Tag Archive for 'boston'

A New Pair of Sox for the Red Sox

New Red Sox Identities

This design link is near and dear to my heart – The Boston Red Sox recently updated their team iden­tity and uni­forms. Over­all, I think it’s a pos­i­tive evo­lu­tion, though seems a bit nos­tol­gic. I love the gray pri­mary road jer­seys.

Armin Vit mostly likes what he sees:

Replac­ing the old seal as the team’s offi­cial logo is the lone pair of red, hang­ing sox. Unless I’m wrong, there is no typog­ra­phy asso­ci­ated with it. None. No “Boston.” No “Red Sox.” If that’s the case, this is one of the best cases of visual iden­tity and brand equity becom­ing so strong the icon doesn’t need expla­na­tion. They are sox. They are red. They can not be any­thing other than the Boston Red Sox.

Illus­tra­tion cour­tesy of Boston.com

The Big Picture

NYTimes.com isn’t the only NYT prop­erty that’s doing inter­est­ing things with blogs these days – Boston.com launched a dif­fer­ent kind of photo blog ear­lier this month, The Big Pic­ture. With its over­sized pho­tos, min­i­mal ads, and hardly a promo to other site con­tent, the pre­sen­ta­tion is clear and strik­ing – and praise is pour­ing in.

California Fires

Fire­fight­ers work to con­tain the Hum­boldt fire which started Wednes­day, had grown to 19,000 acres and threat­ened more than 5,000 struc­tures. (AP Photo/Jason Hal­ley – Chico Enterprise-Record)

Another inter­est­ing facet about the blog is that it not writ­ten by a Globe pho­tog­ra­pher or photo edi­tor, but by one of their web­site devel­op­ers. Andy Baio posted a great inter­view with the blog’s cre­ator and author, Alan Tay­lor, where he dis­cusses his inspi­ra­tion, method­ol­ogy, and what it’s like being a web devel­oper work­ing in a journalist’s world. When asked why more news­pa­per sites haven’t done this before, he replied:

Even some of my favorite photo sites are often lim­ited to ‘Photo of the Day’ or ‘24 Hours in Pic­tures’ fea­tures. That’s inter­est­ing, and you can find some mind-blowing images there, but I always felt like it lacked con­text, depth, story.”

Iowa Floods

Bran­don Smith car­ries his two cats, Fry and Ben­der, to dry land from their flooded and evac­u­ated home on June 12, 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)

As we move to an age where motion graph­ics and video reg­u­larly enhance our tra­di­tional news pre­sen­ta­tion, it’s inter­est­ing to take a step back and con­sider the power still pho­tog­ra­phy has to tell a story. And work­ing online with­out the space con­straint of print, news orga­ni­za­tions have an oppor­tu­nity to bring more depth and con­text to read­ers, through excel­lent photojournalism.

405 Sunset

While we were in Boston this past week­end, we stopped by our friend Lind­sey Warren’s stu­dio at BU, where she is just com­plet­ing her MFA in paint­ing. She just sold a bunch of work at the grad­u­ate stu­dent show a few weeks back, and still has some amaz­ing stuff left. We also got to see some works in progress – includ­ing some inter­est­ing printmaking.

But, the best thing about the visit was that we pur­chased an amaz­ing paint­ing, 405 Sun­set:

405 Sunset

This paint­ing was fea­tured in the Boston Globe Mag­a­zine last summer:

Lind­sey War­ren uses lurid col­ors and a sur­pris­ing range of tex­tures to evoke a world shim­mer­ing on the edge of dis­so­lu­tion, from the woodsy, dap­pled ‘Power Out­age’ to the crisp, sun-stroked ‘405 Sunset.’

So we’re excited to get this piece to Brook­lyn, but that will take some time since it mea­sures 4′x 5′– we’ll have to get it crated and shipped.

Take a look at her work, and con­tact her if you’re inter­ested in stop­ping by her stu­dio – she’ll be there until mid-June.

