Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Digital-non-Digital Show at FPAC Gallery


This exhibit includes the work of five Fort Point artists whose imagery results from the interplay of electronic technology and traditional media. Works by: Paul Allen Bernstein, Jeffrey Heyne, Krina Patel, Douglas Urbank (work pictured), Dorothea VanCamp

The exhibit runs December 12 - January 16 and is in the FPAC Gallery in the basement of 300 Summer Street. Viewing hours:

Monday-Wednesday: 9 AM to 3:30 PM
Thursday and Friday: 9 AM to 10 PM
Saturday: 5 PM to 10 PM

There will be a reception on January 8th from 5 to 8 PM. For more details, see the exhibit page.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Loud Construction at Channel Center

As many have had to deal with, Commonwealth Ventures is doing construction on 30 Channel Center St. and has very loud machinery that they've been operating until past 7 PM at night. They're planning on doing it again this evening and also tomorrow (Saturday). I've called Inspectional Services and the Mayor Menino's office to try to figure out if they were granted a permit and why; normal construction hours in Boston are until 6pm, Monday-Friday.

I'll keep the list updated as I learn more. You can also call Inspectional Services yourself and let them know your concerns at: 617.635.1010.

UPDATE: I spoke with Commonwealth Ventures. The noise is from dust collectors for the sandblasting they're doing and is going to continue through Christmas and probably until New Years. They had intentionally set their hours from 9 AM to 7 PM (instead of the normal 7am to 5pm) to not bother early risers. They're trying to finish the project by Christmas and weren't willing to curb their hours at this point. They did agree to make sure that the equipment was all completely off before 7 PM and in the future look for ways to put equipment facing the Gillette plant rather than residential buildings (they claimed in this case, the duct collectors couldn't reach the doorway from A St.).

UPDATE: I wasn't home after 7 PM Friday and Saturday, but have heard that they worked really late. If you were around and can either confirm or refute this, please email me: Commonwealth Ventures has many more permits they'll need and the city does listen when developers violate them.

UPDATE (1/2): The inspector from the city responsible for that site called me this afternoon. He said they were granted a permit to work off-hours as it was for work inside the building and they're usually granted automatically for work indoors. I told him while the work was in doors, the noise was very much outdoors. Clearly, Commonwealth Ventures was working the system. He agreed to speak with the foreman and watch them more carefully in the future.

Snow Emergency Declared

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today declared that a snow emergency and parking ban will go into effect at 9:00 a.m. Friday, December 19, 2008. Mayor Menino would like to remind residents of the following:
  • The City of Boston encourages businesses to ask employees to work from home when possible, take public transportation, and be prepared for a potentially dangerous evening commute. Everyone is encouraged to use public transportation.
  • City of Boston afternoon and evening activities are subject to cancellation.
  • Move cars from main arterials during snow emergencies. A listing of main arterials can be found at
  • Do not park cars within 20 feet of an intersection. Parking too close to an intersection can restrict emergency vehicle access.
  • Do not throw snow back into the street. "Throwbacks" force the city to remove snow from the same street twice.
  • Shovel out fire hydrants and storm drains close to your home.
  • Property owners are reminded to shovel snow from sidewalks that abut homes and businesses.
  • Do not double park.
  • Keep wheelchair ramps clear.
  • Lend an extra hand to elderly and neighbors and others in need.
During declared snow emergencies, discounted parking is available at several parking lots and garages to cars that display Boston resident parking stickers. A list of locations is available at The city's Know Snow program will be in effect this afternoon to alert residents of the snow emergency.

The City of Boston Storm Center will open at 9:00 a.m. Friday, when the snow emergency goes into effect. Residents with storm-related questions or concerns should call the center at 617-635-3050, starting at 9:00 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WSJ Article on City Hall Plan

Recession, It Seems, Can Fight City Hall; Relocation Is on Hold
By Maura Webber Sadovi

For historic preservationists in Boston, the recession has brought some temporary relief. They had gotten riled up after Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he hoped to move City Hall to a new site on the south waterfront.

He predicted last year that the move could take place in about four years. But now, with the recession tightening its grip on the nation's economy, Mayor Menino says he is reconsidering that timing. "I think it's further off," he says.

Mayor Menino says he is rethinking whether to spend about $2 million for engineering studies on the potential new City Hall site. "I can't consciously move ahead on a major project like this at this time. I have to think about my schools, think about my parks, my public works," he says.

Read full article...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Drive to Eastie for $0.40

If you drive and haven't gotten an orange, residents' Fast Lane Transponder, head over the Pike's office and pick one up. It's for residents of communities near the tunnels (including 02210) and gets you reduced rates on the tunnnel tolls. You can drive the Ted Williams tunnel for $0.40!

Their office is at 145 Havre St. in East Boston and is open:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 7 AM to 4:30 PM
Tuesday, Thursday: 7 AM to 6:30 PM
Saturday: 8 AM to 2 PM

For more information, see:

Friday, December 12, 2008

FPAC Art Store Open

The FPAC store is now open. It features art, design, and fine craft by members of the Fort Point Arts Community. The store will be open seven days a week in December.

It's located at 12 Farnsworth St., next to flour bakery behind the Children's Museum.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sportello Open for Dinner

Sportello is now opened for dinner and take-out in addition to lunch:

Sportello, Chef Barbara Lynch's newest venture in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood, is now serving dinner and offering take out. In addition to the trattoria-inspired soups, salads, and pastas also offered at lunch, dinner features entrees perfect for cold weather including braised short ribs with butter beans and sunchokes and salt-roasted pork shoulder with polenta and porcini.

Dinner is served Monday through Saturday, from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm and reservations are welcome up to 28 days in advance.

For entertaining, gift-giving, or a quick bite, Sportello offers a number of delicious options from the bakery counter retail area. Handmade chocolates, incredible Ligurian olive oil, and Christine Ferber jams make great holiday gifts and our fresh pastas, soups, and salads are packaged and ready to serve for a simple meal at home. Cookies, tarts, breads, and more are baked each day and available along with Organic Peruvian coffee and MEM teas.

Globe Article on Melcher and Summer Projects

Development deal moves ahead
Some fighting warehouse plan

By Christina Pazzanese, Globe Correspondent | December 7, 2008

Despite widespread opposition from many in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood, the Boston Redevelopment Authority's board of directors voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve plans by developers Archon Group and Lincoln Properties to renovate and expand historic warehouses at 49/51/63 Melcher St. and 316-322 Summer St. for use as office buildings.

Just three years ago, developers and the city planning officials touted the buildings as part of a comprehensive revitalization effort that would transform the once run-down industrial area into a lively neighborhood with new housing, shops and restaurants, and parks.

In a tense and sometimes confrontational community meeting held last Monday night, dozens of artists and other Fort Point residents took the developers and the BRA's chief planner, Kairos Shen, to task for plans that involve evicting more than 70 artists and arts-related small businesses from two warehouses to make way for more office space.

"You lied to us. You have not kept one promise to the community," said artist Claudia Ravaschiere, a former president of Fort Point Arts Community. Ravaschiere blasted representations made by executives from Archon and Goldman Properties since first purchasing 17 buildings in Fort Point back in 2005. "To you, it's just real estate, but to us, it's a neighborhood," she said.

Though both properties are zoned for a mix of commercial and residential uses, developers say the current real estate market will only support office space. Archon's John Matteson defended his firm's efforts, saying the company has upgraded a number of mostly-vacant buildings and filled them with commercial tenants who are bringing much-needed foot traffic to the area.

Both projects will be subject to further design review by the BRA to scale back the height of planned rooftop additions and still need approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals before moving forward, said Susan Elsbree, the BRA's director of communications.

