May 23, 2006


This could be one of many Baltimore neighborhoods - modest but maintained, and affordable because it is unfashionable and because people who are willing to pay more don't want to live there. But housing priced so low is a double edged sword. Maintenance costs are not equally low. When maintenance costs are high relative to property values, houses eventually cease to be maintained. Baltimore has far too many sad examples where this has happened.

Brooklyn is one of those neighborhoods that needs to have its perceived value increased to its actual value. This would be a difficult task for some neighborhoods, but not Brooklyn - Baltimore's most undiscovered neighborhood.

This is the view right across the street from the houses shown above. The modest houses on Third Street in Brooklyn just happen to have a panoramic view of the skyline and harbor.

Third Street also has a park with tennis courts and the same spectacular harbor and skyline view. This is truly a poor man's Federal Hill, although the real Federal Hill has basketball rather than tennis courts. The real Federal Hill was once a poor man's Federal Hill too. Well, maybe middle class.

A few blocks to the south, the housing gradually becomes more suburban. If you look closely between the trees in the distance, you can see a cruise ship that is docked at the new terminal in Port Covington. It would probably be easier to see in the winter when the trees are bare, but there are probably no cruise ships in the winter.

Brooklyn's actual waterfront is mostly industrial, but there is enough land currently occupied by the sprawling intersection of Hanover Street, Potee Street and Frankfurst Avenue and some adjacent buildings and parking lots to create a true waterfront district.

The amount of land devoted to the high speed intersection is truly immense, taking channelization islands to a ridiculous extreme. And the intersection doesn't even accommodate all the movements, preventing the important left turn from Frankfurst to southbound Potee. If this intersection was reigned-in to manageable proportions, the amount of waterfront land leftover would far more than pay for the project.

Once this was done, and a development plan with a small industrial buffer was established, Brooklyn would instantly have the select claim to being a WATERFRONT NEIGHBORHOOD. Abbacadabra. Instant identity. Feel the magic.


  1. I understand that developers are eying waterfront space in Westport, Brooklyn and (gasp!) Cherry Hill. Ironically (save for parts of Brooklyn), these are some of the poorest sections of the city and therefore its residents are most vulnerable to being unjustly driven out.

    Still more ironic is that these areas of the city, traditionally the dumping grounds for folks deemed by Baltimore's elite as undesirable, will now become 'hot'.

    Don't get me wrong; Brooklyn is overlooked and has a unique, maritime charm. But don't overlook the blocks upon blocks of public housing, the blight and the crime. Take the side roads, away from the blue blinking lights and you'll see a lovely open air drug market on a quaint, residential street.

    Let's hope that when these developments come, that we will include the existing residents in the zoning. If we are to fix an area let's do it right this time, instead of driving the oor out let's do our part to bring them up to their feet.

  2. I have recently gotten the opportunity to be a part of Brooklyn's Main Street team.

    There are some exciting things happening in Brooklyn that will give the community a chance to get involved and have a large voice in the future of Brooklyn. The key is to get involved before the developments come and establish a strong voice throughout the community that can dictate the direction that developers take.

    Most recently Brooklyn was named a Main Street within Baltimore Main Streets, this is a huge step in properly restoring the business district without losing its historic charm. Fueling community involvement by organizing events and promoting the local businesses is what the National Trust for historic preservation preaches to its Main Street members. This is a step that will definitely give the citizens of Brooklyn a clear voice in the future plans that the city might have for Brooklyn.

    The newest development in Brooklyn is a block of GREEN town homes on 6th st. These homes are really affordable because of the cities involvement which gives the home buyer a forgivable grant to purchase the properties. These homes were made by developers and construction firms focused on building energy efficient homes from environmentally friendly materials. It is a testament to the community organizations that pushed for this new development and pushed to make them affordable to the average person.

    Also a new environmental restoration project is under way and a living classrooms satellite will be open in spring of 09. Masonville Cove takes up 74 acres of land along Brooklyn's waterfront on Frankfurst just a stones throw from Hanover. It will be a big part of any waterfront development in Brooklyn, and part of any plan that might come along.

    Im glad to hear that there are advocates for Brooklyn from a transportation view because the commuter traffic that comes through Brooklyn is just not properly utilized. The town doesn't have to become the next hot spot for people to move into and run out all the current residents. Brooklyn has the opportunity to give its residences jobs and a sense of purpose by serving the thousands and thousands of people that travel by it every day.

    I am lucky to be a part of Brooklyn's future and hope that more people get involved and speak up about what Brooklyn can do to become a vital part of Baltimore.