Want to Live in the City? “Live Baltimore” Neighborhood Tours Show the Way


This month, Live Baltimore will host a series of free pop-up events to introduce potential homebuyers to untapped areas of the city while preparing them for the home-buying process. The casual gatherings lead up to Buying into Baltimore West on Saturday, May 12, an event to give homebuyers a chance to connect with neighborhood residents and see each neighborhood from a local’s point-of-view.

Pro Skater Tony Hawk Gives $25k to Hampden Skatepark


Courtesy of Citybizlist – The Tony Hawk Foundation donated $25,000 for the potential creation of a skatepark in Hampden.

Stephanie Murdock, president of Skatepark Baltimore, said Wednesday morning the group intends to build a 16,000 square feet concrete skatepark behind the Roosevelt Recreation Center. Skatepark Baltimore has already raised $25,000 and needs to raise an additional $25,000 to leverage $75,000 in matching funds from Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.

Read more at Citybizlist.


Baltimore Food Truck Rally: Start Fasting Now


Baltimore Food Truck rally this Friday!Baltimore’s food trucks will sell you peaches and cream cupcakes, lobster mac and cheese, crab cake tacos and/or South Carolina barbecue; the problem is, you usually have to drive all over town to find them. This Friday, however, you’re in luck — six of Baltimore’s most beloved food trucks will be rallying in Hampden, allowing you an easy stroll from Kooper’s Chowhound Burger Wagon to Souper Freak to Iced Gems Creation. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.

Last year’s food truck rallies were a resounding success, and this year they’re continuing the tradition of rallying for a good cause. The trucks will circle up at the Maryland SPCA‘s Hampden location from 5 – 8 p.m., and volunteers will show off some of the shelter’s adoptable pets. Some proceeds from the event will go to the SPCA as well.

We recommend getting there early, and on an empty stomach.

Giant to Shut Down Rotunda Store


Giant Food of Landover, Md. has entered into an agreement to acquire two Fresh & Green’s supermarkets in the Baltimore market.

The following locations are part of this acquisition:

• Fresh & Green’s of Hampden, 1020 West 41st Street, Baltimore, Md. 21211
• Fresh & Green’s of Parkville, 7709 Harford Road, Parkville, Md. 21234

After the sale is complete, which is subject to customary conditions, both stores will temporarily close while the locations are renovated and converted to Giant Food stores. 

The location at West 41st Street will replace the Rotunda Giant, located in the Rotunda shopping center at 711 West 40th Street, once the conversion is complete. 
Additional details about the store conversion process will be announced once the sale is finalized.

Approximately 125 associates are currently employed in the two Fresh & Green’s locations. All associates will be offered employment opportunities with Giant Food. Additionally, all current Rotunda Giant associates will continue employment with Giant.

Read more at Citybizlist

Living in A White Part of Town


Originally posted on xojane.com

For four months earlier this year I lived in Hampden, a Baltimore neighborhood known for its overwhelming whiteness… and its locally owned restaurants, chic boutiques, quirky wine shops. What’s a little history of KKK presence (in the 70s) and heavy meth use when there’s a cupcake shop around the corner? Cupcakes equal not racist. So Hampden’s website had me hooked despite other online red alerts, warning me against moving to a place where only 3.5 percent of the population is black. 

“I can’t speak on the racism firsthand but Hampden is known as the white neighborhood and its isolation has helped keep it this way,” warned a Yelper.

Thing is, Hampden wasn’t just “the white neighborhood,” it was the neighborhood people who look like me avoided. As recently as 1987, Hampden made headlines when a black family moved after its windows were smashed in, but I was determined to move in. I’m a sucker for sun-drenched bedrooms, exposed brick, duck confit tacos and a $500 month-to-month lease.

So I wasn’t going to let Hampden’s dark past keep me from the hipster side of Baltimore, and after a week of diligent Craigslist searching, I moved into a rowhouse with a hipster librarian, and thus, became one of very few black people to live in Hampden.

