You don't think Nordstrom put that telephone-shelter ad in front of the wreck of Filene's on purpose, do you?
OK, no, that thing's been up since before the demolition work began - but still ...
I am a Master's student in Historic Preservation, and I am collecting research on the Filene's Complex/One Franklin Street Redevelopment. What do Bostonians think about this project? Do you the Filene's buildings will be overshadowed by the tower? Will Downtown Crossing be able to keep its historic presence? Are you excited or disappointed about the redevelopment?
Cappy, who owns three of the pushcarts in front of Filene's, is blogging the efforts to save the pushcarts and the small businesses that are being forced out by property owners and city officials eager to turn the area into a more upscale boutique marketplace or something.
In a Globe article dated August 2 the BRA and Mayor's office patted themselves on the back for moving two "downtown Crossing Vendors" to new locations thus saving their businesses from the Filene's construction. They sent out press releases to tell the public that, "We know how important it is to keep these businesses going during construction and to give them the support they need," Menino said in a statement. "The continued vitality of Downtown Crossing is one of our top priorities." However, Lamberts Marketplace and GT Florist aren't street vendors. They aren't even in the Downtown Crossing Marketplace. They moved them to two locations the real street vendors have been waiting eagerly to move to. The question is why? ...
The Pushcart War is a great kid's book, and the plot shares some similarities to the current battle - just substitute "property owners" for "truckers." But where are the kids with pushpins?
Chacarero, Lambert's, Mediterranneo and every business associated with the old Filene's building was given an early eviction notice earlier this month. They are all to be closed and shuttered by July 31 with no hope of ever returning to the upscale, unaffordable new tower to be completed in 2010 at the earliest. The Pushcart Marketplace which has been an affordable staple in the Crossing will be booted off the premises August 31 according to Anne Meyers of the Downtown Crossing Association.
Another fine example of developers moving into a neighborhood to build something that will eliminate many of the reasons for wanting to live in that neighborhood.
I for one cannot believe I'm going to have to live without Chacarero.
Cap'n Ho isn't one to complain about the MBTA, but he makes an exception today:
... Standing right in the doorway of the Orange Line train, taking up probably 60% of the space in the opening, was a woman sporting a T Customer Service blazer. People exiting or entering the train (those would be the customers...) had to squeeze by her to get into or get off the car. She showed absolutely no inclination to move out of the doorway, or even to move to the side to make it easier for passengers. ...
On the side of the Borders building in Downtown Crossing - which you can tell predates the chain by some time based on the design of this fire alarm.
Peter and another Red Line commuter team up to help some poor disturbed guy who'd gotten lost on his way to the doctor and who was busy being ignored by other people as he paced up and down hitting himself in the head:
... Abruptly the girl announced she would take him and the man's face lit up and he smothered her with thanks. I turned and headed towards the Red Line; the girl caught my arm and said "It's good to meet another Gutte neshumah (good soul)." I was so taken a back by the use of Yiddish, that I managed only a 'Likewise' before she disappeared. ...
There's just something so soothing about BBC reporters, even when covering screaming brides and bridesmaids.
The Missus reports:
... Today he was screaming at passersby, and he even approached a few cars, about God while wearing a sign. ...
Fortunately, not a major fire around 1 a.m., but accounts of passengers pounding on doors that wouldn't open as smoke filled their car are not inspiring much faith in T safety, Mr. Grabauskas.
Jennifer Stewart was on the Orange Line headed toward Back Bay today, when she heard two loud bangs and then the lights flickered on and off and the train just stopped:
... I turned my head to the left, as if there was a snowball's chance in hell of me seeing anything that would explain the commotion, and saw....smoke.
Yep, smoke. Billowing up outside the window of the doors next to which I was sitting. And then smoke curling into the car itself through the crack at the top of the doors. Oh goody. And then the screaming (or, more appropriately, as it was supplied almost entirely by a pack of teenaged girls, shrieking) started. ...
Tape watches as some guy follows the add-value instructions on the CharlieCard machine - by tapping his card repeatedly against the screen, displaying a picture of a card - instead of against the actual sensor a couple feed to the right of the screen.
The Outraged Liberal goes shopping in Downtown Crossing and starts to wonder about Tom Menino:
... Dark storefronts on the second-to-last Saturday before Christmas?
