to buy.
There will be book signings, panel discussions, workshops, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and exhibitors.
But the best part is, you can hear authors discuss their own books!
It’s a bibliophiles dream – and the largest celebration of literary arts in the entire Mid-Atlantic Region, to be precise. Click here for more.
The Inner Harbor Issue
September 18, 2012: We spend a lot of time talking about the businesses along Charles Street.
But, just a few steps away from our asphalt thoroughfare, lies one of our city’s most important natural resources – the Inner Harbor.
The Harbor isn’t technically part of the Chesapeake Bay – it’s actually the end of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River, which flows into the Bay.
“The Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay are very much part of almost every Baltimorean and Marylander’s psyche,” says Jeff LaNoue, Project and Sustainability Planner at the University of Baltimore, “But even our most educated citizens know relatively little about the body of water that has helped shape our city.” Click here for more.
The Family Business
September 12, 2012 Mick O’Shea’s is the Cheers of Baltimore.
Walk in, and, odds are, the bartender already knows your name.
(They even remember what you ordered last time!)
Mick’s is popular with tourists and locals alike – it has that homey vibe that makes you want to return again and again.
So it’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, things were quite different.
“This place used to be called McGinn’s,” says owner Dave Niehenke, “in fact, it had been in business for more than 30 years. But in the late 90s, a group of seven businessmen had taken over and renamed it Mick O’Shea’s.”
It was a case of ‘too many cooks in the kitchen,’ to be polite. Click here for more.
Our First Commercial
September 7, 2012: Say a new hair salon opens up down the street from where you live.
Odds are you’ll drive or walk past it, and notice that it’s new.
But if the owner of that hair salon wanted to get more customers than the few people who pass by her store, she would need to advertise.
Ten years ago, she might take out an ad in the newspaper, or even put a commercial on TV.
But in today’s world, TV and print newspapers seem to be going the way of the Dodo Bird. According to The New York Times, television viewership reached an all-time low this spring. And in the past 5 years, print newspapers have faced rounds of layoffs, been forced into bankruptcy or have folded operations altogether.
There’s a shift occurring in our society – leaning away from stodgy, ‘traditional’ media like TV and newspapers, and moving toward the Internet. Click here for more.
Preserving Charles Street’s Architectural Treasures
August 28, 2012: On December 8, 2010, just one day after a 5-alarm fire devastated the Park Plaza Building at 800 N. Charles Street, Frank Dittenhafer was allowed inside to survey the damage.
The offices of Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects were located in the fifth floor “penthouse suite,” but Frank could only get as far as the receptionist’s desk – it was all that remained of their studio space – and professional home of twenty years.
“It’s a total loss,” he told The Baltimore Sun, “There’s nothing left. There’s no roof, and everything is black. The floor is collapsed. There’s really no recognizable evidence of anything. It’s all charred – gone.” Click here for more.
A Streetcar Named Charles
August 16, 2012: Sixty years ago, Baltimore was a very different city.
It looked different. There was no Oriole Park, no shops at the Harborplace (in fact, there wasn’t even an Inner Harbor), and there was certainly no Harbor East.
Streets were laid out in a different direction, too. Unlike the one-way streets we know today, many streets (including Charles Street) accommodated two directions of traffic.
That may have encouraged people to stop and shop in one of the beautiful clothing or furniture stores along Charles Street, like Valiant, which was located on the 200 block of N. Charles.
Baltimore didn’t have buses and Circulators back then. It had a network of streetcar lines, like this one, above. Click here for more.
Welcome Back, Students!
August 2, 2012: Can you believe it’s already back-to-school season?
Where did the summer go?!
A few months back, I introduced you to the new Varsity student apartment complex going up at 30 W. Biddle Street.
Just yesterday, it opened its doors for the fall semester.
Three hundred and twenty three students will be calling The Varsity home. Click here for more.
The Restaurant Week Issue – Summer Edition
July 27, 2012: It’s that time again! That magical week (or two) when Baltimore’s finest restaurants roll out their red carpets and shine their finest silverware – it’s the start of Summer Restaurant Week!
Beginning today thru August 5, 2012, participating restaurants are offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $30…
Some restaurants even have two-course lunch menus for $15.
Lucky for us, the lion’s share of these excellent restaurants are located right here on Charles Street. So I had to bring you the juicy details.
I just hope I don’t make your mouth water onto your keyboard. Click here for more.
What’s the 401?
