“APA singled out Fell’s Point, one of America’s most important Colonial and Civil War seaports, for its historic maritime role, character and charm, architecture, and preservation efforts,” read an APA press release explaining the designation. “Just over a mile from downtown Baltimore, Fell’s Point offers views of the Inner Harbor, quaint shops and boutiques, dozens of restaurants, and the highest concentration of pubs in the city.”
The APA is a national professional association for city and regional planners.
“I think it’s quite an honor,” said Joanne Masopust, president of the Fell’s Point Community Organization.
Masopust left Bolton Hill for Fell’s Point on Oct. 1, 1979.
“Obviously, if I’ve lived here that long, I like living here,” she said.
Masopust’s assessment of the neighborhood matched some points of that of the APA.
“There are an abundance of restaurants that serve good food,” she said, “ and some that serve excellent food.”
But the Point’s greatness goes beyond what the neighborhood offers its residents. It also comes from what the residents themselves offer, Masopust said.
“I’ve established a close set of friends and neighbors, and I’ve found people here are very willing to help each other out,” she said.
She cited two events—“Snowmageddon” and Hurricane Isabel—as evidence.
During Snowmageddon, the 2010 storm that dumped 2 feet on Baltimore, neighbors ensured that those tucked in on narrow Regester St. could get out to the main roads.
“The guys on my block shoveled pathways so that everyone on the block could get to Aliceanna or Lancaster Street,” said Masopust. “It looked like a little maze.”
During 2003’s Hurricane Isabel, Masopust lost power for a long time. The owner of Brick Oven Pizza gave her ice that he wasn’t using.
She said that those two examples are indicative of the way neighbors look out for each other in Fell’s Point.
“People really do pitch in and help each other with what needs to be done,” she said.
The APA said that neighborhoods on its Great Places list have many of the features that are part of an “ideal community,” such as “locally owned businesses, transit, neighborhood parks, and sidewalks.”
“They illustrate how the foresight of planning fosters tomorrow’s communities,” the release said.
Masopust said that a few more features could make Fell’s Point even better.
“ I think we could be even higher on that list if we had a library, a drugstore, and a viable food mart,” she said.
by Erik Zygmont