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Baltimore's The Block is a stretch on the block of East Baltimore Street in BaltimoreMaryland containing several strip clubssex shopsand other adult entertainment merchants.
In the first half of the 20th century, it was famous for its burlesque houses. It was a noted starting point and stop-over for many noted burlesque dancers, including the likes of Blaze Starr.
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By the s, the clubs became seedier, as burlesque was replaced by strip clubs and sex shops. The decades to follow would bring a marked increase in general crimeprostitutionand drug dealing, an unusual situation considering the location of Baltimore's Police Headquarters and Central Police District House at the east end of the block. It has been suggested that the police, whose headquarters are located literally next to The Block, choose to contain the prostitution and drug dealing in that small section of Baltimore rather than combat it.
The passing decades would see a shrinking of the area. Once several blocks long, stretching almost to Charles Street in the central part of downtown Baltimore, today The Block only stretches about two blocks long from South Street to Gay Street.
Polock Johnny 's sausage restaurant was a local landmark on the strip into the s. In recent years, The Block has undergone a bit of a revival with the opening of Larry Flynt 's Hustler Club, and its next-door neighbor Norma Jean's, an upscale urban strip club. A five alarm fire on December 6, heavily damaged four buildings, including the building that formerly housed the Gayety Theater. The fire was believed to be an act of arson.
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