Critics say the city's support for these plans abandons core principles of the BRA's 100 Acres Master Plan that pledged to bring equal amounts of housing, retail and other businesses and office space to the area. Adding more offices doesn't improve the quality of life for residents and pushes still more artists out of the neighborhood, they said.

"This is a situation of the BRA supporting the developers and not supporting the community," said resident Valerie Burns, who serves on the city's study committee considering whether to designate Fort Point as a landmark district. .

"Fort Point is the back office of the Financial District. That's how they see it," said resident Steve Hollinger, cofounder of Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND). He accused the BRA of "reselling variances" to developers who buy buildings in the area, obtain the city's permission to add valuable roof-top additions and other special zoning expansions that provide little public benefit and are often done over the objections of residents, and then unload the properties for a hefty profit.

Hollinger said developers are hiding behind the current economic crisis to avoid creating more housing because it's more profitable to build office space.

Shen conceded the projects fall short of the goal of creating more housing in Fort Point but said the BRA was asked by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to review all stalled building projects with 'burdensome' residential restrictions. "The Mayor wants to see these projects move forward," he said.

At only 50,000 square feet, Shen added, the Melcher Street project is small and will generate $500,000 in linkage payments to the city to go toward creating parks and other open spaces in Fort Point sometime in the future.

Lincoln Properties will contribute $340,000 and spend another $680,000 to upgrade 319 A St. to accommodate displaced artists. Shen conceded local parks are not likely to be built any time soon since the city must wait until more buildings are developed to have enough money to start work on them.

Heidi Burbidge, the BRA's senior project manager for the Artist Space Initiative, said about 72 artists, plus some additional arts-related businesses, face eviction from 337 Summer St. and the front portion of 319 A St.

Under a plan hatched a few weeks ago, Burbidge said, all are eligible to move into the rear portion of 319 A St., though she estimated probably only about 40 or so will take up the relocation offer since some had already moved out before the city stepped in, fearing the worst.

In late 2007, Archon terminated the tenancy of artists and small businesses in the Melcher Street buildings. Nearly two years ago, artists in 327 Summer St. were evicted, said Burbidge.

Though less than ideal, the short-term deal was the best the city could come up with, said Shen. "Two years is better than nothing at all." Studios will be rented at $9 per square foot, a rate comparable to what most are now paying, he added.

Shen said the city plans to eventually acquire 327 Summer St. from Archon and convert it into permanent live/work space for artists but conceded that project wouldn't be ready by the time leases for the artists expire in two years because the city doesn't have the money available yet.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

BRA Board Approvals on Melcher and Summer Projects

In spite of significant concerns from residents expressed last Spring and at the recent community meeting, the BRA Board unanimously approved motions on the 49-63 Melcher and 316-322 Summer projects at their board meeting. The specific items were:

Request authorization to approve a Development Plan for 49, 51, 63 Melcher Street within Planned Development Area No. 69, South Boston/The 100 Acres, consisting of office and retail space; to issue a Scoping Determination waiving further review of the Article 80 process; to issue a Certification of Compliance and a Certification of Consistency upon successful completion of the Article 80 process; to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding; and to petition the Zoning Commission for approval of the proposed PDA Plan.

Request authorization to issue a Determination waiving further review of the Article 80 process for the construction of office, retail and restaurant space located at 316-322 Summer Street; to issue a Certificate of Compliance upon successful completion of the Article 80 process; to enter into a Development Impact Project Agreement; and to recommend approval with proviso, subject to design review, to the Board of Appeal for the various variances and conditional uses within the M-4 South Boston IPOD, Fort Point Waterfront, Groundwater Conservation Overlay District.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Herald Article on BRA Meeting

Fort Point residents reject developers’ office plans
By Thomas Grillo | Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The city’s chief planner and a pair of developers faced an angry crowd in Fort Point last night as a proposal to turn five vacant buildings into offices was rejected by the neighborhood.

In an emotionally charged session, a standing room only crowd criticized the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and the Archon Group for abandoning a decade of planning to create a mixed-use district.

“You lied to us,” said artist Claudia Ravaschiere to the Archon representative. “You talked about doing residential, but you have not kept one promise to this community. To you it’s just real estate, but to us this is our home.”

During the tense meeting, Kairos Shen from the BRA floated a compromise that would allow four-dozen artists to keep their leases in the South Boston district until 2010. In return, Lincoln Property Co. can turn a pair of vacant warehouses at 316-322 Summer St. into office space and Archon could proceed with an office project at 49-63 Melcher St.

But residents, including many artists, said the proposal was a bad deal for the city.

“For the BRA to offer this deal to artists who are losing their space at the 11th hour is cynical and divisive,” said Steven Hollinger, a member of the Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design.

John Matteson, Archon’s regional director, defended his firm’s actions saying they acquired 17 commercial buildings where the average occupancy rate was about 25 percent. Following major renovations and leasing, the improved properties were later sold, he said.

Valerie Burns, a longtime Fort Point resident, said both projects are unchanged from previous community meetings. “The neighborhood was absolutely unified in opposing these projects and now you come back to us with the same project only with a commitment of a temporary relocation for a small number of artists,” she said. “This is a case of the BRA supporting the developer over the wishes of the neighborhood.”

Shen said he thought the plan that would save some artists workspace for two years and get a pair of projects moving was worthy of discussion. But he acknowledged the mistrust between the parties.

“I know our plan is flawed,” said Shen. “But I still think it’s a good plan.”
Article URL:

Notes From Last Night's BRA Meeting on

  • Representatives from the proposed 316-322 Summer St. and 49/51/63 Melcher St. projects presented overviews of the projects. In spite of both projects receiving very strong criticism from the neighborhood last Spring, both were unchanged.
  • Residents reiterated concerns over both projects as well as the lack of residential development, artist housing and work spaces, open spaces, and general progress towards the vision of a mixed-use neighborhood.
  • FPAC approached the Mayor and the BRA a couple of weeks ago trying to get something for the artists loosing their leases in those buildings. As a response to this, the BRA has been working with Archon to get $600k allocated to create studio space for a small group (20-40?) of arists in 319 A St. rear for two years. The $600k will come out of linkage money and will pay for the conversion.

My rough, incomplete notes (if you have corrections/additions, mail them to me at:

BRA Community Meeting
316-322 Summer St. and 49/51/63 Melcher st.

Kairos Shen, Chief Planner, BRA, spoke first. He said that the city has been working with Archon to secure 319 A St. rear to relocate artists displaced from the Archon space to that building for 2 years at rents of $9 / square foot. And, hopefully, they will be able to get Archon to extend leases of those artists for their existing space until 319 is built out.

The BRA has been talking to Archon about deeding a building to the city a la the Midway Studios project. 327 Summer St. is the building they're looking at (~47K sqft or about 40 units). Linkage payments from the district would be used to pay for the buildout.

On Thursday, there's a public BRA hearing on 316-322 Summer and 49/51/63 Melcher. He recognizes that at the last public meeting, there were significant community concerns about a number of issues with the project.

Kairos also said that talks had begun in doing the engineering work behind the streets and open spaces for the 100 Acres plan.

The team for 49/51/63 Melcher St. then spoke and presented the same project shown last Spring, which is still office space with first floor retail and involves a large rooftop addition and a filling in of the notches of the building on Necco St. My notes from the Spring meeting are in this post.

The team for 316-322 Summer St. then presented their project which was also unchanged since last Spring and, like the Melcher St. project, is office space with a significant rooftop addition.

