Justice demands they hold their first meeting at 3 a.m. at the South Street Diner

Mayor Walsh has appointed 24 people to a Late Night Task Force (one for each hour?) to figure out how to wake up the City that Always Sleeps by giving parts of Boston that late-night life that all the other world-class cities seem to have already figured out how to provide. And he hopes to have at least some pilot later-night offerings open to the public this summer.

Among other things, the task force will make recommendations on which business districts and neighborhoods could support establishments open into the wee hours (so relax, West Roxbury), how to deal with current liquor licenses that mandate the end of alcohol sales no later than 2 a.m., and how to get people to and from the later-night zones (so relax, Roslindale, since the T doesn't think you need late-night service).

The Task Force is working with students at the Harvard Kennedy School who have analyzed how other cities have approached expanded late night activities, surveyed young people, and mapped liquor license and crime statistics, Boston’s street lights, and where young adults live.

The task force will be co-chaired by Rory Cuddyer of the mayor's office and John Fitzgerald of the BRA. Members are:

  • Bill Lee, Owner, Hong Kong Restaurant
  • Bob Luz, President/CEO, Massachusetts Restaurant Association
  • Brian Carthas, Associate, Openview Ventures
  • Brian Davis, District Sales Manager, EMC Corporation
  • Carol Downs, Co-owner and General Manager, Bella Luna Restaurant & The Milky Way Lounge
  • Chloe Ryan, Manager, ONEin3 Program
  • David Colella, General Manager, Colonnade Hotel
  • Dean Kenneth Elmore, Dean of Students, Boston University
  • Duncan Brown, Chief Operating Officer, Newbury Comics
  • Jamie Chisholm, Vice President, Resolute Consulting LLC
  • Jim Doolin, Chief Development Officer, Massport
  • Jorge Mendoza, Co-owner and Chef, Vinoteca di Monica
  • Kareem Agha, Account Executive, Bullhorn
  • Kate Ziegler, Co-Director, Hollaback! Boston
  • Kelly Gifford, Director of External Relations, ICA
  • Lauren Campbell, Student, UMass Boston
  • Marvin McMoore, Student, Northeastern University
  • Meg Mainzer-Cohen, President and Executive Director, Back Bay Association
  • Police Sergeant (Det.) Robert Mulvey, Boston Police Department
  • Russ deMariano, Owner, Goodcheer Enterprises, Redbrook Restaurant Group
  • Edrie Edrie, Accordionist, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys
  • Sidney Baptista, Senior Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Teresa Coffey-Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer Millennium Partners Sports Club Management LLC
  • Vincent Petryk, Owner, JP Licks



Free tagging: 


I always thought that Allston

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I always thought that Allston could be the 24 hour Hotspot as it seems most things are open beyond 11:30pm and with so many students there it would fit perfectly in a 24/7.

I could see the South End as well, but I don't know if the residence would like that idea.



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Tailor made for it: It's the most big-city of all our neighborhoods, it's filled with people who are moving there specifically because they want to be in a big-city environment (well, except for maybe some residents at Tremont on the Common and a few people on South Street), it already has numerous establishments with liquor licenses, there are hotels there and it's full of T stops.



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But depends where. Not sure you want to be renting a $5k a month apartment above where the revelers are reveling at 3 am.

Very interesting mix of people - college students and business interests - tells me the mayor has stacked the deck and want this to happen. More a question of how - not if.

This could get very interesting. I will repeat my usual mantra - I've never seen anything good happen in a bar after 1 am.

I know we have lots of Big Apple envy around here but that's not a reasonable comparison - anyone know what closing times are like in other medium sized cities (say 500k to 1 million peeps?)


I noticed the students and

I noticed the students and thought that was a great idea.

NYC is always held up as the city that never sleeps, but in my experience, vasts swaths of it do sleep--quite soundly. There's usually at least a 24-hour bodega, if not a proper market open, and perhaps a diner. Most of the 24-hour activity is in residential neighborhoods, which seems counter intuitive until you think about who is making that 2am beer run. But bars always close (hence, beer run.) A 24-hour bar sounds like a bad idea.

