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”.



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.


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

ICA Boston


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.


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


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.

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

I 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)?