MOHR AND MCPHERSON TO SCALE BACK, SIGN OF THE TIMES?
The owner of Mohr and McPherson announced at the Old Dover Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, that his marquee South End store in the SoWa buildings would be scaling back significantly and moving more to an online presence.
While rumors of the store’s total demise were a bit unfounded, Owner Kevin McPherson – who was at the meeting to support the move by SoWa to add Saturday to its market – said within that conversation that the three-floor store with a coffee shop would scale back.
“We’re not closing, but we are decreasing the size of our store’s footprint and having more of an online, Internet business,” he said. “Brick and mortar retail is really on the ropes and it can’t get enough neighborhood help and it can’t get too much support…Brick and mortar is as expensive as ever to operate and traffic to the stores is down…Businesses can only survive so much.”
The store fronts Harrison Avenue in the SoWa Art and Design District and acts much like an anchor tenant of the artist and artisan building on what was once Thayer Street. The store features imported furniture, jewelry, rugs and much more.
McPherson seemed to signal that traditional retail businesses may not be able to survive in their current form with the large migration of customers to e-commerce and online shopping.
OLD DOVER SUPPORTS RESTAURANT EXPANSION
The Old Dover Neighborhood Association unanimously supported the expansion of the Turkish restaurant Ali Baba on E. Berkeley Street at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Owner Hatice Yogcioglu told Old Dover that the restaurant wished to build a single-story cinder block building in the back, approximately 400 sq. ft., to accommodate the kitchen and a storage space on top. That would allow the cozy spot to expand, he said.
“We will move the kitchen to the back space and that will allow us to increase seating for about 10 people,” he said. “The menu, operations and corporation will be exactly the same.”
The restaurant has a hearing scheduled at City Hall to discuss the expansion with the Licensing Board next month.
President Ken Smith and member Bob Wells reminded everyone that the restaurant has been a good neighbor and has always come before Old Dover before taking any action on increasing seating and other matters.
The vote to support the plan was unanimous.
BVNA TO HOLD PLANNING MEETING FEB. 27
The Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) will be discussing a number of topics at their next planning meeting to be held at 7 pm on February 27. The meeting will be held at the South Cove, first-floor community room at 230 Stuart Street.
The developers behind the proposed Winthrop Square tower will be attending the meeting to discuss to residents on the potential impacts it might have to the nearby community who utilizes the historic parks downtown. The BVNA have not come out officially against the new tower but many residents have voiced opposition to the new shadow that would be cast onto the Common and Public Garden.
Icon Night Club, located at 100 Warrenton St., has two licensing violations that they will address. There have been reports of an underage drinking along with intoxicated people jumping off a nearby bridge. The club will be asking for forgiveness for their recent transgressions.
A new restaurant is slated for 420 Tremont in Boston. According to BVNA president Sarah Herlihy they are applying for a late night permit for a restaurant that has spicy food. She said, “It screams come eat food at 2 a.m.” BVNA will ask them to serve liquor only with food.
Transom Real Estate the developers of the proposed 212 Stuart Street will no longer be attending the meeting. They are not prepared yet to show their updated designs based on community feedback.
MARDIS GRAS AT BEEHIVE
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” is a Cajun expression meaning “Let the good times roll!” and it strongly conveys the joie de vivre (“joy of living”) attitude of The Beehive’s 10th Annual Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday, February 28. The South End hot spot has spared no expense in making this year’s festivities as authentic as possible with Cajun style cuisine and hand-crafted New Orleans-style cocktails. Diners and partygoers alike can look forward to the soulful sounds of jazz musician and trumpet great Alex Lee Clark and his band which will keep the crowd singing and swinging all night long. From 5 p.m. to midnight, trumpet player, composer and arranger Alex Lee Clark who has played with the Temptations and the Four Tops, will take The Beehive’s stage along with his band to fill the space with the life that Mardi Gras deserves. Clark has crafted a unique and exciting sound by blending jazz and pop sensibilities and is one of the most in-demand jazz performers.
Chef Gregory Torrech will cook up Cajun-inspired a la carte specials, like Louisiana shrimp and grits, pan-fried catfish and Cajun seafood jambalaya in addition to the regular dinner menu. In addition to dinner, revelers can enjoy celebratory cocktail and complimentary Mardi Gras beads.
