April 17, 2014

Mis-delivered

This mail truck crashed near 98 Bigelow Street, Brighton around noon today.


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April 8, 2014

Larry DiCara on the busing crisis and the transformation of Boston

Larry DiCara, former member of the Boston City Council, will speak about his memoir “Turmoil and Transition in Boston,” which gives his perspective on the upheaval that shook the city when a federal court ordered the schools to desegregate in 1974.  It is also the story of his family, his campaigns for office, and the changes that have transformed Boston since the 1950s.  The event will be at the Honan Allston Library, 380 Harvard Street, Allston on Wednesday, April 9 from 6 to 8 PM, with an introduction by State Representative Kevin Honan.

March 21, 2014

Mayor in the house

Mayor Marty Walsh is making a move in Brighton.  His first “Mondays with the Mayor” will be held this Monday, March 24 at 20 Warren Street, home of Another Course to College, formerly known as the Taft Middle School.  It is a town hall format, so ask your questions, bring your perspective, but please leave your soapbox at home.

March 5, 2014

Skating Club wants to move, State Police plan to say put

The Skating Club of Boston wants to relocate from its current site on Soldiers Field Road to the corner of Everett and Lincoln Streets.  So far, the plan has not gotten a good reception from the neighborhood.  The State Police are renovating their property on the same roadway, but will set up shop temporarily at 46 Leo Birmingham Parkway.  All this and more at the Brighton Allston Improvement Association’s meeting at 7PM Thursday, March 6.  Location and details here.

December 11, 2013

An unholy noise

Adam at Universal Hub lists a blaring music from the outdoor speakers at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Brighton as “Citizen Complaint of the Day.”  The chapel is located on the former St. Gabriel’s Monastery property on Washington Street.  It must be pretty loud, or someone has sensitive ears, since it is set well back from the street and not near any homes.

December 11, 2013

The mayor and me

TC&TM

TM & TC

This website does not come with a lot of perks.  Actually none, until tonight.  Thanks to Emilee Ellison of the mayor’s office, I received an invitation to Mayor Menino’s annual, and final, holiday press party at the Parkman House.  Years ago, I landed in city hall as an aide to newly elected councilor Brian McLaughlin (District 9, Allston Brighton), the same moment Tom Menino became councilor for District 5 (Hyde Park Roslindale) and Ray Flynn took over as mayor from Kevin White.  City hall was entertaining, lots of characters.  I will never forget Dapper O’Neil dropping a Lugar pistol on my desk as he explicated his heroics during WWII.  Menino was lucky, in those days we referred to his district as Sleepy Hollow.

The party was fun, free drinks, great food, had fun schmoozing with the bartenders (another one of my jobs) and people I hadn’t seen since my city hall days.  And wow, the Parkman House looks amazing.

Above all, thanks to Mayor Menino.  Public service takes a toll, especially when you are responsible for a major city like Boston.  You cannot get away from the daily tough stuff, whether it is a shooting or a snow storm or the missed school bus pickup.  It is just there, and the mayor is there, and people look at him to blame, or fix it.  So thanks, and good luck to him and his wife Angela.

 

December 10, 2013

What’s in a name: Barry’s Corner vs. Allston Square

Should Harvard’s development for the corner of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue in Allston be designated “Allston Square” rather than “Barry’s Corner,” which is how that section was generally known before it was demolished in the 1960′s?  That suggestion, made by a local resident, has provoked a lively discussion on Google groups community forum.  Does the neighborhood need a re-branding?  How should the history of the fight that led to the forced removal of 71 families be honored?  For a history of the area, check out this excellent article by Bill Marchione.

December 10, 2013

Retaining wall collapses on Bellvista Road

The retaining wall in front of 15 Bellvista Road, Brighton collapsed last evening, forcing residents to relocate for at least the night.  The Boston Fire Department posted a pic here.  You can find some interesting history of the buildings in the comments at Universal Hub.

December 10, 2013

80 apartments for Braintree Street in Allston

A proposed 80 unit apartment building for 61-83 Braintree Street will be discussed on Thursday, December 12 at 6PM at a meeting hosted by the BRA.  It will be held at the Jackson Mann School, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston.  In addition to 80 apartments, it will also include commercial space and parking for 67 vehicles.

December 8, 2013

128 Newton Street: Four single-families, plus a five story building in the middle

Plans presented at last week’s meeting on possible construction at 128 Newton Street, Brighton did not go over well, based on what I heard from people who attended.  The plan involves two single-family homes at 128 Newton Street, two more singles on Bigelow Street at the foot of Hardwick Street, and smack in the middle, a five-story, twenty unit condominium building.  So far as I know, the developer, Nartan Valbandian, has yet to submit any plans or letter of intent to any city agency.  It’s too much crammed into an odd site.  Not every corner of every lot is buildable.  Keep the single families, maybe add a couple more, but get rid of the condo building.

December 5, 2013

392 Cambridge Street: 36 apartments plus retail proposed

The BAIA will host a presentation for a 36 unit apartment building that would also have retail space on the first floor.  The plan calls for 19 commercial and 44 residential parking spaces.  The meeting will be Thursday, December 5 at 7PM, Brighton Elks, 326 Washington Street, Brighton Center.  Full agenda here.  March 2013 Boston Globe article here, site map here.

December 4, 2013

Former Presentation church vandalized

The former Presentation church at 680 Washington Street in Brighton was vandalized sometime between the afternoon of November 23 and the morning of November 25.  Three teens who were caught on tape are responsible.  The property is now used a library and lecture hall by St. John’s Seminary.

