Tag Archives: Boston

Southie power plant plan is scaled back

The massive development in Southie known as the L Street Station, which will replace the old Edison Power Plant (shown above), has been updated according to an article published by the Boston Business Journal earlier this week.

The 15 acre property which aims to convert the Edison Turbine Hall in South Boston into a mixed use development has been scaled back and will now include 630+ residential units, a 231-room hotel, more than 520,000 square feet of office space, approximately 335,000 square feet of R&D space, and nearly 85,000 square feet of retail space. The property will also include nearly 6 acres of open space as well as a commitment to give a $10 million (or $670,000 annual for 15 years) operating subsidy to the MBTA to help with additional service on the Route 7 and Route 9 buses.

Initially the project proposal also included nearly 1,400 parking spaces but I was not able to see if that has changed. The project still needs final approval from city and state in addition to Massport lifting its restriction that prevents residential development on the site.

Boston’s Nubian Square

Nubian Square (formerly Dudley Square) is the commercial center of the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and is located at the intersection of Dudley Street and Washington Street. The heart of this newly renamed neighborhood is less than 1.5 miles from the center of the South End (Tremont and Clarendon).

The neighborhood is still very much in transition, and I like the urban vibe.  While new residences continue to be built, there is a community that calls this home that I hope will always be welcome there and not be pushed out as investment continues to bring more housing and commercial space.

Photo credit: Black Market Nubian Square

Nubian Square has been the center of African American culture in Boston since the end of WWII. Previously, it was better known as a Jewish neighborhood but it would become home to some of the 20th century’s most influential African Americans. In the early 1940s Malcolm Little (better known as Malcolm X) moved into his family home at 72 Dale Street as a teenager and lived there for 12 years. Martin Luther King Jr. met and fell in love with Coretta Scott King when they were both students in Boston in the early 1950s and lived a short walk from Dudley Square (the former name of Nubian Square).

In the decades that followed many more influential African Americans would call this neighborhood home, or when visiting Boston this is where they would go out. In the early part of the 21st Century as Boston’s wealth grew, greater investment in surrouding neighborhoods helped breathe new life into this culturally and racially diverse neighborhood. It is now a vibrant neighborhood that reminds me of the South End 20+ years ago. A wide variety of small businesses dominate the streetscape with very few exceptions.

As the photos above show, the area has beautiful architecture and public art like the Crisscross Signal Spire shown just above. This is an interactive work of light art designed by Höweler + Yoon Architecture. The spire visualizes social media content with its integrated LED lighting system in real-time, more information about the sculpture here.

As you might expect, the neighborhood is also home to some great (and affordable) restaurants. EaterBoston shared a list of some of their reader’s favorite destinations last August which I encourage you to read here. Dining options range from West African flavors of Bintimani Restaurant and Suya Joint to East African cuisine of Fasika (a favorite of BosGuy reader, Giuseppe Di Capiro) to soul food of Maxine’s.

The neighborhood also has several interesting cafes like Dudley Cafe and Haley House Bakery and Cafe which relocated from the South End as well as grocery shops like Tropical Foods, but my favorite is the nonprofit community grocer, the Daily Table.

*****     *****     *****

Is there a neighborhood you think I should visit? I love exploring neighborhoods, villages and towns and would like to hear what you love about where you live.

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission opens in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco

Late last month the city of Boston announced it would form a “Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission” to review racial inequities, police violence and misconduct in the legal system.

Boston becomes one of just three cities to convene and pilot such a commission with the hope that more shall follow. District attorneys in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco have all pledged to create the commissions with a goal of starting work as early as this fall.

Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation commissions formed when apartheid ended in South Africa in the 1990s, these groups will be overseen by district attorneys who could decide to prosecute

View this post on Instagram

No. It's functioning exactly the way those who designed and built it intended it to function. It was not built to give us justice. It was built to oppress us. So today, we begin tearing it down, and replacing it with something imaginative and new, something redemptive. ⁣ ⁣ 25 years ago, in the shadows of Apartheid in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed to properly address generations of racial injustice that had been all but ignored. ⁣ ⁣ It’s TIME for the United States to do the same. ⁣ ⁣ Today we are announcing the formation of the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. ⁣ ⁣ In spite of all of our movements for change, the thing we call the justice system in the United States has never been a reliable, competent, compassionate, professional, respectful tool for justice for tens of millions of Americans. ⁣ ⁣ Instead, it has often been a cruel and oppressive force of injustice for African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, immigrants, members of the LGBTQIA community, and all marginalized communities. Consequently, when marginalized people have needed to finally rely on this system for justice, it has routinely failed them in the worst ways imaginable. This isn't a bug in the system, but a feature. It's operating exactly the way it was designed and built to function. That’s why we’re imagining and building something new.⁣ ⁣ Today, in partnership with the District Attorneys of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston – Chesa Boudin, Larry Krasner, and Rachael Rollins, we are announcing the formation of the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission to actually process and address the injustices of the past that simply were not given the time, attention, and dignity that they deserved. We expect the formation process to last at least until this fall when the local commissions will then announce the next steps for impacted individuals and families to formally submit cases to be considered.⁣ ⁣ Follow us today. ⁣ ⁣ Join us and support the work @ TJRC.org or by clicking the link in our bio.

A post shared by The TJRC (@thetjrc) on

Wicked Queer Festival will be streamed starting July 24

Boston’s 36th annual Wicked Queer festival, had been scheduled to open in early April, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, the organizers were able to reimagine the festival so fans of queer film (no matter where you live) can access and watch this year’s fantastic festival on Xerb TV, from Friday, July 24 – Sunday, August 2.

This year’s festival can be viewed by anyone who loves queer film 

To participate in this year’s festival you can register to watch individual films for $10 or a variety of packages starting at $30.00. This easy-to-follow video shares how to attend this year’s Wicked Queer Film Festival on Xerb TV.

Boston’s Wicked Queer Festival
Friday, July 24 – Sunday, August 2
Xerb TV calendar (includes date & time for each film)

For updates, visit wickedqueer.org.

Boston Pops July 4th celebration

Photo Credit: Kelly Automotive

The Boston Pops annual fireworks show was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Pops will still offer patriotic music and fireworks during “A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes,” a pre-recorded performance airing July 4th.

This year’s program will pay tribute to the front line workers and those who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 public health crisis and will air on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio, and Boston’s WHDH-TV, on Saturday, July 4, starting at 8 p.m.

Boston sees smallest drop off in hiring in US

LGBT Boston, gay life bostonThe 20 biggest American cities saw significant drop in hiring in April according to LinkedIn. With one exception – Boston. Looking at regional trends, LinkedIn found that all but one of the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas showed an April drop of 20% to 40% in their hiring rates, as compared with the previous month. Boston by contrast, saw its hiring decline just 6.8% month-over-month in April.

The industries that have fared best thus far (health care, education and technology) comprise a significant, if not an out-sized, footprint in Boston’s economy and is credited for such a shallow dip in hiring in the region.

20.5 Million Americans lose jobs in April
US  unemployment rate soars to 14.7%

This may be of little comfort to those who have lost their jobs or seen their hours and income reduced, but it hopefully means that Boston remains more resilient and as a region we can emerge from this economic downturn more quickly. You can read the full article on LinkedIn here: April’s U.S. hiring plunged 23.9%, but a few vital sectors kept adding people.

Will Boston’s gay bars survive COVID

Boston, boston cityscapeRecently, Alex Reimer wrote an interesting article asking  the same question about gay bars in the US for Outsports where he is the deputy managing editor. Because he is a Massachusetts native the article references places we are all familiar with if you live in Boston and makes the read all the more personal.

Will gay bars survive the coronavirus shutdown? 

