Monthly Archives: January 2010

Yes we Canton: Part 3

What differentiates Canton from the rest of the downtown core is a lack of directional signs on its main street. The ones that listed how far you are from various attractions (“Korean Memorial – 3 blocks; O’Donnell Square – 2 blocks”), and if they were there, I completely missed them (like the ones for the Streetcar Museum in Station North).

 

Anyway, it was after 1pm by the time I finally reached O’Donnell Square , and I stopped at the first non-pub that I could find – a Quiznos on the southwest corner of the square. I sat in the store for about 20 minutes eating my lunch and savoring every second of not being on my feet.

 

I wish I could tell you more about O’Donnell Square , but, honestly after spending nearly 2 hours trying to get there; I too exhausted to make any more than a rudimentary walkthrough. Not only that, but I spent the entirety of said walkthrough worrying about how I was going to get back to Bolton Hill without my feet revolting against me.

 

It was also why I didn’t take the time to go the extra 2 blocks south to see the Korean War Memorial near the disastrously incomplete Canton Crossings development now stands. I could see all of those areas later anyway as I’d be returning to the area in the coming weeks on business (i.e. researching a future article).

 

I made my way back up towards Aliceanna St silently cursing the “NO SURFACE RED LINE ON BOSTON STREET” sign as I passed. I briefly considered stopping at the Starbucks at The Can Company, but I had more important things to think about – like how I was getting across Boston St in one piece.

 

Once back on Aliceanna St, the walk became much easier and as the street became more and more cobbled I knew I was heading in the right direction. I took a brief rest in the same park I had originally contemplated lunch in only 90 minutes beforehand, and as I sat on the bench overlooking the water I could see the blue canopied (non-free) water taxi pulling into the dock and cursing my own impatience.

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Yes we Canton: Part 2

It was just 12:15pm, and I was standing in the middle of the park on Broadway St trying to come up with a new game plan for the day. I decided I’d try to find something to eat in Fells Point, but, sadly, I wasn’t in the mood for pizza or bar food so I was basically out of luck.

 

It’s about 12 blocks from Broadway Market in Fells Point to The Can Company on Boston St. Unfortunately, I forgot that I was starting from the docks on Thames St and that both eastern forks dead-end at the water.  The second time I retraced my steps I took the northern road up Wolfe St until it intersected with Aliceanna St which I could follow all the way to Canton.

 

Boston isn’t the easiest street to cross. Yes, it has traffic lights, but the one at Aliceanna and Boston Sts never actually turns red. I may have had the pedestrian light, but drivers on Aliceanna had a green arrow – guess who wins that fight.

 

Having somehow managed to make it to The Can Company alive, but, like the dock at Fells Point, the place was almost deserted. The only restaurants that appeared to be open were Starbucks and Subway so I decided to take follow the road at the complex to O’Donnell Square . Surely they had some place quick to eat.

 

However, Essex St dead-ends just after it passes Safeway. If I turned left, I was back on Boston St; if I made a slight right (which I mistakenly thought was south) I would end up in O’Donnell Square , right?

 

…And, that’s how I ended up going six blocks in the wrong direction. But I did manage to find my way there… eventually (and by complete accident).

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Yes we Canton: Part 1

The city’s visitor’s bureau likes to say that Baltimore is a “city of neighborhoods” and encourages visitors to explore what the city has to offer. This is one of those explorations, and like most such adventures things didn’t quite go as planned.

 

I left the apartment around 11am, and proceeded towards the light rail on Howard St . I took said train southbound to Convention Center stop where I hoped to catch the newly launched Charm City Circulator.

 

So I got off the train and waited on the corner as several circulators passed right by me without stopping even though I KNOW they have a stop at the Convention Center. I make my way towards Harbor Place , and midway there come across an orange\green sign with the circulator logo on it.

 

The Charm City Circulator is a free, city sponsored bus\water taxi service designed to connect the various transit options together while providing better access to hotels\tourist attractions in the downtown area. The bus I got on was clean, comfortable and not overly crowded (especially for a Saturday).

 

My destination was the Harbor Connector in Fells Point, but their only operating bus line only went as far as Harbor East. Fortunately, it’s not that bad of a walk (it’s just not as convenient).