Con­tinue read­ing ’405 Sunset’

Google Earth in 3D

Google Earth now has 3D-buildings, and it’s really fun to play with. Here is the Times Build­ing, where I work:

Times Building

A 3D ren­der­ing of the New York Times Build­ing in Mid­town, as shown in Google Earth.

If you have Google Earth installed, see it for your­self. Or, try land­ing on the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge, (just zoom in).

There seems to be data for a lot of cities, includ­ing my home town of Buf­falo, and for­mer home of Boston.

New York to Boston for $1?

Yes­ter­day, the Times took a look at a few new entrants into the East Coast dis­count bus travel business:

We’re fre­quent rid­ers on the dis­count Chi­na­town bus lines, despite their ten­dency toward break­downs and shenani­gans. And, a while back I was excited about Vamoose Bus, which was sup­posed to begin NYC–Boston ser­vice with free wi-fi and a guar­an­teed seat. This seems to have fallen through, as there is now no men­tion of Boston on the their web site.

But it’s inter­est­ing to note the emer­gence of Bolt­Bus and MegaBus – because both are owned by tra­di­tional bussing com­pa­nies, not scrappy Chi­na­town star­tups. Grey­hound owns Bolt­bus, and Megabus is run by Coach USA, par­ent of Gray Line sight­see­ing bus line.

Both are tak­ing a “South­west Air­lines” approach by offer­ing cheaper fares to those who book early, but last-minute book­ings will cost about as much as Grey­hound. $1 fares are nice, but I’m most inter­ested in the free wi-fi, power out­lets, and enter­tain­ment options. Those fea­tures are worth pay­ing a lit­tle extra.

A New boston.com

new Boston.com

The new Boston.com

I just noticed that boston.com launched a redesigned site, and it looks very nice. You can read the editor’s redesign note here.

The new look is much wider, open, and eas­ier to read. The Globe page espe­cially shines, though they could bet­ter dis­trib­ute some of the paper’s con­tent across the columns. (And, I wish that they’d ditch the awful curvy logo for some­thing less whimsical.)

Some sec­tions on the site remain unchanged for now – which, accord­ing to the redesign FAQ, was intentional:

Dif­fer­ent fea­tures and sec­tions of the site are sched­uled to debut on dif­fer­ent days. While we real­ize that this might be con­fus­ing in the short-term, we’ve stud­ied our options care­fully and believe that the grad­ual switch we have planned will ulti­mately result in a bet­ter user experience.

Err, or that was a lot to roll out at once. Still, great improvement.

Vamoose Bus

I know what bus I’m tak­ing now, when­ever I need to get to Boston or DC:

NYC-Boston bus offers free wi-fi, and reser­va­tions
…will pro­vide rid­ers with free WiFi on its leased buses, which are equipped with routers. Vamoose is sell­ing one-way reserved seats for $22.

Free wi-fi and a guar­an­teed seat, for $40 round trip? Done.

More at Vamoosebus.com.

BU Central

Man, I’ve taken a long break from this site… a belated wel­come back to all the col­lege kids—I almost for­got about all of you.

And since it’s the new school year, it’s also time for BU Cen­tral to start up. They host bands, come­di­ans and other fun stuff that we never had dur­ing our years there.

Rainer Maria

It makes me laugh when they pop up on Sir­ius Left of Cen­ter, as “up-and-coming”.

Catastrophe

Beirut

I really don’t get what the buzz is about, but, I have to respect their live act. I’ve never seen a room of kids go that apeshit over ukuleles.

Beirut

Other shows will be posted on their web­site, but a BU ID required to get in.

ICA Boston

IMG_2306

Photo, orig­i­nally uploaded by droush16.

It looks like the new ICA on the South Boston water­front has to delay it’s Sep­tem­ber open­ing:

In inter­views yes­ter­day, ICA offi­cials, archi­tect Ricardo Scofidio, and con­struc­tion com­pany man­ager John Macomber said that the remain­ing work was not major. Among the pend­ing tasks—termed “minu­tiae” by one ICA trustee—was the need to test the building’s ticket counter and cli­mate con­trol system.

