North Enders unite as one to rail against railings

Get rid of these stupid railings - Boston is not Tokyo - sign says

Mary Beth O'Leary spotted this sign on Salem Street in the North End this morning, in reaction to (brace yourself) these railings:

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Comments

Probably because they're newfangled

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Not old and floralish like you'd expect in the North End.

But what do I know? This is not an issue that would ever come up in my sedate, suburban little corner of the city.

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How's that even possible?

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How's that even possible? (Unless the Transit Score algorithm is a totally useless real estate marketing tool.)

When I go to the North End for dinner, I consider the 10-minute walk from the T station and the slow and screechy Green Line ride part of the experience. But I'd hardly rank it as the world's most perfect transit situation that's impossible to improve.

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Of course it depends where

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Of course it depends where you're going.

If you're going to a cafe at the beginning of Salem Street, you have a 3 minute walk.

But if you're going further down Hanover Street: https://goo.gl/maps/VGk5boCT34r There's no transit that will get you any closer. (No, I don't count the #4 bus.)

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It’s about transit access for residents

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So a 10 minute walk to Haymarket (which serves the Orange Line as well) is kind of a big game thing. That the Green Line isn’t as frequent as you want or makes noise on curves is irrelevant.

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Frequency isn't everything in

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Frequency isn't everything in transit -- it's the only thing.

If it doesn't count in the transit score, I don't know what does.

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The building is actually

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Right smack dab in the heart of the North End (Corner of Prince & Salem - Tourist Haven) and they do look horrendous. Not a clue how that design was approved in that central of a location in Boston's oldest neighborhood.

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I think they're fine -

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I think they're fine - imagine them on one of the older brick buildings, some plantings grown up onto them a little bit, a little bit of patina.... not bad. Not great, but not bad.

The building itself is hideous, is the problem, so mediocre railings are just aggravating that.

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most of the buildings in the

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most of the buildings in the north end aren't much older than your typical midwestern warehouse district.... 1860s-1890s. The street layout and a few choice buildings are much older, of course, but the building stock is not necessary historic.

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AND

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I heard Yip likes sushi...so there's that too.

Jesus, it's not racist to think an Asian developer might have developed a building that looked like one from his native country....and it's not racist to confuse Tokyo and Hong Kong either.

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So true

I remember last year when I tried to march in the St Patty's parade with my French flag. I was like, what's the problem - they're both in Europe man?

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Nips

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I used to know a family whose last name was Nip. I do believe they were from Hong Kong.

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Japan Reference

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The Japanese, emperor's throne is referred to as "The Chrysanthemum Throne"

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Updated the original post

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With an actual image of the railings in question. For some reason, they remind me of something you'd expect in LA, but as we know, this is Boston, not LA.

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Northie?

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Northie?

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Please

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NoBo.

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I feel like I use the end of

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I feel like I use the end of that song more

"This is Boston, Fuck you!"

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As well you should, sir

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Man, The Freeze were great. They and SSD captured lightning in a bottle back then. ( I wasn’t hard core so forgive me if my list isn’t more thorough but damn they killed and it still holds up. )

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Give them a look..

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..In person. They look terrible and yes, I've yet to meet a North End resident who has approved of the look. -North End Resident

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Deal with it

Its like the cycle track you North Enders keep whining about, you act like there were no public meetings or displays of the designs put forth years ahead of it actually getting built.

Hell, I remember they had the elevations for this design posted on the side of the building that ANYONE WALKING BY COULD CLEARLY SEE.

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

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brilliant!

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Haha!! I can't believe you actually worked in the 'cyclists as victms' bit into a post about the appropriateness of the aesthetics of a particular set of iron railings on faux balconies on a building in the North End. Do you even live in the North End or an historical neighborhood in Boston? People live in these historical neighborhods because they like the historical nature of the architecture. What do you care if local residents don't like the railing designs?? Lighten up or move to the North End and you can protest the people who are trying to preserve their neighborhood. Sheesh.

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And there it is!

Did you goto the public hearings on this? Did you voice your displeasure with the design that was posted on the building for years?

