News Briefs

MINILUXE APPROVAL ON HOLD

The South End Landmarks District Commission (SELC) held off approving the application of a MiniLuxe nail salon at 536 Tremont St., currently the site of the shuttered Emilio’s Pizza across from the Boston Center for the Arts.

The applicants proposed keeping the storefront as is, but making it fit within the brand of other MiniLuxe locations.

That meant the proposed design showcased white trimming outside and an 18-inch sign band that is halo lit from behind. In addition there will be white gold graphics punched through the windows.

The Commissioners said that the SELC does not have purview over what colored paint that MiniLuxe uses on the outside but said that white is not typical of the South End.

“We do not regulate paint on wood but we do recommend dark colors,” said Chair John Amodeo. “Honestly, we will get calls from people if you use that color. If you want to make a good impression in the South End you will not paint this white.”

Amodeo said that even Dunkin Donuts had to alter its brand to fit into the neighborhood.

“We may not be able to prevent you from doing it but we are just trying to help you,” said Amodeo.

The Commission voted to continue this application to next month and asked that they reconsider the color and revise the signage.

LINEHAN LOOKS TO REMAIN ACTIVE

Though City Councilor Bill Linehan has announced he will not run for re-election to his district seat covering the South End, Chinatown and South Boston, it doesn’t mean he will retire.

At a meeting with the media this month, Linehan said he has been active in City government for 42 years, and was excited to pursue opportunities from outside the Hall.

“I’m truly excited to look at new opportunities,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to retire. I want to remain active doing thing with government outside this building. I’ve been in government for 42 years, 30 with the City, and what I have learned as a City Councilor is you can have an impact from outside this building.”

CITGO SIGN CONTROVERSY    LIGHTS UP

A stalemate has occurred between the new owners of 660 Beacon St., Related Beal, a New York developer that bought the building this past October, and CITGO, the Venezuelan-owned oil company.

Related Beal has asked CITGO, the owner of the 60 ft. by 60 ft. neon sign that sits above Kenmore Square, to raise their rent from the current rate of $250,000 a year that was paid to the former owner, Boston University.

According to the Boston Globe, Related Beal has asked them to pay 10 times that amount, which is closer to the site’s potential value on the open market. CITGO’s lease for the spot expires just days before the Red Sox opening game day.

The sign has been pending designation as a landmark since this past July and is currently undergoing a study report that will look into the history and significance of the sign.

If granted landmark status, it would give the sign extra protections against Related Beal if they decide to create a larger development in the area. Once winning a two-thirds majority vote from the Boston Landmarks Commission, it would still need approval from the Mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston City Council.

On an online petition on Change.org that is hosted by the Boston Preservation Alliance there are currently more than 16,000 signatures in support of keeping the CITGO sign perched on top Kenmore Square.

In the site’s description it states, “The CITGO sign isn’t just an advertisement, it is a Boston landmark. For national audiences, it says ‘Boston’ just as much as the Old North Church and the Swan Boats.”

THE LAST OUTPOST FOR SIRENS

More than 20 years ago, sirens from ambulances and police vehicles blasted through the streets of the South End with no quarter.

Residents often suffered throughout the nighttime hours as scores of sirens passed by – being that Boston Medical Center was right in the neighborhood. However, residents organized a thoughtful fight to make the streets in most areas of the South End quiet zones for sirens during the night. That is, if a siren can be avoided by the driver, then avoid it.

However, during those days, no one really lived in the New York Streets area.

Now thousands do.

John Meunier, a long time Southender who now lives in the Sepia building at Ink Block, said the New York Streets seem to be a “last outpost” for indiscriminate sirens. Like many things in the New York Streets, old ways die hard and new ears in the neighborhood have identified a annoyance brought forward for days past.

Meunier said it might be a good idea for the New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSNA) to tack onto that quiet zone designation.

“We seem to be the last remaining free for all zone for sirens left in the city,” he said. “I think it must be the last place where police officers from Dedham can play with their sirens. It’s totally unnecessary and we have the widest streets in the neighborhood. I think we need to look into making sure we have the same policies as the rest of the neighborhood.”

BVNA TO HOST 212 STUART STREET

BVNA will host a joint meeting with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on the proposed building slated for 212 Stuart Street in the Bay Village. It will take place March 20, at the Revere Hotel at 7 p.m.

The developers will present their new plans after hearing feedback from nearby residents in previous meetings. According to the BPDA, the comment period ends March 13, but Sarah Herlihy the President of BVNA said it most likely will be extended to sometime in April.

Everyone is welcome to join and voice his or her concerns at this meeting.

NEW YORK STREETS GETS ORGANIZED

The New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSNA) celebrated its one-year anniversary of formation during its March 7 meeting at Ink Block.

With that came a call from President Jamie Curtis and many of the members to begin to get better organized and effective.

“Up to now we’ve hosted a lot of presentations and that is very interesting and informative, but I think maybe we need to begin to form committees to work on issues in the neighborhood now,” said Curtis.

