Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 30, 2022

Station North is a hub of culture and community

By JENNIFER JIANG | April 21, 2022

true-vine

COURTESY OF JENNIFER JIANG

Jiang reviews the many unique hotspots in the Station North neighborhood that students can check out, including The True Vine Record Shop. 

Station North, a 10-minute bus ride from Homewood Campus, spans the neighborhoods of Charles North, Greenmount West and Barclay. Located in the middle of Baltimore, Station North received the state designation as an Arts and Entertainment District in 2002 from the Baltimore City government. Theaters, museums and arts centers line the streets. Visitors to the neighborhood can expect to meet artists, musicians and designers dedicated to creating diverse art forms.

Interested in music? Want to explore possible hobbies? The True Vine Record Shop, located at 1827 N. Charles St., provides a wide collection of vinyl records, cassettes and CDs. The store opened in 2004 and has been in operation since, most recently under the ownership of Jason Willett.

In an interview with The News-Letter, Willett discussed how he believes The True Vine has a unique sense of camaraderie within its walls.

“Unlike other record shops, this place focuses on community. You can not only buy records, but you can play music, talk and get to know people,” he said.

As a testament to the tight-knit community that’s characteristic of Baltimore, the place runs solely on volunteers passionate about keeping a niche hobby alive. The average price of items runs from $17 to $20, with some of the rarest items in the $100 ballpark. Interested visitors can visit the shop’s Instagram @thetruevinerecordshop for more information.

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The Centre Theatre, which first opened in 1939, features Hollywood-style architecture with a centerpiece mural captioned, “Man works by day; night is for romance.” After 20 years, it closed in 1959 and the theatre eventually turned into a church. The exterior infrastructure deteriorated for a decade before Jubilee Baltimore, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Baltimore communities, bought it in 2011. Now, it’s a performing arts center. The building offers screen rooms, recording studios and a green screen soundstage for students studying film.

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Across from the Centre Theatre, North Ave. Market had 12 shops and a 22-lane bowling alley in 1927, with its opening day hosting 50,000 visitors. Before this land housed Confederate General Bradley T. Johnson’s residence. Following World War II, North Ave. Market’s booming success sharply declined, and in 1968, a fire destroyed part of the building. 

It remained vacant for decades before revitalization efforts from MAGFest, Central Baltimore Partnership and current partner Michael Shecter and co-owner Matthew Steinberg, made it into a place that brought people together through food, drinks and free arcade games. Recommended menu items include the Black Bean ($15) and the Grilled Chicken ($12) Handhelds. Free arcade games include Ms. Pac-Man, Q*Bert, NBA Jam and Galaga. Interested visitors can find more information on the market’s Instagram @northave.market.

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Stillpointe Theatre embodies Station North’s identity as a cultural hub for artists committed to creating works of theater and art — including paintings, statues, videos and live performances. On April 8, painters, sculptors, calligraphers and filmmakers from all over Baltimore showcased their work at Asia North Exhibition 2022, an event meant to empower regional Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander artists and to express resilience, power and pride. The free event hosted a performance from the Hopkins Yong Han Lion Dance and EN’B, who sang, “We’re not a virus. Racism is a virus.” 

COURTESY OF JENNIFER JIANG


A local favorite for Hopkins students, Jong Kak serves tabletop Korean barbecue (cost varies based on your selection), Seafood Pancake ($9.95) and Jja Jang Myun — noodles with brown Peking sauce ($12.95). The place became a runner-up for Best Korean Restaurant in the Best of Baltimore Readers’ Poll released in January 2022 by Baltimore Magazine. Jong Kak features a karaoke lounge on its second floor where people can take turns singing songs, a common entertainment form in Asian cultures.

Hopkins students often think about Remington, Hampden or Inner Harbor when considering places to visit during the weekend. While these places have their own charm, Station North offers a hub for people to discover new and exciting artworks, from street paintings to self-portraits.

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