The Baltimore Sun

Changes tarnish Fells Point's charm

I take exception to Elizabeth Large's article "Miss Irene's comes back as bistro" (Dec. 17).

Most residents of Fells Point who have lived here over the period she refers to as the neighborhood's "gentrification" would disagree with that terminology.

I, for one, moved here in 1979 because the neighborhood was a little bohemian, culturally mixed and somewhat seedy.

It was a fine place to be. Folks were friendly, many were artistic and there were plenty of genuine characters.

One of those characters was Miss Irene. We would go to her bar to meet with local friends, play a little pool and socialize. Folks didn't get out of hand, because Miss Irene thought nothing of whacking you with a pool stick for unacceptable behavior.

The bar was not, as Ms. Large suggested it was, a "scruffy dive" bar (although maybe it was scruffy).

The "gentrification" was really a bunch of developers and yuppies with money, the kind of people who move onto a dirt road and then want to pave it.

Because of the changes they caused, many of the neighborhood's most prized residents moved on, either because of the increased tax assessments or because they just couldn't stomach the changes.

The new "Miss Irene's" looks lovely, but it's a far cry from the local bar where people of all walks of life could meet on common ground and for a little while enjoy each other's company and not spend a fortune.

Fells Point, at one time, had many such establishments. One by one they are falling to the wayside, as cookie-cutter enterprises take over.

Look out, Locust Point; the developers are already encroaching on your charm.

Sandra K. Holmes, Baltimore

Keep Christian carols part of the holiday

I say "amen" to the column "Neglecting the Nativity" (Commentary, Dec. 21).

I am all for diversity and believe that if holiday displays are used in public spaces, all faiths should be represented.

But when it comes to musical programs, the same diversity rule should be observed. Santa Claus, jingle bells and reindeer are not Christian symbols.

If religious songs are going to be used as part of a holiday pageant, true Christian carols should also be used.

The Rev. Al Buls, Timonium

The writer is a retired Lutheran pastor.

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