July 19, 2012: When we think of Baltimore, a lot of us think of home.
Some of us grew up here. Others came for college and loved the city so much, we decided to stay.
But when you think of Baltimore in terms of its residents, and its residential growth, you might be surprised to learn where the fastest growing part of our city is.
It isn’t the waterfront condos along Harbor East,
Or the charming colonial townhomes of Federal Hill, or the leafy green neighborhoods of Charles Village and Hampden.
It’s actually Downtown – in an area that includes much of Charles Street! Click here for more.
Secrets of the Enoch Pratt Free Library
July 12, 2012: Back in the year 1882, a wealthy businessman named Enoch Pratt decided that our city of Baltimore should have a special library. A central library, with four neighborhood branches.
He gave the city a $1 million endowment gift to make it happen.
Now, a one million dollar gift anytime is special, but take a moment to imagine yourself back in time – less than 20 years after the Civil War, in the year 1882, when the nation was still struggling to rebuild itself.
That $1 million gift would have been worth more than $23 million today.
But what’s even more remarkable than the value of Mr. Pratt’s gift was the mandate that came with it. Click here for more.
July 4, 2012: Happy Chautauqua!
Did I stump you?
Today is Independence Day, and of course, I wish you and your family a very Happy 4th!
But while everyone is enjoying the parades and the fireworks at the Inner Harbor,
Did you know… there’s another event, happening now through July 13th, that not so many people have heard of?
It’s called Chautauqua.
It’s named after a town in upstate New York that hosted popular, outdoor literary events in the 19th Century. Click here for more.
Money For Your Business (I’m Serious!)
June 27, 2012: Who couldn’t use a little extra money these days?
There’s a program funded by the City of Baltimore that I bet you haven’t heard about.
But it could mean the difference of thousands of dollars to your business.
Am I serious? You bet! I just spent the morning speaking with Todd Dolbin and Richard Escalante of The Baltimore Development Corp (BDC). The BDC is Baltimore City’s economic development agency.
Every year, they help hundreds of businesses in Baltimore on a range of services, “from parking issues to building a Convention Center Hotel,” says Richard.
One of their main initiatives is to help businesses understand the tax incentives within Baltimore City. “We do a lot of outreach,” Todd said. Click here for more.
New Life at 800 N. Charles Street
June 20, 2012: One wintry night in December, 2010, all of Mount Vernon, it seemed, was lit up.
But it wasn’t Christmas lights illuminating the night sky – it was something far worse.
A fire had broken out at the Park Plaza building at 800 N. Charles Street.
One by one, the fire alarms sounded. The two fire crews who arrived on the scene could not handle the blaze themselves. They put out another call for help. Then two more calls for help. And when all was said and done, five alarms and more than 120 fire men were needed to bring the fire under control. Click here for more.
The Sailabration Issue
June 13, 2012: Happy Sailabration! In commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, the city of Baltimore is having a party.
A really big party.
A 6-day celebration, to be exact, that starts today and will take place with 40 seafaring ships at the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Fort McHenry.
But don’t worry when you see them, we’re not being invaded!
18 tall ships, 10 U.S. naval vessels, and ships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom will be on hand to pay respect to the events that happened here 200 years ago. Click here for more.
The Charles Street Pub that Shaped American History
June 7, 2012: There’s much more to history than what’s written in a textbook.
History is the sum total of a million fascinating stories.
These stories are real and very personal accounts that give meaning to a moment in time.
The new exhibit at The Maryland Historical Society, “In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812″ tells the story of the War of 1812 in a very real and personal way.
The soldiers who made up America’s forces, for instance, were not academy-trained professionals – they were regular people, like you and me.
Thomas Ruckle was an Irish-born housepainter. He served in the 5th Maryland regiment and took part in the Battle of North Point, which was a pivotal moment in the War. Click here for more.
The UB Issue
May 31, 2012: This week, I made a visit to our great friend and HCSA member, The University of Baltimore. You may have noticed not one, but two large-scale construction projects going on at UB’s campus right now. I’m lucky enough to have had a first-hand look at both of them. And believe me, they already are transforming our Midtown neighborhood for the better!
Building a Sense of Community: The New John & Frances Angelos Law Center
Directly across from Baltimore’s Penn Station, at the corner of Charles Street and Mount Royal Ave., is the site of UB’s new John and Frances Angelos Law Center.