The community then asked questions. The concerns raised included:

  • The BRA is putting the artists who would get space at 319 A in a tough position (essentially buying their support for the development project... and buying it cheaply). Some residents called it cynical and divisive of the BRA to do this. Kairos responded that he made it clear to everyone that no one was asking them to automatically support the project. He also said that he had not initiated the talks. A month and half ago, he had assumed that a solution wouldn't be found to the artist leases, but that FPAC had initiated the talks at the 11th hour through the mayor and the BRA and that that is why the BRA explored it this late in the game.

  • The Summer St. project was granted a rooftop addition as part of a residential project. The addition is worth many millions of dollars ($18 million was thrown out; the developer said it was a lot less.. probably $4 million). Now that it's office space, they should not automatically still get to keep it.

  • The Melcher St. project is the first under the 100 Acres plan and it's setting a bad precedent by allowing the plan's development to be front-loaded with additions and office space build-outs happening first and residential, civic, and open spaces being put off (which jeopardizes their happening at all).

  • A representative from Studio Soto (which was evicted from Melcher St in the past year) asked to be included in the lease negotiations. Archon said they'd look into it, but the leases would first go to those with existing space.

  • A representative from them electrical workers union voiced his support for doing the project for the jobs it would create.

  • A common theme expressed by a number of residents was that people are angry that while, large visions of a mixed-use neighborhood have presented by the BRA and developers like Goldman, the reality has been that the development has been mainly office space with some retail, there has been little progress on open spaces, and that 100s of artists and local businesses have been forced out of the neighborhood. People are tired of seeing developers get favorable concessions from the BRA and little progress being made towards the building of a real neighborhood.

Friday, November 28, 2008

FPAC Holiday Sale Next Weekend

FPAC Holiday Art Sale
Friday, 12/5: 12:00-7:00pm
Saturday, 12/6: 11:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, 12/7: 11:00am-5:00pm
12 Farnsworth Street
(off Congress St., next to Flour Bakery)

Participating artists include:

Deena Schnitman: paper arts (her work is pictured above)
Kristen Alexandra: silver jewelry with attitude, fanciful flatware
Bob's Your Uncle: paper products, holiday cards, gift wrap
Jennifer Chin: handmade precious metal jewelry
Maggie Connors: painting, drawing, sculpture
Laura Davidson: artists' books, playing cards
Margaret DeBruin: Baby and children's hats and clothing
Fort Point Studio School: art classes
Lisa Greenfield: small paintings and prints
Julia Groos: jewelry
Mike Hammecker: painting
Jean Hangarter: photography
High Wire Cats: handmade pet toys, holiday cards and gift labels
Jacob Higginbottom: watercolor
Linda Huey: clay pottery and sculpture
Hilary Law: painted textiles: bags, totes, floorcloths, wool and cashmere scarves
MASS Production: small art pieces
Lisa Knox: painting, drawing
Robin Ann Reilly/Blue Egg Studio: baby gifts and accessories
Gabrielle Schaffner: painted functional ceramics, tiles
Lenore Tenenblatt: holiday cards
Bevan Weissman:photography

For more details, see FPAC's Open Studios Page.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Drink in NY Times

Barbara Lynch's Drink is featured in the NY Times:

November 23, 2008
Boîte - The Cocktail as Theater


In the science of attention-getting, imprecise though it may be, there are two schools of thought: the flashy (blinking neon lights, plunging necklines, Damien Hirst) and the ferociously minimalistic (an “Open” sign, a string of pearls, Jasper Johns).

Drink, a bar recently opened in Fort Point, a longtime sedate, warehouse-lined area of South Boston, embraces the latter. With expansive ceiling beams, vestiges of the building’s late 19th-century construction, exposed brick walls devoid of televisions or art, a back bar without a single liquor bottle, and not a drink list in the house, guests perched around a meandering white oak bar are left to direct their attention to the cocktails themselves.

The drinks are the night’s high-maintenance stars — but that’s not to be confused with prima donnas. At three distinct but connected horseshoe-shape stations, bartenders lunge, pivot, chisel and thwack mallets (more on that later) while others crack ice cubes, juice citrus halves, and pluck stems and leaves from herb plants clustered on a wide prep table in the center bay.

...Read full article.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Herald on FPAC's Negotiations with Archon

Reminder: The BRA's public meeting is this Monday, 6:30 PM at 44 Thompson Place and the BRA will vote on the measure at their meeting on Wednesday - See this post for full details.

Fort Point artists wary of office pact
By Thomas Grillo | Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A plan to turn five vacant Fort Point buildings into offices could face opposition from the neighborhood when it’s unveiled next week.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is brokering a compromise that would allow 56 artists to keep their leases in the South Boston district until 2010 and give developers approval for 400,000 square feet of office space, city officials confirmed. Artists at two locations face eviction Nov. 30.

Under the terms of the deal, the artists would get a temporary reprieve while Lincoln Property Co. gets a green light to turn a pair of vacant warehouses at 316-322 Summer St. into office space with a rooftop addition. Additionally, Archon Group could proceed with an office project at 49-63 Melcher St.

But some Fort Point residents say the plan falls short of promises for a mix of residential, commercial and park spaces.

“How is that fair?” said one artist who declined to be identified. “The developers get permanent added value for their properties and the artists get a 24-month lease extension.”

Cheryl Forte, a Fort Point Arts Community board member, praised Mayor Thomas M. Menino for negotiating on behalf of the artists. But in an e-mail, she said her group is concerned about the pairing of artist lease extensions with the approval of two developments.

Kairos Shen, the BRA’s chief planner, said the administration is still committed to the 100-acre master plan issued in 1999 that promised “a vibrant 24-hour, mixed-use neighborhood anchored by 11 acres of new open space and 6 million square feet of development, with at least one-third as housing.”

“I understand there are people who feel that residential should be built first, but the market no longer supports housing,” he said.

A BRA hearing on the projects is set for Dec. 1.

Article URL:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Meetings for Melcher and Summer St. Projects

The BRA is holding a meeting a week from Monday on the Melcher and Summer St. projects which go before the board for approval that Wednesday. These projects caused large numbers of artists and small businesses to be pushed out of the neighborhood and created dead blocks in the neighborhood where there once was a lot of activity and now is empty buildings (I still miss hearing music shows while past Studio Soto on Melcher). FPAC has been talking with city officials about getting spaces for artists who were evicted and is holding a meeting on this Monday evening:

Monday, November 24th
6:30 PM
12 Farnsworth St. (next to Flour)
FPAC community meeting for all interested Fort Point residents to discuss these issues.

Boston Redevelopment Authority will host a public meeting regarding 49/51/63 Melcher St & 316-322 Summer St

Monday, December 1st
44 Thompson Place, First Floor Conference Room

Project Proponent: W2005 BWH II Realty, LLC and Lincoln Summer Street Venture LLC

Project Description: Update on the 49/51/63 Melcher Street Project and the 316-322 Summer Street Project

If you have any questions, please contact:
Kristin Kara
phone: 617.918.4263

Jay Rourke
phone: 617.918.4317

Jazz at the Channel Cafe Tonight

As part of the Channel Cafe's acoustic music Saturdays, the Daniel Bennett Group will performing tonight from from 7-9 PM.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Theatre this weekend at Lucky's

The Time of Your Life
By William Saroyan
Saturday, November 22 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 23 at 3 p.m.
Lucky's Lounge, 355 Congress Street in the Fort Point neighborhood

The Fort Point Theatre Channel production of William Saroyan’s sprawling 1930s masterpiece The Time of Your Life honors the 100th birthday of America’s greatest playwright of Armenian heritage. The play will take place in one of Boston’s favorite neighborhood night spots, Lucky's Lounge in Fort Point.

The Time of Your Life, originally set in a San Francisco waterfront honky-tonk bar, is rarely staged due to its immense scale. Over 20 actors portray the broad swath of life that Saroyan celebrates.