There is no cover charge for this event. Regular menu served in addition to all special items. To make a reservation or for more information please visit www.beehiveboston.com or call 617.423.0069.
HELLO-HELLO & MORE
Officer Javier Pagan reported at the Old Dover Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, Feb. 21, several items of interest in the public safety realm.
One report was a burglary of a home in the 500th block of Tremont Street while the owner was sleeping. The owner reported to police that as he was sleeping on Feb. 11 at 5 a.m., he heard someone downstairs. He went to investigate and sensed someone downstairs.
“Hello!” he called.
“Hello,” someone called back, and then fled.
The owner discovered the front door open and his gym bag missing from beside the door. Nothing else appeared to be gone.
- On Jan. 25, at 9:41 p.m., a female reported that two black males between 18-25 approached her from behind as she walked in the 100th block of Shawmut Avenue. They brandished a firearm and demanded cash. She handed over more than $200 and they fled.
- A victim reported on Feb. 19 that around 2:30 p.m. they were walking on Albany and Thayer Streets when a robber accosted them and demanded cash. They refused to hand over any dough, and got punched in the face. The robber grabbed a cell phone and fled.
ORGANIZATIONS GET GRANT FUNDING
Mayor Martin J. Walsh in partnership with The Boston Foundation has announced the selection of 10 local organizations that will receive the first round of mini grant funding totaling $50,000 that is being awarded through the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Boston mini grant program, which launched last August. The program is designed to support local organizations and entities working to help maximize MBK’s impact in improving outcomes for young people of color.
The following South End organizations were selected to receive awards ranging from $500-$7,000:
Castle Square Tenants Organization (South End)
More Than Words (South End)
WANT A SLOW STREET?
The City of Boston Transportation Department (BTD) is now accepting applications for 2017 Neighborhood Slow Streets projects. Residents, neighborhood associations, and other community-based organizations are invited to apply to have their neighborhood participate in the Neighborhood Slow Streets program which works to use traffic calming measures to improve roadway safety within a defined residential area.
BTD and the Boston Public Works Department will work with selected applicants to plan and implement Neighborhood Slow Streets projects that meet the specific needs of their communities. Selected Neighborhood Slow Streets will be equipped with visual and physical cues to slow drivers to 20 MPH, making each street feel more inviting for people of all ages who are walking, playing, or bicycling. The program emphasizes quick-install and low-cost fixes, such as signage, pavement markings, and speed humps.
More information on the Neighborhood Slow Streets program, including applications, are available at www.boston.gov/transportation/neighborhood-slow- streets.
MASSPORT AIRPLANE NOISE COMPLAINT LINE
Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.
PINE STREET INN GOOD NEIGHBOR HOTLINE
Residents who have any problems or concerns related to the Pine Street Inn on East Berkeley Street and Harrison Avenue in the South End are invited to call the Good Neighbor Line. Security Director Kevin Smith said they are glad to get calls from the neighborhood and would address any matter brought to their attention.
The number is (617) 892-9210.
MIDDLE EASTERN JAZZ FEST MARCH 8
The Signature Series at Berklee continues on March 8 with the ninth annual Berklee Middle Eastern Festival. This year’s edition features the music of Armenian pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan.
The Berklee Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble, directed by festival founder Christiane Karam, associate professor of voice, will perform some of Hamasyan’s most celebrated works spanning his prolific and diverse career. The concert will also include excerpts from his choral album Lyus i Luso, arranged for choir, piano and strings, featuring the Pletenitsa Balkan Choir, also led by Karam; and the Berklee World Strings, led by Grammy Award-winning Berklee professor Eugene Friesen.
Hamasyan will also present a solo set, performing selections from his upcoming album, An Ancient Observer.
Middle Eastern Festival: The Music of Tigran Hamasyan takes place Wednesday, March 8, 8:00 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. Reserved seating tickets are available for $8/$12 at the BPC box office or berklee.edu/bpc. The venue is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617-747-2261.
