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Boston City Hall could get permanent coffee kiosk

Proposed changes in City Hall Plaza

CORRECTION: The kiosk will be behind City Hall's security checkpoints; ye ed needs to learn to follow dotted lines on diagrams better.

The mayor's office today announced plans to seek an operator for a new, permanent coffee kiosk in City Hall for people who somehow miss the Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Boston News Cafe on City Hall Plaza.

The proposed coffee kiosk is part of an overall revamp planned for the perpetually gloomy lobby of Boston City Hall. The current one-size-fits-all security checkpoint on the plaza side of the building would be split into two - one for City Hall workers, one for visitors, with the coffee kiosk nestled between them.

Over the past couple of years, three operators took turns running a coffee kiosk midway up the stairs from the lobby into the atrium, past the security checkpoint. In a statement, Mayor Walsh said the kiosk proved vital into turning the little used atrium into a public collaboration spot:

This is a small step to activate the people's public space and will undoubtedly have a big impact that will enhance constituent interactions with their government.

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Comments

Cambridge City Hall doesn't have one, neither does Somerville, so why does Boston need one?

If Mayor Walsh does a good job he has nothing to fear from citizens.

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It's more the entire building.

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But the building is already an incredibly awful design for a city hall, which is supposed to be for the people.

When you get past scary exterior and the DMZ wasteland plaza, you enter... Checkpoint Charlie.

Contrast with Cambridge: charming old building, rainbow crosswalks leading to it, and lawn that's treated like a very popular park when the weather is nice.

Surely there is some better balance to be found.

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Because 9/11. "The planes started here."

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It was Menino's fear.

Okay, Tom shouldn't be attacked on this. This is merely a vestige of the security overreaction that came at the end of 2001. Is it needed? Well, that's a discussion that perhaps the Boston City Council should have, with public hearings and whatnot. For today, it's something that's been there, so it's a part of the landscape.

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Because Boston isn't about liberty at all. But it is all about...Safety!™...you know, the goofy 25-mph speed limit and stuff like that?

Not incidentally, in Boston and environs there are more jobs involving Safety!™ than jobs involving liberty.

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Boston City Hall is probably the only municipal building with a "high threat profile" in the Commonwealth. Not because of anything that anyone has done, but because it's easily findable by someone who's not from Boston. The various Federal buildings, state courts, and the skyline skyscrapers, all are more likely targets, but City Hall is still on the list.

Find anyone who hasn't lived in Camberville who can find either city halls. Or traffic offices. These aren't attractive as targets.

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It's a big building that's very distinctive and separated, right along the major road through Cambridge. All you have to do is pass through once to see where it is. By comparison, Boston City Hall could easily pass for a records depository.

(That said, I have no idea where Somerville City Hall is or what it looks like, so you might have a point there).

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Somerville City Hall is pretty similar to Cambridge - big, distinctive, old building that's very welcoming.

It's on Highland Ave at School St.

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Because unlike Cambridge and Somerville the Boston city government doesn't trust its citizens.

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Cambridge Population: 107,000
Cambridge Budget: $600 Million

Boston Population: 667,137
Boston Budget: $3 Billion

For Comparison: Boston's population is larger then the states of Vermont and Wyoming.

Let's not pretend the two cities are identical. Perhaps Boston shouldn't have a security checkpoint but the city is on a much larger scale than Cambridge.

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Comparing Somerville to Boston makes no sense. Furthermore, it's pretty fast to get through Boston City Hall's security checkpoint. I've never had a problem with it. In my experience the guards are friendly and professional, but then again I'm polite and courteous. Try it sometime? Sorry you're inconvenienced by people just trying to do their jobs. Anything else you'd like to complain about?

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My dad worked in the Municipal Building in New York City. It's across the street from City Hall, and houses a significant number of New York City's administrative/bureaucratic offices.

He had to go through a metal detector and an X-ray machine starting in the late 90s, following the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings.

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A friend of mine works for the family court, but not in the actual court building in NYC. I had to leave my bike bag with my tools with the guard to join her.

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N/t

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Guessing either Utile or Over,Under based on the graphics?

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Coffee's OK, but why not a burrito place instead?

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or a Taco truck?

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Taco Bell

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why not a sub shop? I am saddened by the demise of the many mom and pop sub shops this city use to have. Nothing says Boston more than a sub sandwich.

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Don't you mean grinder?

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isn't that what they call a spuckie in rhode island?

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haven't you ever been to Cutty's in Brookline?!

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don't you mean Grindr?

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There's no need to add more hot air to that building. The politicians contribute enough without the extra bean-boost.

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Starbucks would be great, thanks!

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You must be pals with the City Council stenographer.

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I bet they're real happy about this. BTW, you had to go through security there way before 9/11, but you guys keep trying to affix blame.

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I thought there was only one up on the eighth floor.