For more inforation, see:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Harbor Trail Launched

The South Bay Harbor Trail was officially launched in a ceremony on Fort Point Channel. Photos from the event, including our own Mike Tyrrell with Mayor Menino:

As many people know, Mike is the founder of the South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition and was the spark that made the trail happen. Many thanks to him, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, Mayor Menino, Gillette/P&G, and everyone else who worked hard to make this project a reality.

The trail is a bike trail marked by recycled, red-and-white buoys which starts at Ruggles Station, goes through the South End, over the Broadway St. bridge, down Fort Point Channel, and out to fan pier (click map to enlarge):

The Globe had coverage of the event:

Work on South Bay Harbor Trail is launched
Bike, pedestrian path intended to open waterfront

By Christina Pazzanese Globe Correspondent / November 8, 2008

City and state officials marked the formal launch of work on a new bicycle and pedestrian pathway yesterday designed to open Boston's waterfront to formerly landlocked neighborhoods.

Organizers say the 3.5-mile South Bay Harbor Trail will link inland areas such as Roxbury, Chinatown, and the South End to the waterways of Fort Point Channel and the Seaport district by Fan Pier. It will also serve as a much-needed recreational connection for cyclists and pedestrians downtown to get from the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the Arnold Arboretum and the Emerald Necklace, they say.

In the planning stages since 2001, the project was led by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a nonprofit advocacy group, and was developed in conjunction with the city and state, said Patricia A. Foley, president of Save the Harbor.

Read full article on

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Landmarking Letters

The guidelines for making Fort Point an Historic Landmark District are going to be voted on by the Landmarks Commission. The committee has worked hard to draft guidelines that will protect the historic character of the neighborhood and make sure that new buildings and development projects are able to go forward in a way that respects this.

At the public meeting, there was some pressure by the large landowners to have more control over the committee and process, and you can bet they will make their opinions heard. I encourage all Foint Pointers to write a letter to the Landmarks Commission. They can be mailed or faxed:

Katie McLaughlin
Boston Landmarks Commission
Boston City Hall, Room 895
Boston. MA 02201

Fax: 617-635-3435

The letter should state how you're connected to the neighborhood (resident, owner, business owner, etc.). Some talking points to consider:

1. The Appointment and makeup of the Commission.

-Long-term stakeholders need representation. The Landmarking process was initiated by the advocacy of such existing community organizations (FPAC,
SAND, FPNA, FPCC, etc.) and represents years of work and effort on their part. Each of the Community organizations should have an ex-officio representation on the commission, to ensure long-term neighborhood representation.

-The representation of commercial owners and developers on the district commission needs to be BALANCED to restrict CONFLICT OF INTEREST and to ensure due community process.

-There are recent owners and developers who have allowed buildings to go vacant and deteriorate, while waiting to resell them. This short-term interest has caused blight in the district with numerous vacant buildings that will most likely remain empty during the current economic downturn.

-The City has a precedent where residents are given greater deference on a
commission because they are most impacted, and represent long-term interest.

-The ability or interest of the "OWNER/ Developers" regulating themselves if
made the sole composition of the board, is limited, especially in the
current climate. Many of these individuals/owners already belong to other
organizations with overlapping interests and during the public comment
process have used these organizations as a tool for pushing development
interests and agendas within the landmark process.


- Developers are arguing for a watering down of the proposed Standards and Criteria that were modeled after similar Landmark Districts in the City.

- During the public comment process, much of the language was already revised in response to property owner/ developer concerns for special circumstances and potential economic hardships. For example, in many instances the word 'shall' was replaced with the word 'should,' to address concerns voiced. The Standards and Criteria as written represent a document reached through public process that is comparable to those in place in other districts throughout the City and should be approved as such.

-The Commision's role in interpreting the guidelines painstakingly crafted over a nearly two-year process must be clarified.

-The landmark district regulations must mirror similar successful regulatory practices in other districts in the City (South End, Back Bay, Aberdeen).

3. Specific Regulations being sought to be changed by developers: a. Retail storefronts, b. Additions to Buildings, c. Demolition by Neglect

-Each of these issues (retail storefronts, additions to buildings, and demolition by neglect) have been raised several times in the Study Committee over the course of several meetings each, and as drafted represent a balance between development and conservation interests.

- Last minute representations by paid counsel of a few developers should not override the hundreds of hours of testimony and letters provided by the community.

-The current guidelines are modeled after successful Landmark regulations in Boston and in other Cities, where such relations have resulted in the restoration of historic districts in the context of new mix of commercial, retail and residential redevelopment.

-Study Committee member Mr. Young Park, who is a developer in the district, himself noted in the final public meeting at the Children¹s Museum on October 29, 2008 that these Landmark Guidelines would ensure the preservation of long term value of real estate investments.

-Given the thoroughness of the Landmark study and Drafting process, it would be appropriate for the Commission to approve the Regulations as currently formulated, and revisited after a four year of time for their effectiveness.

-Arguments based upon short-term commercial or financial interests must not be allowed to override the long-term public goal of ensuring the preservation and restoration of this unique historic district.

-As evidenced through real estate values in other historic districts across Boston, guidelines for responsible restoration and adaptive re-use have not limited the financial viability of development, rather they have enhanced property values. As developer and study committee member, Young Park noted in his final presentation that real estate economics are impacted more by the residential market than by guidelines for restoration of historic assets.


-Objective criteria of the Distinctive features of the neighborhood, listed after extensive publicly documented study, must not be allowed to bereplaced by subjective criteria developed by commercial development interests.

-The substance and intent of the guidelines as drafted have been endorsed by the Elected Officials (Councilor Linehan), the City-- (BRA), and the respected Boston Preservation Alliance.

- Owner interests in the district during the process have used their influence to get tenants to speak in their favor (in some cases misrepresenting the goals of the Study and Landmark process). If the owner/ developers are left to manage the District Commission, it would be difficult to ensure the community as a whole that there would be a fair review of projects.

-The objective of these Landmark regulations is to encourage good restoration and rehabilitation of this unique historic resource, and to prevent demolition by neglect and poor design and narrowly defined short-term commercial interests. Even during this process, buildings in the neighborhood sit vacant, and in some cases in deteriorating condition.

-The Landmark study and process has been exemplified by strong and fair Civic engagement, meetings have been open to the public and comment has been carefully considered by the Committee during the more than a year and a half of the process.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Community Meeting for Filming of TV Show War of '04

Dear Resident:

This letter is to inform you that on November10th the Locations Department of The Jersey Production Company will hold a meeting to discuss filming in South Boston. The meeting is taking place at the Patrick Gavin Middle School, 215 Dorchester Street in South Boston at 7 PM. All area residents are encouraged to attend.

War of ’04 is the working title of a pilot for a new show to premiere on cable television. The show features locations in Boston and portrays a fictional world of Irish-American gangsters struggling for underworld control. Filming will take place from November 17 to mid-December in several Boston neighborhoods.

We are aware of the inconvenience caused by our activity and we are working with the Mayor’s Office and the Boston Police to reduce the impact of our activities on your neighborhood. Representatives from the Mayor’s Office and the Boston Police will be invited to the meeting. We hope to address any concerns at the November 10th meeting and will be available after that at the telephone number above.

Your cooperation will help to make this location shoot a success, and help support the
employment of the hundreds of film workers who make their living in this state’s entertainment

Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Stephen Hartman
War of ‘04
Locations Department

South Bay Harbor Trail Unveiling, Friday

Mayor Thomas M. Menino,
Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen,
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay President Patricia A. Foley, and
Gillette Director of Massachusetts Government and Community Relations Brian E. Hodgett
invite you to join them as they unveil the wayfinding system for the South Bay Harbor Trail.

