Fort Point Channel
A Fort Point Channel building made infamous two years ago with the strange death of an MIT-trained artist is once again the focus of a criminal investigation - this time for massive credit-card fraud.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's office today charged Erik Joseph, former owner of Seaport Hardware, 369 Congress St., with defrauding customers across New England out of several hundred thousand dollars since 2005.
The store is in the same building as that meth lab that turned out not to be a meth lab where artist Kevin McCormick died in unusual circumstances in 2005.
Joseph, a Belmont resident, pleaded innocent at his arraignment this morning in South Boston District Court, according to the DA's office. Bail was set at $75,000.
According to prosecutors, Joseph set up a series of bogus companies to suck out and launder money from the accounts of people who paid for hardware purchases with credit cards. In a statement, the DA's office cited one example:
Joseph allegedly used a dummy business – for which he had obtained an American Express merchant number, a post office box, and a bank account – to bill the customer's credit card for $8,087 in 43 separate charges of less than $200 in the weeks and months that followed. That money, [DA Dan] Conley said, was deposited into a corresponding bank account, which Joseph later emptied and closed.
Prosecutors said they, a statewide financial-crimes task force and the US Postal Service were not done investigating Joseph, but that they sought charges against him now because he sold the store last month and was emptying his legitimate bank accounts, making them worry he was getting ready to flee the area. Boston Police arrested him in Belmont on Tuesday.
Even before the indictment, Joseph, a 1980 Emerson College graduate, got a couple of bad Yelp reviews.
Slowing economy blamed, John Keith writes.
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Rob Sama reports from an office building made waterless this morning by a punctured water main:
... You can clearly see where the Cat machine dug into the water main, and in one of the pics you can see where the water burst up four stories against the building. The tractor tried to plug up the hole, and that stopped the geyser effect, but didn't stop the flooding. The flooding is continuing east down Congress St. ...
The Herald reports on those alleged outlander graffiti artists arrested at a Red Line yard yesterday before they could mark up trains and attend a naked-dancer soiree at a secret Fort Point location (oh, OK: 327 Summer St., but don't let anybody know) tonight. The Globe explores the possibility that one of our favorite LiteBriters was slated to attend the party.
One of the people arrested is Marius Schmieling of Dortmund, Germany. Schmieling, 25, he started tagging when he was 12 (in German, translated at Babelfish).
Germans apparently have a different attitude toward graffiti than we do. Rather than try to eliminate it entirely, some German cities hire taggers to take care of individual subway/monorail stations (hmm, actually, anybody remember when Cambridge-Lee Industries let people tag up their wall near the Allston turnpike entrance - as long as they stayed within the silohuettes of people?). Dortmund hired Schmieling to "arrange" one station.
Last year, he participated in a project to spray paint 66 fiberglass winged rhinos. Here's his.
Portrait of the artist as a young rhino designer:
Capn Ho reports an interesting sight on the way to work from South Station yesterday:
... Many of the offices are on the first floor and you can see in through the windows, not that I make a habit of peeking in.
So, as I'm walking down the street, I notice this guy sitting at a desk with his back to the window. He's looking at a laptop, which happens to be open to a porn site! ...
Capt. Obvious note: 'Course, the dude could just have had some bad luck and clicked on a bum link or typo'ed a URL ...
Jay Fitzgerald likes the idea of turning those old brick buildings in Fort Point Channel into a new neighborhood. But then he reads the developers want to label the area BWCo:
... These guys think they're so hip. But they don't have an original thought in their bodies. FYI: The word 'brand' is mentioned. Can't just call it 'Fort Point' or 'Boston Wharf.' Too much local flavor, I suppose. ...
And just a short Silver Line ride to Eabo.
Spatch reports that birds of the falcony ilk buzzed him last week by Fort Point Channel:
... Two of 'em there were, swooping out over the water. One swooped so close to me that I could hear the fwoosh as it went by. ...
Michael reads the news that that alleged drug lab where MIT graduate Kevin McCormick died was actually set up to make more sophisticated drugs than meth and says it all might just be a continuation of a long tradition at Cambridge colleges:
... We remember, thirty years ago, the organic chemistry departments of Harvard and MIT were locked in thier own intercollegiate space race, to design the perfect drug. Every week the lab rats would scurry out of the depths to display their latest designs and discoveries at proto-raves in dorm rooms up and down the banks of the Charles. MMDA was a novelty in those days, along with a veritable alphabet soup of stimulants, halucinogens, morphine analogs, exotic plant extracts and even certain substances reputedly available only from living human donors.
As far as we were able to ascertain, the perfect drug was never isolated. It is interesting to note that the search goes on 30 years later, and that MIT is still at the forefront of these efforts to expand the frontiers of science, just as it is undeniably a tragedy that it has cost the life of a young artist.
