Visionary Rebecca Hoffberger shares her vision for the future of Baltimore prosperity with Nestor. Big thanks to The Baltimore Fishbowl for this inspired story and TBC for this amazing image.
And make sure you visit the American Visionary Arts Museum soon and support downtown Baltimore!
baltimore, people, city, harbor, rebecca, inner harbor, love, maryland, walked, years, museum, wife, fishbowl, world, vision, visionary, camden yards, place, roller coaster, parks
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
W n s t Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive still broadcasting and high definition mono sound today in 1570 on your dial makes you set to preset for us. We are getting merrily crabcakes we’re back out on the road. We’re gonna be back in Catonsville next weekend State Fair El Guapo the Beaumont all the great places going to have some Maryland lottery scratch offs give away a handful of quality cash drops. Because I’m an old guy, and it’s their 50th anniversary at the Maryland lottery. They’re gonna give me the old horseshoe scratch offs very, very soon, so I’ll have those into the new year. We’re gonna be joined by some great cast and canes on next week, but most importantly, our great sponsors the Maryland lottery in conjunction with window nation, yes, I have a bucket hat go to win donation. 866 90 nation if you need new windows, I got my Windows last summer, and I should have waited because they’re giving you a better deal than they gave me it’s 0% financing for five years. 60 months 866 90 nation are friends with weathernation and the Maryland lottery that I’ve been waiting. She’s gonna be embarrassed because I’ve been trying to get her on for like a month, and she’s really busy. And then the holidays and then Lamar Lamar, Lamar and then really busy and then the holidays. Rebecca off burger has been a friend and neighbor. I’ve loved her museum ever since I was a neighbor and moved in 20 years ago this month. Downtown I left a year ago. I still have been at the museum two or three times in the year since I left because we do love coming down to the American Visionary Arts Museum. She is now sort of founder emeritus I don’t know what she is but she wrote a beautiful piece with the Baltimore fishbowl and I saw it back before Christmas and we got all tangled up and she knows I wanted to have a crab cake where the McFate leaves and she’s still going to be victimized into being coerced into down to having and by the way fried oysters and when I have you down as well Rebecca off Barbara joins us now what are you emeritus some some some but I always remember waving to you at the visionary Arts Museum in any event I was at because we love that wacky place and in your honor. I found it colorful because I feel underdressed if I don’t wear I have something colorful on when I’m with you, you know.
Rebecca Hoffberger 02:10
You couldn’t be underdressed, you have such a colorful personality. And I first really want to thank you for even creating Baltimore positive, because we need everyone who has that in their heart to be expressive and you give a forum for that is for us all. So thank you so much. Well, I
Nestor Aparicio 02:28
it’s it’s very sweet if you’re a baby cry, but I sent up on the 23rd floor for 19 years, this was my view. I took this picture behind me right like so it’s not it’s not something I see on a WJC shot where they do a cutaway on in Marty and Dawn are waving, you know, I left the city The Good, the Bad, nothing really bad. Thank God, right. And I walked to your museum, I don’t know, 150 200 times in the time I live downtown probably once every month or two something breakfast, lunch, dinner events, you know, corporate events, all sorts of things, celebrations, you know, in your building. And your building was this, you had to go by it and you’d say What’s that shiny, weird glitter ball thing across from what used to be a wreckage site that became the Ritz Carlton, right? I mean, when you built that, people were saying that that used to be the shipyards, you know, give me your Baltimore because I don’t know your whole story. And I don’t want to sit here like Inside the Actor’s Studio and read from the notecard to say Rebecca Aden hockberger began her career, like I know of you from the museum. But your activism and your love for the city is what sort of spawned all of that to begin with? Right?