It is a $107 million project that began construction in 2010. A significant funding source came from our friend, HCSA member Peter Angelos, who graduated from the school in 1961. His $10 million combined donation was the largest private gift in the school’s history. But what I like best about Mr. Angelos’ gift is the fact that he’s naming the building after his parents. Click here for more.
Spicy Grilled Lamb
May 24, 2012: Editor’s Note: Before we begin, I want to thank everyone who made our Let’s Eat Charles Street Festival such a success!
It seemed like the whole city came out to celebrate on Saturday, May 12th.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer, and our food and retail vendors said it was their best year yet for sales.
Plus I keep hearing from folks who had a great time shopping & listening to our 6 musical acts.
The Festival Issue
May 10, 2012: What’s shakin’, bacon? Where will you be on Saturday afternoon?
That’s the day of our Let’s Eat Charles Street Festival, and everyone in Baltimore (including that guy, at left) will be there!
“Let’s Eat Charles Street is the best thing to happen to Charles Street since Starbucks,” says Haluk Kantar, owner of Cazbar Restaurant.
“It helps put us on the map, just like a Starbucks does whenever it opens in a new neighborhood.” Click here for more.
Flowers, Films, and First Thursdays
May 3, 2012: Happy May! The month begins with a sweet, sunny flourish.
It’s time again for another Flowermart, a Baltimore tradition for 95 years.
Scores of flower and seed vendors will be on hand Friday May 4 through Saturday May 5 in the Mount Vernon Parks around the Washington Monument.
They’ll be selling everything from Black-Eyed Susans to heirloom tomato plants to an assortment of carnivorous greenery.
(I, too, am intrigued.) Click here for more.
April 19, 2012: It’s a familiar scenario: You’re sitting in a meeting, digesting the doughnut that you just had to eat… when your eyes start to feel heavy.
As your boss goes on and on about quarterly financial projections, you can’t help but lower your eyes. His voice becomes a pleasant hum in your ear… and your eyes gently close.
Suddenly, you jerk your head up and realize that everyone in the room is looking at you.
You just fell asleep!
If only you had eaten this instead…
Meet Bonnie Scible, second-generation owner of The Peanut Shoppe, Baltimore’s oldest purveyor of nuts, dried fruit, seeds and candy.
‘Been Around Since 1993′
April 19, 2012: What does it take to run a successful business?
If you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant, here’s a scary statistic straight from the TV news: 90% of all new restaurants fail in their first year.
But don’t believe everything you hear on TV, says Rhonda Brown in this article from USA Today.
According to her researchers, the actual percentage is lower:
It’s more like 85%. (Ouch!)
With those odds and a still-difficult economy stacked against us, it takes tons of hard work, a strong business acumen and maybe even a little luck to run a successful restaurant today.
So how rare is it to find an entrepreneur running not just one successful restaurant, but rather, a thriving business with multiple locations?
Meet David Cangialosi, who is about to open the fourth branch of his popular David and Dad’s café. Click here for more.
The Staycation Issue
April 12, 2012: The first time I heard the word ‘staycation’ I was on a travel assignment in Portland, Oregon. I had inhaled a maple-bacon glazed donut at Voodoo Doughnuts and was searching through the bargain bin at Powell’s Books when I heard a young couple next to me erupt in giggles.
They looked as refreshed as if they had spent a week in the Caribbean. I couldn’t help but ask them what their secret was.
They told me they were actually enjoying a week-long break from their home 20 miles away.
They were on a staycation. Click here for more.
Photo Contest Winners:
The most beautiful shot of Charles Street
April 4, 2012: The results are in! We’re thrilled by the number of submissions we received for our first-ever Charles Street photo contest.
We had an agonizing choice to make: just who had the most beautiful shot of Charles Street?
Our criteria was objective. We wanted photos that captured clearly recognizable Charles Street landmarks, in all seasons.
And the winners?
We’ve selected three people whose photos captured the very essence of our neighborhood. I think you’ll be pleased with them. Click here for more.
Sharp Dressed Men
March 28, 2012: Mount Vernon gets a lot of ink for being a cultural mecca
And it’s known in the travel guides as Baltimore’s downtown dining destination,
But what about the shopping?
Did you know that one of America’s best menswear stores is right here on Charles Street?
On the corner of North Charles Street and E. Hamilton Street, to be exact!
Gian Marco Menswear was founded in May 1991 in downtown Baltimore at 33 South Charles Street and opened its current location at 517 N. Charles Street on May 25, 2005. Click here for more.