EIGHT STREETS GETS NEW WEBSITE
The Eight Streets Neighborhood Association has announced it has a new website at www.eightstreets.org.
The site covers what ESNA is working on, annual goals and achievements, information on the neighborhood (parks, shops, parking, safety etc.) and how to contact elected officials and City agencies.
If the website is the go to ‘neighborhood information store’, Facebook is the ‘daily news-stream’ on what’s happening, so check out the Eight Streets Facebook.
SOWA: OGILVY TO HOST COMMUNITY NETWORKING EVENT
The Abigail Ogilvy Gallery and Abusheleigh Euler Consulting announce they are holding a Design Night Community Networking Event. Come mingle with fellow designers over drinks and light fare in the Boston SoWa Art and Design District. Guests will also enjoy a private viewing of ‘Fuse,’ featuring an innovative wallpaper installation by artist Cassandra Jones. The event will take place on Weds., March 1, from 6-8 p.m. The gallery is located at 460 C7 Harrison Ave.
TRUSTEE’S GARDNER’S GATHERING
The Gardeners’ Gathering continues to be the annual forum for gardeners to shrug off the winter chill and come together to celebrate urban gardening in Boston. With spring just around the corner, the 42nd Annual Gardeners’ Gathering, presented by The Trustees and the City of Boston, will take place on Saturday, March 18, at Northeastern University’s Shillman Hall and the Egan Center in Boston. Mayor Martin J. Walsh will, once again, attend and present the Annual Community Garden Awards.
SOUTH END DATES
- The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) canceled its Feb. 9 Board meeting last week due to inclement weather. The new meeting of the Board will take place on March 2 starting at 3:30 p.m. The Board will still be considering two major South End projects, including Quinzanis (Related Beal) and the Harrison Albany Block (Leggett McCall).
- FORUM TIME COMING! South End Forum meeting dates: The forum meets on the first Tuesday of the month on a quarterly basis. The next meetings will be March 7, May 2, June 6, Sept. 5 and Nov. 7. Mark your calendars.
- The New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSNA) will have its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 7, in the Ink Block building foyer at 6:30 p.m.
- The Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) will continue an ambitious and exciting winter and spring author’s series. On Tuesday, March 14 is foreign-policy journalist Stephen Kinzer, with his most recent book, the widely reviewed and highly praised inquiry into the roots of our international predicaments, ‘True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire.’ He will be introduced by the incisive WBUR radio host Christopher Lydon, of, once upon a time The Connection, and currently, OpenSource.
- The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association will have it’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the Menino Pavilion, basement conference room A & B (next to the Food Pantry). Those in attendance must ask security to unlock elevator for them to go down.
- The next meeting of the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association will take place on Tuesday, March 21, in the D-4 Police Station at 7 p.m.
- CTSO Black History/Chinese New Year. Castle Square Tenants Organization (CSTO) will host the Annual Black History Chinese New Year Celebration to highlight the neighborhood’s vibrant community. Friday, February 24. Free admission. Refreshments provided.
For more information, call the CSTO Office at 617-357-8548.
- IBA is calling for submissions from undiscovered Latina artists – all ages and all disciplines – for its Women’s History Month Art Exhibition on Friday, March 10. The deadline to submit is Friday, Feb. 24.
- Applications are now available for the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association Scholarship awards. Scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who are planning to pursue a college or a technical degree and for students currently enrolled in higher education.
These scholarships include $1,000 Scholarships for Academic Achievement and Community Service and $2,000 Andrew Parthum Scholarships for Outstanding Community Achievement.
Applications are due by Friday, May 19, 2017.
FENWAY COMMUNITY CENTER
- Death Cafe…Everyone is invited to a lively conversation about a subject that we shouldn’t be so quiet about. The discussion is facilitated by Carol Lasky and will take place in the Center on March 15, 7:15 p.m. Please RSVP.
FENWAY/SOUTH END HOURS FOR CONGRESSMAN CAPUANO
Congressman Michael Capuano will hold office hours for the Fenway and South End neighborhoods on the second Thursday of every month at the Fenway Community Health Center, 1340 Boylston St.
The hours are from noon to 1 p.m. and will have a representative from Capuano’s office in attendance.