I Just Said Goodbye To A Bargain....
I once worked right across the street from the Basement and found myself there almost on a daily basis. I have been known to hide a pair of men's shoes in ladies' bras overnight so I could grab them at 7:30 the next morning when they hit 75% off. I have also wound up with fabulous $600 fur-lined Prada men's bedroom slippers that were almost my size. Somehow, in a bargain-induced frenzy, I once also wound up with Armani ski pants because they were 75% off - and I don't ski.
According to spokespersons for the company, the store will re-open in two years or so in another location, but many think that it'll never happen. What will replace this mecca of bargains? "Luxury" condominiums, of course, this being Luxurious Boston. "Luxury" is apparently the new "black."
The problem(s) I have with this closure are myriad. First, the new Filene's Basement on Boylston Street, like the suburban locations of "FB", cannot hold a candle to the original. Too many New England Patriots leather logo jackets and "Harvard" t-shirts for my taste, not enough Gucci.
Second, I am becoming (and this is where I can bring in the good ol' South of End) increasingly wary of any condominium building labelled as "Luxury." Apparently, the "L-Word" attracts the wrong kind of people - people who don't need people, if you get my drift. People for whom Luxury is disproportionately related to manners and good social behavior. I have lived in a "Luxury" condo building in the South End and found that a majority of the other inhabitants could use a few lessons in etiquette - such as not running up and down the halls in a drunken stupor screaming at 3 am, or partying on the terrace at 3am right beneath the windows of sleeping residents (see previous postings). Plus, they have a predisposition for wearing Uggs and buying overpriced heirloom tomatoes. In short, they need to have the word "Luxury" added to their residences for show, and to remind themselves that they are technically (only technically, though) no longer living in a frat house.
And, as long as its luxury condo's going in, why hasn't MassHousing upped the ante by lending/diverting $20 million to the developer, earmarked for low-cost rental units, despite the fact that they are luxury condominiums? When will that happen, this being Boston.
Third, the disappearance of the original FB is the loss of one more thing that makes Boston unique. In two years, this city will look like a generic copy of any other US city. Might as well be in Fargo, Trenton or Springfield. There was something about the original FB - the lack of organization, the decor that hadn't changed for decades - that made it special. The new FB's look like they could be any Marshall's, TJ Maxx, or Macy's - the same light fixtures, the same stone floors, etc. Plus, the "running of the brides" bridal gown event just won't be the same in Framingham. And now if I hide a pair of men's shoes in the ladies bra department, I'm just simply a pervert as there is no automatic markdown system in the remaining stores.
Once these new condos are built, perhaps we could re-name the area starting at downtown crossing and continuing up through the proposed Columbus Center "Generia," the soul-less spine of new Boston.