Pennies for Poe: Near the Diner Grill, A Bowl of Change for the Literary Giant

By Laura Vozzella (Baltimore Sun, 4/13/2011)

Baltimore schoolkids collected pennies nearly 150 years ago to save Edgar Allan Poe the indignity of lying in an unmarked grave. Now another “Pennies for Poe” campaign is under way, this time with the intention of sparing his North Amity Street house from closure.

Which brings us to the fishbowl on the counter at G&A Restaurant on Eastern Avenue, not far from the grill where Coney Island hot dogs sizzle.

How does Baltimore’s literary giant get mixed up with a Highlandtown diner?

Photo by David Robert Crews,

Rafael Alvarez, that’s how. The author, Highlandtowner and former Baltimore Sun reporter is president of the Poe Society of Baltimore.

…Alvarez asked Andy Farantos, owner of G&A, to put a fishbowl out on the counter where people can throw in pennies.

Why G&A?

“I’m personal friends with the guy who owns the joint, and he said, ‘Yeah, go ahead. Put up the fishbowl,'” Alvarez said. “That’s how things work in Baltimore.”

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