The Brooklyn of Boston mishegas never ends

Boston Magazine has an interview with some hip artisanal interior craftsman or something who has dreams of setting up a design district in Chelsea (around his office, natch) that would draw all his fellow hip artisans away from the Boston Design Center in South Boston:

We’ve called Chelsea “the Brooklyn of Boston,” because that’s what we think Chelsea has the potential to be. Brooklyn has a mix of trendy living and workshop spaces, and there’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs and people with ideas to carve out areas for themselves to do their thing. That doesn’t exist in the Seaport because it’s so expensive.

Also, Mr. Hip Dude, who obviously has never been to any part of Brooklyn that doesn't border the East River, disses the Chest, um, Dot:

There are always people who are resistant to change, who feel threatened by young entrepreneurs, artists, or other people doing things that are out of the norm for that area. I think that’s pretty obvious in places like Dorchester and Southie, where gentrification causes a bit of a rub with people who’ve lived there for a long time.

Other parts of the Boston area that have been called the Brooklyn of Boston:

H/t Welcome to Dot.



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      the real Brooklyn has over 2 1/2 million people living in it. That might overwhelm Chelsea (or any of the other wannabes)

      East Boston was dubbed the

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      East Boston was dubbed the Brooklyn of Boston way back in 1999.
      Now Chelsea A/K/A Hellsea is the new Brooklyn.
      Chelsea has a lot to offer more than Oil tanks, oil tankers, bridges, salt mounds, Inferno's and bagels and Polish sausages. Boston once refused Chelsea to be part of the city of Boston, I can see why.

      I love

      this clueless douchebag! Not only is he a moron, but he designs office furniture for Newscorp, his biggest customer. Showing once again how Boston Magazine is as useless as gas station toilet paper, this cretin designs desks for Fox News, who advocates throwing most of the brown people in Chelsea out of the country. So much for the new Brooklyn, dickhead.

      Not good news

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      Fox News is not good news. But if they want to get ideas for their furniture from Boston-area businesses, that probably says more about the quality of our new ideas and the communities that embrace them than it says about the quality of Fox News.

      I don't know about that necessarily,

      If you read the piece, the author almost goes out of his way to say Newscorp and not Fox News. Also, the ridiculous comment Mr.Guy who makes the desk Sean Hannity spews such hate from made about the residents there is a way of saying he couldn't afford to put his little shitshow in the Design Center, so let's make Chelsea the next place where people on Section 8 can't afford four dollar donuts so they just have to leave.

      Boston Magazine: "Bold and brilliant Linda Pizzutti Henry"

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      The stress of a recent visit to the dentist was eased a bit upon seeing Lisa Pizzutti Henry on the cover of Boston Magazine, described as "bold and brilliant" and the savior of her elderly husband's Boston Globe. Evidently, this was before the Globe's inability to reliably produce the printed paper. The laughter was welcome in the dentist's waiting room. The dentist apparently still subscribes to Boston Magazine.

      Yes, Fish! The Globe!

      You might want to throw a little more of that Cro-Magnon anger at Pat Purcell, who sold the Herald plant to the developers who turned the building into a place where no and I mean no one, reads the shit rag that once came out of it. Then you can blame John Henry and his former private aviation flight attendant wife for printing their paper first.

      Why would anyone want to

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      Why would anyone want to relocate to that radical turkey ridden hellhole? You can't even park on the street overnight.

      Not served by the T?

      The 111, the 116, the 117, the Newburyport/Rockport commuter train, and the soon-to-open Silver Line Gateway aren't "the T" ?


      I don't think many people consider the commuter rail or a not-yet-existent bus line "The T."

      Yes, I understand what the

      Yes, I understand what the MBTA is, thanks. Typically when people refer to "the T" they're talking about the light rail/subway. Have you ever heard anybody say "I'm taking the T to Providence?"


      meaning that they are taking it instead of Amtrak, which is usually more expensive.

      I've always called the lines

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      I've always called the lines named by colors the "train", the buses "the bus" and the Commuter Rail the "Commuter Rail." That seems to be fairly popular. With the "T" incorporating the bus and the train. That is how we classified it my whole life, the Silver Line just confuses things because it is both a color and a bus.

      When the subject of the

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      When the subject of the article responds to "What’s wrong with the Design Center?"
      with "Where should I start? Geographically, it’s really undesirable. It’s difficult to get to, and it was built to be sort of retail-focused, so you don’t get any pedestrian traffic. You have to drive there. There is public transportation, but it’s a pain in the butt. "

      I guess he doesn't like bus service or the silver line...


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      it was built to be sort of retail-focused

      No, it really wasn't.

      They had an opening reception

      They had an opening reception not too long ago but I missed it for another community event... so they did make some attempt to reach out to the local community. I think it is great they are filling a historic building ( Flash back to a UHub post about my blog about the building in 2009 ) that would otherwise have sat vacant. The site is right near the current commuter rail (which will become a Silver Line stop soon) so it is pretty ideal for what they are looking to do.