In addition to the lost revenue, in approximately 5 weeks Boston’s gay bars will take another hit when Boston’s Gay Pride Week was suppose to occur. Pride Week brings out people to celebrate and all of Boston’s gay bars see a bump; a bump this year they will not benefit from. I do worry about Boston’s few, remaining gay bars and Provincetown’s highly leveraged bars that make their money from popular theme weeks and summer travelers.

Give Alex’s article a read, because like Alex – these bars are important to me as well and I hope they can emerge from this pandemic. The few bars that remain enrich LGBTQ life here in Bostson and will need your support as well.

Boston’s first marijuana dispensary (finally) opens on Monday

Marijuana was made legal after the question was put to voters at the ballot box in 2016. Statewide 53.7% of the vote was in favor of legalization with 46.3% voting against “Question 4” as it came to be known. In the city of Boston even more of the electorate (67%) voted in favor of legalizing marijuana.

The current Mayor of Boston and Governor of Massachusetts did everything they could to slowdown and complicate the process for paving the way for businesses to open. However, on Monday, Boston will FINALLY have its first recreational marijuana shop.

Pure Oasis pot shop is located at 430 Blue Hill Avenue between Jones Hill and Eglston Square. Their daily hours of operation are between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Pure Oasis happens to also be the first applicant under the economic empowerment equity programs created by the commissio, which gives priority to applicants from areas disenfranchised by the war on drugs.

You can read more about Boston’s first marijuana dispensary for recreational use, here.

Median Boston rental prices near MBTA subway stations

boston rent, renthop, rent hopRentHop has shared their annual Boston T Rent Map, which focuses on MBTA subway stations. They have created an interactive version of this map that lets you select individual T stops to show median rents for 1 bedrooms nearby.

Obviously, the downtown neighborhoods are most expensive with most stops in downtown featuring rents in the $3,000 range for a one-bedroom unit, but as you move out of the city center rents drop. Below are some examples noted for each line as uncovered by RentHop.

  • $1,247  btwn Aquarium ($3,397) and Maverick ($2,150) – Blue Line
  • $1,100  btwn Back Bay ($3,600) and Mass Ave ($2,500) – Orange Line
  • $900 btwn Broadway ($3,300) and Andrew ($2,400) – Orange Line
  • $649  btwn Kendall/MIT ($3,149) and Central ($2,500) – Red Line
  • $600  btwn Copley ($3,100) and Hynes ($2,500) – Green Line

Boston Public Library McKim building opened 125 years ago

BPLThe Boston Public Library (BPL) in Copley Square first opened its doors to the public on Sunday, February 3, 1895, and tomorrow marks the 125th anniversary of this iconic building’s opening. While this wasn’t the first home of the library, it is the only home anyone alive today would know.

The BPL is the 3rd largest public library in the United States behind only the U.S. Library of Congress and the New York City Public Library. However, it’s not the amazing amount of research nor its prized collections or priceless artwork  that make this such a beloved institution.

The BPL anchors the west side of Copley Square in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. It is where many important cultural and sporting events take place; such as the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Since 1897, every April (on Patriot’s Day) tens of thousands of runners cross in front of the  Boston Library and every parade of note either lines up alongside or pass by these buildings.

BPL, Todd Van HoosearThe original building (a.k.a. The McKim building) and its gorgeous courtyard that was inspired by Rome’s Palazzo della Cancelleria are sanctuaries I go to often and places I show anyone who visits Boston. Bates Hall (shown below) on the second floor of the McKim Building features 50-foot-high barrel vault ceiling and is a must-see for any architecture enthusiasts. Travel + Leisure agrees with me too – check out their 2016 article about the BPL here.

BPL

UNIVERSALIMAGESGROUP/GETTY IMAGES

Next time you’re in the Back Bay, take a few minutes to pay the BPL a visit and appreciate this cultural gem.

Outdoor ice skating rinks in Boston

The winter is more fun if you take advantage of the colder weather to engage in seasonal activities like ice skating (it doesn’t matter if you’re crap at it). Channel your inner Adam Rippon and make plans to go out and have some fun.

