Oopsies: High-school students discover Garden not holding charity benefits required by law

The Globe reports three high-school students from Jamaica Plain have discovered that the owners of the Boston Garden were legally supposed to be holding three charity events a year to help fund the city's recreational facilities as a condition of its construction, - only they somehow forgot and haven't held a single one.

Maybe next the kids, spurred by JP resident Michael Reiskind's memory, can look for the fabled lost document requiring a public observation deck at the top of the Hancock Building - and James Michael Curley's desk.



Free tagging: 


Institutional Alzheimers

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And this is why the legislature should can the oversized Millennium Tower. Once it's in, the deal will conveniently be forgotten when the next guy (or girl) waves a few dollars at city hall.

In fact we have a permanent monument to institutional Alzheimers on Tremont Street. There is a memorial noting that the BRA declared the view corridor to the Old North Church permanent. That view is now blocked by the new Gvt Center headhouse.

The new one

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Ok, Winthrop Tower, Tommy Tower, Tower of Dark Shadows etc.

Millennium is building / "proposing" it.

There's another law that Garden management ignores

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I attend several events each year at the Garden. And I've noticed that frequently there is no hot water in the mens rooms. In addition to the people attending the events, the food preparation and food serving staff also use the same bathrooms. I have complained to ISD, and I dont know if they inspected, took a bribe not to inspect, or just dont care. But the end result is frequent lack of hot water.

Massachusetts Retail Food Code

As adopted by 105 CMR 590.006
Per 5-202.12 in the 2013 FDA Food Code

Handwashing Facility, installation

(A) A handwashing lavatory shall be equipped to provide water at a temperature of at least 38ºC (100ºF) through a mixing valve or combination faucet.

You serve food, you must have a sink with hot water for employees to wash their hands.


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I don't doubt the code, but that's a strange law. I think studies have shown that washing hands in cold water works just as well as hot. The hot water isn't killing germs or anything, it's the soap that helps remove the germs.

I've seen handwashing sinks

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I've seen handwashing sinks in some food prep areas of restaurants—is it possible these exist in their food prep areas and meet the requirement? (Honest question)


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Those sinks in the food prep areas are also required, but they are general hand-washing sinks. You don't someone coming back from the restroom in to the kitchen and then washing their hands. These sinks are, for instance, if someone goes from handling raw meat to, well, to doing pretty much anything else, they can wash their hands in between these steps.

I worked in an off-grid food service facility which had only cold water in the restrooms (out-of-state, so maybe had different compliance) and general protocol was that you'd do your business in the restroom, wash your hands there, and then come in to the kitchen and rewash your hands in the hand wash sink, and that still may have been out of compliance (I doubt anyone noticed). If nothing else, it's a lot easier to wash for the required 20 seconds in warm water.

A commercial kitchen will have a minimum of five sinks (a good explanation here):

  • One three-sink setup with steps for wash, rinse and sanitize. Additionally, most have an automated dishwasher (often referred to as a Hobart, since they're often that brand)
  • One prep sink, often with multiple compartments. For things like washing vegetables, draining pasta, etc
  • One hand washing sink

and a well-functioning commercial kitchen which uses these sinks appropriately (as well as practicing other food safety and hygiene protocol) should have a very small chance of food-borne illness. But there's a human element involved, and a lot of corners to cut, and often inexperienced staff (since in Boston they'll hire anyone off the street to staff a kitchen these days) and any incentive to cut corners is easily taken. So providing the appropriate facilities is important, because if you put a hand wash sink through a door and around a bend, or the water is frigid, it won't get used.

Issues of culture and comfort

People from some areas of the world believe that washing hands with cold water will cause you to get arthritis - meaning that you become unable to support yourself working with your hands. My mom's family and neighbors believed this, as do people from other areas of the world who often end up working food service jobs. People will skip handwashing if the water is cold, believing that it will lead to permanent disability. It was a big issue with attempts to get field workers to wash up in California's central valley, and warm water also made washing up more effective when it came to removing pesticides in that instance.

Back to the Garden, someone earlier noted that warm water makes a good long wash up more comfortable (read: likely) even when someone doesn't hold to these superstitions. That is why the Commonwealth and the city require warm water in handwashing sinks, amok green puritans who scoff.

Red Auerbach's ghost keeps

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Red Auerbach's ghost keeps turning off the hot water valve. That's why you also detect the lingering scent of cigar smoke.

In the old Garden

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we used to smoke joints and cover up the smell with cigarettes. I never saw anyone but Red smoking a cigar though.

Good for those kids!

It's amazing and disgusting what developers get away with, but let's hope they're held accountable this time, thanks to the work of those kids.

This reminds me of the sleazy move by the John Hancock Tower to close their observation tower in the wake of 9/11, pleading security concerns. If memory serves, that space was guaranteed for public access in perpetuity when the building was first approved.

Maybe they can help Marty dig through filing cabinets...

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Mr. Mayor,
After 9/11 the John Hancock Observation deck was closed due to concerns over security. Many observation decks across the US, including the Prudential, have reopened yet the John Hancock OB deck remains closed. The public observation deck was a requirement for the acquiring of permits for the building of the tower... My question to you is: When are we going to see this open again for the public? What can you do/will do about getting this reopen?