[via]

Asobi Seksu @ Great Scott

Asobi Seksu

Yuki Chiku­date and Asobi Seksu per­form­ing at Great Scott in Allston.

We went to The Plan at Great Scott on Sat­ur­day night to see the Brook­lyn band Asobi Seksu – I got some good shots of them and two of the open­ing bands.

As I wrote ear­lier, the new record Cit­rus is an incred­i­ble step for­ward for them, and the live show suc­ceeded in dupli­cat­ing the wash of gui­tars and noise, with­out com­pletely cov­er­ing up Yuki’s voice. They’re nice peo­ple, too.

The other great thing dur­ing the set were the lights and smoke effects… so cool. The Plan peo­ple are really show­ing up the old Cam­bridge clubs, because it was freak­ing cool.

West Elm in the Fenway

West Elm in Boston!Appar­ently, West Elm is com­ing to the Fen­way, in the new Trin­ity mixed-use com­plex under con­struc­tion between Boyl­ston & Brook­line Aves.

Our house is all IKEA, but if you have a bit more money to throw around, West Elm has some nice stuff.

Hockey East Champs

Hockey East ChampsMy alma mater Boston Uni­ver­sity clinched the Hockey East Cham­pi­onship this past Sat­ur­day, win­ning in 2–1 OT against Boston Col­lege. Now, they’re off to the NCAA tour­na­ment, ranked #1 in the nation. They haven’t done that since 1997, when I was a sopho­more, and had noth­ing bet­ter to do on Fri­day nights than go watch the games.

And, if that wasn’t enough, a guy who played on that 1997 team, Chris Drury, is cap­tain­ing my home­town Buf­falo Sabres this sea­son. They’re near the top of the con­fer­ence stand­ings, and one of the most excit­ing young teams to watch. We’ve got seats at the Gar­den for Sat­ur­day night’s matchup with the Bruins.

BC sucks!

Back-Bay Apple Store, Part II

Boston Apple Store DesignSome details are finally start­ing to emerge sur­round­ing Apple’s plans for the con­struc­tion of a sig­na­ture Flag­ship retail store in the Back Bay, Boston. IfoAp­ple­Store reports that ren­der­ings of the pro­posed design have leaked (see left), and that the backward-looking Back Bay Archi­tec­tural Com­mis­sion has seri­ous mis­giv­ings about the 3-story mod­ern glass structure.

This is a shame… our won­der­fully acer­bic alter­na­tive news­pa­per, The Weekly Dig, said it bet­ter than I can:

Putting aside the men­tal gym­nas­tics it takes to believe that one glass build­ing would destroy the neigh­bor­hoody feel­ing of a three-lane boule­vard that hosts a mall, a con­ven­tion cen­ter and the city’s second-tallest tower, Apple’s run-in with the BBAC raises a more imme­di­ate ques­tion: Is a cabal of frigid elit­ists sti­fling Boston’s growth while they defend some bull­shit Brah­min con­cep­tion of what an ex-landfill should look like?

I sym­pa­thize with those urban plan­ners and crit­ics who reject the strip-mall/parking-lot 20th-century method of devel­op­ment – God knows, Boston is as pedestrian-friendly as any city in North Amer­ica, and we’re bet­ter for it. But, there are many exam­ples of new projects designed to mimic the look of 19th-century Boston, with­out suc­ceed­ing in pre­serv­ing any sense of neigh­bor­hood cohe­sion. One glar­ing exam­ple of this is the mam­moth Hotel Com­mon­wealth, in Ken­more Square, which I’ve com­mented on in the past. That build­ing has as much “old-world charm”, as a 1970s-era French Tudor style sub­ur­ban tract home.

Mandarin Oriental BostonWhat I find strangest of all, is that this is a rel­a­tively small par­cel of land we’re talk­ing about. Con­sider that on the very same block, across the street, Man­darin Ori­en­tal is build­ing a huge hotel, in front of the Pru­den­tial Tower/Mall, at street-level.

If one of these devel­op­ments is going to change the char­ac­ter of the neigh­bor­hood, I’d worry more about that project.

