Stories from a Dominican barbershop, a tattoo parlor, a lawyer’s office, a coffee counter, and a collaborative arts hub, all neighbors in the melting pot that is Eastern Avenue in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood.
4700 Eastern Avenue is in Southeast Baltimore's Highlandtown neighborhood. Over the past fifty years, the story of the American Dream has been written and rewritten in this community, as two distinct waves of immigrants have taken their turns settling in and opening up shop. In the 1960's & 70's, Greek immigrants arrived in droves, and the neighborhood came to be known as Greektown. More recently, Latino immigrants have followed in those footsteps, establishing a strong local presence of their own. Today, this block is a cultural checkerboard, as the names of the restaurants attest: Acropolis, El Merengue, Zorbas, Papuseria Mama Tana, and Greektown Grill. The voices on this block have foreign accents, but their stories are quintessentially American.
The 2100 block of Monument Street is anchored by the Baltimore’s Northeast Market, a honeycomb of vendors selling fish, meat, fried chicken, barbeque, bulgogi, deli sandwiches, and baked goods. The commerce spills onto the surrounding sidewalks, where open-air peddlers hawk sunglasses and socks, CDs & DVDs, umbrellas and pepper spray. Unemployed entrepreneurs polish headlights, sell loose cigarettes, and do whatever else they can to make ends meet. It all happens in the shadow of the looming Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, an institution at pains to restore relations with the neighborhood in the wake of longstanding ill will.