As for the cyclists as victims, no idea where thats coming from. More of a knock on the North Enders crying about a fast one being pulled on them for a project that was on public display for years before it was built.

And for the record, I live in the Brighton Center Historic District and frequently read about and send public comments back on proposed development in the area. You know, engaging in the public process instead of having a temper tantrum.

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FTFY

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More of a knock on a small handful of self-appointed North End stooges crying

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So, are you and all the other

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"OMG, these are an abomination " types willing to replace them with what you deem an "acceptable" design at YOUR expense?

It's a RAILING. Get over yourselves. There are far more pressing issues that need to be dealt with than forcing your personal aesthetic preferences on others.

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Actually, they aren't even railings

What keeps people from walking off those little balconies is glass panels. The stuff people are complaining about is kind of a grille, applied as bling. It doesn't serve any function other than decoration.

Would you have the same get-over-it attitude if they spelled out "Trump SUX" over and over?

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Yes

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It doesn't serve any function other than decoration.

And?

So?

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You can't win

Use the same cookie cutter, soulless design and people complain.

Try something different and people complain.

When will people learn you can't build a new, 200 year old building?

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Have you seen..

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..every other new building in the North End?? They at least somewhat fit in with the unique, historic North End architecture.

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Unique, historic North End architecture.

Oh get over yourselves, Boston is a historic city, stop acting like the North End is special.

Did you goto the hearings on this to see the design and voice your displeasure?

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Unique? Historic?

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Tenaments and a hodge podge of older buildings, with brick fortresses thrown in.

Hardly unique. Hardly historic. Mostly changing over time - like this.

So tired of the whining about "look the same" buildings and then this whining. Geesh. Buy stuff and make it like you want it already!

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Tenements

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What is unique about tenements? Brick garages?

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Cute

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For a little village in Japan, yes.....but for the North End?? C'mon...

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Oh my God

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Those are hideous, and especially for the North End. Are they supposed to be Japanese style (Hence the Tokyo reference..) ??

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Easy

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Tokyo reference is good old North End racism. - a 16 year NEnd resident (so i’m still a newbie)

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Agree, ugly. But...

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...Eye of the beholder and all that.

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Why?

Honest question. It doesn't seem like it would have been a terrible job to do, and if it were, they get paid by the hour in high wages - those fences would be a good profit.

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Because to them, it is their

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Because to them, it is their art. Sure artists expect criticism, but this?

And yes, it took a bit of skill to do this.

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It was a joke...

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The image of a big burly ironworker sobbing because some N. End yuppie left a passive-aggressive note calling his work "hideous" = funny

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New Orleans

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You should see what sort of fancy things that Ironworkers there make for their own houses.

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I kind of like them.

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Italians are big into flowers, so not totally out of character.

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In 70 years...

They are going to go lipshit when someone suggests taking them down.

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OK, de gustibus and all that

But those things are fucking hideous. I don't know what the Tokyo crack is supposed to mean... they look like a prison camp, not an Asian capital.

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Ugly

They just look like they came from the clearance rack at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

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Poorly Worded Protest

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The sign-maker should have said "Hong Kong," not "Tokyo." One of the comments below the tweet says:

https://twitter.com/agiraffes/status/943852992322834432

Does the North End have an architectural commission as so many other Boston neighborhoods do? If they don't, they need one. If they do, I think they made a big mistake as this building clashes mightily with the character of the neighborhood.

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And if they do...

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Does the North End have an architectural commission as so many other Boston neighborhoods do?

And if they do, was the anonymous sign poster at the meeting where this was approved, and if so, did they register their complaint then?

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No Architectural Commission

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The North End had a chance back late 70's/early 80's, to be designated a historic district but they rejected it because they "didn't want to be told what they could do with their properties". Doesn't seem like such a bad idea now maybe, historic districts seemed to have worked out pretty well for Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, etc. Just sayin'...

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Counterpoint

At the time, the North End is also doing pretty well too.

I'm pretty sure the lesson is a historical commission commissions (or similar entities like HOA or Condo Boards), doesn't make or break a neighborhood. As long other more important conditions go favorably, so does the neighborhood.