Scooterist killed in Boston

I am shocked and hor­ri­fied by a report in the Globe today, that a Scooter­ist was killed last night in a col­li­sion with a truck:

Police were search­ing last night for the dri­ver of a trac­tor trailer sus­pected of strik­ing, drag­ging, and killing an 18-year-old man rid­ing a motor scooter at the Mass­a­chu­setts Avenue onramp to the Mass­a­chu­setts Turnpike.

After the impact, the truck con­tin­ued down the ramp, tak­ing the scooter and its rider with it, police said. Both were found at the bot­tom of the ramp, which was closed for sev­eral hours after the acci­dent, police said.

Even more dis­turb­ing that this, the dri­ver either didn’t know the col­li­sion occured, or fled the scene:

After hit­ting the teenager, the dri­ver of the 18-wheeler stopped momen­tar­ily on the Turn­pike to look at a tire that was on fire, said Boston police spokesman David Estrada. He refused the help of sev­eral Turn­pike work­ers and drove off with the tire ablaze, police said.

We don’t know much about the vic­tim yet, but this inci­dent should serve as an impor­tant reminder that motor scoot­ers are not toys — they are motor­cy­cles. Too many peo­ple just buy a new twist-n-go Vespa, with­out much expe­ri­ence rid­ing, or knowl­edge of safe rid­ing habits. We fre­quently see Vespa rid­ers in shorts and t-shirts, with no hel­mets or gloves, duck­ing in and out of busy city traf­fic. This is sim­ply insane.

Do your­self a favor — take a motor­cy­cle safety course. It’s well worth the $200, and you get a dis­count on your insurance.

Boston Scooter Rally

RippinestPatch

It starts tonight — the Boston city rally. Watch out if you’re walk­ing or dri­ving around the city in the next few days… espe­cially in the Fen­way, which is ground zero…

But, it kicks off tonight in All­ston, at O’Briens — the amaz­ing Jam trib­ute band, All Mod Cons are play­ing. See you there.

12 Bars of Christmas Charity Pub Crawl

We par­tic­i­pated in the 12 Bars of Christ­mas Char­ity Pub Crawl in Boston last night, with dona­tions going to the New Eng­land Cen­ter for Chil­dren and the Boston Med­ical Chil­dren with AIDS Pro­gram.

Ned & Presley

I feel a bit guilty claim­ing this was for char­ity, since all we did was drink heav­ily, over and 8-hour day, in a pack of Santa-hat wear­ing rev­el­ers… but, we did had a lot of fun with Jason, Kim, Casey, Jess, and the rest of the pack. Thanks to Autumn, for organizing.

Scorpion Bowl

Noth­ing like shar­ing a Scor­pion Bowl with another man’s wife…

Scorpion Bowl

K. and Ned at Lolo’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion. Tiki Room, Lans­downe Street, Boston, Sept 17.

Larry got it Right in Mystic River

salonlogo.gifAn open let­ter to the author of an oth­er­wise good review of Mys­tic River in Salon:

Hello Ms. Zacharek,

I did enjoy your review of Mys­tic River, and am look­ing for­ward to see­ing it this week­end. I espe­cially enjoyed your obser­va­tions on con­cep­tions of neigh­bor­hood, and on the film’s sense of place.

While it’s true that Boston’s many neigh­bor­hoods are more self-contained than most cities’, I think it’s a leap to assume that this clan­nish­ness is total. It’s equally true to argue that all of Boston is insu­lated from other parts of the coun­try. There is a dis­tinct com­mon Boston cul­ture, which includes things like lan­guage, val­ues, and tra­di­tions (red sox).

And while there may be an evi­dent us vs. them dynamic between cer­tain groups in the city, there is always a cir­cling of the wag­ons when Boston is fac­ing out­ward to the rest of the coun­try. So there must be more to this place than the sum of its parts.

Which leads me to ask you about this:

His part­ner is played by Lau­rence Fish­burne, who wasn’t told, unfor­tu­nately, that black peo­ple in Boston don’t speak with a Boston accent.