Rebecca Hoffberger 03:44
Very much. So I think it’s also love just for people. You know, Baltimore’s kind of a cauldron. It’s neither north or south, you know, it’s been a place which has fostered unbelievable tensions that have had a creative outlet. Let’s put it this way. The you know, the invention of the Ouija board was here. Madalyn Murray O’Hair the most famous infamous, you know, atheist who took prayer out of school, but the first American Catholic saint, you know, like, there’s all these different factors that push against each other, but sometimes come together for a greater good, and that’s my real real interest. So I’m the founder of the American visioning Art Museum, but I turned 70 In the fall, I don’t believe in Oh, well, I believe. October 1, I retired and have a wonderful successor and put together a great team. I took one vacation in 27 years. And it was I called or created all the themes for 41 original exhibitions, but with the smallest budget of all of the 13 Cultural majors In the state, we are on every national list of one, if you have only one thing to do, and in the state of Maryland, go to see the American Digital Art Museum, something we can control. That means from Oprah’s destinations, to US News and World Report, the number one destination for the state of Maryland. So we’ve got Baltimore’s best Museum, even though we have the smallest of all the the competitive, museums budgets. And so it was a real alchemy. And it was that sense of having watched so many millions of dollars be poured in to Baltimore and then see things fail. That prompted me to write my vision for what would really it what it would take to bring people back to the Inner Harbor. And to sustain that vision, not for just 20 years or 30 years, but literally for 100 years. So there’s so much money that gets thrown here and there. And it’s not cohesive enough to make a real attraction. So I wrote it out of love of wanting to see I don’t want to be a developer. But I do know what, what makes something an attraction and not just a commercial development. And I would love to add that thinking. So I put it out there and I can’t believe the amount of people I get stopped on the road by strangers who go rent the fishbowl article, you know, of your vision for the Inner Harbor. And thank you, thank you, you know, so it’s had legs. So we’ll see what happens, you know, we can hope for a very unified, more loving, more, more peaceful and compassionate city. That’s like my big hope. I am distressed by things counter to that, that I’ve seen. You know, if you walk around the harbor now, it’s like a get a ghost town. You know, and
Nestor Aparicio 07:01
open, Rebecca, you know, like, I have to tell you a funny story because I haven’t told this one on the air much but my wife got tired of hearing it. It became like a fun, old guy story. I could tell. On the night that the harbor open there were whatever, quarter million Hathaway whatever that number, was it a lot more people than I’d ever seen. You know, I was 13 years old and been to Memorial Stadium plenty of times. So I was you know, I’ve been plenty cold skeins at that point. I knew at 50,000 People look alike. But that was a different level Fourth of July 1981. I believe it was right. So I was 12 years old. And my parents walked me around the harbor and I love fried dough. So the Anna’s fried dough was basically next the Japanese were the were the Swanson Swensons ice cream above. Phillips where the ragtime music was like all of that as a boy. And we walked down the harbor to the Science Center and turn the corner. And you know where there’s rocks are that sort of Slant cobblestone that slants into the harbor. Yeah, I walked down onto the cobblestone and saw a crab. That’s a real crab. And, and I slid chest deep into the Inner Harbor that night, and I walked around soaking wet, my parents had to bring you back in the number 10 Bus soaking wet. So every time I would walk from where I lived at Harbor cork, from 2003 until last January, a year ago this week. Anytime we would walk by there always docks, my wife and I walked by there 250 times a year because we went for walks in the harbor every every other day of our life, right? It’s the restroom, we walked in toward where you were. And I would always say to my wife never tell you about the time that I fell into the harbor, the night that the harbor place open. So 40 years later, it became this stupid, broken record thing. But I remember being there that night and all of the enthusiasm. So when you say it’s empty, I have a different vision of how when I had a special girl that I was on a date in the 80s had to take her to the harbor. You know what I mean? It was like, if you really liked the girl, you took her to the harm. You know, really?
Rebecca Hoffberger 09:06
Do you remember why Cisco did when Cisco was working at making the fudge in the end they had the young performers who would sing and do the pour out on the marble slab.
Nestor Aparicio 09:18
We just listened Oh sing. Yeah,
Rebecca Hoffberger 09:21
that’s right. And then he became what the the guy who gave us the Thong Song, you know, but it was a place of opportunity for young people. It felt very inclusive. You saw everybody there, and there was so much joy. But I believe that comes from Marty Mills, Paul and Jim rouses humanistic, you know, approach to what a city can be. I led my article and fishbowl with a quote from Jim Rouse, who said cities were meant to be gardens in which to grow beautiful people. And because there’s things that can be done in a city that you just can’t do in the country. There are not enough people pole to support a symphonies and galleries and, you know, a variety of all restaurants and ethnicities expressed in the most beautiful way. And that’s a, you know, the highest good that a city can be is is all of our concern. And I love that you kind of were baptized in the Inner Harbor, you know.