Friday, November 7th, 2008
10 AM
Binford St. Park on Fort Point Channel
(the park on the water, *not* the one on A St.)

For directions and more information, see:

For centuries Boston Harbor has been at the heart of our great waterfront city. Today, with miles of HarborWalk, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the 34 islands of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, five public swimming beaches and some of the cleanest water in urban America, Boston’s Harbor and waterfront are a great place to ride a bike, to take a walk, to swim, to fish, to sail, and to enjoy! The South Bay Harbor Trail will connect Bostonians from across the city with America’s past and our city’s future on Boston Harbor.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barbara Lynch's Sportello Set to Open

Barbara Lynch's next restaurant, Sportello, is nearing completion and set to open for lunch in the coming days. It's next to her now open lounge Drink on Congress St.


OCTOBER 20, 2008, BOSTON, MA…Sportello, James Beard Award-winning chef Barbara Lynch’s second venture in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, is expected to open in mid-November. Sportello (Italian for counter service) will offer a menu of simple, market-driven Italian dishes featuring soups, salads, pastas, and desserts. There will also be a small bakery and retail area to purchase house-made Italian breads and sweets including pane al latte and olive oil polenta cake, freshly prepared grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, and coffee & espresso. A thoughtful selection of pantry staples and treats featuring Christine Ferber jams and house-made chocolate bars will also be available.

“I am so excited to open Sportello as I’ve always envisioned it being the heartbeat of our entire project, and hopefully, the neighborhood” said Barbara Lynch. “Sportello will be quick, fun, and casual; a real neighborhood place. When I was growing up I used to go to Brigham’s; I always loved sitting at the counter and admired the efficient design. I guess you could call this my version of a Brigham’s - if Brigham’s served Chicken Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi and Taglietelle Bolognese!”

A modern interpretation of the classic lunch counter, Sportello was designed by Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz of C&J Katz Studios. Reflecting its name, the space is dominated by one serpentine white corian counter with fixed seating for 33; additional handicap-accessible seating is located by the windows overlooking Congress Street.

Sportello will initially open in November for lunch Monday through Friday, with dinner service Monday through Saturday beginning in December.

Sportello (348 Congress Street) will be located on the first floor of FP3, Berkeley Investments’ Fort Point neighborhood residential project. Sportello follows the October opening of Drink , Chef Lynch’s bar dedicated to the craft of the cocktail, located on the basement level of 348 Congress Street. The third concept to be located in FP3, a fine dining restaurant, is expected to open in spring 2009.

Vote Today!

Please remember to get out and vote today. Local politicians do look at the records of who votes from which neighborhoods, so it's important for all Fort Pointers to vote.

Our polling place is the Condon School, at 200 D St. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Achilles' Supper Club, Tuesday Nights

Why no Barack of lamb?
Dining with Democrats
By NEELY STEINBERG | October 28, 2008

Assuming he was indeed born in Honolulu, and barring another hanging-chads debacle, Barack Obama will likely be our next president. If you're looking for a place to fete the Chosen One's ascendancy to the Oval Office, head on over to South Boston restaurant Persephone's "Tuesday Night Supper Club" to eat and drink — family-style — with fellow Democrats at a special "Barack the Vote" Obama bash.

The Fort Point eatery's Supper Club communal repasts is a fairly new concept for higher-end establishments in Boston. Dining takes place at one long table where anyone can reserve spaces. You can fly solo or bring friends. The three-course meals are served family-style, with patrons serving themselves from large platters and bowls. Accompanying wines are served with both entree and dessert. Local, organic, sustainably-raised or harvested ingredients are used whenever possible. Trust me, the food is delicious.

Surely, this sort of seating arrangement works best when you're surrounded by politically like-minded people; typically, though, Supper Club nights are themeless and apolitical, which means you could very well be sitting next to a Rush Limbaugh conservative on any other evening (hey, dissent and debate is what makes the world go round, so don't let that dissuade you!). Head chef Michael Leviton's ultimate goal is for his patrons to "meet a few new people, have a few good conversations, and maybe learn a little bit about the goodness and importance of local, sustainable cuisine."

On election night, in the hopes of "devouring" the Republicans, Leviton has prepared a menu of "elephant-inspired" items including Seared Elephant Trunk Scallops, Turnip & Rutabaga Puree and Cider Vinaigrette; Slow Roasted Northeast Family Farms Pork Shoulder, Braised Red Cabbage and Apples, Sweet and Sour Cider Jus; and for dessert, White Elephant Cupcakes. Persephone will be showing election updates and commentary on their eight flat screen TVs throughout the night, and at 10 pm, a DJ will take over and "Barack" the night away.

Persephone is located at 283 Summer Street. Supper Club seatings are at 6 and 8:30 pm. Prix fixe is $40, ($60 with wines). Call 617.423.2257.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

FBI Puts New HQ on Hold

From Boston Business Journal:

FBI delays search for new HQ, renews current lease

by Michelle Hillman

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is slowing down its hunt for a new, 250,000-square-foot headquarters and is keeping its plans a secret.

Besides pushing the deadline for the second round of proposals back about a month, the government agency has renewed its lease for 100,000 square feet at Center Plaza near Boston’s Government Center, according to sources. The 3 1/2-year lease was renewed with its current landlord, Equity Office Properties Trust, and is meant to be a short-term fix until the agency decides where it will move, said a real estate source with knowledge of the lease.

The FBI previously considered development sites on D Street and at Channel Center in Boston’s Fort Point Channel, but neither of those sites are in the running, according to real estate sources. Calls to the Boston office of the U.S. General Services Administration, which is in charge of the FBI’s search, did not return repeated calls for comment.

“There’s really no discussion going on with the FBI,” said Richard Galvin, president of Commonwealth Ventures LLC, which owns Channel Center. Galvin declined to comment any further.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pedestrian Hit and Killed on Seaport Blvd

From BPD News:


At about 5:35pm, on Thursday, October 30, 2008, officers from Area C-6 (South Boston) responded to a radio call for a pedestrian struck in the area of 73 Seaport Blvd. On arrival, officers located a 35 year-old female lying on the ground unconscious. According to witnesses, the victim was struck by a shuttle bus or a min-bus. Passengers on the bus say the victim fell into the side of the bus. Witnesses further state that they saw the victim lose her balance and fall backwards from the sidewalk into the side of the passing bus. The victim was immediately transported to Mass General Hospital where she was later pronounced. At this point, the preliminary investigation indicates that the incident was accidental. No charges are pending at this time.

South Boston Open Studios This Weekend

South Boston Open Studios
November 1st and 2nd, 2008
Noon - 6pm each day
Free to the Public

Artists and craftspeople of South Boston will open their doors to the public Saturday and Sunday, November 1st and 2nd, 2008 as part of the annual South Boston Open Studios event. Visitors will be able to talk to and make purchases directly from the artists and visit the creative environments in which the artwork is produced. The weekend-long event also provides a great opportunity to sample many of this historic neighborhood's restaurants, cafes, pubs, and retail shops.

Numerous disciplines will be represented throughout the dozens of participants, including: sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, installation, photography, video, jewelry, ceramics, woodworking, fabric and performance art. Much of the work will be in-process and the artists will be on hand for questions and conversations. Participating organizations and galleries include the SBAA (South Boston Arts Association), which will be exhibiting in the Laboure Center at 275 West Broadway, The Distillery (which will showcase three galleries and over 50 artists) located at 516 East 2nd Street, King Terminal at 110 K Street, and Norman Crump Studio at 793 East Sixth Street.

