Friday, December 28, 2007

1/1/2008 UPDATE: Westfield Falls: The New Neighborhood Water Feature!

Update? Are you kidding? Of course there's no update! We keep calling, they keep telling us it's "in the system." We keep reporting it at 311 online, the request keeps getting posted as "closed." Hey -- where can I get one of those "I love city life" bumper stickers? Not.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will mark one full week of the newest feature of our neighborhood: The Westfield Falls, located at the intersection of Christopher and Richard Avenues. Refusing to be swayed by mere citizen complaint, the City of Baltimore has done nothing to fix the flow of water through our streets, despite daily calls by the residents.

We're thinking about selling tickets ....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Just taking a moment to wish anyone and everyone stopping by our lttle blog
have a nice day

Sunday, December 23, 2007

chameleon cafe experience

Hello all, i remember a while back we had a thread going about places to eat in the neighborhood. i don't remember if anyone had mentioned the chameleon cafe or not. i have heard a few good reports from some neighbors and have been trying to get a chance to try out a meal there. I finally got my chance thursday evening after a very long day of christmas shopping. I was very impressed to find such a classy yet quaint place in our neighborhood. quite a gourmet menu, however limited. i never thought i would ever be in a place that served escargot, being the proletarian that i am. interesting and wide-ranging wine list, as well as other libations and aperitifs. it's a cute and quiet place with an interesting yet abstruse theme as far as the framed art goes. my only complaint would be that, however delicious our food was, the portions were very small and the prices were rather high, but i guess thats the cost of quality and atmosphere. i suggest everyone try it out. it's comforting and reassuring to have a classy little place like this on our main road. it would be a shame if they closed.

also they have a website

does anybody else have anything to add?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Welcome our newest contributor ... Whitecat!

This blog is meant to be a communal effort, so I am happy to report that we have added another neighborhood contributor to our ranks: Whitecat. I look forward to some interesting posts from this one, I'll tell ya! This is a fine addition to our other contributors, scepter66 and Krazy Kat, and someday we hope even Christopher Curmudgeon will get off his grumpy high horse and send us a post.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Perhaps you're wondering how you, too, can be a famous blogger like us. It's easy! Simply drop an email to me, at and I'll send you the info. This is your chance to see your name — or pseudonym of choice — in print!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Recycling: "Single Stream" may flow better

Although last week's pickup (or lack thereof) was disappointing, I hope things are about to take a turn for the better. Although I haven't seen much in the mainstream press on this story, Baltimore City is launching a new "Single Stream Recycling" initiative on January 8, 2008. I have heard that City residents are supposed to be getting a mailing describing the program, but I haven't gotten anything in the mail, have you? I was able, however, to pull together the following facts:
  • All recyclables—paper, cardboard, glass bottles, plastic bottles and jars (with 1 – 7 on the bottom), metal, aluminum, and tin cans—will go into one container, on the same day.
  • Plastic bags will no longer be acceptable for recyclables.
  • Recycling will no longer be collected on Mondays. Your current paper recycling collection day will become your new single stream recycling collection day.
  • Single stream recycling will be collected on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays through Fridays; depending on your recycling zone.
  • You have 3 options for setting out single stream recycling: (1) purchase and use a recycling bin; (2) use a container of choice that is clearly marked as recycling material; (3) or use a cardboard box.
As for that last bullet, if you choose to use an official Recycling Bin, the City will be offering them at half price during these "kick-off" events:

December 15, 2007, 10am–2pm
Baltimore Polytechnic,
1400 W. Cold Spring Ln.
Montebello Elem.,
2040 E. 32nd St.

Patterson H.S.,
100 Kane St.

Edmondson-Westside Skill Ctr.,
501 Athol Ave.

December 16, 2007, 10am–2pm
Northwestern High School,
6900 Park Heights Ave.

But remember, you don't have to use this bin, as long as your container "is clearly marked as recycling material." So, a cardboard box and a sharpie, works just fine, too. You can find out more about the Single Stream Recycling initiative at Cleaner Greener Baltimore.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Just in case anyone else hasn't found out yet, Chokchai thai food restaurant is moving and will be closed for the remainder of the year. The new location is north on Harford road. It is in the corner building where the ice cream parlor used to be. Across the street from the Amoco station and near what used to be Kildaires Tavern, which is now something new too. A steak and seafood place now i think. It looks like the new Chokchai will be a little larger, maybe they will have a nicer dining area. I just hope this doesn't mean that the prices will go up alot.