That was wholeheartedly agreed upon, with likely the first task force or committee emerging in the desire for open space. A call came out from the developer of The Lucas on Shawmut Avenue for the NYSNA to advocate for a new park to be placed on City-owned land right next to their development. The 5,000 sq. ft. plot, which the Lucas has been renting for its heavy construction equipment staging area, could easily become a needed piece of green space in an emerging area.

OLD DOVER SLOW STREETS APPLICATION:        SIGN UP!

The Old Dover Neighborhood Association is planning to submit an application for a City Slow Streets district before the deadline of March 24, and the group needs residents to sign an online petition indicating support.

Please show your support for our Neighborhood Slow Streets application for Harrison Avenue by signing the petition.

We will have an update at our next meeting.

There are currently 203 signatures and the goal is to get 300.

Link is as follows:  http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/neighborhood-slow-street.fb47?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=18158289

BLACKSTONE        SWIM TEAM

The Blackstone Sharks Community Center swim team is recruiting kids ages 6-17 for the upcoming season. It is open to boys and girls who want to improve their swimming skills and swim in the “fast lane.” They practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6-6:45 p.m. Membership at the Center is required and the fee is $25 per person. For more information, contact the pool staff at (617) 635-5162.

COMMUNITY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR PETERS PARK ART WALL PROJECT

Washington Gateway Main Street (WGMS) in partnership with ALA Collective led by artists PROBLAK and Marka27, City Lights Performing Arts School, and Friends of Peters Park/Old Dover announced this week details for a community crowd funding campaign in support of the Peters Park Art Wall Project. The campaign kicks off on March1 at 6 a.m. and will be live for 30 days closing on Thursday, March 30 at midnight. The campaign aims to raise $12,000 to cover the costs of the artist, materials and supplies, as well as stipends for youth.

“This mural will be located in prominent public space in the neighborhood, so it is important that everyone have the chance to contribute, no matter how big or small, to this historically and culturally significant piece of art, ” said Jenny Effron, executive director, Washington Gateway Main Street.

The Peters Park Art Wall was proclaimed a legal graffiti wall in 1986 in an effort to decrease vandalism in the South End. The City, in partnership with area organizations and businesses, seeks to continue the tradition of curating and programming the Art Wall, both for the enrichment of the neighborhood as well as the preservation and celebration of this area’s diverse cultural history.

“For over 30 years the Peters Park Art Wall has stood as a neighborhood icon in Boston’s South End. Artists and community members alike have viewed the wall as a symbol of creative and cultural expression,” said Marka27 of ALA Collective. “ It’s an honor to continue the tradition of cultural expression through murals and street art, collaborating with a new generation of local Boston artists and youth. We are humbled and extremely grateful for all the community support that we continue to receive and look forward to another 30 years of the Peters Park Graffiti Art Wall being painted.”

The Mayor’s Office and Boston Art Commission released an RFP for conceptual designs on January 26 that closed on February 26. The RFP was open to all professional artists, artisans, or teams, with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and working with youth.

Individuals as well as corporations and businesses of any size are encouraged to get involved. Interested parties can participate by donating on Generosity or reaching out directly to Jenny Effron ([email protected]) at Washington Gateway Main Street for additional information about the program as well as partnership and sponsorship opportunities.

For more information, please visit www.petersparkart.com .

CHECK OUT            THE WINDOWS

A new Local/Focus exhibit has been installed in the South End branch library’s Tremont Street window. It features a display of a foreign-language immersion method with color-coded books for young people, ‘Language Together.’ The exhibit is the brainchild of South End resident Germaine Choe, who says that, especially when you are little, learning Chinese, French, Spanish and English is easy and fun. The Friends of the South End Library feature window exhibits frequently on a number of different topics.

HUBWAY MOVES ON WASHINGTON STREET

Due to a new development coming in on Washington Street, an on street Hubway Station will move to a new location on a sidewalk along the South End Burying Ground wall.

Kim Foltz, the program manager from the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), asked permission from the South End Landmarks District Commission (SELC) this past Tuesday, March 7, to move the Hubway station in one of two places.

The first choice was along Franklin Square Park at 1620 Washington St. and the other at 1538 Washington Street at the corner of East Newton St. Foltz said that the local neighborhood association was fine with having either location.

The off-street location allows the Hubway Station to remain active all year long allowing for residents to take part of the program even in the snowy months.

The SELC decided that the Burying Ground location would be better because the other location would block the view into Franklin Park.

Since the Burying Ground entrance is rarely opened, the SELC decided it would be best to move the Hubway Station down the sidewalk about 20 feet from the bus stop to be placed along the stone wall.

ELLIS WINE TASTING MARCH 22

The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce a wine tasting tour of Italy. To help guide through this complicated terroir, there will be the expert assistance of George Schwartz, a distributor with deep knowledge and experience of the country and its wines.  We’ll taste a selection of wines (white, orange, rosé and red) from various varietals and gain a sense of the quality and diversity coming from Italy.  Come with an open mind and a willingness to learn as we celebrate the departure of winter with some very classy wines accompanied by appropriate fare. Join your neighbors for this fun, educational event.

The tasting is on Weds., March 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Paul Duffy, Clarendon Street.

