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Walsh vows to revive First Night if elected; Menino vows event will go on this year

State Rep. Marty Walsh says that as mayor, he'd make sure Bostonians have a place to go on New Year's Eve that doesn't involve getting packed into a bar:

Boston invented First Night. We are famous for it. Other people copied it. It would be a tragedy if it ceased to exist.

WBZ reports Mayor Menino says he will work with local businesses to ensure we have a First Night this year "no matter what." First Night organizers said last night they are going out of business at the end of this month.

In a statement, Walsh said he would create a cabinet-level position for arts, tourism and special events to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

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Comments

Maybe they shake down Caesar's , or for that matter , Steve Wynn , to fund this. It would be a win , win , for Wynn , pave the way for the puppet masters to abandon East Boston, and extract some juice from Everett.

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Liberty Mutual. Or State Street. Or whats left of Fidelity since they took a huge tax break then flew to NH.

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lost their tax incentive to stay in MA, making MA not competitive enough to keep all their back office operations in MA. You can't blame a capital company for poor government policy which resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs.

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They didn't lose their incentive. They walked away from it before they ever folded up shop in state entirely. They were agreeing to a tax break if they increased their footprint here in terms of jobs. As soon as they had, even though the tax break continued for years after that, they slashed jobs to below what they were at when the tax break started!

The poor government policy is this race to the bottom that every state is pitted in against each other by these companies in order to keep them happy.

Just ask Plymouth how that movie studio is coming along...

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Not what I heard. I heard they were just looking for newer property and couldn't get additional breaks to build, didn't want to fork over money for boston real estate, and flew the coup.

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...that's sad about it not doing well.

But then I realized that I never had any interest in it. Ice sculptures are cool, but I'm just as happy to see the photos people post of them, here and elsewhere. I'm just not that into the entertainment they schedule for these, I suppose. I do hope they can resurrect it for people who do like it, or maybe figure out new ways to attract people like me, who are kind of ambivalent about it.

I like going out for new years, but usually to see a band I like or to a private party someone is throwing. What most restaurants have, what most cities have on the official docket on any given NYE.. is just boring to me. (shrug)

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I'm just not that into the entertainment they schedule for these, I suppose.

So you're not into every type of live music, dance, sculpture, sports exhibition, visual arts, comedy, drama, poetry slams, film, parades, fireworks, or art&crafts etc etc?

I think that either:

1) you have never actually bothered to look into what takes place in the city as part of First Night, or
2) you are a silly troll and prefer to sit under your bridge.

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I've never seen him at any of the silly troll meetings, and I haven't seen his name on any bridge applications.

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Perhaps he remembers the First Night of years ago, when a lot fo the art and activities were out on the street. You could just wanter around town and find great events happening. You could walk down boylston or newbury and see performances happening continuously on the street or in storefront windows.

Lately, first night is all around timed activities at indoor venues - so if you don't get here at this time, you miss out. In a way it does feel like you're rushing around to try and make meetings.

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There's a reason the organization is in financial trouble, and its obviously due to a lack of interest.

Just because Boston was the first to create the "First Night" concept doesn't mean the City needs to take over the rights and continue pumping money into something that not a lot of people care about.

Sure, if they can get corporate sponsorship to foot most of the bill that's fine, but don't use tax dollars to fund something just for the sake of keeping it alive.

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The event is immensely popular. However, not enough of the attendees are buying buttons to support it. Perhaps the button cost needs to be lower. They need to figure out what the optimal price point is to maximize revenue.

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Immensely popular with Boston tax payers or people from the 'burbs?

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Pretty much any event, especially in Cambridge or Boston, is going to attract visitors from neighboring cities and towns.

Am I somehow a lesser person because I choose to live in Somerville? I bet plenty of Boston folks come here for Fluff and Honk and ArtBeat and other events here. They're welcome to attend.

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Immensely popular with Boston tax payers or people from the 'burbs?

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Regardless of the level of interest, theres a clear inherent problem that the organization isn't able to support itself financially. And if attendees are able to gain admission without purchasing buttons, then what's the point of the admission/button thing anyway?

Either way, it no longer matters. The organization is defunct and is being handed over to the city. All I'm hoping is that it's funded properly, and if at all possible, privately.

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The ice sculptures, parade, and fireworks are on public streets, squares, parks, and the harbor. You can't control admission to any of these places. To go to any indoor event, you need to buy a First Night button.

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Attendence for First Night has generally increased over the nearly four decades of the event, as have public donation and button sales. What appears to be way down is corporate sponsorship.

This may be due to either a specific lack of efficacy on the part of the First Night fundraisers, or a more general miserliness of big businesses who no longer believe they have a responsibility to help sustain the culture which actually enables them to exist and prosper.

Given what I've seen of the FN spokepersons on the tube and interwebs, I'd have to guess that it's a big dose of the first, made worse by the second.

There are suppposedly recent studies showing that FN brings nearly $30million in extra revenue to the city - an amount not surpising to any witness of the crowds that flood Boston the whole day. Anyone who claims that FN is "dying" due to lack of public interest or willingness to pay for a button has never actually been around for it and is blowing smoke out their silly, cynical keister.

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I got curious yesterday and looked at a few of First Night's recent 990s. To me, it doesn't look like egregious mismanagement - more like they were very dependent on a couple of large sponsorships and one or more of them dropped off. Looking at the sponsor packages document on the website, it looks to me like they didn't do much to encourage smaller sponsorships or raise their giving levels - they're very top-heavy in their sponsor benefits with not a lot left to offer smaller sponsors.

Frankly, it's a common problem. You want to give more and more to your large sponsors each year because you depend on them and it would be disastrous if one got dissatisfied, but while you're doing that smaller sponsors wander away because you haven't put the time into the relationships. From the size of their staff, this isn't surprising. It's poor planning, but it's a trap many organizations fall into.

I don't think it's fair to blame an organization for pulling back or out of a particular sponsorship and moving on to another project. Foundations and corporations reorganize priorities, shift markets geographically, etc. The onus is on non-profits to make sure they are in a position to make up the shortfall.

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on St Patrick's day in South Boston, all the local bars and restaurants who benefit the most from the event, contribute little to nothing to the event.

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First Night is history. Accept it and move on. Why spend money to finance a lame event that did nothing but cost the city money? Save the money for something useful. First Night was amateur night . The acts were second rate. The fireworks weren't that special. I would rather the city spent the money on city residents and not to give suburbanites something to do on New Years Eve. Stay home its safer and cheaper.

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First Night ran it's course in the same way the July 4th celebration did. It got too big and too far away from it's origins, and began catering to tourists, suburbanites and television audiences. Hence they eventually consumed themselves. Causing the cancellation of the national July 4 broadcast (which never should have existed in the first place) and the cancellation of First Night in general. NOTHING about the original First Night vision had anything to do with huge hordes of people just standing in Copley Square aimlessly as midnight approaches. When and why did that suddenly start? Was it an attempt to ape Times Square in new York? And then local TV gets in on it and televises the people standing around aimlessly. Watching it on TV is like watching paint dry.

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Shake down the breweries and distillers ,corporate sponsorship.Kick it up a notch.Or maybe Disney and Child World , if you want to keep it dry. Get creative , go over to the Greenway and get there most effective artists ( the shakedown ones ,not the cartoon ones ) on the case. Party poppers for one and all , Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh !

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by design, ever since it started in 1975. I believe all other cities' First Nights are also required to be dry if they want to use the trademark. The idea was to present an alternative to the usual alcohol-filled New Year's Eve celebrations.

The event may need adjustment with the times, but bringing in Harpoon and Sam Adams as sponsors is probably too drastic a change.

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