The event is free to the public, rain or shine, noon to 6pm each day. Public transportation is easy, take the Red Line to Broadway.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Important Community Meeting on Landmarking, Wed, 10/29

There's an important community meeting on landmarking coming up. The Study Committee is giving a final presentation of the proposed Landmark District for our neighborhood before the hearing on November 10th, 2008. It defines a set of boundaries in Fort Point which will receive the Landmark designation as well as a set of guidelines for how development of these buildings need to be handled. This is a critical step to preserving the history and character of our neighborhood.

The Fort Point Landmark Study Committee's homepage is:

Final Presentation by the Landmarking Study Committee

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
6:30 PM
Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street

This is a public presentation of the work of the Study Committee to create a Study Report for the Fort Point Channel Landmark District as completed September 10, 2008. This meeting will be an informational presentation to the community and other interested parties prior to the Boston Landmarks Commission designation hearing for the Fort Point Channel Landmark District on November 10, 2008. (No further revision of the Study Report will be considered at this meeting).

1. Introduction to the Designation Process

2. History and Significance of the District

3. History of the Petition Process and Recent Activity in the District

4. Overview of the Standards and Criteria

5. Next Steps

6. Question and Answer Session

Projected Adjournment: 8:30 pm

The public hearing for the petition to make Fort Point a Landmark District will be held in a few weeks:

Petition #201.01, Fort Point Channel Landmark District
November 10th, 2008
5:30 PM
BRA Boardroom, 9th Floor
Boston City Hall

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Liquor Licenses for 241 A St.

I'm late in posting this, but the licensing board has ruled on the liquor license for 241 A St. (aka Devlin's), listening to all of the community feedback and curbing it to 12:30 AM on weekends and 10 PM for the patio area. Thanks to everyone who spoke at the hearing and wrote letters, as well as to our local politicians who backed the community's concern over the original 2 AM closing time: Senator Jack Hart, Representative Brian Wallace, and Councilor Bill Linehan.

Photos from Open Studios

Tom Wojciechowski in front of some of his new work.

Visitors check out Justin Viglianti's photography.

Congratulations to all of the artists and volunteers for another great Open Studios!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boston Virtuosi Concert Sunday

Boston Virtuosi will be giving a performance at Midway Theater this Sunday at 2pm at Midway Studios Theatre (15 Channel Center St.). Selections range from Bluegrass and Tangos to Mozart!

Open Studios This Weekend

Open Studios is this weekend and more than 200 artists will be participating. There will also be a number of public art installations. "House of Cards" by Lisa Greenfield will be floating in the Fort Point Channel between Summer and Congress Streets. Tom Wojchiehowski's 100' "Light Words" will use the light from Fort Point landmarks and cityscape to spell out words with images that celebrate the neighborhood. And Nicole Seisler will physically tie together opposite ends of the Fort Point neighborhood with "Out in the Studio", a performance and installation using hand-thrown, raw clay vessels.

In addition, at Midway Studios, 8:00 pm October 17 and 18, 2008, Fort Point Theatre Channel will present two evenings of contemporary music featuring Ensemble Warhol. The program includes Tierkreis, by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, by Mark Warhol. Ensemble Warhol consists of Naomi Gurt Lind, soprano, Donald Wilkinson, baritone, and Meghan Miller, flute.

For a map of map of studio buildings and more information, see the FPAC website: Hope to see everyone out this weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Barking Crab Proposes Upscale New Digs

Barking Crab throws Gale plan a curve
Boston Business Journal - by Michelle Hillman

The owners of The Barking Crab Restaurant are proposing a remake of the clam shack — a move that could complicate a neighboring plan by Gale International, developers of the massive project known as Seaport Square.

Gale International, with its partner, Boston Residential Group, wants to build a six-story residential and retail building within feet of the site now occupied by the Barking Crab. They have offered to let the Barking Crab move into the proposed building.

“We reached out to the Crab several times and are going to continue to do so,” said Curtis Kemeny, president of Boston Residential Group.

The Barking Crab owners declined that offer — and now are proposing their own six-storey building with residential, retail and possibly office uses. They outlined it in a letter of intent filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Globe Article on Steve Hollinger's Show

Steve Hollinger's "What Left" show got a great writeup in the Globe (see below). It's currently at the Chase Gallery and runs through Saturday.

'Left' to his own devices
As an inventor and a sculptor, Steve Hollinger is constantly experimenting to feed his curiosity

Steve Hollinger's studio in Fort Point Channel is filled with strange treasures. There's a two-headed bird with three eyes and two beaks, stowed in a glass jar. There are antique hypodermic needles, a crocodile skull, magic lanterns, and an old aluminum prosthetic leg, polished to gleam. On one shelf, there's a 3-inch-tall house that Hollinger made out of spider webs, still intact after four years.

A soft-spoken, bearded man who pads barefoot through the light-infused space, Hollinger is more than a collector of odd items. He's an inventor and artist whose unusual sculptures - many of them kinetic and powered by solar cells - are on view in the solo exhibit "What's Left" at Chase Gallery through Sept. 27.

As an artist, Hollinger, 45, conducts experiments for his own delectation. "You're surprised by the outcome," he says. "I make an experiment, tapping into a certain feeling, and see if this thing captures or houses that certain feeling."

At Chase Gallery, many of those experiments hinge on life's fragility. "Heart #4" is an astonishing assemblage of glass tubes and vessels with blue liquid pumping through them, powered by the sun. "Skeleton Leaf Boxes" consists of translucent boxes that are indeed made out of delicate leaf skeletons, and "Born on the Drop of Truckee" is a living-room tableau in an old wooden explosives box, with a solar-powered mini TV brightly broadcasting images of atomic-bomb tests.

Read full article on the Globe's site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drink to Open This Month

The first of Barbara Lynch's projects, Drink, is slated to open later this month. It's going to be in first floor of the FP3 building at 348 Congress St. (map).


SEPTEMBER 12, 2008, BOSTON, MA… Drink, James Beard Award-winning Chef Barbara Lynch’s first venture in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, is slated to open at the end of this month. A bar entirely focused upon the craft of the cocktail, Drink will be overseen by current No.9 Park Bar Manager John Gertsen.

Blending time-honored techniques and the classic cocktails of the prohibition era with modern innovation and the very best artisanal ingredients, John Gertsen and his team will strive to offer each guest an unparalleled cocktail experience. A seasonal menu of canapés, created by Chef Barbara Lynch and Executive Chef Colin Lynch (no relation) will be available to accompany the cocktails.
“I’ve always wanted to open a bar, so this has been a really fun project to work on with John Gertsen,” said Barbara Lynch. “It’s an exciting time to be opening in Fort Point; there is so much change happening in this neighborhood. We are looking forward to being a part of this community and helping it grow while preserving the qualities that make it Fort Point.”

Front and center at Drink will be the cocktail, with a focus on the classics and communal cocktails. Every spirit will be hand selected and blended with house made syrups, fresh herbs, and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The ice program, the result of years of John’s research on the important role of ice in creating a perfect cocktail, will feature ice from two primary sources: a Kold Draft machine and crystal clear, fifty pound blocks of ice. From these two sources, bartenders will be able to offer ice in several formats, tailored to suit every type of cocktail.
Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz, of C&J Katz, designed the interior of Drink with the goal of preserving the elements that would give the space its rough-elegant industrial feel, an aesthetic reflective of the Fort Point neighborhood. To achieve this, the granite foundation boulders, exposed brick walls, and wood ceiling beams were left intact and inspired the remaining design. Another integral part of the design mission was the notion of community. Designed with gatherings in mind, the bar zig-zags through the room creating six corners for guest to sit around and three “bays” for bartenders.

Drink will be located on the basement level of FP3, Berkeley Investments’ Fort Point neighborhood residential project and will be opening at the end of September. For more information, please contact Sarah Hearn at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heliport Meetings Canceled

The Heliport meetings scheduled for September 17th and September 24th are cancelled.

