Quincy Market could get tarted up

The Herald reports the company that now manages Faneuil Hall Marketplace is looking at some big changes for the Quincy Market building - possibly including escalators and construction of two two-story glass "sheds" for new retailers.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

    Free tagging: 

    Comments

    Quincy Market is the greatest

    Quincy Market is the greatest embarrassment our city suffers. I could vomit just thinking about the waste of it. It is an idiotic mall's food court and why I ask is it that?

    I do like the socks at Uniqlo however so that would be a nice addition.

    up
    10

    Ha

    I'm not sure I'd vomit, but I have to agree. A great space right in the middle of our city and it's junk stores, tacky restaurants, and a food court. I live nearby and whenever people ask for directions there, I always feel like telling them not to bother.

    I worked over there for about

    I worked over there for about seven years. If I relied on that food court for my daily lunch, I would have been bankrupt. It's a tourist trap, pure and simple.

    This would probably never happen for various business and practical reasons, but what if at least a sense of Quincy Market's original function were restored? It seems to me that in this era of "buy local," and "grass fed," a series of small, local, high-quality food merchants could do really well here. To have had a food-shopping option in Quincy Market while I worked over there, even if that option was a little overpriced, would have been heaven. I did frequently schlepp over to the North End, and yes, there is the Haymarket and those sketchy butchers located by the Greenway, but I never got anything super decent from the Haymarket and I never trusted the quality of those butchers.

    Shopping-wise, the non-tourists stores (e.g. not the Build-a-Bear, flip-flop store, Cheers, etc.) outlets always seemed to be busy. These developers are missing an opportunity here. It's my understanding that Quincy Market was never intended to become a tourist destination, but rather serve local residents.

    up
    10

    I think so...

    They seem to be doing work to the building now. I guess it wasn't a good idea to let it sit unused for 10+ years after it was built. That absolutely killed me every time I walked by. A multi-story building owned by the state and they refused to do anything with it.

    What's not to gripe about? It

    No it didn't take long. It was the first comment. And what's not to gripe about? It's easy because it's so true it doesn't even need to be said. I would agree with that. Let's just stop talking about it and leave it as a tatty embarrassing stain.

    I know it was a Market Place--but I imagine it was perhaps some kind of market that sold rotten fish and decaying vegetables and that is what I would really like it to be again. Or maybe they could upgrade it a bit and make it more like that big market in Philly with all the good places to eat and the stalls selling fresh vegetables and unrotten fish and they could even let some of the guys from the nearby outdoor market at Hay Market sell some of their rotten things inside. That is what I would do if I were King.

    Wikipedia puts it at #7 in

    Wikipedia puts it at #7 in the US, some other website at #8.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourist_attractions_in_the_United_States

    http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-most-visited-tourist-a...

    I imagine it depends on who you ask. In any case, it's highly indicative of the horrible taste displayed by most American tourists ("Look, Honey, it's a mall!"). Anyone doubting this should visit Times Square some time.

    up
    11

    Great source. And you're

    Great source. And you're right about the mall allure. Look at some of attractions at the top of the list. Times Square, Fisherman's Wharf (floating mall), Mall Of America (mall mall), The National Mall (people probably get pissed they visit it and it's not an actual mall).

    It's a shame. Faneuil Hall has the potential to be so much more.

    To defend Matt, I believe

    To defend Matt, I believe that Quincy Market was INCREDIBLY popular when it first opened in the late 1970s because, at the time, the "festival marketplace" was a unique idea. It might have indeed been the second most visited spot in the US for a few years. Since the late 1970s, however, the concept has been copied in countless locations, according to the list in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_marketplace

    People are no longer scared to come into urban centers. (Or, at least, as scared. I'm reminded of a friend's father who told me he never comes into the city without carrying a gun, and I immediately felt a whole lot less safe around him.) I think the whole concept is an idea that's well past its prime.

    Um... I've was taking the

    Um... I've was taking the train into boston alone since I was 14. Not scared and didn't feel the need to arm myself with a deadly weapon. Gun nuts are paranoid!! Lived in Chicago and never carried a gun and felt perfectly safe 95% of the time. Currently live in Boston and don't feel threatened and have no desire to carry a gun. I find it odd that macho suburban men are scared of the city yet plenty of us ladies who live here feel relatively safe and secure and are able to keep our street smarts and wits about us without packing heat.