March 22, 2012: This is the true story of a group of neighbors
Who came together,
Pooled their money,
Saved a building from becoming a parking lot, and changed their neighborhood for the better.
The pharmacy known as MacGillivray’s had been a neighborhood staple at the corner of Charles and Read Streets since the 1920′s.
But through the years, its Mount Vernon neighborhood faced challenges – especially in the 80′s and 90′s – and the building fell into disrepair.
Structural problems gave the building a haphazard look: Its hundred-year-old beams were barely able to support the weight of its walls, and it literally teetered to the left side of the block.
If These Walls Could Talk
March 15, 2012: The mural at left was created by Maya Hayuk, a New York-based street artist and participant in the new Open Walls Baltimore project.
It’s a large-scale project that is bringing together artists from around the world to paint murals in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District.
Ben Stone, Station North’s Executive Director, explained how the wall was painted.
“It was a monster,” he said. The flat, porous wall of the parking garage on Charles Street soaked up paint – 50 gallons and counting!
“We received donations from Sherwin Williams and Duron Paint but we’ve already run through most them,” Ben continued, “We’re hoping to get more soon.” Read on for more…
The St. Patrick’s Day Issue
March 8, 2012: New York might have its Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Washington DC its Fourth of July celebration.
But nothing takes the cake over Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities!
According to Wikipedia, Maryland is one of the most Irish American states in the country. So maybe that’s why we begin celebrating a whole week before the official March 17 holiday. Starting this Sunday, March 11, the party begins, and the entire city, it seems, comes out to celebrate.
“Everyone is Irish on this day of the year,” says Sean Caine, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Director of Communications. He should know. The Baltimore Basilica is hosting the ‘official’ Mass of the Baltimore St. Patrick Parade at 10:45am on Sunday. Read on for more…
One Wise, Old Bird
March 1, 2012: Nineteen years ago, back in 1993, a restauranteur named Dion Dorizas bought The Owl Bar in the Belvedere Hotel.
Mr. Dorizas took down the owl statues and hung up cattle skulls,
Draped desert-colored ponchos across the German brick walls,
And offered to sell the stained glass windows and other ‘owl artifacts’ to The Walters Art Museum.
Then, he added tortillas and quesadillas to the menu,
And renamed it the Taos Cafe.
Stunned Baltimoreans (their expressions not unlike the owl’s to the left) couldn’t believe what happened. Read on for more.
The Underground Railroad in Baltimore
February 23, 2012: In light of Black History month, this week I want to explore Baltimore’s involvement with the Underground Railroad – a pre-Civil War network that guided tens of thousands of slaves to freedom.
“Shut off the drill!” the construction worker shouted as he dropped his shovel, “Call Foreman Humphreys!”
In the curious new silence, he peered into the hole they were digging at the intersection of Camden and Hanover Streets. They had drilled only two feet into the earth when they hit, then broke through, a brick wall.
Beneath it, stretching endlessly, was darkness. Read on for more.
There’s an App for that
February 16, 2012: I’m fortunate that my office has a window view onto Charles Street. I love watching the people go by, and there’s always a crowd waiting for the Charm City Circulator bus.
Good for them, I think. I ride the Circulator whenever I can.
The Circulator is so popular that when it rolls up Charles Street, I usually see one or two people running after it!
If only they knew about the Circulator App…
The World’s First Scented Email
February 11, 2012: While I’m not quite sure you can smell the blooming fragrance of Valentine’s flowers in this issue, you’ll just have to trust me. The Flowers By Gina D floral shop is simply overflowing with that apple-sweet scent of red roses.
I spent the morning there, and let me tell you, the phone would not stop ringing! “Ps I love you, Xoxoxo” Gina repeated, writing down an order for a dozen long-stem roses.
“So how many women call to place their own flower deliveries to their office?” I said, my Valentine’s heart cynical and cold. Gina just laughed. The phone rang again. Read on for more.
What’s That Sound?
February 2, 2012: Last week’s Charles Street Insider was the most-viewed newsletter in the history of our association!
It was picked up by Restaurant Week and shared on Facebook, accounting for about 3,000 Social Media impressions alone.
I want to thank you for ‘liking’ the issue and encouraging your friends to sign up for our weekly eletter.
We’re building buzz and having fun!
(And if you are a Charles Street business that hasn’t yet renewed your Historic Charles Street Association membership, don’t miss out on the momentum -contact me today.)