Edelweiss Bakery closed!

This is awful news for the family that owns the bakery and for the neighborhood. Owner and baker Dietrich A. Paul died two weeks ago of Lou Gehrig's disease, and the family cannot keep the Edelweiss Bakery and Cafe going.

From today's Baltimore Sun:
A few plastic bags of sugar cookies remain on the otherwise bare shelves. A thumbed and stained recipe book rests beside cold ovens. Signs taped to the doors and windows say "Closed."

It's been 12 days since 68-year-old Hamilton baker Dietrich A. Paul died of Lou Gehrig's disease and the doors were locked on his Edelweiss Bakery and Cafe. No more German accordion music, Thursday afternoon sour beef and dumplings sessions and those legendary apple fritters, a confection one food writer called "a misshapen bear claw of bliss."

Seated on a wooden chair yesterday in the cafe was Paul's widow, the former Genevieve Miller. She had converted one of the tables into a desk and filled it with business papers.

"I can't run this place by myself," she said. "The place is for sale."

She then told a story of how they met just across the street at the Calvary Tabernacle Church at a time when both had been widowed. They married nine years ago, and soon afterward their pastor suggested that they buy and renovate a nearby building where the 6000 block of Harford Road joins Old Harford Road.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recycling woes!

What was up with the bottles & cans pickup this week? We had several bags because the last pickup date fell on Veteran's Day -- so no pickup. We called 311, and left the bags out today. I hope they came!

The city clearly needs more resources for this. When I was driving home on Moravia Road last night at 5:30, I had to wait for a backup to clear: a trash truck on one side of the road, and a city-owned pickup truck on the other, all gathering recycling from the curb.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Hello, i would like to take this opportunity as my first posting after being accepted as a member or whatever, to wish everyone and anyone visiting, a very happy and blessed thanksgiving. i went outside this morning and could not believe the weather.
the leaves, the breeze, the birds, everything. this neighborhood can be so beautiful. i took the liberty of adding to the previous posting by sue. i really enjoyed her story and would love to hear some others. so if you have a moment see sue's thanksgiving story and add you own.
love, and peace,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What's your favorite Thanksgiving memory or story?

As a Charm City transplant, I'm particularly interested in anyone who has a true Baltimore Thanksgiving story to tell. Maybe a tradition that you and your family followed when you were growing up.

Here's one of my favorite memories: When I was student teaching at Dundalk Middle School, I was excited that the school cafeteria served a Thanksgiving lunch the day before Thanksgiving. After all, I was a graduate student and not being paid for my student teaching, so the idea of a "real meal" (that is, anything other than peanut butter and jelly again) was a joyous occasion, indeed!

I stood in the cafeteria line behind a couple of my students, my mouth watering at the smell of turkey and stuffing. So imagine my surprise when I took my plate from Cafeteria Lady and it included a big heapin' pile of ... sauerkraut! I thought it must have been leftover or a mistake, or something. But when I got to the teacher's lunch room, I was educated on the joys of sauerkraut at Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Open Thread

Okay, Westfield: this is your chance to vent. Any topic is fair game ...... go!

WNIA Holiday Party

Make plans to attend the annual WNIA Holiday Party at the Holiday House.

  • Pot Luck (bring a dish to share)
  • Bring a gift (unwrapped & new) for Toys for Tots.
  • Bring a non-perishable item for the NORTHEAST FOOD PANTRY
Items especially needed are: cereal, rice, pasta, powdered milk, peanut butter, paper towels, canned meats, canned tuna and salmon, canned vegetables and soups, canned fruit and juices, jelly, and toilet tissue. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.

DECEMBER 4th - 7:30pm
6427 Harford Road
(Pinewood Road entrance)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Recycling: Life in Baltimore is about to get a little easier

Soon you won't have to check the calendar every Sunday night, only to find out that there's no bottle/can pickup this week — and then forget to check back on Thursday to see if it's paper week.