Mayor Menino and Senator Hart are developing a new approach to improving helicopter access in Boston including working with Governor Patrick and the officials at the Massachusetts Port Authority to review operations and procedures necessary at improving efficiencies at the Logan Airport heliport.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Music Posters Exhibit - Opening 9/17

POSTGIG - A Compilation of Music Posters

A one week exhibit including original posters by: Modern Dog, Aesthetic Apparatus, Patent Pending, The Small Stakes, Seripop, Hammerpress, The Decoder Ring and many more. Curated by Clifford Stoltze, the show complements the recent launch of his book 1000 Music Graphics. For more details, see the FPAC Exhibit Page.

Special opening hosted by FPAC on Wednesday, September 17th, 6-8pm with appetizers and an open bar, catered by The Channel Cafe.

Brickman Selling 313 and 330 Congress St.
Boston Business Journal

Brickman Associates is selling two office buildings totaling 106,028 square feet and has hired Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP to market the properties.

The buildings are located in Boston’s Fort Point Channel neighborhood at 313 and 330 Congress St. Brickman, a New York investment company, purchased the properties for $22.7 million in April of 2006 through the Brickman Real Estate Fund II LP. The seller at the time was New Congress Associates LLC, an affiliate of Edwards Day Property Investments.

The Boston office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler is listing the properties for sale without an asking price; the sale includes “attractive, in-place financing,” according to a press release from HFF.

The buildings at 313 and 330 Congress St. are six-story, brick-and-beam office buildings with 70,217 square feet and 35,811 square feet respectively. The properties are located across the street from each other and were originally built in the 1890s. The buildings are currently 98.1 percent leased to tenants that include National Mentor Holdings Inc., Neoscape Inc. and Commercial Construction.

Attn: Parents - Baby Morning at Channel Cafe

The Channel Cafe has started have Mother-Baby Mornings on Fridays where "you can come with baby and all the gear and know you spread out and make noise, and it's OK!". Ana has started an egroup for it:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liquor License for 241 A St. - Your Opinion Needed

The licensing board hearing on the liquor license for 241 A St/40 Channel Center St. (aka Devlin's) was this past week and the board is going to make a decision over the next week or so. Devlin's is seeking a 2 AM full liquor license. Many residents have expressed concern about the late closely time and feel 11:30 or 12 AM is more appropriate (bars get a 30 min grace so 11:30 actually means people can drink until 12).

I urge everyone to send thoughts to the board. They do read the letters and it definitely makes a difference. And they don't have to be formal or long; couple of sentences saying what you'd like the board to do and why is fine. Letters can be faxed to them at: 617-635- 4742

If you don't have access to a fax machine, you can email me your letter this weekend and I'll make sure they get it:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Northern Ave Tender House to Be Demolished

Half of Northern Avenue Bridge tender’s house set for demolition
By Scott Van Voorhis | Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is it an important piece of city history or a rundown shack on a crumbling pier in Boston Harbor?

That’s the debate as City Hall moves ahead with plans to demolish part of the “tender’s house” next to the rusting, old Northern Avenue Bridge on Fort Point Channel.

The boarded up and rambling structure served for nearly a century as a home for the keepers of the rotating swingbridge - who had to be available, night and day, to let ships through.

Now city officials, saying the structure has become dangerously unsound after some pilings collapsed, are moving ahead with plans to demolish about half of it and mothball the other. Plans are also being drafted to renovate the bridge and raise it up so it no longer has to rotate to let ships through.

The decision to spare part of the bridge tender’s house comes amid an outcry by some residents in the Fort Point neighborhood.

“This is one of the last vestiges of the working waterfront,” said Michael Tyrrell of the Fort Point Neighborhood Assocation.

In a key step, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted Tuesday to approve the partial demolition, but with a string of conditions. City officials will have to ensure the structure is throroughly photographed and documented before demolition begins, likely early next week, among other things.

Where some see an unsightly shack, supporters of the tender’s house see a link to a time when the harbor was full of ships and the waterfront was teeming with sailors and fishermen, not luxury condos.

But the tender’s house in recent years fell into disrepair. The modern-day bridge keepers - recently a source of controversy after being photographed by the Herald grilling and watching TV while on the clock - now operate out of an air-conditioned trailer on the bridge’s deck.

“This is demolition by neglect,” said Valerie Burns, a Fort Pont resident.

However, city officials say they also care about the quirky tender’s house and are scrambling to save all they can of it. The partial demolition will cost about $100,000. The impending demolition was first reported by Banker & Tradesman.

“Personallly, I would like to err on the side of caution than to tear something down that can’t easily be replaced,” said Robert Rottenbucher, the city’s chief engineer.

Monday, September 01, 2008

BBJ: More Artists to Loose Spaces to Goldman and Archon

Paint brush: Artists stand to lose Fort Point space
Boston Business Journal - by Michelle Hillman Boston Business Journal

Seventy Boston artists and 20 small businesses are in danger of losing commercial studio space in the most recent clear-out of tenants by Goldman Properties and the Archon Group LP.

The artists’ leases at 319 A St. and 337 Summer St. in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood will expire in November. Despite letters from residents and pleas from community groups, the artists will be the latest wave of tenants forced to flee the arts enclave unless a deal is worked out to extend the leases.

Goldman Properties did not respond to calls for comment. Archon ­— the real estate arm of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ­— also did not respond to inquiries.

About 90 artists have moved out of the neighborhood since Archon/Goldman purchased a 17-building warehouse portfolio from Boston Wharf Co. three years ago. A year later, Goldman/Archon relocated tenants out of 316-322 Summer St. because they planned to redevelop the buildings into residential space. Those buildings were subsequently sold and remain vacant today.

Michelle Hillman can be reached at

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 AM Liquor License for 241 A Street

The owners of the soon-to-open Fort Point Restaurant and Grille at 241 A Street have applied to transfer the liquor license from the Quiet Man. This would allow them to serve until 2 AM, 7 days a week. In addition, they're going to have an outdoor patio which would be open and able to serve 11 AM to 10 PM.

The licensing board will meet on it on September 10th:

Room 809A - City Hall, Boston

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

10:00 AM

Transfer of a C.V. 7-Day All Alc. Bev. License to:
Van Lin Corp d/b/a "Fort Point Restaurant and Grill"
Thomas Devlin, Mgr
241 A Street
South Boston, MA

In one room on first floor; kitchen and storage in cellar and to include an outdoor patio on Private Property between the hours of 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM for sixty (60) patrons with a 2:00 AM Closing Hour.

If you have concerns, make your voice heard at this meeting. You may also contact Cynthia Fulton from the Licensing Board office with questions: 617.635.41700.

Outdoor Movie Tonight: Persepolis

Fort Point Stage presents the 2008 Fort Point Outdoor Movie Series

Join us for a moonlit screening of Persepolis (2007).

Tuesday August 26, 2008 at 9:00 PM
Wormwood Park
(corner of Wormwood Street and A Street)

Visit for info and complete schedule


Persepolis (2007)
Animation, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Marjane (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) just wants to be an ordinary kid, but that isn't easy in 1978 Iran. This profound animated film follows Marjane's childhood in a repressive society, her adolescence in France and return to Tehran as an adult. Based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel, this Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature Film also features the vocal talents of Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian. [imdb]

"A perfect expression of the imagination's resistance to the literal-minded and the power-mad" -- A. O. Scott, The New York Times


See you at the movies!!!

Steve Hollinger
Fort Point Stage

Monday, August 25, 2008

Heliport Community Meeting, Sept 17th and 24th

There's two meetings in September on the proposal to create a new heliport on the waterfront for helicopters and tiltrotor planes (like the one pictured here). One on Sept 17 and one on Sept 24, both at 6:30 at the Condon School.

