A tiny little bit of Downtown Crossing history gone

Havas clock
Old Filene's clock

Kris Haight notices they've changed the clocks on the old Filene's building to reflect the name of the Euroadvertising firm that is moving into the new complex.

Maybe they can get the little carillon cherubs to fly Roche Bros. flags, too.



Free tagging: 


It's French

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so the "h" is silent.


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So is the 's' silent as well?
If not, we can make pirate jokes when they become past tense.

Oh, Flying Toaster


Yes, it was Fi-leens, how you say "fit" without the T, and leens. Not Fi as in Five and Dime.

Sadly, few of us remain who know it.



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This actually depends on the extent to which you have an accent and, if so, what kind. My extended family who came from New Bedford and spoke with a New England accent pronounced it Fileen's like Fit without the T. However, my mother who did not have an accent (and I for my entire life) pronounce it Fy-leens (like five and dime). Growing up here I have also heard it pronounced both ways, generally depending on the accent that the speaker has to begin with.


Alternate pronunciation

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I remember once getting a call from my credit card company to confirm charges at Feline's Bass (like the fish). Took me a while to make the connection!

ahhhh, actually

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it was Vill-eens (according to my OFD mom and aunties).

Filene's pronunciation demographic

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Though the correct pronunciation is "Fie-leens", the "Fah-leens" or "Fill-leens" pronunciation seemed to belong exclusively to older Boston women. My grandmother pronounced it that way and I'm sure many other people's grandmothers did also. I'm not sure why that is the case, but it was the sure sign of being an older female Bostonian.




The correct pronunciation of a family name is the way the family pronounces it. I would imagine that the Filene family is now so diffuse that you could probably find many different pronunciations among its members.

Personal Experience

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Seen that happen a lot, where even different brothers [and their offspring] from the same parent pronounce their last name completely different from each other.


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It's always been pronounced "Fi-leenz" to anyone I know.

Plus its the way they said it in the commercials "only at Fi-leenz"



No, no. They started calling it Filene's when Federated sold it to May.

I'm right about the original pronunciation. And if that makes me an old lady, so be it.

Havas is an advertising firm

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Havas is an advertising firm (albeit a euro one) that's moving their offices there.

I thought..

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a clothing store was going to move in there... or was it a Japanese clothier?

EDIT: Adam got to me faster. I'm corrected.


The clock

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at least the clock remains...

but overall the building looks better and better each time I walk by.



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your beef with roche bros., bro


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I don't have one..

I actually cannot wait for the one in this location to open since it's near work and I'll probably be there a lot. (and now even more if this Market Basket debacle doesn't work itself out)

If the beacon hill lawsuit

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If the beacon hill lawsuit people cared about history theyd sue about the removal of this historic sign

They've been doing everything

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They've been doing everything right until this. The modern Euro-chic font doesn't fit with the graceful lines of Beaux-Arts Boston. Still, I suppose its a small price to pay to get this project finally green-lighted.


That Sends A Lot Of Conflicting Messages ...

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… they really need to hire an advertising firm to help them clearly express whatever the company name is supposed to be.

Though, the sign looks a lot like a variable message board; it might flip and change to something completely different at any time.


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I work near by so I looked on my way to the train

It's one piece. They just replaced the plastic. Honestly, I'm surprised the sign isn't Roche Bros or the clothing retailer. It seems like that sign would be better suited for the retailers on the ground level, not an office tenant.

BUT.. they have wooden signs up for the entrances to Roche and the other ground floor retail places so it makes me think they'll have small 'pop out' flat signs to show where the entrances are. (this is possible now because unlike the old Filene's store, a good chunk of the huge awning that ran along summer will not be returning)

That sign wasn't part of the historically protected façade?

If it wasn't, I'm really surprised.

Here in Somerville, any new restaurant moving into the Rosebud diner still needs to be called the Rosebud, because both the painted and neon signs are protected by the local historic district law. This was a problem when Tasty Burger was thinking of moving in a year or two ago.

I wonder

I wonder if it would have been had the sign been a more classic iteration of the logo. That one, I believe is from the 80s. The older logos had a more traditional "F" and thicker lines.

When we were cleaning out my grandmother's closet a few years ago, all of her formal dresses were zipped up in Filene's garment bags from the 60s and 70s, regardless of where and when they were bought. We all had a good smile over that.

That's really sad

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They should have left the clock the same. I'm sure there will be plenty of new signage. :( Very much bummed out

So regardless of how it's

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So regardless of how it's pronounced, will there be any remnants of the Filene's name anywhere on the building? Many buildings in Boston still possess names of their original companies even though said companies no longer exist.
Prime example 100 Federal still has the Bank of Boston name on it. Though in many cases the names are etched into the building's exterior rather than separate signs.

Boston Five

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The Walgreens at Downtown Crossing, formerly Border's, still says "Boston Five" on the ground at the revolving door entrance, as it was originally a Boston Five Cents Savings Bank. I used to have an account there in the days of banks like Boston Five and Suffolk Franklin.

Walgreens actually did a very nice job inside

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The back half of the store feels very much like the old-time bank it used to be - right down to the old vault (converted into a meeting room, but with the massive steel door, part of which has been replaced by plexiglass so you can see the inner workings of the lock).