From today's Baltimore Sun:

Starting Jan. 8 in city, everything goes to the curb on same day

Starting in January, the city will begin collecting all recyclable material - bottles, cans, paper and cardboard - in a single container, eliminating the complicated schedule in which residents place bottles and cans at the curb on one day, and paper and cardboard on another.

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

For your to-do list

You may not know that we have a nice little gem of arts & entertainment right down Harford Road. The Hamilton Arts Collective (HAC), at the corner of Harford and Hamilton Avenue, is bustling with activity most nights of the week. Who knew?! Well, now you do!

A sampling of their offerings includes:
We're in no way associated with the HAC, but I think it's pretty cool to support this in our own backyard. Most of the events are either free or minimal cover charge. So next time you're looking for something to do , but don't want to deal with the hassles of Fells Point, Canton, or Hampden, check out the calendar at the HAC. You might be surprised!

Calling all lurkers!

Hello. We know you're out there. You check this site occasionally to see what's new. This time, please take the time to stop and say “Hi” in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cue the sound of crickets chirping ....

I know, I know. It's been pretty slow here at Harford Road Hon. We're still up and operating, but there's been a lot going on to keep us away from the blog. Pooky here was a little under the weather for a while and not doing much blogging. Other contributers have also had health issues, house issues, and you name it.

Then there's Fantasy Football to keep up with, and well, let's just say that picking Tom Brady was really a stroke of genius on my part, if I do say so. Watch out Westfieldia!

Now the weather has turned and it's time for the switch of the clothes for those of us with no closet space. Um, would that be all of Hamilton? What did we do before those big plastic storage boxes? And how did that old down comforter get so smelly closed up in storage? Time to go shopping ....

Halloween is tomorrow, and there have been costumes to assemble and parties to attend. Delicious food and drink, albeit disgustingly named. (I believe the wine was "Troll Vomit"?)

City elections are coming up soon, and there's a rumor that the WNIA may also have an election at the next meeting, November 6.

And how have you been spending these glorious fall days?

image from

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sit down a spell. That can wait.

I'd like to invite anyone who's interested to join me in forming the Professional Porch Sitters Union Local 1924.

From their own description:

Professional Porch Sitters (PPS) is an informal organization with a large and growing grassroots membership. To become a member you simply need to say you are a member and agree to sit around with friends and neighbors shooting the breeze as often as possible or practical. Preferably on a porch but that's not critical. There are no dues, no membership requirements, no mailings, no agenda, no committees, no worries. PPS believes that the radical act of sitting around sharing stories with no specific agenda is critical to building sustainable communities.

Television and air-conditioning have moved far too many people off their porches and into their homes where they quickly become isolated from their communities. We believe that sometimes the most effective course of action is to sit down and relax while sipping lemonade and sharing stories.

PPS only has one rule but it's more like a suggestion. “Sit down a spell. That can wait.”

Starting your own chapter of PPS is simple. You simply declare yourself a local chapter, pick a number to represent your Local Chapter identity and then sit back with friends and neighbors to celebrate with an interesting story or two. Meetings can be called at any time by any member and attendance is optional. You are invited to communicate with PPS Headquarters but that is voluntary since no records are kept. PPS was founded on a porch in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999 but many additional chapters have been founded since then. Perhaps your chapter will be next.

We would love to hear from you if you start up a chapter, but don't sweat it if you don't.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Primary results: Same 'ol, same 'ol

I know a lot of people are simply disillusioned by the current state of politics in Baltimore, but come on people! A 28% voter turnout?! This is not only shameful, but also counterproductive. In the end we have the status quo: Dixon, Rawlings, and Curran.

When I went to our polling place (the Firehouse) at 6 p.m. there was only one other person voting. I asked how the turnout had been: about 215 people all day. This when I hear from fellow citizens how awful they think Dixon is, or how we need an activist like Sarbanes to stand up to her and the O'Malley machine. How did you think anything would change if you didn't bother to go vote?