I know it’s a minor bone to pick, but what expe­ri­ence or knowl­edge did you use as basis for that com­ment? An assump­tion that only Irish-Bostonians drop their Rs and As? Michael Dukakis cer­tainly would debunk that statement.

Visit an ele­men­tary school in Chi­na­town, and you’ll see the chil­dren of Chi­nese immi­grants say­ing cah and pahk, just like many of their teach­ers. Maybe not to the exag­ger­ated degree that you’d find on the South Shore or in the Kennedy fam­ily, but it’s there.

Would you sim­i­larly argue that blacks born and edu­cated in Chicago don’t speak with a Great Lakes Mid-West accent?

The Boston accent orig­i­nated in East Anglia, when the first Eng­lish colonists came from. It’s been refined and extended by a immi­grant groups of all kinds (not to men­tion a few of us trans­plants from other parts of the coun­try). I think there is a mis­taken assump­tion here, and I’d hate for non-Bostonians to get the wrong idea when watch­ing this film.

Respect­fully,
Ned ned.suckahs.org

Now, I’m not a native Boston­ian, but I have been here for nearly a decade — and I know many peo­ple that grew up in this town, and share the local accent– be they from his­panic, black, or other back­grounds. Does any­one dis­agree? Am I over­re­act­ing to a small bit in an oth­er­wise good review?

UPDATE: Ms. Zacharek kindly responded to my letter:

Hi Ned — Thanks for your let­ter. I actu­ally took great pains to make it clear that the clan­nish­ness shown in the movie isn’t total — the neigh­bor­hood of the movie seems to me very much like South Boston (though plenty of peo­ple are writ­ing in say­ing, “No, it’s Charlestown!” or “No, it’s Dorch­ester!”) I think the point is, there ARE pock­ets of Boston that are par­tic­u­larly clan­nish, and Lehane’s story is pred­i­cated on that.

And the L. Fish­burne line…I just went in and cut that from the piece, because it seemed to be a bone of con­tention with sev­eral peo­ple. I lived in Boston for 15 years (it was only four years ago that I left), and I never heard a per­son of color speak the way Fish­burne does. Then again, all of Boston is set up so that a white per­son (like me) never needs to come into con­tact with a per­son of color unless he or she makes a great effort to do so. So it’s entirely pos­si­ble that there are African Amer­i­cans in Boston who speak like Mark Wahlberg and I just never heard them. In any event, it did seem like a mis­guided act­ing choice to me.

Any­way, thank you again for tak­ing the time to write in with your thought­ful com­ments, and best wishes –

Stephanie Zacharek

I’m hum­bled that she responded so gen­er­ously, but now that I think about it, I’m feel­ing a bit like the PC Police. I didn’t want her to self-censor her­self, but I thought that I should say some­thing.

Rally Cap

I’ve been wear­ing my rally cap since the 5th inning.

Wow. Trot wins it in the 11th inning on a home run to the deep­est part of Fenway.

The Hotel Commonwealth


Ken­more Square, Boston, has always had a rep­u­ta­tion for being a lit­tle bit seedy—much the way Times Square used to be. It boasts a major Sub­way inter­change, the best Ball­park in the Amer­i­can League, if not all of base­ball, and it used to be home to a diverse group of small busi­nesses and restaurants.

When I first moved to Ken­more Square, in 1996, there was a Methadone clinic, a punk-rock venue called the Rathskeller, a late-night restau­rant called Deli-haus, a gritty cof­fee house called Fuel, and a bunch of other busi­nesses housed in the clus­ter of Brow­stones on the oppo­site side of the Square. In 2003, chalk these land­marks into a new chap­ter of Lost Boston.

When Boston Uni­ver­sity pro­posed bull­doz­ing much of the south side of the square, and replac­ing the century-old brown­stones with a “European-style” hotel, city and com­mu­nity lead­ers largely sup­ported the idea… largely, I sus­pect, because BU was will­ing to pay gen­er­ously to relo­cate affected busi­nesses with neigh­bor­hood asso­ci­a­tion ties, such as Cornwall’s Pub. Also, the uni­ver­sity is giv­ing mil­lions to upgrade the Sub­way sta­tion and traf­fic con­fig­u­ra­tion in the Square.

