Portable Toilet Truck at Madison & Washington Place

I rode my bike back to the Baltimore Book Fair today, this time to meet G. and B. for a quick stroll and then pizza. I was going to blog about some of the great things I saw–maybe the wonderful paintings on East Monument or the jaw-dropping fancy of the Peabody Library, but what really got me today were these mobile toilet trucks set up at the spoke ends of the street festival. Continue reading

Easter Island Statue on Calvert & 22nd or So

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The weather today was perfect for bicycling, so I dragged myself out of my Saturday lazy bed and took the Surly down the hill for a quick run through the gym and then back up the hill to home for lunch before heading back out and down the hill again to the Baltimore Book Fair. I love books and I love fairs, and though I miss the baby animal barn, this event’s kind of made for me. Traffic was terrible in Mt. Vernon, so I got off the bike and walked a few blocks before locking up to a street sign. The lack of bike parking in Mt. Vernon, a biking and walking neighborhood, is pretty amazing. But anyway. I got myself a soft serve cone to put a little “fair” in the occasion before settling to hear Dean Spade and Laura Whitehorn speed through some big, tough questions to the delight of (most of) the crowd. After some wanderings and some snack with some very old friends-like, we used to watch General Hospital together friends-it was time to get back on the bike and head home. I snapped this picture on my way, of one of those Easter Island heads sharing an empty lot with an old bed frame that I think is art too. There used to be a sign advertising new condos here, but that’s gone; maybe the condos are on their way. Today’s ride was mostly about transportationn, but the great thing about being on a bike is that you can stop, get off, and check out this art. Now, who knows where it came from?

Fireworks at Camden Yards After the O’s Beat the Red Sox

I woke up early, worked all day, and then it was time to ride the bike down the hill to Camden Yards, because the O’s are in a pennant race, and it just doesn’t get better than that. Our side gave up a run in the first, but responded with 6, so we just sat back and let it spin itself out, wishing somebody would just finally beat the Yankees. There was the hot dog race, the crab shuffle, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and it was all soothingly predictable, but also a late-season game that mattered. The game was a win and we walked down closer to the field for fireworks spitting out near the bleachers. And then it was get back to the bike and zip past all the people walking the miles back to their cars, a left up the hill to home. Bike, baseball, bike–works for me.

Keep Baltimore Beautiful at Amity & Fayette

Today’s ride took me to Mt. Vernon to meet E. for coffee and a review of last weekend’s bike tour. I’m new to public history, and he’s new to biking everywhere all the time; we talked for an hour, probably could have talked for an hour more, but then it was time for him to get back to work and me to get back on the bike. I followed my memory and then some misleading signs to the Poe House on Amity. Continue reading

Brompty Tucked Away on the MARC Train Between West Baltimore & Penn Station

My car is in the shop–yes, I own a car–getting itself fixed from the break-in it suffered in June. After months of driving around with tape for a back window and opening the driver’s side door through the passenger side, on Monday the door wouldn’t open at all, and it was finally time to face the price tag and get the thing fixed. All of that meant no car for the commute to work, so I got to give the multi-modal commute a try. Continue reading

Facade Under Construction at Broadway & Pratt

You know how sometimes you’re reading the perfect book at the perfect time? That’s happening to me right now, if in 30 minute chunks between my other work. After finishing up some teaching tasks this morning, I settled into the next chapter and read about criticisms of the historic preservation movement that elevated the look of things over the sense of place and community, that froze neighborhoods in a golden age, forgetting the people who actually lived there. Continue reading

Battle Monument at Calvert & Fayette

Today was bike tour day, so I woke up early, kinda nervous, and reviewed my notes for our six-stop tour of historic War of 1812 sites in the city before bringing Brompty downstairs for a good ride over to our starting point at Riverside Park, one of the oldest parks in Baltimore. A small group gathered, and we made our way over to Sharp-Leadenhall, where I talked about the history of African Americans in the early Republic, and especially in this neighborhood, the oldest African American neighborhood in the city. Continue reading