It Can Be Hard to Sell a House on Hampden’s 34th Street

It Can Be Hard to Sell a House on One of the Merriest Blocks in the Country

Christmas Decorations Get Supersized on This Baltimore Street, Sometimes Surprising New Arrivals

By Scott Calvert (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 5, 2014)


BALTIMORE—Out house-hunting, Sam Sokolinsky thought the red row house in the traditionally working-class Hampden neighborhood here might be a good buy at $218,000. The place has four bedrooms, a parking space out back and a sweeping view of the city.

But there was one wrinkle: Christmas.

The holidays get supersize on the 700 block of West 34th Street. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the otherwise unremarkable stretch is transformed into a riot of over-the-top lights and decorations. Houses are festooned with adornments including a hubcap tree, a crèche made of vinyl records, a big light-encrusted crab. Steamed blue crabs are a Baltimore specialty.

Gawkers come from all over to soak it up.

“I would be, like, the only house without the lights,” said Mr. Sokolinsky, a 38-year-old clinical data architect and professed nondecorator. “I just didn’t want to be that guy.”

It isn’t easy living on one of the most Christmassy blocks in the country.

Many residents say they glory in the excitement and attention. Some moved here to get in on the tradition. But life in a winter wonderland brings more than glad tidings for the neighbors, who must deal with high public expectations, traffic jams, a parking shortage, litter and nosy visitors.

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