Actually that’s not fair. It’s not like I was the only black person in sight. Every day, a crowd of black middle schoolers wearing neon-colored hoodies, oversized spectacles and crazy-tight jeans gathered in front of the 7-Eleven to wait for the bus, as did weary black seniors. There was also a Malian man who owned the Halal restaurant down the street, but I think he lived nearby in Druid Hill Park, which is predominantly black. 

Still for the entire four months I lived in Baltimore, I never saw another black adult who actually lived in Hampden.

“You know you live in the white neighborhood, right?” my friend asked one day when she picked me up for a ‘buppie’ happy hour in downtown Baltimore.

“I know,” I sighed, all too familiar with the question slash declaration. “I like it, it works for now.”

Hampden’s overwhelming whiteness didn’t scare me, because I’m used to living in places where most of my neighbors don’t look like me. I grew up in the notorious Dove Springs, which is more than 85 percent Latino. When I whipped out the Spanish, “mis vecinos” asked in delighted awe if I was Panamanian. In college, I was one of three black residents in my dorm. Ironically, years later, I got the most hassle on the street living in Cuba and Ghana, where I could disappear into the crowd with ease. 

I wasn’t convinced that passing up on the benefits of a place where you’d rather live was worth living in a place where you completely blend in. After a while, I got tired of people telling me which neighborhood I was supposed to feel more comfortable in. And in the end I felt plenty comfortable walking the streets of Hampden past the tough-looking, loud-talking tattooed white guys or the old white men in front of the post office. My windows never got smashed in and no one tried to chase me out of the neighborhood with a flaming cross. But even these facts, according to some, were based on what I looked like. 

“People don’t mess with you because you’re pretty,” argued one of my roommate’s friends as we sat around debating whether Hampden was a racist neighborhood. “When I walk home at night in this neighborhood, I am completely freaked out,” she continued.

This woman, who was black with a white boyfriend, recounted tales of awful things men yelled at her when she walked around at night after hanging out on Hampden’s main strip, The Avenue. And for the record I think she’s gorgeous, but according to her my looks were what saved me from a regular gauntlet of racial insults. It sounds utterly ridiculous, shallow, superficial and just plain silly — but I did see her point. 

On afternoon walks to the post office, old white men always smiled, often complimenting me on my looks in that half-creepy, half-harmless way so many old men do. Older white women at the bus stop randomly started conversations with me, always mentioning that I was pretty.

“You’re really pretty!” blurted an eight-year-old Hampdenite as I walked by her and her sisters on my way to lunch. They all had wild curly brown hair and freckled olive skin.  As far as I could tell they were regular Hampden white girls with regular white Hampden parents who had likely grown up right there in the neighborhood.

“Thank you!” I replied, smiling outwardly and inwardly as I headed to pick up my usual $7.99 Chicken Jalfrezi plate from the Halal restaurant down the street. Clearly Hampden was changing. Maybe I was the one changing it. Three little white girls saw me, a deep brown-skinned woman with natural hair, and saw that I was beautiful. That was something.

And the little white girls on my block had a new compliment waiting every time we came across one another. “Your hair is pretty! We like your jacket!”  They were genuinely delighted whenever I said “Hi,” barraging me with curious questions like, “How old are you?” and “What’s that for?” pointing to the iron key I wore on a chain as a necklace. “This is the key to my castle in California,” I told them. They loved it. Just curious little girls.

But somehow is it my so-called prettiness that was neutralizing all the racial tension? Providing me with a kind of beauty buffer against the racially exclusive environment of my neighborhood? I don’t want to believe that — it’s such a shallow Band Aid on such an ugly wound. 

I’ve got other hypotheses. Perhaps in a traditional working class neighborhood like Hampden where historic Mom & Pop shops are being replaced with high-priced boutiques, racial difference is less of a threat than class difference. Perhaps my narrow nose, long hair, and undeniably black skin put them at ease.  

Maybe it’s simply because I never acted like an outsider, so the locals just decided I belonged. Perhaps I blinded myself to the occasional hateful glare because acknowledging it would mean that I did, in fact, live in a neighborhood where some of my neighbors’ skin crawled at the sight of mine. Maybe it was a little bit of all of this. Or maybe it was just time for people to ignore imaginary “tracks” and live on whichever side they chose. 