Nestor Aparicio 10:24
I’ve never heard it referred to it. Well, my wife hears that. Rebecca heartbreakers here, she wrote a beautiful piece about the future of Baltimore that, you know, I, I, at some point, you’re gonna get me teary eyed on the Baltimore thing because you and I share that. And you gave me all the flowers on Baltimore positive, as many flowers as I have on my shirt at this point. But Baltimore positive was really born out of me wanting to run for mayor of Baltimore, when I saw that the K of Baltimore happening when I didn’t realize Kathy was gonna go to prison. But I saw that things weren’t going in a good direction, my wife battled cancer and 14. And then in 15, over Hopkins, we were blessed to be living 1.6 miles away from the greatest cancer facility in the world that saved my wife’s life, not once, but twice. So in the aftermath of that, I thought, well, who’s gonna save the city, and I saw it deteriorating. So I you know, I created Baltimore positive, because when my wife checked into the hospital, on March 28 2014, She’s diabetic, she gets herself shots, checks, her blood pricks her fingers, all of that, but never knew her blood type. Her blood type was Be positive, be positive. Oh, we took that as a mantra to remain positive and to be positive during her battle. So I started using be more positive be mo Ari, because her battle was in Baltimore be more positive. And when I went to get a website, be more positive was squatted on B E, Mo, Ari positive was squatted on. Nobody wanted Baltimore positive, Baltimore positive.com existed, waiting for me to pull it down and claim it and have the story to tell you all these years later. But one of the reasons I did Baltimore positive was all these years in sports, fighting with a baseball owner watching that deterioration. And no one willing to admit that bad baseball, bat ownership, bad decisions, clean the city out, I watched it and I sat here, and I had a radio station that watched all of that happen on the other side of the harbor from where you were, and seeing the Red Sox and Yankees fans come in not going back 15 years ago now, that how important as you would say, Jim Ross would say bring people together, bringing different people together, to express love of themselves their thing, and the gospel of baseball and their love of Baltimore, and Brooks Robinson and crabcakes. And like all, Chuck Thompson, all of that stuff,
Rebecca Hoffberger 12:57
and show off right. Now, not only the names of every player, and everybody who worked behind the scenes, he knew their children’s names. You know, it was a time where, you know, I’m so glad and so moved. I did not know that story. I knew your wife had had some health battles, but you know, things that are born out of love. Have, you know, endure, and it’s very interesting about the be positive and you know, your your wife as inspiration for what you’re, you have done so well.
Nestor Aparicio 13:34
Right. I mean, like whether it was driving down Orleans street to get to her bedside for 155 nights when she fought for life, or whether it’s walking across the pier six, or going over the arena for a show or going to a baseball playoff game, or going to a football playoff game or a Monday night game, or going to any of the festivals in the city that we’ve had here for years and the city fair as a boy, that was a vision that made the harbor happen the first time so I am very, very familiar having sat with every journalist, every person that knew Governor Schaefer, I call him Mayor Schaefer, I’ve sat with Mayor Schaefer myself, overall have deceived that vision and even seeing mer Schaefer with hair in 1971 in a green grass area that would become McKeldin. And like all of that those things that were the pre vision for the last Renaissance, let’s call it the last 50 years. Your vision and fishbowl let’s, let’s talk about this and how the story happened. And now people coming up to you on the street like me wanting to give you a hug and saying I want to live in Rebekah off burgers, Baltimore.
Rebecca Hoffberger 14:43
You know, I really laid out as much as I could, but you know, a big impediment I think to people coming down home besides the you know, the big issue of safety or perceived safety or lack thereof is all To the cost of park, and, you know, it’s a retail has changed so much, you know, people are not coming down to buy a t shirt from the gap when they have to pay $20 for parking, that’s over, you know, but we have with the ballpark, we have what is Camden Yards, you know, massive parking lot used what, you know, under 20 times a year at the most. And if there could be a way of welcoming the Baltimore convention center of visitors to make it a joy and a learning experience, all the way to the Inner Harbor. And then they’re to be more of a they’re to the they’re more of a sense of, of joy and engagement for particularly families and young couples courting and older people to feel safe. But to do a $5 a day for anyone coming to the Inner Harbor from the parking lot at Camden Yards and make Conway one of the main ways to come in and feel that you from actually every port of entry to the Inner Harbor, that you’re being transported to a very special place. And my model for successful destination was really Tivoli Gardens that was started in Denmark in 1848. And today, you know, in 2023, it remains the number one tourist destination. And then to think why, you know, if it had just been the Mall of its time, would it still have that? And I don’t think so. So we already have so many of the Tivoli Gardens components. We have a fabulous national you know, aquarium I wish they would add a Butterfly Pavilion with like a clear Lucite floor to look at koi and stuff, you know, because those are very popular, and they’re less expensive to maintain than the fake out there. You know, which takes so much energy because I have to think with how do you afford things right? You know, it’s I’m I’ve
Nestor Aparicio 17:01
ever been in a room with butterflies. I’ve been by it. It’s incredible. Like, I went to the Bellagio a few times when that was going on there, right. But I went to butterfly world with my wife 20 years ago in Florida, it’s on i 95 near Boca, maybe a little north of Boca. And I went there and I thought their climate obviously changes things from where they were. I’ve told hundreds of people, especially with children, but you don’t need to be a child. It’s like when it isn’t good. But that’s a beautiful idea. Butterflies.