Whether or not you iden­tify with my bemoan­ing the loss of a funky piece of an oth­er­wise bor­ing city, what is not in ques­tion is the pub­lic reac­tion when the work­ers finally unveiled the facade. For a hotel look­ing to project Con­ti­nen­tal lux­ury and flair, it looks like a repro­duc­tion on the back lot at Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios, or, per­haps, Main Street USA, Dis­ney­land. Tacky, cheap, and an insult to a city with truly excep­tional architecture.

I am not, I think, and elit­ist when it comes to archi­tec­ture… I think clas­si­cist ideals of style and mate­ri­als are prefer­able to 90% of all avant-garde rub­bish of the past 50 years. But, BU and the devel­op­ers cheated by try­ing to copy the style of the French Sec­ond Empire, while using mate­ri­als com­mon on a Wal-Mart job site. Instead of lime­stone, let’s use fiber­glass. Brick too expen­sive? Sub­sti­tute fiber­glass for the real thing. And, the dorm­ers can just be cut-outs—I mean, who looks that closely, right?

The fact is, this hotel would look pretty good from your car on the Inter­state at 75 MPH, if it were located out in the sprawl belt of I-495 and 128. It’s car­toon color and fea­tures would blur from the high­way strip. But, this hotel is in the heart of the city, with thou­sands of pedes­tri­ans walk­ing by each day. And it looks Mickey Mouse, com­pared with the sur­round­ing buildings.

The pho­tos I took, unfor­tu­nately, fail to show how bad the facade really is. Trust me, it looks as if they were try­ing to save a few bucks… which is pre­cisely not the image you’re going for in a 4-star hotel that wants to charge hun­dreds of dol­lars a night. Appar­ently, BU and the devel­op­ers are going to spend $2 mil­lion to “fix” the facade. Good luck.

Zakim Bridge

silly little drawingI was futz­ing around in Pho­to­shop the other day, in-between work­ing on some free­lance gigs… (it’s com­ing matt!)… and I cre­ated this lit­tle vec­tor­ized ver­sion of the new Charles river bridge in Boston. I think it’s fab­u­lous that the city named it for Lenny Zakim, a civil rights activist and com­mu­nity leader—especially given that he passed-away in 1999.

I cer­tainly under­stand why gov­ern­ment build­ings and other projects are named for WWII heroes and long-dead (some cor­rupt) politi­cians, but I’m encour­aged by this choice… It’s a mod­ern, per­sonal and mean­ing­ful choice.

Per­son­ally, I’m kind of ambiva­lent about all of this Big Dig stuff. Ele­vated high­ways are evil, so I will be glad to see the Green Mon­ster come down. Still, what will be put in it’s place? And at what cost? The cur­rent plans call for mostly green “open” space, sur­rounded by sur­face roads that might have as many as 4 lanes. Whoa. Wait up. You’re replac­ing 8 lanes of ele­vated high­way, with 8 lanes of mod­ern, wide-lane sur­face streets. Not to men­tion the 10 lanes underground.

It would be a mis­take to try and cor­rect the trans­porta­tion and urban renewal mis­takes of the 1950s, by drop­ping a nar­row park in the mid­dle of all that asphalt. This city needs to knit back together the fab­ric of a neigh­bor­hood that was sheared in two. That means moderately-scaled build­ings, shops, caf?s, side­walks and, in the mid­dle of all this: a park. Maybe with a foun­tain. And, you’ve got to min­i­mize traf­fic. Make it dif­fi­cult for cars to move through there.

Down­town Boston burned in 1872, so rein­vent­ing down­town is noth­ing new. I’d hate to think that this sce­nario would unfold: Devel­op­ers get to build tall, pri­vate sky­scrap­ers cut off from the street; the fire depart­ment gets wide traf­fic lanes; the tree-huggers get the rest as dead “open” space. That’s a recipe for a non-place. This should be the place… the des­ti­na­tion.