But rather than become disillusioned by these results, I'm looking at the opportunity to give Curran a run for his money and throw my full support behind the Green Party candidate, Bill Barry. His chances for actually beating Curran in the election? yeah, pretty much nil. But my goal is to give Bobby the message that there are plenty of us out here who are unhappy with him, and that he needs to start serving the entire community. Let's send him the message that we in Westfield need him to respond to our concerns and help us revitalize our neighborhood.

If you're concerned about gangs, prostitutes, empty storefronts, and traffic, please join me in my effort to make Councilman Curran give Westfield a little more attention.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Would anyone from this neighborhood be interested in participating in the Women in Black - Baltimore project sponsoring the sixth annual Peace Path 911 on Tuesday. Everyone who would like to join in and create this Peace Path from the Inner Harbor through Baltimore to the Beltway would be welcome. Since I go home in this direction, I figure an area right there at Kenilworth and Charles. This was originally created to mourn the losses of Sept. 11, to respond to increased U.S. military presence in the Middle East and to confront city violence, WIBB also aims to create a visible path to support its goal -- a world without violence and bloodshed.

The path begins @ 4 p.m. to 6 pm Tuesday, September 11th. For information call 410.467.9114 or e-mail

Come on out, I'll be standing at 83 and Charles Street (near Kenilworth) PEACE & LOVE

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gang activity: What can we do to stop it in our neighborhood?

There's been a lot of discussion in our neighborhood lately about an increase in gang graffiti. I'm not sure if I would know the difference between generic graffiti and gang grafitti if I saw it. Can anyone tell me what gang graffitti has been spotted?

I found some general information about gangs that might be useful at this University of Maryland site. The sites says:
Report non-emergency information about gangs to the Baltimore City Intelligence Watch Center at 1-888-223-0033.
This would be absolutely horrible if gangs see our neighborhood as an easy place to claim as their territory. But if we don't react to their initial sitings (or markings) I'm sure that's just what they'll do.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Don't forget ...

There's a neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday September 4th at 7:30 pm.

If you want change, you have to be a part of it ....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wandering the Wilds of Westfield

I was so pleased to see a fox in my backyard early this morning. I used to see one, and in fact I think there was a fox family, before the developer got his crazy idea last year of tearing up the vacant lot on Eunice Avenue. I'm sure when his crew was marking the lot and tramping around they scared off the foxes.

Foxes are skittish, and are afraid of humans, and this one ran as soon as I opened my back door. Although my dog was incensed at the intruder (ran around the yard with his nose to the ground), I am happy to have a fox around. They keep down the rat population, for one thing. Also, it means we have enough foliage to support wildlife. I have also seen a hawk many times, and a blue heron sometimes cruises overhead. (He's probably eyeing the fish and frogs in my pond!)

So if you see the fox, just pause for a moment and observe the beauty and grace of one of God's creatures. And be happy that we live in a neighborhood that is not just concrete and asphalt, but also a little bit of nature.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


As hot and humid as it is today, there is something about an early evening thunderstorm in August that draws me outside. There is something about the light in August, something special about the constant chirping sounds of the crickets and the meandering sound of the fading summer locusts. It is such a blanket of peace - an orgy of sound in nature stereo. All of this from our small, screened in back porch looking out on the gracefulness of our grown up trees. This truly is a beautiful evening in the Village of Westfield off The Harford Road, Hon. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Street renovations north and south: Why not Westfield?

Although it's been a headache during construction, the new Harford Road sidewalks and median strips from Argonne to Echodale will be quite a facelift for that area. And if you've traveled north on Harford Road, you know that Parkville is also getting the same treatment. There's a story about that plan in the North East Reporter, which states this will be a 2 year project.

All this makes me wonder why we got the short end of the stick here. Did we miss an opportunity somewhere to get a facelift? Was this something WNIA should have been more involved in? The number one neighborhood concern in our blog poll was empty storefronts, and until we upgrade our neighborhood, we're going to have a tough time appealing to new businesses.

Please comment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

If it's dinnertime in Westfield, where can I go?

When it's been a long day and you don't feel like making dinner, where do you like to go? I've become a big fan of Koco's cheeseburgers, and on payday we'll sometimes splurge for the crabcake (which is as big as a softball!).

But we have a lot taverns tucked away along Harford Road, and I wonder if I could get a good cheeseburger even closer to home? After a long commute home, it would be great to walk somewhere for dinner.