But a "designer drug" lab, instead. The Globe reports on court papers in the case of that alleged sex club / meth lab at 369 Congress St. No meth, but plenty of other drugs and drug pre-cursors, including LSD, magic mushrooms and plenty of chemicals for making West Coast-style designer drugs:
... "Almost exclusively, these labs are going to be in California, in the San Francisco area," said Gregory D. Lee, a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and author of drug investigation texts. ..."
Meanwhile, people who knew Kevin "Frostbyte" McCormick, whose heart-attack death sparked the whole investigation, continue to post tributes.
... It's a sad, sordid, and quite unclear tale. What is evident is that the South Boston waterfront really doesn't need this sort of thing. Not like meth labs are exactly wanted anywhere, but really: with the ICA's new building going up just around the corner, the Children's Museum nearby, all the Fort Point Channel arts stuff, loads of new residential units, restaurants, businesses, etc., I have to imagine that the people who have been working to renew the area can't but be alarmed. It's a big city, and things will happen, but sheesh. ...
Meanwhile, people who knew McCormick continue to post tributes:
His death will probably forever outshadow his life, but Kevin McCormick was a sculptor who worked in an unusual medium: Blinking lights. You can see some of his work online:
Chromodome (scroll down the page a bit)
Corona (scroll down the page a bit).
A piece in the 2005 CyberArts Festival
A work at the 2001 Burning Man (scroll down for Shadow Engine).
A work at the 2004 Burning Man
A photo of Kevin McCormick (scroll down for the "Frostbyte" entry).
Tronster had known McCormick since high school:
... I haven't cried (yet) but have come close. I'm in disbelief, anger, disbelief, and acceptance. It all keeps washing over me. I was told by the reporter he had died of a drug overdose (E) which doesn't surprise me but still hurts. I had hoped Kevin would realize how stupid he was doing drugs; Just like in middle and high school I want to work through the logic and show him how I was right in this situation ... I don't want to be right; I want Kevin to be alive.
Chillonia was a year behind him at MIT:
... We sat in his room, with his newly orchestrated light symphony painting the walls red-green-purple-blue, and listened to Koyaanisqatsi.
That evening was quiet, and calm - just this side of uneventful. It stays in my mind because of the way that Kevin made me feel comfortable and welcome. He allowed me to experience the things that he wholeheartedly loved with him. He taught me a hundred things about music, two hundred about light, and more than I could ever count about love for beauty. Kevin was an aesthete of the rarest variety: he loved beautiful things, his imagination had no bounds, and his spirit compelled him to always share. ...
... I hope he's now somewhere really, really pretty.
Know of other McCormick links? Post a comment or let me know.
You just know that at least one "Law & Order" associate producer is cutting and pasting today's Globe and Herald stories about the death of MIT-educated artist Kevin McCormick in lurid circumstances in Fort Point. ...
Michael ponders his death:
... Heard on the radio news on the way to work - HAMSTERS were discovered in the basement of the Condo. There is a major story shaping up on a VERY weird sex & drug party syndicate. This confirms our longtime conviction that, contrary to the general public conception, MIT guys are some of the most serious partiers on the currect collegiate circuit, and that's saying a lot.
J. works across the street from the place:
The building is square, 8 stories tall, white, made of brick and concrete, and concrete stairs are shadowily visible through the dirty windows on the corners, so of course it's hard to think we were able to imagine it containing anything else. Also, it seems that we all really like saying "meth lab." ...
Jonelle also works nearby:
... The meth lab/fetish palace in question is about 200 yards from my office and (more crucially) shares a building with our favorite South Boston bar. If only we'd known! Afternoon meetings would have been far more tolerable.
I wonder how many times reporters will mention that the alleged "kinky dungeon of drugs" (as Channel 7 so discreetly put it last night) is near the Children's Museum - and how long before somebody like Bill O'Reilly starts denouncing Boston for letting perverts molest children like that.
Oh, my God! Like, the meth lab is only a couple of city blocks away from the Childrens' Museum!!!
Source: The Boston Atlas
Somebonnie photographs the floating pyramid in Fort Point Channel.
Spatch's new job is in one of those big old brick buildings near Fort Point Channel, and he is loving the walk to work:
... Scale and proportion play tricks on you in Fort Point, especially crossing the Summer Street bridge back towards South Station. You are exposed on the bridge, out in the open, to the right is that tall tall tall thin shiny silver building, to your left is the Giant Ass Post Office, and ahead of you, Summer Street's wide lanes give you an open, unobstructed view of a very large expanse of city buildings across the square. Oh, lordy, it's a wonderful conglomeration of old Art Deco and new rose sandstone and it's all there in sharp detail before your very eyes, and every time I manage to look up at it, instead of down at the sidewalk or under the construction-protected scaffolding, I am in awe. It's how I remember my first view of the Rocky Mountains, which just spring up out of nowhere right in front of you, and you get such a clear view of their height and majesty, even from far away, that you can't believe how big the damn things are. ...