Thursday, March 31, 2011

Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Dudley Square?

Ok, ok, mebbe not. It's the new headquarters of Historic Boston, Inc., under wraps.

HBI, under wraps.

HBI, March 2011, under construction.

Torrent Six from the BPL Archives
This is supposedly what it used to look like but this picture always confuses me because the Eliot Burial ground should be visible immediately to the left of the building and I don't see it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spicy Dudley

Inside Mr. G's Plaza on Warren street there used to be hair, lots of hair. Hair for weaves, hair for extensions, hair for braids, and hairdressers. Now, just inside the door, there is Merkato, an Ethiopian market, named after the huge Merkato in Addis Ababa. Partners Lebeza Alemu and Desalegn Yifru opened the shop last December. They sell legumes, spices, and best of all, fresh baked injera, an unleavened flatbread made of buckwheat Teff flour and cooked on a flat griddle. Teff is an ancient grain originating in Ethiopia but sourced by Dudley Merkato from Idaho. Merkato also sells the wheat based sweet bread ambusha.

Update: Lebeza says they have two kinds of injera: Teff only and Teff with barley.

Mr. G's was flooded on March 22 and although the flood had no effect on Merkato, the entire complex has been shut down and will open as soon as March 31, Lebeza hopes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bye Buy Bob Slate

This was the Church Street Bob Slate last Wednesday. I almost grabbed the small fridge tucked in the end of the dumpster.

Damn you, Staples! Damn you, internets!  If a small business can't survive in the People's Republic, where can it?  Though the store is closed, the business is still for sale.  Buy Bob Slate. 

The letter posted on the window of the storefront supplies the relevant information.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dudley Square Blossoms

Springtime came to Dudley Square this past Friday when Blanka's Flowers and Gifts opened on Warren Street. Blanca Sierra de Price of Milton dispensed squeals of joy with hugs while customers chatted and purchased floral arrangements at the opening celebration. Blanca with a "c" calls her store Blanka with a "k" to be different.

"I want to bring the best product to Dudley Square. The best!" she said.

Brunilde Torres of Jamaica Plain said, "This is great for the neighborhood." Torres said she may be trekking to Dudley to buy her flowers since Leaf and Petal in Jamaica Plain is no longer open.

The store
The wares.
More wares.

Brunilde Torres of Jamaica Plain makes a purchase from Yolanda Tubens of the South End.

More pictures here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fixin' It on the Fly: Cambridge Installs Bike Repair Stands

Cambridge has installed three public bike repair stands throughout the city - one at Fresh Pond, another at the Main Library and the third on the Mount Auburn Bennett Street end of the little car lot underneath the Harvard Square Hotel. There's a tire pump, allen and wheel wrenches, flat-head and phillips screwdrivers and tire levers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Guns and Butter

Ah, if only gun-toting, shooting-each-other-up youth had the power to incite as much passion, commitment, and rallying as a friggin' grocery store! Websites, videos, organized protests, and even a panel spring up in the arsenal of weaponry coordinated to keep the nation's organic supermarket from coming to Jamaica Plain but for you, ignorant, misguided, impoverished gang-child? You're on your own, kid, until they need a scapegoat. Where do you buy your food? I bet you don't - I bet you're hungry a lot and hungry for a lot of things:  acceptance, love, food, safety, respect, knowledge, a decent future, work.

Where is all this civic effort when gang violence escalates? Grocery shopping, apparently.  That these protesters are able to coordinate so quickly and adeptly using all available new media says it's too late: the gentry have arrived.

Whole Foods is a symptom, not the cause of gentrification here in Boston or anywhere else in the country. Fabulous (and fabulously expensive) City Feed, the business with the most to fear from a Whole Foods in J.P., is sure, irrefutable proof that the gentry aren’t just discovering J.P., they are ensconced. And the expansion of City Feed from one store on Boylston Street to a second and larger one on Centre only confirmed the increased incursion of people with ample disposable income to that neighborhood.

I worked at the Symphony Whole Foods when it was still a Bread and Checkbook (Bread and Circus, for the uninitiated). I took the job because it was the closest place to home which allowed me to work only part-time and still get health insurance and other benefits. Maybe I don’t love Whole Foods but they provide benefits to their workers far beyond anything the Hi-Lo ever did. They’ve also done much more to support local farmers than the Hi-Lo ever did.

In the meantime, if you miss the Hi-Lo, do the socially just thing and come shop Tropical Foods/El Platanero in Dudley Square and give the food to someone who doesn't have the luxury of protesting a food store.