After just four months, I left Hampden for my hometown of Austin, where I am now once again one of the 8.1 percent. I love Austin, but I miss Hampden. I don’t know if I paved the way for more new neighbors of color or if I was just the unlikely exception.

What I do know is that I’ll miss all those curious little white girls who looked past whatever barriers were supposed to be between us and called me pretty. The little girls who think there’s a castle in California with my name on it.


Kaneisha Grayson is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. She writes about happiness and gives dating advice at http://crazygirlnation.com, and she runs an admissions coaching business for non-traditional business students at http://theartofapplying.com/. She is a graduate of Pomona College and Harvard Business School.

What $350,000 Buys in Baltimore


So what does $350,000 buy you in Baltimore? Well, it depends where you’re looking. We chose seven of our favorite neighborhoods and a $350,000 ballpark – a respectable, but not luxurious amount to play with.  If a house is listed higher than $350,000, it means we think you could make an offer. The ‘Zestimate,’ as most of you will know, is the Zillow real estate website’s take on what a house is really worth.  This is what we found:

Mt. Washington  – median listing price: $295,000

Ahhh ….the charm of village life –cafes, bars, cute shops, Whole Foods, (a pottery studio!) — together with rolling hills and generous wooded lots. Mt. Washington has a lot of diversity for a high-end suburban-feeling neighborhood. Maybe it’s the super public school or maybe it’s the easy access to the light rail stop, but that diversity is a big selling point when it comes to raising a family. It takes a village… 

5911 Bonnie View Drive, 21209

Price: $350,000

Zestimate: $404,000

3,090 sq. ft.

.62 acre lot

Built: 1967


Architectually intriguing with a ‘60’s vibe, a classic modernist house in the woods. 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, with custom cabinetry, built-ins, and shelving throughout. Wood burning fireplace, hardwood floors. Walls of glass overlook a  private wooded (re:low maintenance) lot.  Pretty cool. Near Mt. Washington Village.


Hampden – median listing price $169,600

Trendy Hampden, with its blue collar attitude and relatively inexpensive real estate, is a mecca for artists and hipsters. The kitschy storefronts on it’s bustling Avenue (36th Street) reflect this, but look a little closer and you’ll find some seriously good food, wine and fun shopping. This is Baltimore’s fastest-growing retail district. Your public elementary school here is five star Medfield, and it’s just minutes to Wyman and Druid Hill parks.

3669 Ash Street, 21211

Price: $205,000 (with $$$ to spare – this place could be a little dream home)

Zestimate: $179,000

1,853 sq. ft.

.07 acre lot

Built in 1880


Lovely stone mill house with charm to spare, situated on a quiet hillside street. House has been completely renovated within the past 10 years and is technically in move-in condition, but has potential for much more. 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths. Large kitchen and master suite with attached full bath. Wood floors and tons of closet space, unusual for an older home.  Downstairs mudroom. Walk over to the Avenue, or up to the light rail and Woodberry Kitchen.


Federal Hill — median listing price $325,600

‘Historically hip’ and ‘eternally stylish’ according to Baltimore Magazine’s Neighborhood Guide, Federal Hill has more history than you can shake a stick at, from the Hill to the Cross Street Market. Cobblestone streets and period homes are a visual treat, and so are views across the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill Park. There is a real neighborhood feeling here, with book clubs, dog walking groups and life-long residents. But there’s new energy and spark in the eclectic art and ongoing events at the American Visionary Art Museum and the culinary delights of Light Street. Federal Hill in 2011 is pure urban joy. 

208 East Cross Street

Price: $399,000

Zestimate: $278,500

1,285 sq. ft.

small courtyard garden 

Built: 1920


A Federal style attached row house, with a bright and sunny aspect, in historic Federal Hill. Three bedrooms and two baths over four stories, and a three level atrium. It’s the flood of light and generous room size that distinguishes this house, with landscaped courtyard, full basement with great storage and nice, updated features. Walk to downtown Baltimore, Orioles Park, light rail and MARC train to DC.


