Monday, July 29, 2013

Almost Full Circle

My very first post was from weave found at 38th street and Greenmount avenue. That area is a crossroads between the gated neighborhood of Guilford and the less gated area of The Waverlies. Guilford has a security team in clean white 'securitas' cars (part of the independent Securitas company), and labyrinthine streets. Waverly does not have a security team, but also boasts a good number of confusing one way streets.
Looking back at that post from two years ago, it's weak. That area deserves greater attention. Here is my opportunity to make up for it in a small way. Recently a friend in Baltimore sent me a picture from not too far away from that original spot: Cold Spring lane and York road.
Here it is:
This may be the biggest piece any one has sent me a picture of so far. I once saw a full wig, but that may have just been a rat. The confusion is common in Baltimore. Not to get graphic, but when the weather gets warm and drowned rats start decorating gutters and street corners it can be visually confusing.
To set the stage of this area, here you can find a barber shop called 'Nappee by Nature', a hectic transfer site for MTA buses, and a supremely bustling intersection. Other notable locations: York road Animal Hospital, Lianah Dominican Hair Salon, and a fried chicken/ lake trout spot called Chicken Run. A weird assortment for all your hair and chicken needs.
I used to bike through that intersection to get to Roland Park from Waverly. There were always residents out in lawn chairs talking and gossiping and children playing on porches. Another common sight is men with suspiciously slouched, stumbling, feet-dragging swaggers. Are you following me here?
When this was my daily route, these men gave me nicknames like 'Snow Flake' and 'Snow White'- just to include me. One of these men, in addition to being a vocal advocate of 'Nappee by Nature', had a penchant for carrying and brandishing machetes. It may have just been one machete. Owning one machete is rare, multiple blades would be outrageous.
Another anecdote that I can't keep in: on the 8 bus a few days, while I listened to two men bicker about the appropriate way to treat women (a good sign for the future of young adults), I watched a couple of people sell Coronas out of a battered box to drivers stopped at that light for 3 bucks a piece. You never see the same thing twice at that intersection.
If you haven't seen the aforementioned corner, it's positioned between the neighborhoods of Waverly, Govans, Guilford, and Pen Lucy. Can we please give a shout out to Pen Lucy? That neighborhood is dwarfed by some giants. An even smaller neighborhood? Richnor Springs
See? Small
According to, Richnor Springs is "one of those great little secrets of Baltimore City life". The page describes it as a tight community with quiet, tree-lined streets. Most residents have lived there their entire lives. They know the area and they've watched it grow and change, wax and wane. There is a change based on the average home sales from 2008 to 2010. In 2008, the average price was $128, 402 and 7 homes were sold; in 2009 the average price was $39,750 and 2 houses were sold; in 2010 the average price was $38,786 and 7 were sold.
If you do a search for news at that specified intersection, as of July 29th, the most recent article is about an attempted carjacking from last month(1). The second hit is from 2010. On the page for Richnor Springs from the Live Baltimore website, you can follow a link to see the crime map provided by the Baltimore police force. After entering the address for Nappee by Nature, this is the map provided:
As the dates on the map show, this is just for the past two weeks.
This website has a good breakdown of the demographics. It states at the bottom of the page that all information is "reliable but not guaranteed", and has been updated in the current year. Good disclaimer. I was directed there by the website, which is a real estate company that is different from other companies because, according to their about section, they're "really on your side". Their breakdown of demographics reflects a community primarily of homeowners who are, again primarily, between the ages of 5-14, 25-29, and 50-54. A majority of the residents have attained a high school diploma or some college, and a white collar job. The crime FAQs indicates 7 times the risk for robbery and 6 times the risk for murder. It doesn't say, but I'm assuming that is a national average. The chart above from the crime map is showing stolen cars as the greatest risk for the past two weeks.

What these stats don't show is the eagerness of the community association to involve residents, plan events, and address community concerns. Richnor Springs is a good example of a small neighborhood getting swallowed up by larger city concerns and the sometimes harsh stigma surrounding the residents.

Thanks to Mo for the picture
Thanks to Baltimore


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