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May 19, 2021 / bikesbytesbites

Baltimore Mini-Tour

A friend from NYC (hi, Susan) wanted to visit the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. She planned a day trip. I figured, “What the hell.” I made it an overnight trip, a chance to get out of town and see some different scenery. Of course, I brought my work computer so I could do some work from my hotel room, which subtracted from the time available to explore, but it was still a good trip.

My folding bicycle and I got to Baltimore via the MARC train. The train I was on wasn’t designated as one allowing bicycles. Those seem to be mostly rush-hour trains.

Based on previous experience, I think that those trains have a special car with several bike racks on the floor. But even my car had two racks where you could hang a bicycle, designated by a green light on the outside of the car. I “cheated” and just bungied my bike to one of the racks, rather than trying to hang it up. That seemed to be ok, despite the poster explaining the rules.

I was the only one in my car, but I saw at least three other bicyclists on the train.

The plan for the afternoon was to see a movie in a theatre — the Charles Theatre, a great repertory theatre in the Arts District just north of the train station. Great theatre, great film (Minari). On the way to and from the hotel (which was close to the inner harbor), I had a chance to explore the area nearby. Before the film I missed getting some photos of murals, but I did snare this one, one block from the theatre, on the way back to the hotel.

The hotel had a list of nearby restaurants, but none of them appealed. Instead, I wandered into Peter’s Pour House which was quiet, had good lighting, a friendly bartender/server, and excellent food.

I was planning to go for a bike ride the next morning, but instead I decided to go for a short run. I had no plans, just left the hotel running down narrow streets. When I saw a sign for the “Holocaust Memorial” I was intrigued, so went there. Very low-key, with a quote from Primo Levi. (the book is on my reading list). An interesting way to start the day.

I went back to the hotel, made some coffee, did some work, and waited for Susan to arrive. We then had a late breakfast/early lunch at Peter’s before walking to the museum (more or less directly). We had reservations and did see a few other people inside. The exhibit that prompted the visit was astonishing — a set of framed works depicting the artist’s experience when the Nazi’s invaded her shtetl in Poland, through her getting through WW II in Europe and then getting to the US.

AVAM Intro to the Esther Krinitz exhibit

It’s hard to explain the media used by the artist and do her work justice. She was a seamstress, and the earliest works are needlepoints. But then she added fabric collage and some paint. The three-dimensionality of the works — girls’ braids coming off the “canvas”, thatched rooves — is incredible in person and just doesn’t make it into my camera. And the theme is … sobering to say the least. Here’s an inadequate sample.

But there’s more — other exhibits in the main building, outsider art outside the museum and in another gallery building. Allow plenty of time. Or repeat visits.

Susan and I had a few hours until we had to get on trains, her to NY and me to DC. So, we took a leisurely work back to the train station, stopping for ice cream in Federal Hill. Oh, I picked up my luggage and bicycle on the way back to the station. I walked to my hotel then had a nice bike ride, on the bike/ped lane I had discovered the day before. Susan walked the whole way. We met at Penn Station, then headed to dinner at a restaurant just around the corner from the Charles Theatre that had caught my eye yesterday. Great dinner, then back to the station for our trains.

The exhibit will be at the AVAM for at least a few more months. It (and Baltimore) are worth a trip.

One Comment

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  1. Carol Linden / May 19 2021 6:18 pm

    Leslie – it is so great that you got to see Esther’s work. I actually knew her. She and her husband ran a small dress shop in downtown. Frederick. I bought my work clothes there all the time. She would take out some of her pieces and show them to me. I treasure the memory. Carol

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