For the better part of 1988, I was part of a fraternity that involved not pledge names but nametags and aprons. We journeyed from near and far, from the city and outlying counties, to meet in metal-and-glass palaces of commerce and tourism. We were bound in the fleeting pursuit of fun, camaraderie and extra cash to present the best of Baltimore in edible and retail form.

We were Harborplace employees, and we made an impact on our area’s history forged in grease, jeans and, in my case, fudge. The pavilions on Pratt and Light Streets have long since stood mostly empty, but as we await the renewed future of the space, I’m proud of the way the workforce, including lots of young people, once made it hum and survive.

This story is part of a deep dive into the future of Harborplace

I worked as a cashier at The Fudgery, motivated by the need to pay for prom expenses. I met celebrities like Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek, fraternized with other youngsters and lived the Baltimore equivalent of a John Hughes movie — if those movies had included Black people.

As we chronicle the ongoing development of Harborplace, I want to hear from my fellow regulars. Did you fold jeans at the Gap? Hang out on the paddleboats? Go to the teen night at the P.T. Flagg’s club? Get a cheap slice because that’s all you could afford and just soak up the ambience of the vibrant development for free? What brought you downtown to the then-heart of the city? How did you get there? What did you learn about Baltimore, its visitors and yourself during that time? And what do you want to see in the renaissance?

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Please fill out the form below, and let us know if you want to talk further. Can’t wait to hear your stories.