December 3, 2013

Four story building with 60 apartments proposed for Brighton Center

“Parsons Crossing,” known as “where Minihane’s used to be” to everyone else, is the potential site of 60 apartments, retail use and parking. The proposed development, at the corner of Washington and Parsons Street, includes the former Minihane’s, the Commerce Bank building, and an adjacent house on Parsons Street which would be preserved. All told, we’re talking four stories, 60 housing units, 139 parking spaces and commercial space dedicated to the bank and some kind of “urban” grocery store. The BRA is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, December 4 at 6:30PM. It will be held at the Brighton Marine Hospital on Warren Street.  You can find the submission to the city here, which includes a rendition of a quite substantial building.

November 29, 2013

Oak Square: it takes a village

Mayor of Oak Square Charlie Vasiliades tips us off to a new website that includes a focus on the history, as well as the present, of his realm, Squares & Corners. Lots of great stuff.

November 29, 2013

What’s going on at 128 Newton Street?

A proposed development at 128 Newton Street, Brighton will be the topic of a meeting Monday, December 2 at 6:30PM at the Oak Square YMCA, 615 Washington Street. That’s the location that was on the anonymous flyer that was distributed. It’s difficult to figure out the precise parcel of land it refers to, since the city of Boston website does not recognize the address. It may be this one, or maybe this spot. It may also involve this property and the one adjacent to it on Bigelow Street, at the foot of Hardwick Street. We can find out at the meeting on Monday.

November 7, 2013

Palace Spa seeks to add beer & wine to the keno & cigars

The venerable Palace Spa, 419 Washington Street in Brighton Center, is seeking a license to sell beer and wine. It’s not clear if this is for retail sales or on-premise consumption. These days the place is an amalgam of convenience store, cigar shop and keno hall. They will present their plans to the Brighton Allston Improvement Association tonight at 7PM. As always, the meeting will be at the Elks, 326 Washington Street, Brighton. The rest of the agenda is here, although the presentation by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly for a possible development on Chestnut Hill Avenue has been canceled. Still up, a preliminary discussion for an apartment building at 1650 Commonwealth Avenue, currently the home of a gas station and Cumberland Farms.

November 6, 2013

Mayor: Connolly locally, but Walsh citywide

Allston Brighton gave a 894 vote margin to John Connolly in the race for mayor that was won by Marty Walsh. Connolly garnered 5097 votes (54.8%) to Walsh’s 4203 votes (45.2%), winning all but three of the twenty-six precincts. Walsh won three: 22-1 and 22-2 (North Allston) and 22-12 (roughly, Brighton’s Faneuil Square area), but by less than a dozen votes in each. Those narrow margins played out in many sections of the community, with Connolly only hitting 55% or above in four of Ward 22′s precincts. His margins were better in Ward 21, but even there, it was an edge of ten or fewer votes in three precincts. Usually, the residents of senior housing in Ward 21 vote en masse for one candidate, but that vote split this time.

Four years ago, Tom Menino had his worst showing in a final election in Allston Brighton. He won Ward 22 by a mere 58 votes, while Ward 21 put him up by 705, due to the big margins he racked up in any section with senior housing.

WBUR has a nifty map of yesterday’s results.

Congratulations to Marty Walsh and kudos to John Connolly for their dedication and hard work.

October 18, 2013

No one reads the Allston Brighton TAB

OK, a few people do. A mere 399 – yes, that is three digits, three hundred and ninety-nine – actually pay for a paper. This week, on page A2, the print run was reported, and 399 was the sad number. Now remember there are about 75,000 residents in Allston-Brighton. As a separate town, we would constitute the 14th largest city in Massachusetts.

Why do 399 people buy it? There are a few items. Featured in a press release, Linda, a “Sweet, flirtatious” cat is up for adoption at the Gifford House animal shelter. There is another press release about those aged 90-plus at Covenant House at 30 Washington Street. And don’t forget, “Send in your fall foliage photos!” We all know how our neighborhood becomes clogged with leaf-peepers this time of year.

Based on the election returns, there are 6556 residents who cared enough to vote for mayor three weeks ago. That’s 6157 more than pick up the shabby sheets labeled the Allston Brighton TAB. Maybe more people would vote if we had a paper that was paying attention.

October 13, 2013

Meet the next mayor

Spend some time Columbus Day discovering the candidates. The next mayor of Boston will be in our neighborhood tomorrow, October 14. Both Marty Walsh and John Connolly will be campaigning here. Walsh will take questions at one of his “Mondays with Marty” forums at 8 PM at the Brighton Marine Health Center, 77 Warren Street. Connolly is hosting a meet and greet from 6 to 8PM at the Stockyard Restaurant, 135 Market Street. Thanks to John Laadt of the Walsh campaign for letting me know about their event, and thanks to the Hobart Neighborhood Association for their tip about the Connolly appearance.

October 9, 2013

Charlie for mayor

Charlie Vasiliades, also known as the Mayor of Oak Square, was interviewed by WBUR about the race to replace that other mayor, Menino. Charlie brought up all the points that are important to the entire Allston Brighton community, as well those specific to Oak Square. Keeping the square’s library and fire station open, the need for quality schools to keep families, the plague of poorly maintained, absentee-owned property that afflicts the neighborhood.

In the last few days canvassers for both John Connolly and Marty Walsh were on my doorstep, Marty represented by his cousin. I raised the issue of keeping the Faneuil library branch open. It would be great if the two candidates could address this.

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