 

I arrived at Broadway and Thames Streets to find that the docks were completely deserted. No boats, no ticket agents and no tourists – just the usual cadre of panhandlers. I walked out to the end of the pier, but I didn’t see any boats coming. I recheck my map – no connector service on Saturdays (of course not).

 

This was going to be a longer day than I thought.

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Weekend Rewind

Friday: (January 08th)

There is a phenomenon in Baltimore known as “Fridays After 5” in which the city’s two biggest tourist attractions offer discounted admission price and extended hours at the stated day/time. I’m not sure of the details about the Aquarium (and am too lazy to look), but at the Science Center they offer “free IMAX movie with admission” (the catch is waiting for the film you want to see rotate through the FA5 schedule).


Thursday was when the snow storm hit so I was a bit anxious about attending the show on Friday evening. Would the roads be clear? Would the sidewalks be ice ranks? How much time should I give myself to get there?

   
I gave myself just over an hour to get to the Science Center , and I still only barely made it to the movie on time. In fact, I almost didn’t make it at all! I was going by the assumption of having to wait ten minutes for the light rail to arrive (forgetting that I was riding at an “off-peak” hour). So after debating with myself whether I should use what was left of my MTA money for a fare, I ultimately decided not to risk it and after rejecting several dollars the machine finally spit out a somewhat faded but still readable pass. I was then able to cross the tracks to wait for the train to arrive, and when it did it let the passengers off and immediately shut the doors in my face.


I hurriedly pressed the open button several times until the operator finally relented and reopened the doors. I was not about to wait another 15 minutes in that kind of cold for a train I was early for just because the driver was late. 


Anyway, I grab a seat far enough from the door to hopefully not feel the cold air rush in whenever the doors opened. As the train starts moving, I noticed a woman walking through the car ahead of me – a fare inspector. My ticket wasn’t wasted after all! After she gives it back to me, and I’m left wondering what the fuck I’m supposed to do with my newly inspected ticket. 


The train stops at the convention center, and I get off heading toward the Science Center with less then 15 minutes until the movie starts! I rush along Pratt street , past the convention center, around the promenade and finally make it to the doors with only a five minutes to spare! Unfortunately, the ticket machine is jammed, but they finally get it working with less than a minute until the show is scheduled to start.

   
I won’t get into details about the film in this post, but the movie Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (1989), like most IMAX films, was visually stunning if a bit padded in spots. The acting was okay for what it was, but sometimes the drama of the rapids overtook the beauty of the canyon.

   
I left the theater, and began the journey back to my apartment in peace (or frostbite, it was kind of hard to tell).

 

Saturday: (January 09th)

Ever have one of those days where you get halfway through it and realize you forgot what day it was? Saturday was one of those days. It wasn’t until I got my mail, and made my way to bank in the freezing cold temperatures that I remembered the bank was closed on weekends (etched right on the door). I did pick up the new issues of Urbanite and Gay Life so it wasn’t a completely wasted trip.
   
I needed to do something for the rest of the day, so I decided to try an experiment: every time my character found a “special stash of loot” and wanted to post something to my wall about it I’d simply say yes just to see what would happen by the end of the weekend. Not the most exciting experiment, but those damn things pop up every other mission and I wanted to know if it was REALLY as bad as it seemed. It didn’t disappoint either, but I had other plans for the night as well – I was going to have a Blast!

 
The sun was out for most of the afternoon, giving the ice\snow on the ground a chance to melt (though the temperature never got above freezing) so my commute to 1
st Mariner Arena was a lot smoother. In fact, there wasn’t even a line at the ticket booth (which meant the 20 minutes I allotted for that were wasted).


The Baltimore Blast is a minor league soccer team which plays out of 1
st Mariner Arena here in downtown Baltimore . They have won 5 league championships over the past 7 years, and are currently the only professional sports team in Baltimore that doesn’t suck.


The score was relatively steady for most first half of the game with both teams scoring two goals each. There was a short exhibition match between local youth soccer clubs at halftime. However, things did not heat up on field until I ducked in to use the restroom at the start fourth quarter where the blast managed to score another two goals and the Wave scored one. Sadly, that wasn’t the visitors’ last goal of the period as the Blast lost with a final score of 11-9.

 

 

Sunday: (January 10th)

 

Facebook experiment ends (Mafia Wars-4; Pirates-6)

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