They just couldn't keep the facade up any longer

Zoe facade

Maggie Beiser forwards this photo by James McClurkin of the remains of the front of Zoe's Chinese Restaurant on Beacon Street in Somerville, which plummeted to the ground this morning. Mamajoan photographed city officials surveying the damage.

Dan O'Brien notes the collapse is particularly odd since the building was renovated within the past three to four years.



Free tagging: 


I'm strangely unsurprised

That building has been through several hands in recent years, and whenever I've been inside, it's seemed a little ramshackle. The facade was new, but the bones of the building always seemed a bit dodgy to me (I used to get Sunday brunch next door at the place occupied now by Mixtura).

This building used to abut a truly dismal old VFW post that was condemned and razed by the city a few years ago, and which, if memory serves, actually leaned on the wall of this building for a time right at the end.

collaps on beacon st.

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lots of bad info: the vfw was not raised by the city and the beautiful building not in the picture has been built on that sight. there was no structural work done on the Chinese restaurant, just paint the facade has been out of true for many years.


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homophones are words that are pronounced the same, but have different meanings. they may or may not be spelled alike. razed and raised are pronounced the same, but they are very different words.

This is going to sound weird, I know

I usually bike down Somerville Ave. to Park Ave. and then make a left on Beacon to head into the city during my morning commute.

As I turned onto Park Ave, I pulled over so that a police car could rush down Park to turn right on Beacon. Suddenly, emergency vehicles were coming from all directions down Beacon, down Park to Beacon, etc.

The weird part: I could smell Chinese food ... a VERY STRONG scent of Chinese food, which is somewhat odd at that time of the morning. In the evening there are enough such restaurants to explain it. The smell persisted until I cut off at Inman Square to get over to Broadway.

I guess I now know where that "Chinese food" smell was coming from!


It is Park Street. My bad.

I thought the 911 system made them get rid of the duplicates?

Park Ave. is only a block long! Not much of an avenue, but, then again, my home address is a "Road" that is a dead end half block.


Get rid of duplicate names?

Where did you hear that? Not only do we have non-intersecting Highland Road and Highland Avenue, but also: Hall Street and Hall Avenue; two Oxford Streets (one of which is mostly in Cambridge, but has houses in Somerville); Laurel Street, Avenue, and Terrace; Chester Street, Place, and Avenue; Cedar Street, Avenue, Court, and Street Place; etc. etc.

Not to mention Park Place, which doesn't intersect either Park Street or Park Avenue.

And Cambridge has buildings

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And Cambridge has buildings with addresses on two Elm Streets nowhere near each other, because of the houses which front a few blocks of Somerville's Elm Street.

Cameron Ave.

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Not to mention the goat-screw that is Cameron Ave. They didn't link up the numbering so there are duplicates on the opposite side of the Cambridge-Somerville line. 38 Cameron Ave. is 1/10 of a mile from the 38 Cameron Ave. on the other side.


Required by Enhanced 911

Enhanced 911 generally demands that communities rename streets with duplicate names to avoid confusion in dispatch. Not certain how Boston ever got around that, or Somerville for that matter. It was and still is pretty standard when implementing Enhanced 911 service.

There were a lot of fits thrown about it around here, and Boston got into a fight over it years ago that stalled full implementation of 911 systems for a time.

Do a web search and you will see that communities are still being asked to comply and rename streets with duplicate names.

Enhanced 9-1-1 required

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Enhanced 9-1-1 required communities to rename streets with duplicate names. Park St and Park Ave are NOT duplicates. In Medford for example there were two Cedar Roads-the correction was to name one of them Cedar Rd. North. In Boston, there are distinct neighborhoods, which negates the need for renaming, and there was no delay in implementation (I work in Boston, and one of my qualifications is as a 9-1-1 operator). In fact, the Boston portion of the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) was completed LONG before most communities even had a basic 9-1-1 service in place.

Properzi Way

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I think my favorite is Properzi Way, which does not connect to itself. It would be fully parallel to Park St but half of it is accessible from Somerville Ave and the other half from Beacon St. They can be connected if you turn down Village, then Dane, then Tyler... or if you punch a hole through Brooklyn Boulders.


Smelled like Chinese food?

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Smelled like Chinese food? You were a lot closer to China Delight (Somerville Ave. and Park St.) than the scene of the accident.

9:30 in the morning?

I know where China Delight is - but Park St. is also over a half mile long. I usually only pickup the China Delight smell after I cross the tracks headed toward it in the evening.

In the morning I typically get hit first by the Portuguese sweet bread baking on Somerville Ave, then nothing until get the odd whiff of Petzi's on Beacon, and then the Biscuit on the corner of Washington and Beacon.

The time and location for Chinese food scents were very very odd. It could be that the facade loss meant that the smell of anything they were pre-cooking for the day's menu whooshed out.


Last Night

Wow. I rode by there last night around 11pm on my home from downtown. It didn't look out of the ordinary at the time. I hope no one was nearby when that happened.


But seriously folks, what's up with a building just falling apart like that?

Photo credit

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Also- just wanted to correct that the photo I tweeted was actually taken by my neighbor, Joe Shea. Thanks Joe!


photo credit correction, again

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And, Joe Shea just corrected me that the photo was taken by his contact James McClurkin @jamesmcclurkin


Kung POW facade

I've driven past this restaurant many times and was never tempted to stop and go inside. Was the food any good? A new face lift could be a blessing.

It's fantastic. It's

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It's fantastic. It's generally raved about in all sorts of media, including the Boston Globe.