Rebecca Hoffberger 17:38
Yeah. So and I think you know, you know, as far as a bond thing, that that if we had a united vision for what makes something so magical, and that people would never get tired of, you know, you have the the aquarium has a lot of credibility in Annapolis to go after been built to, to, you know, go for that at the Science Center, you know, to become on the face that interacts with the harbor much more visible and alive as well. You know, I don’t you know, I see what we do at the Visionary Art Museum. And, you know, we do over 100 weddings a year. I mean, and this is mostly for people who live far away, who come to get married there and bring their faraway guest and paying for hotels. So I’m very interested in not only, you know, what has the power to continually attract people, but what makes the financial work as well. So, you know, maybe you can put out a link to the article in fishbowl and to give an idea, but, you know, we were
Nestor Aparicio 18:49
always extensive. I mean, I didn’t think we were going to cover everything, but I just think what an inspirational place. Yours has been the most talked about, that I and it’s only been a month, I mean, barely a month. But I mean, I’ve seen all sorts of conceptual, you know, everything and racetracks and stadium and soccer on the sports side, right for me, but more than that, concerts and pier six and things that I like to do and where we are with the CFG Bank Arena now and that that’s been rethought from 1961 sort of concept and updated that I’ve seen glass bridges, Rebecca right across. And I wanted to ask you this on a specific and I’m the one of the reasons I do Baltimore pasta, I get to have wonderful, beautiful, you know, intelligent people like you want me call them wise conversations at this point. But that glass bridge thing always struck me as something beautiful and wonderful. I am a guy that likes the Gateway Arch and St. Louis, but I’ve also a guy that went to London, and I thought about gondolas. I’ve seen gondolas in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand. I’m a world traveler. I like traveling a lot. I’ve had more More than one vacation over the last 27 years. Thank God. By the way, just as an aside before I get back to godless, where did you go? I wanted to interrupt you, but I didn’t. But I’m going to interrupt with my guests. Where did you go? You’re gonna one vacation, please tell me we’re somewhere good.
Rebecca Hoffberger 20:14
I went by myself, just to walk to a to Iceland. And then I went from there to visit a person in the field of visionary art, who was too elderly, to travel to be with his wife in Poland or someplace I’d never been. And then I saw my daughter in Berlin. But big Francophile. I’ve lived all over the world as well. But
Nestor Aparicio 20:37
my wife’s life is from Germany, by the way, so we like Germany a lot. So we we wind up in Germany a lot, because my wife’s got a twin brother in Germany now from DNA. So
Rebecca Hoffberger 20:47
Oh, and that she did not know about
Nestor Aparicio 20:50
the match. He was her match on the bone marrow registry and saved her life twins. Oh, how wonderful. They do miracles over Hopkins. Rebecca, I swear, I can’t even explain it. But she’s in the other room right now. Rebecca hockberger is here. You’ve already brought up Oreos, and Mr. Hoff burger and all of that for me. So I’m gonna get backwards to that my name being Aparicio and the hockberger, bringing my my cousin to America and Maryland, which is the reason I’m here. I’m here because of baseball. And because of a hockberger. So nonetheless, truly, so but but the glass bridge, and what the water taxi supposed to do, and I’m not an anti Water Taxi guy, it’s the most magical thing you could do for 10 bucks in the city. And I tell everybody that go out or water taxi, but as an expedited way to get places it is not a fast mode of transportation. If I was in a hurry to get the Fells Point from where I live, we would walk because it’s just not fast. It’s beautiful. It’s touristy. It’s good. I guess if you’re going to work in the morning over the Domino’s, or Under Armour, whatever, fine. I’ll hear it from that perspective. But from where you were, I would think one of the big complaints of the city that I would have is, how do I get from the visionary arts museum to Fells Point in two minutes, because I can see it, and you can’t, you can’t even in a taxi, whatever. I went to Cal lune into Hong Kong, and they miss you, right? They have a tunnel taking you from one area to the other. And it’s amazing, you’re there. It’s like taking the PATH train out of Manhattan to Newport in New York. And you’re there in two minutes. You’re like, Well, that happened quick. I’m glad I saved $200 on my room, you know,
Rebecca Hoffberger 22:31
or the hydrofoil member of the hydrofoil in Hong Kong, Linda that like, is a boat that almost like floats almost above the water. You know, the hydrofoils
Nestor Aparicio 22:40
very fast. Yeah, fast boat. So I’m just asking for you with that piece of Baltimore’s native intrinsic sort of architecture in the hill and where everything is, I didn’t think anybody was ever going to bring a gondola off the Federal Hill over to Phil Fells Point. But I didn’t think it’d be a bad idea. But somebody would hate it and say it’s like somebody’s gonna hate anything that structurally changes Baltimore from looking like this story book, Amsterdam, European was one of the last European looking places with the ginger box looking feel to it left in our country. With that, I don’t think anybody’s gonna mess with it. But I always thought there was a better transportation way of bringing the city together. And I just want to throw that your way?