IDEA! Boston ‘T’ Blog

Today I was sit­ting at the 1369 cof­fee­house in Cen­tral Sq., as I do most days of the week, read­ing the papers and gen­er­ally absorb­ing the hap­pen­ings… some guy in a shirt-and-tie fret­ting over Excel spread­sheets at his lap­top on my right. Another guy on my left, copi­ously prac­tic­ing Chinese-looking script for words like “cow”, “apart­ment” and “love”. Ahead of me was a man in his mid-40s sit­ting with his young son, who was play­ing Game­boy and occa­sion­ally chat­ting with some of the peo­ple who work there. One of these girls was tak­ing a break with a cof­fee, bagel and the New York Times. I liked her Lacoste Izod polo shirt.

Any­way, I had time to sit there, in-between read­ing the Globe, Her­ald, Times and the Cam­bridge Tab, to think about the mer­its of liv­ing in a place like Cam­bridge. I really have a lot of love for this side of the river—be it the bars, the wacky aca­d­e­mic types walk­ing around, or the Red Line. It’s got such a com­mu­nity feeling—even for some­body like me who prefers to sit and watch rather than interact.

For some rea­son, I began think­ing about NYCbloggers.com, a project that intended to cre­ate a geo­graphic com­mu­nity of New York blog­gers, based on which sub­way stop they lived near. I love maps, pub­lic trans­porta­tion, and I couldn’t help but be in awe at the shear balls it must’ve took to tackle such a project of that scope. I thought, why not try to do that in Boston?

Now, I know there are tons of Bostonite blogs, espe­cially given the 250,000 uni­ver­sity stu­dents that are here. BostonBlogs.com is doing a good job of set­ting up social gath­er­ings for us Boston-based blog freaks—although I can’t bring myself to attend one. Call it social pho­bia. Avoid­ance. Whatever.

Still, attempt­ing to tackle some­thing on the scale of nycbloggers.com would be a chal­lenge. Christ, mak­ing the maps them­selves would pose all kinds of issues. And would blog­gers in Boston be inter­ested in such a thing?

New York­ers famously have attach­ments to their dif­fer­ent sub­way lines—be it the F, A/C, 1/9 etc. It would be inter­est­ing to see the same kind of B-line or Red-line pride here in Boston. Once the back-end data­base stuff is devel­oped, I could see branch­ing out to other cities—Buffalo per­haps? Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion needs a cheerleader!

If any­one in Boston reads this and think that it is a worth­while endeavor, shoot me an email. Maybe it’d be a good collaboration.

Boston as a Blueprint

The new Plan­ning news feed at the right of this page is already reap­ing inter­est­ing rewards—among the inter­est­ing links, an arti­cle that dis­cusses Boston and it’s neigh­bor­hoods. Mayor Menino has made neighborhood-based com­mer­cial devel­op­ment a pri­or­ity over the past decade or so, and it’s just the kind of thing that makes eco­nomic sense. In award­ing grants to indi­vid­ual small busi­ness own­ers, (most of which is fed­eral money any­way), for lit­tle improve­ments such as new store facades, Boston has cul­ti­vated a neigh­bor­hood approach to devel­op­ment. Occa­sion­ally, big “urban-renewal” projects, such as the new Ritz-Carlton mon­stros­ity in Chi­na­town, do get built, but usu­ally they include some kind of mixed-use, (even if that mixed-use is upscale in this very working-class neighborhood).

It’s never been a very sexy thing to talk about, but the suc­cesses of this pro­gram can’t be ignored, and many cities are start­ing to emu­late Menino. Buf­falo is try­ing to cul­ti­vate this, through the cre­ation and encour­age­ment of city neigh­bor­hoods such as the “Pan-Am Dis­trict” around Elm­wood Ave in North Buf­falo. Even pri­vate col­lege cam­puses such as Can­i­sius are con­tribut­ing to the qual­ity of their sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods by pro­vid­ing low-interest mort­gages to pro­fes­sors and staff, to encour­age them to live near the schools. Now, answer me this: Why is the major state school, SUNY at Buf­falo, located in Amherst (not buffalo)?