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Downtown wax museum melts away

Empty wax museum

A waxy-pallored Leonardo DiCaprio no longer stares at the few pedestrians who still make their way across City Hall Plaza: Neal G. reports the wax museum where the Planet Fitness used to be, across from City Hall, has packed up and gone in this Covid-19-decimated era.

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Comments

I walked by that "museum" every day to/from Gov't Center station and my office for years. I honestly can't believe it lasted so long. I cannot say I ever saw a single customer inside- just employees who looked bored to tears. It completely baffled me, because I imagine that's pricey real estate.

I also was very creeped out by it...

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No, not to pay $19.95 (or whatever) to walk around, but to ask the people working there if people ever came in. The minute I walked in three separate people all perked up and asked me, basically, why I was there. I asked if people every came in. They said they were plenty busy, but not at the time of day or season I visited, like during tourist season. "Let's go to Boston! We can see the Freedom Trail, the USS Constitution, go to a Red Sox game, and let's not forget the wax museum!"

Uh huh, busy places certainly have that sort of reaction when a potential customer walks in the door.

I'm kind of surprised it's leaving, it's not like it is seeing any fewer customers than its usual zero.

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You walked by for years? It was barely open a year or two, if that.

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I went there in Sept 2017 which was a couple months after it opened. That’s almost three years ago. You also could have just googled it instead of being a petulant child.

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I had to wonder if it was a money laundering operation or some sort of covert HQ. Didn't seem to have any traffic even at busy times!

Now I want my convenient gym back, dammit!

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Makes me wonder how many vacant street level commercial space we will see now.

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I wonder that too.. seems to be alot of restaurant closings. We will see a lot of that coming.

Retail will be different. I can still go into a store as usual and buy something. Sitting at Davios under candle light while the waiter pours me a glass of wine as I look over the menu.. indoors. Not so much.

I think some places won't make it, but I know for me at least.. I am shopping a lot more local these days. I'm starting to find that the little stores near my house are 'hidden treasures to me' for decently priced goods in stores vs big box retailers.

I love market basket but I am more apt now to go into the bodega near my house for things I would get at MB like meat and veggies and canned goods. (vs the usual "I am out of xxx go get it"). Its less crowded, many have signs saying 1-3 people inside max. And well stocked most of the time.

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If my neighborhood had any useful local shops, I would have been shopping there already. But there's nothing, so most people go to a chain supermarket too far to walk to.

I don't understand why we don't have small greengrocers, delis, bakeries, etc. Similrly dense neighborhoods in NYC have them, and they have an amazing selection, great prices, and long hours.

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Where do you live?

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I do think we're going to see a re-vitalization of walkable smaller retail.

I keep saying.. lots of "customer pick up" windows (and revised/streamlined systems). More plexiglass, redesigned flow in stores, multiple doors (in and out), motorized doors/arm handles., al fresco dining, etc etc.

And then of course I hope rebirth of smaller, walkable downtown centers. So many town centers now are wastelands due to the mallificatioin of America. It would be nice to see that come back. Smaller stores, walkable shopping.

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...And I'm surprised that it lasted this long.

I didn't think the concept made sense today, and I certainly didn't think the location made any sense.

Their website is still up and says that they are "closed until May 4th (pending re-evaluation)" due to COVID-19.

I heard rumors years ago that it was owned by someone from (or in?) China, and that explained their bright red color theme. I have no idea how accurate those rumors were.

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Back when they opened up one of the review sites had a bunch of Astroturfed reviews from people from Brazil.

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Brazilians are known for their artistry with wax, they say.

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Wax museums in this city seem to suffer a bizarre fate and close under unusual circumstances. Like Madam Tussaud's on Tremont and Boylston (where Emerson's WERS radio station is now) in the late 60 and early 70s. Somebody got in there one night and vandalized all the wax figures. The place closed and the disfigured figures ended up as decor in a nightclub called Dummies (get it?) on Comm. Ave. where the Paradise now stands.

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I was wondering what happened to that place.

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I never thought this would last. Gotta love Boston tourism. Nothing like NYC and LA. Yet NYC and LA can never be like us. Wax museum of passe celebrities we could care less about. For $5.00 a pop, I'll stand in the middle of Quincy Market during the summer and have you listen to a native Boston accent!

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When you can't decide between a wax statue of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson

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The location can return to being a discount stock broker

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It was a Superfitness or one of those chains, I used to belong to it. It was fine, dingy but cheap and had the big windows so was well-lit. Right near the State orange line stop, convenient. Then Rock n'Fitness bought them out, raised the dues, that was it.

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It was a Planet Fitness location. I would love for it to come back!

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It was crowded, but convenient and cheap.

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Before Planet Fitness it was a discount stockbroker for many, many years. I think it was called Stock Cross.

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Their sign was an old-school universal stock ticker printer, the kind under the glass dome
IMAGE(http://tickertapemachines.com/files/universalrestored1.jpg)

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Super Fitness was there first. Besides, that pizza is very cringey.

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with $15 burgers and $12 drafts. There just aren't enough of those in Boston. On the other hand, someone could recreate the Fillet of Soul restaurant from Live and Let Die. The City Council could drink there after work, and every Friday one could be randomly selected to disappear down a chute which dumps them on the Green Line platform.

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I think we had better get used to lots of vacancies -- retail is going to change drastically

How it all shakes-out -- is impossible to guess -- here are some observations and questions:

  1. COVID-19 has been very good to Target, Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and such similar Really Big places which all stayed open.
  2. Somewhat differently from a matter of scale the Chain Drugstores and Hardware Stores all stayed open and did well.
  3. Many of the small local stores which have been closed will probably not reopen
    1. as the tourist-centric shops won't be seeing many tourists for quite a while,
    2. and the ones catering to local customers will be forced to operate at a fraction of previous levels of business because of the social distancing rules.
  4. The "Social Distancing" rules will hurt the small restaurants badly -- especially those with no-room to expand for the potentially business-saving outdoor dining and drinking.
  5. A Big Question is will the landlords decide that to stay in business themselves that they will have to accommodate their existing tenants by offering lower rents -- or will the landlords try to keep the retail rents high and allow the shops to close?
  6. An even Bigger Question -- will the PVDSD [Post Viral Disease Stress Disorder] cause a lot of people [especially Millennial} to abandon the allure of density of the City for the safety of the Burbs and Beyond?
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