This is an important issue and worth your attention. Southie already gets more than its fair share of noise/pollution due to city infrastructure. In addition, this is particularly relevant to Fort Point as the channel itself is currently a flight path for helicopters. Please come to one of the meetings or send your thoughts to the BRA via Valerie Gingrich (

Heliport Community Meetings

Wednesday, September 17th and Wednesday September 24th
6:30 PM, Condon School on D Street

Description: A community meeting will be held to discuss a proposed public-use heliport in the South Boston Marine Industrial Park. Air Pegasus has been tentatively designated as the developer and operator on the South Boston Waterfront subject to public review and permitting. Representatives from Air Pegasus and the BRA will be present to explain the proposal, answer questions and solicit input.
Contact: Valerie Gingrich, 617.918.4292,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Landmark Meeting Wednesday - Final Review of Draft Guidelines

The next Fort Point Landmark Study Committee meeting will take place on

Wed, August 20, 2008
Boston Convention Center
415 Summer Street

Neighborhood reps on the committee are Valerie Burns, Steve Hollinger, Pratap Talwar and Michele Yeles. The final review of the draft guidelines are underway. Please send your feedback on the draft guidelines to the BLC Study Committee through the Boston Landmarks Commission. Draft guidelines and info at

Our support is critical. Check the website for upcoming meetings and locations

Please attend!

Monday, August 11, 2008

P&G Cutting 215 Jobs from Gillette Plant

Procter & Gamble unveils plans to cut 215 jobs from its Gillette factory in South Boston over five years
By Jon Chesto
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Aug 07, 2008 @ 09:14 AM

Procter & Gamble is continuing to trim its work force in Massachusetts with a plan to cut 215 jobs at its main Gillette plant in South Boston by mid-2013.

Kelly Vanasse, director of external relations for Gillette, said the company expects most, if not all, of the jobs will be eliminated through attrition, early retirements and voluntary buyouts.

Vanasse said the company is shifting the manufacturing of its Mach3 and older kinds of Venus cartridges and razor handles to other plants, such as those in Poland and Mexico.

The company will continue to make Gillette Fusion and Venus Embrace products at the South Boston factory. Vanasse said the company will also continue making individual blades for a range of its shaving products – including the Mach3, Venus and Fusion lines – in South Boston.

P&G will still use the South Boston factory, along with one in Berlin, Germany, as a “flagship site” to develop and launch its newest shaving products, Vanasse said.

P&G has steadily shaved jobs from its payroll in Massachusetts since the Cincinnati-based conglomerate bought Gillette in the fall of 2005. At the time of the acquisition, nearly 4,000 people worked for Gillette in the state. By early 2007, that number had dropped to about 3,000.

Vanasse said P&G currently employs about 2,400 people in the state. She declined to provide a breakdown of how many people work at the company’s various locations. She said those locations include the Prudential Tower in Boston’s Back Bay, the South Boston campus, plants in Needham and Andover, and a Quincy sales office.

The company is also cutting jobs at one of its contractors by closing a Gillette warehouse at the former Fort Devens. Vanasse said P&G plans to close the warehouse – which is operated by Sonoco – in the next two years. About 50 to 60 of those jobs will move to P&G’s Andover site, while the remaining work will be shifted to a Mexican plant.

Vanasse said P&G remains committed to the sprawling, 1.6 million-square-foot South Boston campus, which overlooks the southern end of the Fort Point Channel. The company is in the midst of a $50 million project to prepare the site for a move in October 2009 of the corporate jobs in the Pru tower to South Boston.

The company also revealed on Wednesday that it would spend $35 million to build a new gas-fired turbine during the next two years to complement a steam-fired turbine at the South Boston site. Once the second turbine is complete, Vanasse said the South Boston plant will be able to operate independently without electricity from the region’s power grid.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Outdoor Movie Tonight: The Third Man


Join us for a moonlit screening of The Third Man (1949):

Tuesday July 29, 2008 at 9:00 PM
Wormwood Park
(corner of Wormwood Street and A Street)

visit for info and complete schedule


The Third Man (1949)
directed by Carol Reed
screenplay by Graham Greene
starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles
Who was Harry Lime? And who killed him? And is he really dead? These are just a few of the questions writer-turned-sleuth Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) tries to answer as he trolls the shadowy streets of postwar Vienna. Director Carol Reed turns Graham Greene's classic mystery into a film noir without equal. You'll be humming the zither theme for weeks!. Winner at Cannes for Festival Grand Prize (1949), Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography (1951) Academy Award nominee for Best Director, Film Editing (1951). [imdb]


See you at the movies!!!

Steve Hollinger
Fort Point Stage

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Globe Article on Beth and Seth Marois

Fit to a tee
Local designers make art of the old cotton standby

There was no plan for the kittens to take over the T-shirts produced by Family Dinner for One. They just managed to cast their cute, furry spell over the husband and wife team of Seth, 30, and Beth Marois, 28. The pair make tees that simply say "Kittens!" and others that show naughty cartoon kittens, complete with black bars over their eyes. But please, don't assume the Somerville designers subscribe to Cat Fancy magazine.

"My point of view is mockery," Seth says with a grin. "For instance, for the past few years, I've found warning symbols to be very funny. So I created a line of shirts that warn against things like putting your head in a microwave."

Seth and Beth started Family Dinner for One two years ago, when Seth realized it was much easier to get his art on T-shirts than into galleries. They focus on tees that play with familiar images but present them in unusual ways. One tee sports a lobster playing with a ball of yarn. Another series borrows the genial chef found on most pizza boxes, but instead of a pizza, he's sporting nunchakus, or a great white shark. The line is aptly titled "Pizza or die."

"A lot of kids get out of art school and don't know what to do," Beth says. "Most of the people we know who make T-shi are also fine artists."

Commonwealth Ventures Considering Saving 5 Channel Center

Hub developer will now save two Fort Point warehouses
By Scott Van Voorhis | Friday, July 25, 2008

A developer with grand plans for redeveloping a key swath of the Fort Point Channel neighborhood is now looking at renovating, rather than tearing down, a pair of the area’s signature Victorian-era warehouse buildings.

Richard Galvin, president of Commonwealth Ventures, said yesterday he is exploring plans to redevelop a 200,000-square-foot complex of early-1900s warehouse buildings at 5 Channel Center. Galvin, who is now in discussions with City Hall and neighborhood groups, is looking at putting as many as 130 rental units in the buildings.

“We decided let’s try and keep these buildings,” Galvin said. “I believe it’s more in keeping with the historic character of the site.”

The move represents a significant shift from plans laid out for the area by its previous developer, Beacon Capital Partners. The deep-pocketed Hub real estate firm, owned by the Leventhal family, in 2001 unveiled plans for a sweeping redevelopment of a block of old Fort Point warehouse buildings on what was then Midway Street.

While Beacon planned to preserve a number of the buildings, it also had ambitious plans for hundreds of new luxury condos.

It had lined up permits to tear down the buildings at 5 Channel Center as part of a second phase of condo construction, but wound up selling the project first.

Commonwealth Ventures, which took over the project last year during a downturn in the real estate market, has taken a different approach.

Instead of expensive condos, it is now looking at more modestly priced rentals that might provide a less expensive alternative to young professionals looking for a place in the city.

Commonwealth Ventures’ plans have gone over well in Fort Point, an up-and-coming residential enclave that features the region’s largest artists’ community.

“If we can just preserve as many of the buildings as possible, that is a wonderful thing,” said Becky Dwyer, a longtime Fort Point resident and artist.
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