By necessity, this tasting will be a smaller group and space will be limited, so reserve now by replying with an email and sending your check for $35 ($40 for non-ENA guests) by March 19 payable to:  “Ellis NA”, c/o Bill Gregor, 92 Appleton St., Boston, 02116 or by paying on the Ellis website: http://www.ellisneighborhood.org/.  Please include the name(s) of those who will be attending. Questions?  Contact Bill Gregor at [email protected]

Sorry, no refunds after March 19.

ANOTHER BACK BAY SWEETGREEN

Another Sweetgreen store will be making its way to the Back Bay at 399 Boylston St., an addition to the other locations at 659 and 800 Boylston St.

The restaurant that is known for healthy fast food attended the Back Bay Architectural Commission (BBAC) hearing this past Wednesday, March 8, looking to update signage and outdoor seating at its new location.

The seasonal garden planters will surround their modern black outdoor patio furniture that can be seen at their other locations. The Commission denied the use of a hatchet as a door handle and asked that the lighting of the sign (that the owners originally wanted as neon but was changed to LED to comply with the guidelines) be brought back to staff to review.

It will only be a matter of time until passersby can walk a shorter distance to get the veggie bowl they’ve been craving.

KELLEY PRAISES GIFT TO BMC

Bay Village resident, and long-time Southender, Michael Kelley attended the March 6 announcement at Boston Medical Center regarding a $25 million gift from the Grayken Family to address opiate addiction.

Kelley, who is likely a candidate for City Council, said he fully supported the gift.

“I am proud to see that under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, the City of Boston and Boston Medical Center continue to be national leaders in the fight against an opioid epidemic that affects us all and too often has tragic consequences,” he said. “Addiction is a public health crisis and treatment, education and prevention must be a top priority.”

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.

 

TREMONT 647 PARTICIPATES IN ‘NO KID HUNGRY’

On March 27, eight restaurants, along with contributing chefs from across the state, will be participating in Massachusetts Restaurant (MRA) Day for No Kid Hungry. Inspired by Chef Andy Husbands and his team at Tremont 647, who have graciously hosted a dinner for this important cause for the past 20 years, the MRA is pleased to announce that for one night only, guests will enjoy an extraordinary multi-course meal at one of eight restaurants with 100 percent of all ticket proceeds to benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in Massachusetts.

Participating restaurants include: Tremont 647 (Boston), One Eleven Chop House (Worcester), Bucatino (North Falmouth), Cobblestones of Lowell (Lowell), Davio’s at Patriot Place (Foxborough), East Bay Grille (Plymouth), Hotel Northampton (Northampton) and Turner’s Seafood (Salem).

Tickets are required in advance.

SOUTH END DATES

  • Friends of South End Library (FOSEL) website hacked…Why would anyone want to hack and destroy a library friends website? If you know, let Marleen Neinhuis know because that’s just the question that her group is asking after someone maliciously destroyed their informative site last week. A new website, with Squarespace, has replaced it at the usual address, www.friendsofsouthendlibrary.org. The webmaster, P.K. Shiu, is still working on the specifics. As soon as it is done, FOSEL will update the site with more detailed posts about events coming up.
  • The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association will host a meeting with the Boston Ballet on Friday, March 10, from 2-3 p.m. at the Ballet School on Clarendon Street.
  • The Eight Streets Neighborhood Association cancelled its meeting on Tuesday, March 14, and will pick up items from that agenda at its April 11 meeting.
  • The Old Dover Neighborhood Association will host its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 21, in Project Place on Washington Street at 6:30 p.m. Among other things, the Neighborhood Slow Streets proposal will be discussed, with the application deadline coming on March 24.
  • The Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) cancelled its spring author’s series on Tues., March 14. The acclaimed novelist Gish Jen will present her latest book of non-fiction, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap on Tuesday, March 28. Jen examines the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about self and society, as she did in her 2013 Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self. Her widely praised works of fiction include Typical American, The Love Wife, Town and Country and Who Is Irish.
  • Shake it Off: The St. Botolph Neighborhood Association will hold a Winter Party on Thursday, March 16, at the YMCA (316 Huntington Ave.) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. There will be appetizers, a cash bar and raffles. Tickets are $15 per person. RSVP by e-mailing [email protected]
  • The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association Board of Directors meeting is on March 28, One Chandler Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mayor Martin J. Walsh will, once again, attend and present the Annual Community Garden Awards.

SHOP PRU                ON MARCH 23

#ShopPru is a free spring shopping event on Thursday, March 23, from 5-8 p.m. at Prudential Center in the Back Bay. Discover spring fashion trends, “one night only” shopping discounts, and indulge in sips and snacks compliments of Prudential Center shops and restaurants. The first 100 guests to arrive will receive a #ShopPru swag bag filled with goodies. Check out pop-ups from the following stores and restaurants:  5 Napkin Burger, Joint Ventures Physical Therapy, L’Occitane, LOFT, Microsoft and Oakley.

#ShopPru is free and open to the public.

 

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.

Deadline to sign up is March 24.

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.

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