Patterson Park – median listing price $109,900

A little more gritty than Federal Hill, and way more ethnically diverse, Patterson Park is tucked between Canton and Johns Hopkins Hospital, a former landing-point for generations of Eastern European immigrants. But real-estate here is well priced, and the wide-open space of Patterson Park (155 acres in the heart of the city, with ice rink and swimming pool) is all yours. Patterson Park was recently included in Southern Living’s list of 10 Best Comeback Neighborhoods, and is home to several popular restaurants, including Salt.

8 Milton Avenue North, 21224

Price: $369,000

Zestimate: none available 

1,960 sq. ft.

no lot: but Patterson Park is your front yard …

Built: 1920



Right on the park, this 3 bedroom townhouse has 3 full baths and a deluxe master bedroom suite with balcony and views. A total recent rehab has left it still with plenty of charm, plus custom finishes, modern appliances, hardwood floors, granite countertops and finished family room. Maybe not a ‘forever’ house, but great for a young Hopkins doc.

Private parking, too.


Harbor East – median listing price $418,000

Harbor East is not a neighborhood in the traditional sense, but it is home to some of the best Baltimore has to offer. Centered around several luxurious waterfront condominiums, it’s all here — sushi and shoes, Charleston and Whole Foods, Landmark Cinema, South Moon Under and an ever-changing landscape of pop-up shops. For the young, or not-so-young Baltimore urban professional, this is as close as it gets to Manhattan.

250 President Street #602, 21202

Price: $375,000

Zestimate: $315,000

1858 sq. ft.

Built: 1988



Inner Harbor high-rise living, complete with the amenities of fitness center, indoor pool, parking and a 24 hour front desk. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath, open-plan condo has wood floors, a fireplace, granite countertops and modern kitchen, as well as storage room and a stunning balcony. 250 President Street is in the heart of the Harbor, Little Italy, Fells Point and all the excitement of the city.


Rodgers Forge – median listing price $210,000

Exactly 9.5 miles from the towers of the Inner Harbor, leafy Rodgers Forge might be the next stop for that now married-with-kids urban professional. On offer are great public schools, a communal children’s playground known as the Tot Lot, and the quiet, intergenerational aspect of a long-established neighborhood. There’s no fine dining in these parts, but the comforts of Bill Bateman’s, Chipotle and Panera await on nearby York Road. Real estate values here tend to climb slowly and steadily, and the houses’ solid curb appeal will convince your parents you’ve finally grown up.

416 Hopkins Road, 21212

Price: $349,000

Zestimate: $315,000

2,310 sq. ft.

.05 acre lot

Built: 1935


A well maintained Tudor-style townhouse with an impressive stone exterior, a nice brick patio in the back and a detached garage. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths, as well as a finished third floor. Your dad will say ‘they don’t build ‘em like this anymore’ noting the solid paneled doors, nice hardware and gleaming hardwood floors.. The windows have been recently replaced. Ditto the roof, and the kitchen has been nicely renovated – so you should be good for the next 50 years or so. 


Bolton Hill – median listing price $298,700

Less historic, but more swank than the downtown city neighborhoods, Bolton Hill is rich in aesthetics — church steeples, marble staircases, huge trees – and stylish art students from nearby MICA. It’s a small collection of architectural gems, urban mansions and townhouses – very congenial, if a little short on street life. The expanding presence of MICA seems to be changing that, and there are a good handful of coffee and sandwich shops, but for now you still need a car to get your groceries. Five hundred dollars buys a resident membership in the Bolton Swim and Tennis Club, a huge draw for families with kids. 

1615 Park Avenue #2,  21217

Price: $369,000

Zestimate: $288,000

2,188 sq. ft.

Built in 1903



Huge! The condo takes up the entire second floor of one of Baltimore’s finest old turn-of-the-century mansions (think Mary Tyler Moore). This is living on a grand and elegant scale, with high ceilings and oversized windows that look out onto Park Avenue gardens and fountain. Hardwood floors, two wood-burning fireplaces (never mind how you get the wood up there) and deep ceiling moldings are some of the historic details. There’s a chef’s kitchen with a big granite island for nights when you can’t face the two minute walk to b bistro as well as 2 good size bedrooms and 2 full baths –all new and in top condition.