Allston/Brighton, sections of Huntington and Mass Aves, and Chinatown seem like the spots to begin this experiment.


24 Hour Bars

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Take a trip to New Orleans. 24 hour drinking AND you can drink openly on the streets. Walking out of a bar to the morning sunlight is an interesting experience. I don't think thats a good idea for Boston though. The amount of young people in Boston is way too high for that to be a reasonable idea.



I bought a pint of Abita at 1am, and walked the streets drinking it in a "go cup".

At a CVS.

Granted, it was a big party night and people were thronging in the streets (as in the Saints had just kicked go-ahead field goal for a trip to the Super Bowl), but it was still an amazing early Monday morning experience.

Or Vegas

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Vegas is also a good model. Grocery Stores open 24 hours for the people working at 24 hour casinos, bars, security, etc.

Drinking on the streets

is what adds life to a place rather than dark rooms open for people to sit and drink. Instead here there is no picnicking on the Charles with any wine or beer, no hanging out in a park drinking or smoking anything.

Dance clubs and 24 hour raves, even outdoors in public parks (think Montreal) again makes a place more vibrant.


I live downtown next to the

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I live downtown next to the movie theater on Tremont. One becomes accustomed to, especially during windows-open weather, awakening at exactly 2:00am. "Shrieking drunken young woman" seems to carry particularly well in the still night air.

Having said that I agree that one does and should not move downtown for the tranquility, I can see no big issue with even later shrieking.



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I've never seen anything good happen in a bar after 1 am.

Nothing?! That's a pretty strong statement. Have you been out after 1 am? Ever?

I guess I don't get out much myself anymore but I've seen plenty of good after 1 am in bars. Like getting another drink. Or having a nice conversation with my friends. Or a round of late night darts.

Is it so hard to imagine?


late night

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How about a couple of residents and taxpayers who are not connected and thus have no vested interest.


Well, nothing in the human urban conceit sphere.

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But I assure you out in that natural world where all the other species can be found, 3am in May is jumping.

That's when the first noise maker, our basic thrush called the robin begins its vesper caroling.

This tells all the other Avians that sun is approaching and when the candlepower hits their preference, their turn happens.

Around here in Inman it seems to be the cardinals. I saw a raccoon couple coming in for the night on the Webster Ave rail bridge in Somerville at 6am. The raccoon pups are making their strange noises now. Mockingbirds are our Nightingales and do extended treetop solos in the pre daybreak hours.

Also, too.. owls.

That aside, I lived through a decade at the west coast urban green acres counterpart to Boston, Seattle, and they too had fits of hand wringing about world classness. As I never tire of iterating, if you even have to use concepts like world class, you already lost.

This gin mill windfall may end up biting the city in the ass. At the end of the day there may be a critical mass of population and some culture-intrinsic stuff that really determines this night life thing you so hope for.

Knowing Boston back in the days of gacking til dawn after last call, I assure you it will mostly boil down to a handful of comparative insomniac crackpots once the novelty wears off.

If that happens, a bunch of ginmills and satellite biz things will end up getting hosed in another Boston episode of "All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go'.

But keep that hope on its eternal spring and with luck a new progressive sun will set on a nightlife throb that will make Vegas go apoplectic with envy.


What are you talking about?

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Here's a tip - if you can write something in ten words as opposed to thirty, do it.


I dunno

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He did a good job noting what is going in nature at 3 AM, and he has the common decency to use a screen name (not verified)


Well yeah..

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I'm a content maker and am easy to look up. I didn't bother registering because I don't feel a need to.

I also like what Adam does as a content maker and quietly promote it in my Google Plus page.

The duckling rescue piece was a hit with friends in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, and Croatia among a few.

The Plus Community, "Urban Travel" regularly gets U Hub link posts and people like Adam's stuff there.

I'm also trying to be thoughtful about blog whoring and don't usually toss links to unrelated stuff from my content suite. I don't need to.


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I was (not verified) for a long time, but like you never "anon"

Keep up keeping up!

The enabler

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Mayor will have to double the amount of cops working the third shift. Right now if you call 911 after mid nite you're looking at a long wait for a cop to show if it's not a drive by shooting.


