Her Brighton Center is disappearing

On the Redstar Perspective, Leigh mourns the passing of a growing number of locally owned shops and hopes the fun, quirky neighborhood doesn't become another soulless condo warren:

... There is a vibrant street life here; in our walks the M.A.S. and I will pass older Russian couples arguing, Irish rugby players headed into the Green Briar pub or Porterbelly's, Orthodox children playing in their yards, and BC fashionistas out for a run. It's cool here. I like it. And I know from direct experience that this affordable urban moment in time could certainly come to pass given the forces of private development we don’t easily resist in our lives. But for Christ's sake, I don't want a Smokey Joe's. I can drive to the strip mall in Stoughton should I really have a hankering for mass-marketed ribs.

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    Re: Her Brighton Center is disappearing

    Oh please. How is the loss of a "new age" store and the gaining of a rib joint anything but a win-win? Look at the calendar - the 90s are over. Hippies should be living in Cambridge anyway. And fyi I'm soon to be one of those soul-less condo owners, and I used to live in Brighton many moons ago. I'm moving back specifically because of the "gentrification". I knew the old Brighton Center-Oak Square area long before you did and I'm not weeping over its demise. I won't miss calling ambulances for the junkies OD-ing on the sidewalk in front of my apt; or the bar that was a racist haven for guys whose means of livelihood was, ah, less than legal; or the old "commercial" activity in Brighton Center that was restricted to a Woolworth's that looked like it had been ransacked by angry monkeys - and a small grocery store that smelled of wet dogs and dead chickens. The neighborhood you so enjoy now is a fairly recent creation - thanks to us "soul-less" types (using Universal Hub's terminolog) who move in to neighborhoods long term, improve the property, and spread around some money (what S.O.B's we are, huh?). Only the transient bourgeoise go around romanticising urban blight.

    you mis-understood

    I think the complaint is not that Brighton Center has become less dangerous and smelly, but that it is in danger of becoming over-run by chain stores. Chain stores are just fine on Route 9, in malls, and they have their place. Yet Brighton is part of the city of Boston, and people don't move to the city to experience Natick. At least I don't. (However, I'm a former Brighton resident and recently a former JP resident. I never thought I'd move out of Boston proper, but I'm finding more of what I like in Lynn. That's right. Lynn. It's a downtown I can afford. :))
    Also, not all mom and pop shops smell bad, contrary to what you may think. They smell better. Some of us like character and variety. Some of us don't want every place to look exactly the same, every meal to taste exactly the same, and every new condo development to look exactly the same.

    The New NIMBY

    "Yet Brighton is part of the city of Boston, and people don't move to the city to experience Natick."

    Like it or not, many Bostonians shop at chain stores. If that weren't true, chain stores wouldn't be moving here.

    "Some of us like character and variety."

    There's more character and variety now than at any time in the history of civilization. Back when most citizens shopped at the closest "mom and pop" shops, they had no choice.

    I also prefer a good local store over a great chain. But the one constant in life is change, even in city commerce. Think of it as bad if you want, but it is what it is.

    I'll start by thanking Moon

    I'll start by thanking Moon Beam (Below) for trying to clarify my comments. I'm a condo owner, I'm not a transient (though I'm admittedly bougie and thus do my share of spreading my $$ around too), but I am worried that Brighton Center will become indistinguishable from other areas if it loses it's independent collection of stores. I'm not looking for crack pipes - as a single woman I wouldn't have moved here if that's what I expected, and I wouldn't mind an upgrade of the stores there (which I said - note the word "upscaling"). And I have no idea what your comment "the 90s are over." Aren't hippies from the 60s? (And most of them do live in Cambridge, which is why I don't live there.) Glad to be getting the press, even if it's from readers who don't actually read the post.

    i grew up in brighton and

    i grew up in brighton and fondly remember holding my mothers hand and walking up to woolworths(does anyone remeber the midget woman that worked there? freaked me out after seeing wizard of oz) for lunch at the lunch counter.then it was aroung the corner to brighams for an ice cream.after that we walked down to horigans to do our grocery shopping.i loved every minute of it.i remember when the first watertown mall opened and the walks with mom and big sister became car rides to stop and shop and bradlees.not as much fun and not much sense of community. i agree that we dont need all the chain stores but i think the bigger problem is the overall lack of respect for the neighborhoods of brighton.slowly all the little old ladies are dying and selling their homes to slimy slumlords who slap on a coat of paint and rent it to 5 students.the three decker next door to me used to have 4 people combined living in three apartments with a total of two cars.today there are at least 5 tenants on each floor with one car each.this house went from 4 people and 2 cars to 12-15 people with 10 cars.its getting to congested.then you have the "im only here for one year" attitudes.they dont care about trash in the once clean streets.they dont care if cabs are outside beeping at all hours from thursday to sunday.they dont care because they are not staying while my family has been in the same house for ninety years and it breaks my heart to see the old neighborhood slowly decaying.i know im rambling.

    Smoken Joe's

    Quick correction - its Smoken Joe's, not Smokey Joe's. This is the first restaurant opened by this owner and is NOT part of a chain.