That said, I can't say I like the look from that one photo. It looks really messy and cluttered. I don't really get the Tokyo bit (though a bit more clear with people pointing out the chrysanthemum thing), as my understanding of Japanese aesthetics is they tend to be pretty good about it. At the same time, other photos looks okay when in context of the surrounding buildings. And I think people can get used to it unlike some stuff that irritates you everyday until it finally get teared down.

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I don't think so

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Not like the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, where the architectural commissions issue rulings even on paint colors, but ...

I'm going to assume this project went through the zoning board, and pretty much every single zoning-board approval vote ends with "subject to continuing design review by the BPDA," so somebody at City Hall gave this approval to go forward.

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I designed the Art on the Building Nextdoor.

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I designed the Art on the Building Nextdoor. http://nateswain.com/powerhouse.html
No one complained. Its been up for 8 years.
I don't like how the railing goes across the top balcony with no balcony in the middle.
Other than that I think its fine. Just give it some time and it will blend in with eclectic vernacular of the North End. There are some ugly building in the North End that no one bats an eye at.

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But YOUR Work is Awesome!

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So if you think this Chrysanthemum building will become less of an eyesore with time, that give me hope.

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Super Max style?

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It looks like the round razor wire that lines a prison to prevent inmates from climbing over the wall to escape. And whats up with the big gap in the middle of the top one?

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Hahahahaha!!!!

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I bet 99% of the people commenting on this aren't from the North End & have never seen this building in person. It is GROSS!!!! Frank DePasquale almost bought it out because he thought it gave such a bad look to what just so happens to be one of the most central locations of the neighborhood - corner of Prince of Salem, where hundreds of thousands of tourists come each year to take pictures of the beautiful building that houses Dino's.

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I saw it in person

And from the zoning board minutes. And from drawings put on the building years ago. I like it.

But I'm not from the North End, I only work nearby, so my opinion apparently means nothing.

Edit: And its been up since August of this year according to Google Street view, do none of you people walk down this street enough to know this?

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What other kind of comment

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What other kind of comment would you expect from this citizen from a city struggling to be world class.

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Roar Shark

I see Lebanon 1982, not Tokyo.

I guess the art is doing it's job, but I feel bad for the residents.

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First world problems.

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First world problems.

OMG someone did something DIFFERENT that I DON"T LIKE!

WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Residents?

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Has anyone polled the actual residents of the building about how they feel?

I think it's horrible, North End or Japan or anywhere else. As someone else pointed out, the upper balcony - where it stretches across a space with no balcony level - may be the worst. And it is unnecessary, as there appear to be glass/plastic barriers on all the balconies already.

If I was a resident, my complaint - aside from aesthetics - would be about my views being obstructed by it.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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As a former North End resident

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The correct answer to that is you don't - park in a garage if you want to visit. There isn't enough parking for the residents.

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Tonic or soda

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It looks like a table where nobody ever used coasters for their sweaty cans. .

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And the fabricator of the railings

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Is laughing all the way to the bank !

Capitalism does not necessarily equal aestheticism

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The sign has nothing to do

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The sign has nothing to do with the railings but is a racist dig at the building owner.

But, its great to see so many people have time to worry about railings, truly the scourge of the city.

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Well, its not "literally"

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Well, its not "literally" every single resident that hates the railings if the owner likes it. Just sayin'.

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When most people say

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When most people say literally, they literally mean figuratively.

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THANK YOU!

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Thanks for the reality check.

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To all pedestrians: DO NOT

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To all pedestrians: DO NOT WALK ON THE SIDEWALK UNDERNEATH!! GO ACROSS THE STREET INSTEAD! This doesn't look safe at all. And I hope there won't be any small children or pets living in that building. I guarantee something tragic will happen.

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You know what this sounds like, right?

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"I'D HATE TO SEE ANYTHING BAD HAPPEN TO YA".

How quaint.

PRO TIP: there is a BIG difference between something BEING safe and something YOU don't think LOOKS safe.

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I like them!

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But they do not match the North End at all, and would fit in a lot better in a part of the city that's mostly new construction and/or has a more funky vibe. (I bet they'd be a selling point in Allston, for example.)

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North end?

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I think they should be more worried about why the North End smells like the south end of a horse.

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