24 people, all business

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24 people, all business interests, 2 students, no neighborhood residents. Am I the only one who sees a problem here?


It's a stacked deck.

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Duncan used to run Rounder when I worked there. He must have migrated to Newbury after the Rounder owners cashed out with EMI and now it is all on the skids.

Edrie has been downstairs at my building with her partner Walter Sickert in something called "Army of Broken Toys' ..part of the Amanda Palmer circus.

I was underwhelmed but taste is a personal thing and a following must exist somewhere.

The list looks like it was drawn up by his campaign manager, who was the most effective independent booking agent in town back in the day.

But she got hired by Sub Pop where she collided with fail and was less than popular with the Seattle locals who helped to build Sub Pop.

She was already leaving town when I showed up there in 96.

At the end of the day you need a critical mass of population. Nightlife doesn't scale well and a 600k urban core population doesn't cut it. Las Vegas is purpose built for nightlife so that would be a notable exception

While it is true that nearly 2 million or so live within the 495 doughnut, the burbs are very fragmented and have their own little sub scenes.

When I was a young hoodlum in Reading in the 70s, the older thugs retained me as a kind of guide to find the Shanty Lounge on Northampton St where crappy heroin could be found. Boston was an utter mystery to them even though it was a mere 12 miles south

There won't be many people driving from Framingham or Attleboro to partake in this night life.


Underrepresented late night businesses

How many late night pizza shop owners near campuses are on the list? Dealers of coke, crack, molly, and meth? Providers of personal services? Managers of dance clubs and rave promoters?


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The list of task force members reads as mostly college representatives, transportation folks, leaders of respectable businesses (many of whom seem like they have no dog in this fight--is JP Licks really going to have 24-hour stores? What does Price-Waterhouse-Cooper get out of this?), and then... the Hong Kong.

I have two strong words for how late nights around here are going to look in five years.




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I'm guessing a lot of those "leaders of respectable businesses" live in the City, and you don't think PWC cares about something like this? Every year they're recruiting against NYC for new employees, I'm guessing this will have either a positive (most likely) or negative effect on those efforts.

If you need a task force to

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If you need a task force to figure this out, you're never going to get it. You don't zone late night areas, it just happens organically in other places where you don't need to get a permit from the city every time you want to wipe your ass.


Yeah, you do zone late night areas

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And then you step away and see what happens.

When not overdone, Zoning's a good thing - it keeps us from turning into a Dallas or Framingham where you have shopping malls and office buildings right on top of residential areas (and even Framingham eventually got a clue and came up with some zoning).

Framingham is interesting.

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The north up by Nobscot is less dense and has great open space parcels at Callahan State Park and some Sudbury Valley Trustee properties.

Urban Framingham is like Somerville was before it became valuable and then there is suburbia hell in the mall culture clusters along route 9.

I followed a bit of Bay Circuit Trail through a ghost tract development where it heads north after the Sudbury Reservoir section along the Marlborough border. Street pattern remnants have been reclaimed by second growth forest.

I have been surprised to see a decent degree of equilibrium between development and preservation in many places where I didn't expect to find it.

To me, Framingham is Concord

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To me, Framingham is Concord St and Union Ave, so I was a little surprised when you trotted it out as an example of "soul-crushing malls."

Like Somerville?

Subsidized housing, illegal aliens, drugs, crime? Yes. This is the most rapidly changing aspect of Framingham.



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When not overdone, Zoning's a good thing - it keeps us from turning into a Dallas or Framingham where you have shopping malls and office buildings right on top of residential areas (and even Framingham eventually got a clue and came up with some zoning).

Shopping malls and office buildings next to residential neighborhoods?!

That might mean you could ... walk ... to your job, or nearby retail stores?!

The horror.

Right way/wrong way

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Think South End, Back Bay, downtown, maybe eventually the seaport.

Then there's Framingham.

Very different worlds.



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Yeah, I know what you mean. Giant mall complexes / office "parks" with massive surface parking lots, big roads, etc, that nobody would want to live next to. But the whole reason those things exist in the first place is because of zoning: minimum parking requirements, setbacks, height restrictions, and general sparsity caused by zoning rules designed to "spread things out."