Rebecca Hoffberger 23:28
Well, you know, I agree. And that’s, I think a very, must be a really studied issue. For me, I do want to pedestrian way to have people have to think of where do visitors come in mass numbers. And that’s the convention center that we’re about to put another 150 200 million in. And that will be mostly dedicated to upgrading the tech. The problem with that is yes, it must be done. But in five years from now, when they build a new convention center in Des Moines or Albuquerque or whatever, they have even more modern tech. So you have to go back and think, what is it that will make convention people say, I want to bring my, my group and I want people not to be afraid I want them to all sign on to come to Baltimore. So you know, the one of the things I think is that there has been such extraordinary first, both in sports, you know, but also in the field of medicine as you’re bringing up and a funny inventions and things and inspirational quotes. And I thought how beautiful that anybody a citizen of Baltimore, or a visitor if in the concrete and now we have laser cutters for metal letters, you know that we could embossed in large concrete squid squares, or do it as mosaics as well mix it up. We could have so much of the history of Baltimore, the fun facts, the the difficult things as well. But the inspirational quotes we have, you know, the Elijah Cummings. You know, we have Babe Ruth, you know, we have a grown quote we have so much I loved years before I read to puncture corps poem to what the Enoch Pratt meant to him. I’m telling you not a dry eye here. I mean, it was so moving. So there’s so much richness and unexpected richness about what Baltimore has given the world that I would love to see. You know, it literally embedded in the footpath all around the Inner Harbor. The idea of the of the roller coaster, you know, Premier rides, has designed, you know, fabulous roller coasters in like Abu Dhabi and Japan, never in the state of Maryland, even though they’re based here. And I, I’m not a person who likes roller coasters, but I’d like them as kinetic sculptures. But in terms of what makes a city happen there to there, if it was in, you know, neon blue, and there was a footpath Bridge Over Under underneath of it while you build the structure so that people could walk and have an observational thing. And above them could be the roller coaster. How amazing that would be I know,
Nestor Aparicio 26:14
Chairman, they’re brilliant. I mean, I see the work they do. It’s, that would be an incredible statement piece for a Maryland company doing a Maryland thing. And I’ve seen the I obviously London and different things that light up. But the one thing I would say, Rebecca, and this would speak to me with a loud shirt and me having the personality with love a visionary arts place, is when I went to Hong Kong in 2007, the most heaviest part of it to me, and a little bit was commercialism, right, like we would say the domino sign is a big part of Baltimore, but it is it’s a commercial sign, right? It’s not even the bromo seltzer tower was a commercial endeavor. When I was in Hong Kong along the waterway, there was so much light, it looked like Vegas as a place of a point of reference to me. And over and I always thought, well, the weather here wouldn’t support neon, right, that was my old man thinking like, oh, that’s why they can have neon in Vegas, it doesn’t get to be three degrees and everything blows out on them there. And now obviously I’m if you’re watching out on video, you’re seeing the purple lights of Oriole Park and the purple lights of Camden Yards and saying, Well, they can be any color, they can be the bills, colors, and they can be red, white, and blue, or they can be orange during leukemia awareness or whatever you would do. But the light in our city and me living downtown on the 23rd floor. If I showed you my pictures from 2003, out my window, versus the pictures from 2020, the amount of light and the buildings and what has been done with light to make it even the streetlights that were controversial to some idiot in East Baltimore, the beautiful Italian lights, there’s a there is activity in light, there is safety in light, there is attraction, we are attracted to light, I think psychologically as human beings, that a moving roller coaster, that’s something moving, there is something to see in the eye in London. Now. It’s not like the tower or these things from the 1700s. It’s modern, and it probably hurts the eyes are people that can’t take too much color in a shirt. But I would think that that’s part of the attraction is it’s it’s got to have a little bling, right? It’s,
Rebecca Hoffberger 28:27
it’s a balance, because also, you know, there’s so many wonderful urban farmers now who are training young people. And one of the complaints that in surveys have had been from people’s there’s not enough shade in the Inner Harbor. And there’s, you know, I that’s why I think Tivoli, that’s in Denmark, that has had this enduring success from 1848 to today are magnificent gardens, I’d love to see plantings to do with our sister cities around the world. You know, I was very sad when they took the whipping kind of cherries down from a right in front of, you know, I guess that’s on key highways in front of a Federal Hill. I would love to see a place that felt more garden like with attractions, you know, because if it’s all pavement, and member it gets very hot in the city, you need some place to also refresh. I’d love to see, you know, they have those children’s fountains to cool off that kids love that, you know, just come up a spray at odd times computer generated and kids can play in to get cooled off and adults too. You know,
Nestor Aparicio 29:40
I looked out my window every day and saw those kids in the fountain down below. Next to what I guess is Bubba Gump now.