This is the first time it's been brought to my attention, and I'll look into it.

(3 Years Ago)


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Let's see the entire agreement Marty made with GE.

Shocked, shocked!

For those of you not old enough to remember, the political machinations to get the to be Shawmut Center built was like playing 4 dimensional Twister with octopi.

Delaware North, the owner of the Bruins, had their feet held to the fire by Billy Bulger over about 5,000 square feet of State land needed for the new building.

A deal was struck and everyone walked away happier. Everyone forgot about the deal though.

Fair play to these three kids for what they have done.

Let's get them on the BRA to find out about some other public benefit deals that have been conviently "forgotten".

The newspapers should have been watchdogging the deals all along

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Lay off a dozen of the frivolous 'news' 'content' spewers, hire these three kids, and pair them with some cranky old alcoholic metro reporter mentor, to smack some heads.

Then I give the-BRA-by-any-other-name three months, before it's dismantled, and individuals are facing charges.

If, after a couple years, the kids get cynical, hire fresh kids.

They need to look into the

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They need to look into the Customs Tower observation deck too. Last time I tried to go up (November) they were "closed for the season until May." And they charge a fee, I am sorry, a "forced voluntary donation".

$100 now $350

My offer from a few years ago of $100 to whoever can find the deal that included the mandatory public use, of the observation deck, as opposed to Marriotts ever increasing restrictions, is now up to $350.

Another break on the mandatory public space requirements to allow profit for billionaires is a terrible side of the deals that get made in the city.


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Kudos to the kids who found this. It's been 20 years, I still miss the old Garden. The new place stinks.

counterpoint: the old garden

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counterpoint: the old garden was hot and uncomfortable and while lots of cool things happened there, someone else's nostalgia is less important than my comfort, especially with how expensive it is to attend events there.

speaking as someone who went to the old and the new garden dozens of times each.

Kids doing the job

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Kids doing the job 'professional' journalists won't.

Now do you think the local news outlets will offer them jobs or an internship? Or complain that "child labor" is being used unfairly to compete with them?


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The state should have a staff

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The state should have a staff member who enforces these deals.

Another one is the charter of the Franklin Park Zoo, which says it's supposed to have free admission.

WRONG. State and local government should never mandate

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(through laws or otherwise) that a private business must provide their resources or facilities to charity for ANY reason- no matter how worthy somebody believes the cause may be or even if it's for three days a year. Government also should never act as an agent for any charitable organization. Yes, I'm looking at you Registry and Motor Vehicles and all your "specialty" license plates that require one to fork over a donation to charity in order to receive and renew them. Not to mention Department of Revenue and allowing organizations to solicit donations from people filling our their income tax returns.

The "public benefit" deal made with Delaware North as a condition of getting permission to construct their building is legalized extortion - nothing more, nothing less.

As for Franklin Park Zoo, how do you propose they fully cover costs of daily operations and maintenance, not to mention improvement projects, if they can't charge admission because of a charter created over 100 years ago? Zoos are nice and serve a purpose, but they hardly qualify as an essential government service that should be 100% funded by the taxpayer.

Something you missed

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Some PUBLIC land was involved in the building of this.

PUBLIC land.

You may also have noticed some changes the nearby roadways as well.

Perhaps you should check into history of these deals before you rant yourself into a bitter little hole.

This was in exchange for public land

Unless you really think that we should be handing over public land - and roads - to private industry and developers, we need to get something in return.

This facility is also under Chapter 91, as it sits on filled in tidelands. That has its own set of public access requirements.

Taxes and fees

Instead of the circle game of "required fundraisers" why not just have an additional $10,000 fee to be paid to the state by all businesses which consist of stadiums occupying formally public land?

Complicated legal environment

There are a lot of laws regarding how state land is used/occupied/changes hands for starters.

Also? Leverage.

Chapter 91 requires public access - not a payoff.

It's not extortion

It's an open and legal transaction. Delaware North does not need to build it, they want to. The city does not need to allow them to build it. They reach a compromise.

We can argue the merits of the city having tight control over development. A lot of research shows that restrictive zoning acts as a wealth transfer from poor to rich people by decreasing housing supply, so rent and property values go up. (Not to mention the other bad things restrictive zoning does.) We can argue whether the specifics of the deal are good or bad for the city.

But it's not extortion.

I have toyed with the idea of

I have toyed with the idea of requiring developers to install , in a place accessible to the public, panels on their buildings detailing any capitulations they made for the project to be built that were ongoing in nature.

If you promised an observation deck
If you promised to have events
Access for residents
Money for Charity
Clean up of local neighborhood

Anything that went into the package for acceptance pretty much. That way if they back track or do not do what they said they would it would be easy to prove.

Outdoor privately-owned

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Outdoor privately-owned plazas in NYC which have public access in exchange for zoning concessions have signs saying when they're open, how many seats they have, and sometimes even how many trees.

Boston Garden Management

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They also forgot to tell their security staff not to beat the homeless senseless then denied they knew anything about the beatings which were all caught on camera.