Below are five ice skating rinks that you can enjoy as well as some suggestions on where you can go after to warm up. 

Frog Pond Skating Rink at the Boston Common
$6 Admission || $12 rental fee
Warm up after by ordering a Hot Toddy at Yvonne’s

The Rink at 401 Park in The Fenway 
$10 Admission || $6 rental fee
Warm up after at the bar at TimeOut Boston

Snowport Winter Village in Seaport
$5 Admission || $5 rental fee
Warm up after with a decadent hot chocolate at Flour

Community Ice Skating in Kendall Square
$5 Admission || $8 rental fee
Warm up after with a double espresso at barismo

DCR Kelly Outdoor Rink in JP
Free Admission || $3 rental fee
Warm up after with a decadent hot chocolate at JP Licks

No Pants Subway Ride Boston is this Sunday

No Pants Subway Ride Boston

Boston’s No Pants Subway Ride is this Sunday

Calling all exhibitionists and pranksters: Boston’s 14th annual No Pants Subway Ride (NPSR) is this Sunday, January 12th from 1-3PM.  Details for participating in the No Pants Subway Ride (and the fun no pants after party) are posted here.

Meet at 1 Pemberton Square (near Gov’t Center) by 1:00 PM. Look for someone with an umbrella (and possibly a cape) who will give you instructions on the specific route you’ll be asked to travel. NOTE: Show up fully clothed – you will be instructed (when / where to remove your pants once on the MBTA). After riding the MBTA a pants optional after party will be at McGreevy’s (911 Boylston Street, Boston). Watch this helpful video for more information and tips.

About the Boston NPSR:
Attendees will ride various T lines wearing all of their normal winter clothes with the minor exception of missing pants. Throughout the ride, participants are encouraged to act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. G-strings, jockstraps, etc… are not allowed – the idea is to be cheeky without showing your cheeks if you understand my meaning.

Massachusetts RMV recognizes “Gender X”

non binary gender option in MassachusettsMassachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles now provides drivers with a third gender option to choose from. The option, “X,” is available for people to select who don’t identify as male or female.

This past Tuesday, during Transgender Awareness Week, Massachusetts state registry of motor vehicles (RMV) started offering residents a non-binary gender designation option for their driver’s licenses and ID cards. This was done as part of a system upgrade at the RMV and makes Massachusetts one of approximately a dozen states in the United States to recognize a third, non binary gender.

Almost on cue Massachusetts GOP Chairman Jim Lyons called this insane and railed against the change. I can appreciate there are people who’s heads spin at the idea of non-binary, but I don’t understand the need to make sure their point of view supersedes others or how decisions like this by the State of Massachusetts impact Mr. Lyons and those who agree with him. It seems like the same failed logic that was applied to opposing same sex marriages.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

robert frost, poem, poetryIn what has become an unintentional tradition, each October I post this poem on my blog. It is one of my favorite poems and happens to be by the famous 20th century American poet, Robert Frost.

Nothing gold can stay was inspired by the fall foliage in New England and was written nearly 100 years ago, back in 1923.

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Boston Book Festival this weekend

shirtless guy, man with glasses, reading, bookI believe this weekend will be the 11th Annual Boston Book Festival. This free event centered in Copley Square and the Boston Public Library this Saturday and Sunday is a wonderful program worth checking out. The 2019 BBF will include 350+ presenters, 140+ events at 37 venues and is expected to draw 30k people.

The Boston Book Festival celebrates the power of words to stimulate, agitate, unite, delight, and inspire by holding year-round events culminating in an annual, Festival that promotes a culture of reading, ideas and enhances the vibrancy of our city.

The variety of events, topics and discussions are meant to ensure there is something for everyone. If you’re an aspiring (or possibly frustrated) writer, there are many sessions set up all weekend long as well (check’em out here). One program I’m contemplating attending is Saturday’s Poetry & Pints.

This year’s full schedule can be viewed here: BBF Schedule.