      Chelsea continuously gets compared to Brooklyn, the next Somerville, even the Back Bay. I attribute it to people being over excited about their own projects without realizing how their words and way of selling the city is seen by other people. For the past 15 years I have always ascribed to making Chelsea the next Chelsea. Our city has a rich history that stunted by the Chelsea Fire, urban flight and then the events leading up to bankruptcy... the city succeeded best when it had a vibrant downtown shopping district, a strong civic sense and as a home to mix of different residents. There is space for what he is describing but it won't be the next Brooklyn. Current residents tend to be more receptive if they don't feel like the goal is to displace them from their homes. Having a tone death ear to those concerns is a good way to get on the wrong side of someone. The artist community in Chelsea never had much of an issue with local residents (both Latino immigrants and multi-generational neighbors) mainly because there was always a sense that the artists wanted to contribute and blend in, not parse out and remove.

      High taxes in Chelsea will kill artists

      Commercial rate is $32/1000 which will kill anybody who improves the old buildings.

      Chelsea has artists but they will always be non-profit if they can't develop from hobbyists into businesses.

      I can't seem to sign in on

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      I can't seem to sign in on mobile...

      The other side of that coin is the valuation of commercial real estate is very low compared to residential and studies that we have seen have not hinted that there would be a pickup in commercial activity if we were to lower those rates. I believe the price of commercial went up at the same time residential went down once back in like 2008 but that was outside the norm.

      The city does do a full valuation shift from residential to commercial and in my ten years as a Councillor and 5 years of involvement previous to that as a member of the Planning Board and other entities I never saw evidence the rates were holding anything back.

      What Chelsea could get from artists

      Right now artist development is to get artists to come in and spend a few bucks at the local coffee shop while they are blowing their parents' money on their dreams. So they are going to be using garbage property and it's going to look like hell. Not unlike 95% of the commercial property in Chelsea! That's why it looks that way and it doesn't get improved and people are just scraping by. That's why it's assessed so low.

      95% of artists will do absolutely nothing of note. 5% are some level of competent. A tiny sliver will become very successful. It's that 80-20 Pareto Principle but with a much steeper curve. You want to catch the top 1% who develop products or businesses that then flower into employment for 50-100 people. You want some of the buildings to be redone and improved so the place is attractive.

      I am glad to sit with you for

      I am glad to sit with you for a cup of tea at one of our cafes to discuss the commercial real estate market. There are controls overlaid on top of certain aspects of the city that do not allow for what you are suggesting and I would be curious to see where you can see improvement.

      Are you taking into account the Industrial usage sites, many may be confused for commercial sites.

      The zones around the creek itself that are mandated by state law to only be used for aqua marine usage?

      The area around the produce center that is only really conducive for that sort of use?

      That we actually do have pockets of artists across the city and there have been programs to work with them in the past?

      I am going into this blind without knowing who you are but I can offer some insite through ten years as a City Councillor in Chelsea, a couple years on the Planning Board previous to that, having been an observer of the Economic Development Board for a year , a degree in Political Science and a work history in dealing with commercial districts in both Cambridge and Boston in my day gigs. I would not claim myself as an artist but I do dabble in photography (you can see some of my photos posted on this page occasionally) and represent a district in the city with a large artist population so I have been interacting with artists in these parts for years.

      I am always game to hear new ideas and suggestions.

      Sorry to pile on

      but so many of these people have a staggering lack of self-awareness. Go to Brooklyn and you'll see lots of these "artisans" of all crafts. They are blind to their surroundings and the opportunities afforded them but not those they displace. Oh and the abundance of cheep labor is unspoken because they rationalize it as if they're Columbus discovering the New World.

      Eric Rueda's observations on

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      Eric Rueda's observations on Boston architectural style are spot on. He is also correct about the odd dual personality of the shopper-friendly/outlying-industrial-site character of the Design Center. It just feels strange to go to, like you should'nt be there. I don't think he will attract too much movement there from either Brooklyn or South Boston though because it's not unique enough to distinguish it from other locations. But that does'nt stop me from hoping somebody does this very thing in Brockton. Massachusetts has a lot of this type of development, but can always use more.

      Maybe because

      it used to be an Army base and I don't think they were worried about offending the tender aesthetic sensibilities of the "artists" who now infest the place back then.

      Shopper Friendly

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      Well, it's only recently that it's become something to be open to the public. It was previously, for many year, a place for design insiders to go. Primarily Interior Designers. It was called the Design Center for a reason. It is only recently that the current landlords (Jamestown and Related Beal) have added on Innovation to the building's title.

      And like someone else said, it was built in 1918 as the South Boston Army Base.