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There's a little known coffee shop on the 1st floor that used to be run by the commission for the blind but has undergone a few different owners over the last few years I believe since I worked there. While the 8th floor is salad/sandwich centric, the 1st floor is where you go for comfort food like fish fry, corn beef and cabbage around St.Patricks Day, and donuts. Really nice people working down there.

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Enter from Congress Street/ Haymarket side and walk past the security desk and around the corner, Welcome to some of the reasons why people hate this building.

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I hope they give the kiosk to Boston Brewin', they have good pastries from Haley House, good coffee too.

Glad they're improving wayfinding. As a 5'4" genX-er (getting old), i cant read the info at the top of the elevator's interior.

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Had a kiosk there for six months and was awesome. Great coffee and Haley House (as you said). I, too hope they are in the running for the new space.

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They aren't interested.

and FTR the security check point was there before 9i/11 and is in every court house in MA.

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The security checkpoints went in as a response to 9/11. I temped there just before it happened and there was no checkpoint at all, anyone could just waltz right in (technically, that's still true, but they'd have to waltz through the checkpoint). After 9/11, they checked bags, and within weeks the magnetometers and X-rays went in.

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Of course this should be reviewed by the community, the BPDA and Zoning Board of Appeals for necessary variances. Then the BPDA will ignore the community and fast track through ISD. Sllluuuurrpppp.

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...then give the contract to a builder who will use the space as a parking lot for 4.9 years until construction begins.

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The damn plaza is always filled with vehicles anyway, why not let builders join the fun?

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What are changes to Boston City Hall 2014 Floor By Floor Directory?...

2014 Floor By Floor Directory Boston City Hall
__________ ____________________
2014 Floor By Floor Directory
Boston City Hall

● First Floor
○ City Hall Coffee Shop
○ Public Works Records
○ Security
○ Exit to Congress St. and Faneuil Hall

● Second Floor
○ Credit Union
○ Elderly Commission
○ Election Department
○ Parking:Tickets/Appeals/Permits
○ Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages

● Third Floor
○ Main Lobby/Information
○ Assessing Department
○ Auditing/Treasury Department
○ Taxpayer Referral & Assistance Ctr. (TRAC)
○ Exit to City Hall Plaza/Government Center (South Only)

● Fourth Floor (North Only)
○ Child Care

● Fifth Floor (South Only)
○ Mayor
○ Eagle Room
○ City Council
○ Curley Room/Piemonte Room

● Sixth Floor
○ Chief Financial Officer
○ City Clerk
○ Labor Relations
○ Law Department
○ Mayor's Cabinet Staff
○ Office of Human Resources/Workers Compensation

● Seventh Floor
○ Environment & Energy/Landmarks Commission
○ Department of Innovation & Technology
○ Public Works Department
○ Small & Local Business Enterprise
○ Transportation Department & Moving Permits

● Eighth Floor
○ City Hall Deli
○ Animal Care & Control
○ Health Benefits
○ Licensing/Hearing Room 801
○ Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians
○ Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
○ Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Sports & Entertainment
○ Property Management
○ Retirement

● Ninth Floor
○ Commission for Persons with Disabilities
○ Boston Redevelopment Authority
○ Intergovernmental Relations
○ Office of Fair Housing & Equity

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We've been waiting for you to post this...

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I go through city and town halls all over New England. Boston is the only one that has a security checkpoint. I feel that it must be intimidating to anyone who does not have the understanding that the people who work in these places work for them.

That being said, other City of Boston government function buildings have "security" but no checkpoints. So, for some reason, you have to drop everything you have on a conveyor belt if you want a copy of your birth certificate or go up to the BRA, but you don't have to if you need a building permit. Just a wee strange and silly.

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( same scripts, but with different characters playing the original actors )

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He was only anti-British for select politics, not entertainment.

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I loved the British Are You Being Served episodes but these spin offs are dreadful. They also did a remake where some of the original cast went to a farm or hotel like setup. It didn't work either. That's what's so odd about that particular show. It wasn't so professionally polished but somehow it worked.

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Adorable reference!

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Fossil fuels

(sorry - old Chevron ad with a subterranean elevator that I can't seem to find)

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NM

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Adam, I'm not seeing any indication that that coffee kiosk will be outside security. Nowhere on the linked webpage does it say it will be, and both the drawing you posted and the rendering on the webpage clearly show it behind security.

Now, I'm not intricately familiar with the building, only having been inside a handful of times, but it looks to me like the 'public' side is the foreground of the drawing.

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Good comment. The kiosk is on the secure side, though getting through security takes less than a minute for non employees.

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Grr, I can't follow dotted lines, I guess. When I saw that diagram, I read "coffee kiosk," followed the dotted line, missed the round "terminus" that ends at the kiosk against the wall there and kept on going with the new line to the information booth, which is the thing that won't require going through security. I've fixed the original post.

You can also see it here:

New City Hall lobby

See it larger.

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It is unquestionably a poor graphic design decision to perfectly align the two callouts for the information desk and coffee kiosk - I can totally see how you'd continue the line between them.

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