Rebecca Hoffberger 29:46
Yes, exactly. Yeah. No. Yeah. And you know, just to be I wanted to be welcoming for all of Baltimore. And I thought that every Baltimore citizen if we do a bigotry action, like the, you know, like the the roller coaster or anything else like that there should be more benefit to the people who live here, you know, it wouldn’t take much in a city our size to divide up, you know, within the 12 months of the year in a random way that that’s the month for anybody who lives in that zip code to be able to come for free or for $1 or whatever with their family so that it really belongs to the people of our you know, the people who live here and says welcomes them in doesn’t you know, put up barriers because you don’t have the money to participate. That but you know, you think you speaking of the eye, but if you go back what makes Chicago waterfront so great, is that old fashioned ferris wheel it from, you know, maybe from your fear, you know, but you did you know, cobalt blue glass all over the world in the glass industry is known as Baltimore glass. Because Nexium and bromo seltzer were made here for years, but Carl Lowry for 137 years produce the most incredible colored glass. And a lot of that I’m a big fan of glass fault too, because it also you know, you can you can patch things seamlessly with when you do that tar. And I I’m very sad that we ever stopped doing that because it’s such magical particularly in the rain. it glistens, you know? Absolutely. Yeah.
Nestor Aparicio 31:30
So artsy and you know, so much stuff. Rebecca off burgers here, American Visionary arts, and I want to promote the Baltimore fishbowl piece. Cheers to the fishbowl folks out there for doing good work here locally in loving the city. It takes it takes a village Rebecca doesn’t not.
Rebecca Hoffberger 31:47
It does. And you know what? Mark Twain said something, little curmudgeon II said something like all I need to know is that there’s a human being involved. And that’s bad enough for me. And what I’m saying is that there are never enough good hearted people that we cannot be in separate camps, we really have to work together to make Baltimore, the most loving, compassionate, safest city. It’s amazing to me that just 25 Miles 25 minutes away, we have Columbia got the safest city in America, two years in a row at 25 minutes away, and also got a second happiest out of all the cities in America for the last two years. And I think a lot of that’s not because they have great architecture, they really don’t. But there’s the respect for the land with the park systems. And Baltimore has some amazing parks. But what turned around the most violent city in the world, the murder capital of the world, Medellin, Colombia, was this three mayor’s in a row, who who continue the vision that violence was was anti human. And that, that the best thing it was called todo para la vida, everything for life could be found in that city. And had they had a plan for the poorest of the poor, to move up. And it was so inclusive. And it’s amazing to me that in less than a lifetime, it went from murder capital of the world, to the most studied turnaround city. And in a way the bad rap that Baltimore has gotten in, you know, kind of the poster child for city going wrong. Rightfully or wrongly, there is still some truth in that we have a chance to show what can be and that will take. So it will take all of us not just you know a few. And I’m really excited about that possibility. And I thank you for your such consistent love for our city. And when they will have to have that crab cake, you’re talking about it the least. And I’ll tell you about the summoning before your time that there was an Italian restaurant where you could get your fortune told there for the price of lasagna and the bomber hell
Nestor Aparicio 34:09
i My mother took me to the Palmer House. It’s a block away from families. I walked by there the other night as I went to the Hippodrome to see my fair lady. And I always say to my wife, that was the Palmer asked me and my mother, my mother believed that all that right, so my mother was big into getting palms reading cards and all that so I had my cards read my palm all that at the Palmer House. 1980 probably 79
Rebecca Hoffberger 34:31
Did they predict your amazing career?
Nestor Aparicio 34:34
I don’t know what she said. I think she said I was destined for greatness. I’m still waiting to figure it out. I think I asked you this. Okay. You were telling me you told me the Italian palmerhouse story. Go ahead.
Rebecca Hoffberger 34:47
No, no, no, I went there. And I remember there was a reader near an older woman named Alma network. They weren’t tarot cards. They were regular playing cards that they would read. And she told me everything that has come true. I mean, I Was I think 14. And she said, I see you on television. She said, I see you going across the pond, meaning the Atlantic to study and I became the first apprentice to Mars summer. So all these years ago, right? She had she hits so much, right. So, you know, it’s just a magical part, Baltimore, is unlike any other place. And you have to remember, this is something you’ve may not have thought about. Maryland is a very small state. But we have always been the historic home of Army Chemical Warfare on army biological warfare. nanotechnologies applied to weaponry. So we have so much creative intelligence, probably more than any other place within a small geographic place on the earth, apply to weaponry. And what I hope is that that same brilliance that creativity will be used to apply to what can be, you know, kind of weapons into plowshares. And, you know, the great thing about, you know, being the director for so many years, at the visionary use, it is a scam to get on the phone, anybody I ever really respected. And I’ve worked with some of the Nobel laureates, you know, and amazing visionary minds from Martine Rothblatt, or Ray Kurtzweil, you know, to, you know, the director of Goddard, etc. Because all that knowledge is here that goes out around the world. And what I really hope is because there’s so much potential that you you believe into, that Baltimore become the most loving city and most welcoming city because the attributes of what is here, are, are so vast, but they have, we have to lay them out in a way that everybody feels walked welcome.