Trash on the sidewalks and uneven rutted streets are the norm through Allston-Brighton, the Back Bay and Downtown. But Tom Menino is focusing is attention on a new City Hall and a monument to his reign.
What happened to the Urban Mechanic? ...
Also, he cracks a joke about the new Liberty Hotel (a.k.a the Charles Street jail), one that you'll probably be hearing for roughly the next 20 years.
Urban Planet users have been discussing the plans to rename Downtown Crossing. Some aren't buying it:
... The brand name is fine, the place is packed, and the idea of renaming it is like removing tonsils to cure a broken arm. ...
Martin Lieberman says he's going to avoid the sidewalk in front of the Downtown Crossing CVS from now on; even if that pigeon poop on his shoulder does mean good luck.
Jenny reports she was transferring from the Red to the Orange Line when a man ran into her:
... Not like was "running trying to get by me and accidentally clipped my side but was entirely sorry" - THE MAN CAME UP FROM BEHIND AND FULL ON RAN INTO ME AND SHOVED ME TO THE SIDE SO HE COULD GET BY. Hit me so hard to the point where I made the noise you would imagine you yourself would make if someone ran into you. The kicker? He did NOT even glance back to say "I'm sorry".
I can't say I was sad for him when he missed the train. By like two seconds. I was actually quite happy. ...
My story pales by comparison, but here goes:
Last night, as my Orange Line train was about to pull into Forest Hills, a T conductor or whatever had to rush to the front of the train, or at least, the next car, for some reason. Dude's sitting in a seat next to the "Do not pass through" door, feet out, as he adjusts his doo rag, totally oblivious to the fact that some seemingly crazed T lady is rapidly approaching. T employee bellows "WATCH YA FEET!" as she unlocks the door and disappears into the next car. Guy looks at the people sitting across from him and says "'Excuse me' would have worked, too."
John Daley likes the idea of a shiny new highrise atop the old Filene's building, but he cautions that that alone won't solve Downtown Crossing's issues, notably crime and homelessness (ed note: See the intersection just outside the new Ritz).
Mike Mennnonno is delighted the city will be helping to end its shortage of luxury condos, but adds:
... Wouldn't it be better to move to encourage something more reflective of the area's ambiance (if you want to cal it that)--like making a concerted effort to bring more small, local businesses to the pedestrian section of Washington Street? Maybe make it an even more open-market style area, but on the seedier side of chi-chi? I mean, you've got Newbury Street if you want upscale in Back Bay, right? ...
On BadTransit, Joe Bowden reports witnessing an innovative new way to beat the CharlieGates, although part of the scheme's success involved nobody caring:
... His buddy came in, and no one seemed to care as the buzzer went off indicating that a fare had not been paid. ...
Greg Kulaga begins and ends a music video (set to Ween's "So Many People in the Neighborhood") with everybody's favorite panhandler (also features streets scenes from Downtown Crossing and Quincy Market). From January.
TC Cheever reports on MBTA hell, specifically, yesterday's morning commute on the Red Line from downtown to Alewife. If you never take the Red Line, read it to see what you're missing (if you do take the Red Line, read it so you can nod your head in disgusted agreement).
That's Single Girl in the City's glum assessment of the increasingly depressing Downtown Crossing:
... There are the strung out meth junkies lying on the sidewalk, rolling around in their own piss, bums begging for booze money, and every punk, hoodlum and loser is finding their way to Downtown Crossing for a little fun.
But it's not fun. It sucks to the point that I don't even leave my office at lunch anymore, because I'm sick and tired of the bullshit that goes on down there on a daily basis. ...
When Macy's pulled the Pride mannequins from its Downtown Crossing store, Sandouri Dean Bey wrote the store to cancel his charge account in protest. He's just gotten a letter from Macy's that basically says homophobes are people, too:
... Unfortunately, while many people share your views about the content of the window display, many others do not. They too, are our customers. I hope you can appreciate our position on this subject, even though it may differ from your own. ...
The very pregnant Christonicle goes into the Macy's shoe department to get some shoes. A salesman gets her a pair, drops them at her feet, then leaves to go chat with co-workers.
Note to Macy's shoe salesmen: Ready to pop pregnant women can't easily bend down to pick up things.