Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wisteria Lane Comes to The South End....

Finally there's another chapter in the yuppies vs. kids controversy regarding the soccer field at the Hurley School. As you will recall from previous posts, neighborhood yups were having

a communal hissy fit over the prospect that their free overnight parking spaces would be taken away by the Hurley School in order to provide a soccer field for Hurley schoolchildren (i.e, the children of those people - over there!!).

Despite the fact that the yups had absolutely no claim to the parking lot property, they tried to come up with any argument to avoid the loss of their parking spaces. They argued about safety, late-night noise and crime, and aesthetic appeal (apparently the preservation of an asphalt lot strewn with broken glass, condoms and needles was appealing enough).

Well, apparently the South End Landmarks Commission has approved the final plan for the soccer field. Of course certain yuppidents voiced outrage that the soccer field would incorporate astro-turf as its primary surface material -- this in an historic neighborhood, of all places!! Of course the broken down glass-shard and condom covered asphalt parking lot was precisely what the 19th century planners of the South End neighborhood had in mind. Apparently that was ok, but astro-turf somehow will clash with those Pottery Barn-Inspired pieces your decorator picked out with you at Homegoods.

Apparently, the Commission denied the proposal to use a chainlink fence around the soccer field because it did not fit in with the character of the neighborhood. which begs the question: What exactly is the character of the neighborhood? Last time I checked, it was a city. Complete with cafes and check-cashing businesses, bistros and laundromats, heirloom tomato purveyors and sub shops.

I have read one blogger's report from the Commission's meeting in which it was allegedly decided that a "ribbon picket fence" would be approved. That frightens me. The suburban mindset responsible for thinking that a soccer field in the heart of a city should be surrounded by a white picket fence instead of chainlink is the same mindset that a) has too much time on its hands, and b) offends me with its pre-conceived and dictatorial notions of bland suburban taste.

This is probably the same group of people who tried to prohibit the new-ish 7-11 from opening on Washington Street back in 2003. Apparently, these Wonder-bread eating Wellesley transplants felt that a 7-11 would ruin the integrity of their empty-nester suburban dreams. (Translation: It might attract poor people and we really don't need to be running into those people when we are walking our dogs ). Of course I looked at it as a welcome opportunity to buy toilet paper and a pint of Haagen Dazs at 11 p.m. Did their maple granite and stainless steel kitchens come with the option to magically replenish their cupboards at any given time? Why didn't my decorator give me that option when I was choosing granite colors?

Here's the deal: You live in a city. Get over yourselves. As long as there's not a crack house operating next door, you should consider yourself lucky.

One more thing: Funny how the soccer field for inner city children (of the human species) had a lower budget than the hallowed dog park/dog fountain/doggie walk of fame at nearby Peter's Park. Where are our priorities????

Boston's Newest Suburb: The South End

I have mixed feelings over the news this week that the Waltham Tavern has been sold to a developer and will be built into condo's.

On the one hand, I am relieved and thrilled that there won't be any pretentious purveyors of heirloom tomatoes moving in, or fabulous new "bistro's," or high end home design stores (owned by actual "designers"!!) for people with Pottery Barn "tastes" (and also, incongruously, loft-like residences). Didn't Boston shop/restaurant keepers of note know that there are at least three banks within a short walk to which they could have laughed all the way?

On the other hand, there are condo's (presumably of the "luxury" kind) going in. That means more yuppies in the neighborhood. (I am intrigued, however, by the fact that one unit will be a studio -- how many times have you seen a newly constructed studio in this neighborhood?). People, I ask you this: How much more maple, granite and stainless steel can the South End stand before it starts to creak, buckle, and finally implode upon itself? I hope the residents are haunted by the ghosts of Waltham Tavern regulars nightly, as in some 70's horror movie, only because those "regulars" would probably be the last people they would ever have run into in real life.

Despite the fact that the Waltham might have been frequented by, well, some of the more alcohol-friendly residents of the South End, my experience living right nearby was that the patrons leaving were alot quieter and well-behaved than the annoying Ugg-wearing binge-drinkers that frequented a late-hours bar/restaurant just about a block down the road. My gentle sleep had been interrupted on a regular basis from the younger patrons of this place just after last call almost on a nightly basis, whereas I never had to hear the shrill voices of fratgirls and boys screaming about how drunk they were (and the occasional vomiting spell) emanating from the Waltham regulars who pretty much just kept to themselves....