Nestor Aparicio 36:51
Back, I can’t let you go. Because it’s been like a theme here. When Tom was doing the Recon with me, we were talking to people about the vision for what not the Inner Harbor, but harbor place. And that space that was, and it’s fried dough and Phillips in city lights and memories and all of the things that were there. That Ron Cassiano I’ve talked a lot of different people, Jane Miller, just a lot of people on Baltimore positive about what that could be. And you mentioned parks, and some people poopoo that and they don’t see tax revenue, and they don’t realize what it would do for the community around it. And you mentioned parks, and I think about the plague, which led me and my wife through Patterson Park many more times. I didn’t know what had a pond Rebecca. Like, I’m from East Baltimore. It took me a plague and 51 years of my life to find it. I found the pond and as birds, it’s beautiful. Never would have known it was there.
Rebecca Hoffberger 37:48
But how do I get there as a kid,
Nestor Aparicio 37:51
I did ice skate. I played hockey there as a kid. I would pitch hit and run in 1979 I got to go to Memorial Stadium and play when I was 10. So but but parks and that space and what Jim Rouse and Governor Schaefer and the Lords of Baltimore in the early 70s and mid 70s. saw in a vision for what that was. It served its purpose it had its time, it got me downtown, the bio highfalutin place what what is that basin of the harbor was a fish market. It was it was a place for commerce forever and ever and ever. What what’s the next thing for the harborplace? area?
Rebecca Hoffberger 38:32
I I’m not on Facebook, the museum is but I’m not. And so some people read the comments and but to my article, and one woman said, I used to go down as a young person to Congolese and, you know, whatever. And I love godley’s too. I think I broke a tooth on a little, little twisted brown Pearl oyster when I was a little but the fact is, that’s not coming back, you know, there’s too much invested in, in the aquarium etc. And what we need to do is to look at what endures as a destination in this world where you can order anything on and have it delivered to your, you know, your home the next day, so that retail is different now. So what people want is experience, they want it to be safe. They want to be able to not feel that they’re nickeled and dimed, everything, you know, you have to give them an experience that can’t have so much in the county, you know, and I love you know, I love the accessibility of the county, etc. So what I put out there was how do you make the wonders of the city come alive for people and to be that place where a quarter of a million people are coming down, to be together and to feel safe and to see feel happy together? And that’s why even you know, the idea of a clam Shell barges. And you can do a lot with, you know, government property that has been, you know, you know, it costs, you know, I don’t know, half a million dollars to make, and you can buy it now. 400,000, right, I’m really looking for, you know, ways to enliven that, and I laid that out in the article. And it’s just, it’s not like, Oh, this must be done. But I do know, what makes people feel safe, and welcome and excited, you know, make a commercial development is not the same as developing an attraction that will endure. And we can’t do this generic stuff, too. You know, we see Ripley’s already came and went, you know, and a developer may be looking at what, who will be a good tenant for them. But, but this blessing of money that is coming to our city is really kind of once in a lifetime of a city. And it can’t be just poured through the filter of just even a very fine developer, it has to have that, that kind of humanitarian, and then that other element of understanding human beings, and what will give what I call the there to there, that you know, Pandora, we just lost, but I, you know, I I’m old enough to live through eight different monitors where the city spent millions on, you know, a believe the city that reads Baltimore, get in on it. And currently, your people are here. Well, you never hear that. And it was interesting in the late latest tourism meeting, they went back to calling it Charm City, like five times, I don’t even think they were aware of it, they didn’t even use the one they just paid over a million dollars for once, not even once in the entire to our production. So it’s not like I think my favorite was John Waters, and they never used it, they’d never came into being, but when he went on Letterman with a bumper sticker that I that I got permission from him to make, and it’s uncomfortable to more and be shocked and settled, you know, shocked. I wanted to do at that time play Star was so alive, you know, Cal Ripken, you know, to have people looking shocked. But what, what shocked by and then
Nestor Aparicio 42:28
there’s so much more, that’s so, right. And you’d
Rebecca Hoffberger 42:32
already had and the you know, hairspray was a huge success on Broadway, people would have gone out, singing, you know, good morning, Baltimore. And seeing that and taking that just like a buffalo birth as muscles, you know, taking that come to Baltimore and be shocked John Waters, right and put it right on their car, you know. So I hate to see I’ve had to do miracles, people have no idea that we because we get more publicity than anybody else. But that’s because of the quality of the work. The American Visual Art Museum has the smallest operating budget of any of the cultural majors. I mean, by far, the Reginald Lewis Museum, since they’ve opened they, they have a $4 million operating budget. Last year, we we’re down to 2.8 million. And yet, who wins the National Museum awards over and over again, we’re in a current contest. Last year, we became number two Museum of any kind, beating out the Metropolitan Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago in the USA Today Contest, which is on right now. So if you like us, please vote. But, you know, I know what it is, you still need some money, but I know what it is to multiply that good. And I just hope that, you know, I’m going to have a meeting with some of the developers. Actually, I think it’s the last week of this month. And, you know, I’m appreciative that they’re gonna, you know, listen, and I really hope it can have an impact, because I have seen so much money come into the city that you cannot, you cannot see the value of, and it breaks my heart. I don’t want to see that happen, where it looks good for five years. It has, you know, it’s clean, it’s well designed and whatever. But it fails to to return. Now we have an uphill battle that that Jim Ross and Marty Mills Paul did not have when they birth the harbor, in that we have since had so much negative publicity. And so we have to do something that makes it easy for people to feel safe and to fall in love with the city again, and that means our own citizens, as well as everyone who visits and the plan is don’t put $200 million in the convention center, which is a five minute walk away without buying Hang away, to join them into the experience of the harbor and to fall in love with our city. Because a convention center, when you’re in those walls, you could be in any city, what we need to do is to reconnect with what, what makes the city so precious.