All the good neighborhoods in Boston were developed before the advent of zoning laws in the mid 1950s.

What has been created since then? Nothing anywhere near as good. Thanks to zoning.

Like I said

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Right way wrong way. Back Bay wasn't just zoned. It's literally America's first planned community. Grid pattern streets, required set backs, height limits, all those bay windows, little front yards, delivery alleys - all part of a master plan. In other words, zoning. Done right.

Granted - our ideas of done right change with time. Sometimes we learn by trial and error.

Even the Back Bay is starting to show some wear. Surprisingly, not in the historic district.

I was walking down Boylston headed west toward the library. Looked up at the collection of tall buildings and realized we probably screwed up. Almost every building there is a function of what the builder could get away with when they built it. Size aside, it's a collection of generally ugly buildings (101 Huntington perhaps the exception - though not sure that crown the mayor picked was the best solution). A little zoning, including some architectural "vision" could have been a good thing. Not every building has to be "iconic", but for my taste too bland and too eclectic. We coulda done better.


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But when the outcome of zoning is almost universally crap, throughout the entire country, I have to be skeptical about its use.

Regarding Back Bay, I can't really call it "zoning" because that legal tool did not exist until a few years into the 20th century, whereas what we consider "classic Back Bay" is mid to late nineteenth century. I do get Stevil's point that it is "planned" but there is apparently some difference between that and zoning, because we have never been able to build anything as good as the Back Bay under the zoning regime that began in the 1950s onward. And I think that's no coincidence.


Its because of cars.

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Its because of cars.
Its not zoning per se, its the advent of cars being important thing to consider in every building design. The back bay wasn't designed so every resident and office worker could drive their car and find a place to park. That lets it be a fun place to walk around and public transit a viable option. The seaport was a Menino vision, tons of parking, highway on and off ramps, so except for the old area (Fort Point) its no fun to walk or take transit to, so there are tons of vehicles and traffic.

Motorism Zoning is a 1950s Relic.

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..is a different animal.

And these little home rule fiefdoms called cities and towns around here are shaped by whoever bothers to infiltrate local politics.

Sometimes it is preservation and conservation guided types and you end up with Wellesley or Andover.

Sometimes it is developer cronies and contractor cousins and you end up with the route 9 clusterfuck that is equally rotten for walking and driving as if the worst of both outlooks was attained.

But one can just as well aim higher and do better.

My favorite practitioners of the art would be Mackaye and McHarg



It's funny that both passed through Harvard, a place I usually associate with oligarchy pimping.

And their modern acolyte, Al French, went there too.

Benton envisioned the Bay Circuit Trail and Al made it a reality. McHarg was a proponent of what might be called data driven planning and zoning with a bias favoring ecological realities..

Al's creation took him more than 10 years of going to endless meetings in the 50 or so cities and towns that agreed to participate and he was in his 60s when he began.

Benton lived along the trailway up in Boxford and Al is in Andover.

When I was checking the route through Framingham last fall I could see what an absurd problem it was to run a trail through the route 9 mess and Al solved it by getting Staples to allow an easement through an employee recreation area.

Think about it for a second.. 200 miles of trail from Newbury to Duxbury with Framingham playing a key role in the west.

And nearly all of it was process negotiations and cheerleading at a level rarely seen and done more or less for free by someone who would normally be a retiree..

Al negotiated consensus with 50 masshole towns. My head spins when I try to imagine it.

Along the way he lost his wonderful spouse but he kept going. I plan to visit him over the next few weeks. He wanted to get past Andover town meeting and did.

The rest of my life is more or less given to getting the word out about the whole evolving system of Post Motorism amenities here by documenting it and making the reference stuff available in a web 2.0 world.

And like these elders. I do it for free. To give back.

You can argue the merits of process or you can wade into the mess and wrest beauty and quality from it. That's where I'll be.

Ah, well if Harvard's Kennedy School is on it

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The plan is sure to get f-ed up.

Why not ask that Steve Wynn guy, you know, the one the city seems intent on keeping out of Boston? I bet he'd know how to keep a hotel-sized mini city open for 24 hours.