Monday, June 23, 2008

Harbor News


Open Mon–Fri 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat and Sun 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
1010 Aliceanna Street
410-244-5140
www.harbor-news.com

I love this place. As the owner, Maryland native Christini Cieri, says on her website "Baltimore needed a good newsstand and now it has one." I'll second that, and send a shout out to CC as one of Baltimore's cultural arts heroes, joining the ranks of Scott Huffines - and now Benn Ray & Rachel Whang - who begat and sustained Atomic Books, Ian Nagoski who planted the seed of True Vine Records, Mike and Barry who continue to fight the good fight against the evil axis of Blockbuster/NetFlix/OnDemand at Video Americain and the collective souls who maintain the Normal's Books & Music collective. For this is yet another local treasure, one we should give thanks for every day because, like those aforementioned esteemed establishments, this is another "labor of love" endeavor, one that isn't going to make its owner rich. No, people like Christini Cieri and the folks I just mentioned typically made their money elsewhere and then put it all into doing something they love because they believe in making Baltimore a better place to live with better services to offer (plus it beats working for The Man!).


Zine Scene: 3000 titles await at Harbor News

Located in Yuppie-friendly Harbor East, Harbor News opened in May 2006 and immediately gained attention for its (exhaustively) comprehensive - over 3000 titles! - selection of magazines and newspapers from around the world (see reviews below). It's also the only place in town where you can buy Variety, at least according to Divine Trash director Steve Yeager, whom I ran into while he was buying the newest ish. And if Harbor News does not stock a title you're looking for, Ms. Cieri will do her best to track it down for you. For example, I mentioned one day that the only title I couldn't find there was the freebie alternative paper Arthur. Christina explained that this title was not carried by her distributor. But she remembered my request and, on her next trip to New York, she brought copies of Arthur back with her. Now that's customer service!

Please note that Harbor News operates as a "cashless society." That is, you'll need a debit or credit card to purchase items, as they don't keep cash on hand. This is a security measure to guard against robberies.


And there's food - and drink - for thought, too

And while I mentioned all the mags and zines harbor News carries, I should also point out that the store stocks exotic foreign drinks (like Japanese marble sodas) and candies (like "Honees," the Italian "Honey Filled Drops" that send my girlfriend into orgasmic frenzy every time she pops one into her mouth) as well as an impressive selection of domestic and foreign cards, journals and knick-knacks.


Amy effuses: "I just love Harbor News' Honey Filled Drops!"

Sadly, I noticed on a recent visit that Thong magazine is no longer carried in the Gentlemen's Periodicals section, though I'm sure its audience can find solace in the pages of Front, Raw, Curves, and Smooth.

Reviews & Awards

Baltimore Magazine
Best of Baltimore 2007
"Best unexpected place to find last-minute gifts"

We went to Harbor News, 1010 Aliceanna Street, 410-244-5140, for a magazine and came out with a birthday present: a leather-bound atlas from Graphic Image. We used to raid Whole Foods for our “of course we remembered your birthday” loot, but that was before we found Harbor News with its Original Crown Mill vintage journals in yellow, orange, and blue; Japanese and Italian treats such as sodas and sparkling waters; and crème-filled wafers and Pretz snacks. Plus, the bawdy and hilarious Naughty Betty, Sock Monkey, and Selfish Kitty greeting cards rival those at any stationery shop.

City Paper
Best of Baltimore 2007
"Best Place To Buy Magazines"

Perhaps it's provincial of us, but almost two years later, we're still giddy over the fact that Baltimore has its own quality big-city standalone newsstand at last. Harbor News' spot on an unassuming corner on the edge of Harbor East makes it a destination rather than a fall-by for us, but we make the pilgrimage regularly to pick up obscure music mags, art journals, a coupla pounds of several different international flavors of fashion mag, and newspapers from all over, as well as the usual trash-mag suspects and big-circ slicks. We sometimes feel bad that we spend more money on mags than, say, books, but Harbor News' selection makes it a no-brainer.

City Paper
Best of Baltimore 2006
"Best Newstand"

We need magazines and newspapers like we need air, but we never look forward to writing up this category. See, Baltimore hasn't had a good stand-alone newsstand in, well, we couldn't tell ya, and while we usually manage to fix up at the various megabookstore racks, we don't always get off. And aren't good newsstands one of the hallmarks of a happenin' city? Thanks to the recently opened Harbor News, however, Baltimore now has an independent stand that rivals the chains for comprehensiveness and exceeds them in depth and taste, and boy are we excited to tell you about it. In addition to the usual suspects (your Vanity Fair, your Atlantic, your Dwell, your Mass Appeal), Harbor News goes deep. Looking for a copy of Al-Ahram in Arabic to go with your NASCAR Weekly? Check. Six different flavors of international Vogue? Check. Japanese surfer mags, in Japanese? Check. Harbor News has literal walls of good periodical reading, and it's open early (7 a.m. on weekdays, 9 on weekends) and stays open until 9 p.m. The only thing the big chains have over Harbor is big comfy chairs, but then again, this ain't a library.

Style Magazine
September/October 2006
Savvy Shopper column
"Harbor News"

At the end of her very busy week, Savvy loves nothing more than playing hooky from her Friday evening plans with a full bottle of wine, a fully loaded TiVo and a basket full of magazines. While Savvy would love to say that she tucks in with The Economist, her tastes in reading run a little more US and a little less Utne. Until Harbor News moved to Inner Harbor East (1010 Aliceanna St., 410-244-5140), Savvy suffered with nary a proper newsstand in sight. But thanks to Harbor News owner and fellow mag junkie Christina Cieri, who stocks more than 3,000 titles from across the U.S. and around the world, Savvy can now indulge her passion for everything from Harper’s to Harpers & Queen.

Urbanite Magazine
August 2006
Have You Heard… column
"Newsstand"

Baltimore finally has a real newsstand! Harbor News, which opened on May 8, has already become a hotspot for the city, which until now lacked a comprehensive news center. Harbor News carries three thousand foreign and domestic newspapers and magazines, and owner Christina Cieri can special-order periodicals requested by customers. “I’m into getting what you want,” she says. Cieri, an Anne Arundel County native who worked in New York for several years as a producer for commercials and radio, opened the newsstand in Baltimore so that she could work at something she loves while providing the city with a service it needs. The store carries standards like The New York Times and Glamour, plus international publications like Chinese newspaper World Journal, French paper Le Figaro, the Japanese edition of home decor magazine Elle Deco, and Italian architecture magazine Interni. (Michael Anft, Urbanite #26, August 2006)

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