Nestor Aparicio 45:17
Rebecca Hochberg is here and I love her and I don’t care who knows it. She’s the American Visionary Arts Museum. If you’ve not been, you’re not a real Baltimorean. So get down there, Get Your Baltimore card punch, if you’ve never been shame on you. And if you have been you know how cool it is, and you want to go back, it was in my neighborhood, it was my neighborhood museum back in the day, downtown and she went to Eisah. Did you get to see the Northern Lights? Or did you not
Rebecca Hoffberger 45:41
know what’s so funny is I went out there and you know, they take you by bus way out overnight, right? So nothing is so nothing unbelievably cold. And they said, Oh, you can only see it through your phone, which like Who knew, right? And so all these Japanese tourists were like, really good at like looking through and they would see a little bit of green, maybe, you know, it was cloudy. I never saw thing. And I really was praying to see the northern lights. So no, I didn’t get to see that at
Nestor Aparicio 46:08
one of the last things on my bucket list. Like I really, yeah, I’ve been most places that I really wanted to go. There’s still a couple that I’m gonna get to, you know, but I celebrated my 10th anniversary in Bora Bora. I’ve been to places right. I love the world. I love traveling the world my passports, one of my favorite things. Love America. But But I want to see your life. So I have two things left on my bucket list. One is in Northern Lights. The other one is having John Waters on the show. So I want to say this to you. John Waters, a friend of a friend of a friend hit me yesterday and is trying to get him on next week for the Christmas thing. So if John Waters is ever pimping, the American Visionary army, he’s the last guy I got to have on I’ve had everybody else. So I got John Waters on at some point. Well, you know,
Rebecca Hoffberger 46:50
when I retired and turned over the reins to my successor, Dr. Janine Whitfield. I had two people come to honor the roast and toast me wasn’t boring, like Lebda, you know? It was a John Waters who is the one of the people I respect infinitely the one of the most creative human beings, and actually kind of human beings I’ve ever known. And Freeman Herati was probably the most respected person in the state of
Nestor Aparicio 47:21
Maryland spent on the show a couple of times. Yeah. Yeah, Freeman, arrow. Oh, mates. Yeah.
Rebecca Hoffberger 47:26
So I had the boat. And you don’t have done this thing for the EU ambassador, I just got their highest award that they could give a US citizen. So I really care about kind of bringing in bringing to focus on Baltimore, a global thing. We’re a national museum by unanimous vote of Congress and Education Center. And it’s this incredible, not just visionary art, but mix of humor of social justice. We’re the only museum that the late Julian Bond put in his will, the great civil rights activist. But beyond that, it has, you know, the latest inventions in science etc, woven into the thematic approach. So I hope everyone will continue to visit. And again, I thank you for your love of Baltimore, and for your wife’s good help, and her inspiration to you. So it’s a beautiful story.
Nestor Aparicio 48:26
It’s got all that color down there. So I were I felt underdressed in my drug city shirt because I just want to wear my drugs Eddie shirt. We’re gonna be doing the Maryland crab cakes were over drug City on March 3, with my middle school musician, teacher. Mr. Calvin stadium is now 82 years old. That’s March 3, we celebrate my dad that day. So I brought you by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with our friends at window nation. I got my on my bucket hat as well. 866 90 nation, make sure you’re checking them out. The Maryland crab cake tour is coming to Catonsville as well. Next Friday. We’re gonna be state fair with our friends at El Guapo in the Beaumont. I’m bringing them all over. We’re going to talk about menus and fun and food and Catonsville, the music capital of Maryland and Baltimore County. So I want to get that out there as well. Rebecca, I can’t wait to have you over crabcake I can’t wait to maybe see pieces of your vision come to life in my lifetime. And I’ll look back and say I remember Rebecca’s telling me she’s gonna do that and harbor and I have a feeling you’re gonna roll your sleeves up here and put yourself in line here to be influential in some way. And for that, I think we’re all blessed. So go get him Rebecca. That’s what I would say to you.
Rebecca Hoffberger 49:34
Was that as we walked both on being
Nestor Aparicio 49:39
Yes, I am Nestor. We are wn ST and AM 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking. Baltimore positive. Stay with us.