    Enough ! If those over priced

    Enough ! If those over priced charlatans can't make enough money now, too bad. Stop contaminating the original essence of this place. If you want a flea market in the area , bulldoze the concrete wall City Hall and build it there.Maybe City Hall should take over one of those buildings for itself, and cull the merchants in the rest of the place to restore some dignity down there. The people will still come.

    Not "like", exactly, but it has its place

    When Dad comes in from the far-flung suburbs for a Celtics game, we'll usually grab a quick bite there.

    Or if you have a number of visitors, it's fine because you don't all have to agree on a place and everyone can just get their own thing.

    That said, I never and would probably never take myself there by myself.

    Now & then

    My recollection is that, when it first opened, it was almost exclusively local. The original upstairs arcade tenants were primarily the same butchers & purveyors who had worked out of the building before it was renovated while the two major restaurants were Durgin Park & Romagnoli's Table. I don't recall any national chains to speak of nor as many places selling touristy knick-knacks. And there was always a healthy mix of locals & tourists. I also recall that the North & South Markets had retail only on the ground floor with offices above, providing a sort of captive clientele for lunch & dinner.

    Agreed

    This is my recollection as well. I used to love coming in to Boston (grew up in a northern suburb) and checking out stores I would only find there.

    I'm certain rents went up until only national chains could afford them. There are some shops that are unique (gems and stones and crystals store, I'm thinking of you) that I don't see anywhere easily found, but there aren't many of them.

    A drink at the Ames Plow is always good, but other than that, it's good for a once every two years visit. Unless I have out of town guests. Maybe

    An observation

    Many of the trudging tourists seem to end up at the shoe stores that sell decent walking shoes, and exit the area with their failed footwear in the boxes and the new stuff on their feet.

    Yes, cobble stones, lots of walking - you need good shoes for that!

    Durgin Park

    Still has the best Indian Pudding in the area. Sometimes when I'm over that area I'll stop in just to have a dish, usually making the waitress grumpy.

    A contrary opinion, if I may...

    I work in tourism. Specifically, I work as a tour guide, mostly with group tours. The clients I work with can be 5th graders or 8th graders or high school students, or older citizens from the Midwest, or a group from England, or just about any other kind of group. Quincy Market is incredibly popular with these groups. Whether elementary students or senior citizens, New Yorkers, Iowans, or Australians, just about all of them enjoy going there. You can pull the bus up, let the people off, give them a few suggestions about what's around (and where the restrooms are) and tell them to be back at the bus in an hour or whatever. They love it. I've been doing this for over 30 years now and Quincy Market still has the same attraction to these groups that it's always had.

    For families walking the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market is also a welcome interlude with a wide variety of choices for a quick lunch or for shopping -- and, yes, public restrooms, which are a rarity along the Trail.

    This may not have been Kevin White's original intention, but it has been working extremely well for quite a long time now.

    Maybe some of the shops need to be freshened up, but Quincy Market as it is today fills a significant need, and there's no other place in Boston that meets that need. (And there are few other places on the east coast that appeal to tourist groups that way, either.)

    For group meal breaks, the only other remote alternatives are the Prudential Center Food Court and the Cambridgeside Galleria. Both of these have much more limited menu options, and lines at the Pru can get extremely long. Neither of those is located in a historic section of the city, and neither of them could handle dozens of buses each day (in addition to their existing business).

    Take away Quincy Market -- or make the wrong kind of changes to it -- and the city of Boston will lose a big chunk of its appeal to visitors.

    Quincy Market

    Bring in more local vendors, not national chains! Show off what makes Boston unique. Also, add real seating to the rotunda, not those 100 year old wooden blocks they call seats. Better planning and design would mean more and better seating. One way to help accomplish this would be to get rid of the trolley tour stands in there to add more seating space. They are every two feet outside who needs them inside as well?

    It seems familiarity breeds

    It seems familiarity breeds contempt. Although I agree that some of these food stalls and stores should be less chain-driven and more local and homegrown, it's up to the owners to make that decision as they can charge some pretty high rents for those spaces that a lot of small local companies can't provide, unless someone subsidizes them. That being said, it's easy for locals to dismiss these historic buildings as just a glorified food court - but locals in any city tend to overlook how familiar landmarks may be a source of fascination to outsiders. I'm sure there are people in Philly and Seattle complaining about their overgrown and touristy 'food courts' as well (when I was at Pike's Market, there were more tourists watching fish being thrown than locals actually buying fish). That doesn't take away from the unique historic places they have in those cities.