We have pizza joints, Thai and Mexican food, and barbecue. What's your favorite? Please leave a comment to share with your neighbors!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Campaign 2008: The 3rd District

The Baltimore City Paper recently ran an interesting piece on the upcoming City Council elections, specifically focusing on the 3rd District and Councilman Curran:

Curran isn't just a three-term councilman who now serves as council vice president. He won the seat vacated by his brother, Martin E. “Mike” Curran, who was appointed after their father, J. Joseph Curran Sr., died in 1977. Curran men have been serving the 3rd District — the northeasternmost district in the city, bordered by York Road, Harford Road, and Sinclair Lane — since 1958.
Yikes! If you're like me, a relative newcomer to Hamilton, the Curran dynasty in our district might be news to you, too. There are actually other candidates running for this seat. And I think even if Curran is heavily favored to be reelected, it's important that he not take our votes for granted.

So take a serious look at the other candidate for the Democratic primary, Michael Hamilton, “a former banker and independent businessman who now teaches special education on a contract with the Baltimore City Public School System. For six years, he served as the president of the Baltimore City Council of Parent-Teacher Associations.”

And also look at Green Party candidate (and Lauraville resident) Bill Barry, who will be running against the winner of the Sept. 11 Democratic primary winner.

I have not heard of any Republican candidates. If you know of one, let us know so we can give them equal press here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Update: Gallery financing falls through

We've just received word that the gentleman who was going to purchase "Hell Bent for Leather" and put in an art galley and tattoo parlor has not been able to secure financing. That's unfortunate, because it seemed like he had the support of most the community. I know I was hoping that might be a good draw for other creative businesses to take a look at Hamilton.

What do you think?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Great resource for home renovations

A lot of folks in our neighborhood are renovating their homes, knowing that where we live is a real estate bargain. I mean, where else in this area can you find a single family home with a nice sized yard — that you can afford?

But it can get expensive, so you should know about a fantastic local resource for building materials of all kinds. The Loading Dock is a Baltimore nonprofit whose mission is to: increase the supply and use of affordable building materials for housing and community improvement by redirecting landfill-bound, reusable materials into productive use.

For an annual fee of only $10 you'll have access to their warehouse. A sample of what they have in their warehouse includes:

Banisters, Bathtubs, Bi-fold doors, Carpet, Caulk, Ceramic Tile, Cinder blocks, Counter tops, Doors, Door sweeps, Electric lights, Floor covering, Gas stoves, Hardware, Insulation, Kitchen cabinets, Lumber, Marble, Paint, Plumbing fixtures, Roof shingles, Shelving, Sinks, Stairs, Toilets, Vinyl flooring, Wallpaper, Windows.

Have your measurements, bring a measuring tape, and a way to haul away your materials. You'll be amazed at what's available at a fraction of the cost of the big box home improvement stores.

2 North Kresson Street
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 588-3625

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What the cable companies don't want you to know

It's a little-known fact, but FCC rules require cable companies everywhere to offer a “limited basic” package that includes all the local channels, government access, and educational channels. Here in Baltimore, that includes about 20 channels. It costs only $9.65 per month!

You won't see it advertised anywhere, but I just called Comcast at (410) 649-9000 and asked for the “Limited Basic” package. Of course, they tried to offer me more packages, more channels, but I just said nope, just want it for the reception. And they signed me right up.

So, if you're like me (don't really watch much television, but do like having the ability to when I want to), call Comcast and request “Limited Basic” service.

It's Comcastic ...

Art Gallery coming to our neighborhood?

The discussion at last night's neighborhood association meeting was all about a potential art gallery and tattoo parlor coming to the space at 6425 Harford Road. That address been occupied for many years by Hell Bent for Leather. The owners are selling this property, and have a potential buyer with the gallery/tattoo parlor idea.

Personally, I think it's a great idea. It could bring a funky artistic element to our neighborhood, that is, let's face it, not here now. And if this gallery succeeds, it could entice other artists to move in. Struggling artists are finding it hard to afford the now trendy Hampden and Patterson Park. Could Hamilton be the new Hampden?!

What do you think?

Thursday, June 21, 2007