Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adventure 1: Morning in Station North and First Time at Red Emma's

For my first adventure for Community in America (AMST 380), I wanted to experience and explore Station North during the morning hours. In my experience, the morning is always a great way to get a true feel for a particular location when everyone is just beginning to get on with their day.

On the cold winter morning of February 19, I wandered about the neighborhood scoping out landmarks that I know of, seeking out new changes since the last time I passed through. I was very impressed by the changes I observed. In particular, I was happy to see the restoration of The Centre theatre under way with the new vintage sign already up. I can already imagine how great North Avenue is going to look with the additions of the historic theaters of Parkway and Centre! Even though the day was bitterly cold, the sun was shining brightly on the beautifully unique facades of the boulevard.

Interior of Red Emma's in Station North.

I've heard a lot about Red Emma's from friends of mine, but I never got a clear sense of their experience. Nevertheless, I have been wanting to check it out since the business moved into the historic North Avenue Market building from their old location in Mount Vernon. As I was walking up to the door, I took a survey of the locals. There is definitely diversity when it comes to Station North, but I think it could also be characterized by extremes. On one end you have your typical Baltimore mix of working class people and the occasional homeless individual, but on the other end you have the obvious art student (who may or may not have a trust fund, and may or may not be from here). Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think it's important to note the differences especially in a changing neighborhood like Station North.

My delicious Red Emma's coffee!

Overall, Red Emma's turned out to be a great experience! As soon as I stepped in, I immediately fell in love with the interior design of the space. I ordered a coffee with the Colombian blend, and it really hit the spot after being out in the cold. Compared to other local coffee places like Dooby's and Donna's, Red Emma's was a lot friendlier, cheaper, and had less of an attitude. Could this be because they moved to Station North where everything seems to be more laid back and less segregated than other parts of Baltimore? Maybe, maybe not. After I got my coffee, I browsed through their interesting book collection, and then found a table by the window and studied for a bit. As my adventure came to a close, I realized that Red Emma's provides a sanctuary in the middle of the city, of both calmness and equality. Unlike national chains, everyone is allowed to enter to enjoy the experience.

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