You're Gonna Need a Permit for That Giant Flamingo

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Flickr
    These pink guys are official.

    Baltimore has long embraced its inner tackiness, and places like Cafe Hon are at the forefront of that, taking as it does the name of the beehive hairdo-bearing ladies who are a totem for Bawlmer.

    A major part of the "hon" aesthetic is over-the-top kitschiness, so it made sense to the owner to erect a large flamingo sculpture made of chicken wire and bedsheet and attach it to a steel fire escape above the Hampden cafe's entrance seven years ago.

    While technically not illegal, The Baltimore Sun reported that city officials said the flamingo juts into "the public right of way" meaning that the city is able to levy a tax for it hanging where it is. Unless owner Denise Whiting agrees to pay, the sculpture must be removed.

    While the timing of the notice to Whiting sounds abrupt given that the flamingo has been in place for seven years, investigations by local government agencies that deal with public spaces are often spurred by citizen complaints. So some joykill of a neighbor may have decided that they had had enough of the thing. It's also possible an inspector spotted it while checking on the outdoor seating that Cafe Hon pays to have on the sidewalk.

    Either way, what once was a distinguishing accessory for a charming cafe now becomes a regulatory headache for its owner.

     And so bureaucracy continued on its long march to the complete extinguishing of fun.