This week, we’ll be exploring the literary side of Mount Vernon, from the hallowed halls of the George Peabody Library to the magnificent brownstones and apartments where some of the greatest artists in our country called home.
The Restaurant Week Issue
January 24, 2012: I could talk about how Baltimore has come into its own as a foodie haven; or go on about the new restaurants on Restaurant Week’s list; or tell you how astoundingly reasonable it is to get a 3-course meal for $20 or $30.
But let’s be real. You opened this message to see the food. So let’s begin!
Yes, I *am* trying to make your mouth water. This (above), my friends, is The Prime Rib’s gorgeous, split-cut prime rib, cooked medium rare (the way Maitre’ D Brad Black suggested) and served with sides of buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The meat was perfectly cooked. I just kept on eating ’til there was nothing left.
I also got to try the Crab Imperial: Huge chunks of lump crab meat, prepared with butter, a little salt, black pepper and that’s it – when the crab’s that fresh, you don’t need anything more!.
The ‘Secret’ Cocktail Club
January 18, 2012: It wasn’t until half-past three that I thought about leaving. The party was still going; Al Jolson sang while dancing girls spilled champagne from their glasses. Not long before Tom got the idea to take the Model T for a spin. Sounding the horn (and waking the city), he zoomed past me, kicking up rocks as he went, his laughter fading into the night…
There’s a club in Baltimore… a secret club you might have never heard of before. It’s called the Forgotten Cocktail Club, and it harkens back to the city’s Prohibition days.
It was started by Brendan Dorr, the head bartender at B&O Brasserie, and Jon Blair, a bartender at Ryleigh’s and manager at Blackwater Distilling. “We did this because we want to get a cocktail culture moving in Baltimore,” Brendan says.
While Baltimore never really endorsed Prohibition, it did have quite a few speakeasy clubs (think The Owl Bar), and a sign in Fells Point encouraging people to vote against Prohibition that you can still see today.
You Got a Friend
January 12, 2012: I’d like you to take a moment and remember how your day began.
You probably got out of bed, then took a shower, and maybe downed a cup or two of coffee.
Odds are, you’re one of the four hundred million users who log onto Facebook each morning. There are currently over 800 million total Facebook users, an astounding number considering there are only 312 million United States residents!
Just how big is Facebook? They’re so big, Mercedes Benz is outfitting their spring 2012 cars with the ability to access Facebook from their Dashboards!
(Thankfully, not while driving.) Click here for more.
The Resolutions Issue
January 5, 2012: Ah, a new year. A chance at a new beginning is unfolding before us, like a field of freshly fallen snow…
While watching the end-of-year TV specials, I heard a lot about New Year’s Resolutions – why we make them, the traditions behind them, and which ones are most popular (spending more time with family is number one).
I prefer to focus on the ‘follow thru’ – not only making your New Year’s Resolutions, but also keeping those resolutions you’ve made – and there are ways you can do that right here on Charles Street!
So let’s examine a few…Click here for more.
Nepalese dishes and New Year’s wishes
December 29, 2011: Thanks for the warm welcome! My inbox was flooded with well wishes – I’m glad you liked our Charles Street Insider. Here’s a sampling of the emails we received:
Laura, thank you for all of the useful information.
Thanks Brad – even if you can’t get away from your computer during your busy workday, we’re here for you. Charles Street is the heart of Baltimore, and the more news and events I can share with you, the more things I hope you’ll do. Click here for more.
Christmas Beads, Glamorous Paintings and Jazz Quartets
December 20, 2011: Nice to meet you! Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Laura Rodini, and I’m the new executive director at The Historic Charles Street Association.
My job is to promote the many wonderful restaurants, shops and cultural institutions along Charles Street in the historic heart of Baltimore. I also manage the association’s day-to-day operations, and so far I’ve had a blast meeting everyone. (They don’t call it “Charm City” for nothing!)
Several of our readers have asked me to share more about what’s happening on Charles Street each week.
So, starting today, I’ll do just that. In every issue of the Charles Street Insider, you’ll get the latest news from your favorite Charles Street merchants, the mouth-watering entrees and desserts our eateries have on tap, and the concerts and lectures we’ve lined up just for you. I’ll also have a special Trivia feature for you history buffs – it’s all about Baltimore. And, as a special bonus, I’ll be giving you opportunities you won’t see anywhere else.
I don’t think we could pick a better time than the holidays to roll out with this new feature. But tell me what you think! Click here for more.