Sunday, April 27, 2008

Step Away From Restaurant Row!!


Restaurant Row has been on my mind a lot lately. It used to be located on Tremont Street. Then, for a while, it moved to Washington Street. Now, it probably means Harrison Avenue. I'm sure that in a few years it will have moved to Albany Street, and then maybe the Southeast Expressway, and then under water.
Seeing South End favorite Garden of Eden dark and empty at dinner time started me thinking about this topic. For the first couple of years, GOE (as we used to call it, affectionately, back in the day) was a fantastic place to get an inexpensive bite to eat. One could grab dinner (in my case, a GOE salad topped with a grilled chicken breast, and a half order of pasta) for under $15.00, including service, not including alcohol. Included, weather permitting, was perhaps the best people watching in all of Boston. It seemed like everybody walking by knew everybody dining, and vice versa. In those first couple of years, I logged in a lot of GOE time, with friends, with past relationships, and every Wednesday night, a "date" with one of my dearest friends. I'm quite sure that I ate there at least 4 times a week.
Sadly, I stopped eating at GOE when prices skyrocketed and it started looking like a Chuck E. Cheese (by day) and a geriatric center (by night) , circa 2003. Walking by the darkened windows at night now, I see the ghosts of past friendships laughing at that tilted and warped community table in the front, before it became a baby changing facility for local mommy groups at lunchtime.
With GOE in mind, I started thinking about how, unsurprisingly, the South End has lost so many affordable restaurants over the past few years. And by affordable, I mean affordable in the sense of normal citizenry being able to eat someplace 3 or 4 times in a week. Not in the sense of "The dining halls at BU are gross, so I hop in the Jag with my friends and head over to the South End every night on my parents' credit card."
An article last month in the South End News addressed the issue of affordable dining option in the South End. In the article, a couple of general managers of South End "hotspots" weighed in on the topic, stating that there are now "so many more affordable options," that successful restaurants in the area "keep their price points within human reach," and that "people want to dine out every night, not just a few nights." What? Where? The restaurants cited by these GM's charge in the low-to-mid $30 range for an appetizer and an entree. That's exclusive of service, alcohol, dessert, side dishes, etc. Add alcohol and service, and you're in the well over $50 per person. Do that every night and you've spent at least $350 in a week's time. Is that what passes for "affordable dining" these days?
Apparently, all that granite, maple and stainless steel is sitting there in the South End unused!! Why use your six-burner Viking stove when you could dine out for a fraction of the cost of, say, having a personal chef?
We seem to have lost all the affordable options while the yuppie options have increased 10 or 20 fold. Gone are Geoffrey's (I know, it moved around a bit, but its not here anymore), Rave (not for everyone, but it had some good dishes), On the Park, Purple Cactus on Shawmut (eye candy central back in its day), and Flux, just to name a few. Interestingly, all of the above had some connection to the gay community, through either ownership or explicitly catering to the gay community. Not surprisingly, they did not survive the recent "straightening" of the South End ("The Great Straightening of 'o1").
In their places popped up a bunch of yuppie "Emperor's New Clothes" restaurants. At one point, I was fairly certain that several of the new yupporiums could have switched their menus with each other and no one would have noticed. It was as if some consortium of South End chefs had found a New York Magazine from 1994, circled all the buzzwords from the restaurant review section, and vowed to include them all on their menus. Mmmm. Pea tendrils!! Heirloom tomatoes!
In that vein, I am including here the menu from a fictitious, pretentious restaurant ("Chez Louise") that could easily be located in the South of End if it were real. Truth be told, it is a yuppie menu generator of sorts, with all the current dining buzzwords - and wines. I have spent quite literally hours hitting the refresh button to come up with even more hilarious dishes. Twice-baked hand-picked brioche with a durian compote? You bet. Maple-glazed ramps with a dead-sea-salt sorbet? Mmm-mmm-mmm. South End restaurateurs, you've been found out. We know what you've been up to and where you came up with those menus.
Check it out - you'll be glad you did: http://thegamespoilers.com/menu
In the late 1990's, the award-winning food writer Alan Richman authored a scathing and controversial article about Boston restaurants in GQ Magazine. Among the barbs aimed at Boston chefs were comments about Boston not being the capital of haute cuisine, but rather "heap cuisine," whereby incongruous and non-sensical ingredients were heaped upon diners' plates, and portion size was more important than quality or finesse. I seem to remember that he (or was it another critic?) was also of the opinion that Bostonians generally were more interested in the drinks than food. Visiting the current South End hotspots, I'm not exactly sure we've come a long way since that article. Aside from nearly interchangeable menu's, I've been to all the hotspots and although they weren't necessarily bad, they weren't anything memorable. In fact, the best dining experiences I've had in the last several years have been in Somerville, Brookline, Cambridge and Jamaica Plain.
One new-ish Harrison Avenue eatery left me stunned when patrons there (some in acid washed denim jackets, I swear) at two very large and separate tables had dueling "Happy Birthday" songfests. As if that hadn't been enough of an assault on my senses, the bar area, on this Sunday night was filled with what I can only imagine was some sort of gathering of many young Asian women for rent and many older men looking to rent them. The food did not justify the horrific visuals.
At another Washington Street hotspot, heatseeking and fur-clad 60-something friends of my parents from Chestnut Hill cornered me, raving about the food, and their daughter who just got engaged to a surgeon. Having been dragged there by friends and acquaintances numerous times (not on my vote), I have never understood the fuss. The food was ok, kind of dull actually, and certainly nothing special. The drinks were good (of course), and it was quite a good place to see and be seen, which is really what its all about in the S.E. I don't think there was one neck that wasn't craned to scan the room, not one couple making eye contact with each other, an attention-deficit-disorder nightmare. If I could have read the thought balloons over each diner's head, they would have read: See me!! Notice me!! I'm here in this hotspot!! I've arrived!! Now I'm fabulous, too!!
I found the people-watching in the park just across the way to be much more interesting. I also made a mental note that if I ever wanted to go looting, Chestnut Hill apparently sits empty on a Saturday night.
Of course there are still some affordable places left that are quite good, but I'm not going to mention them for fear they'll be overrun and I won't be able to eat there anymore. Hint: None of them has valet parking! And not one of them looks like a Disney-fied version of a Parisian bistro or brasserie.
Truth be told, I want in on the action, so that I too can laugh all the way to the bank. I am currently looking for investors for my new french style bistro-brasserie tentatively called "L'Arriviste." The menu will be an Icelandic-inspired, French-Alsatian-Carribean-Asian Fusion noodle bar, with an extensive cocktail and bottled water list. The kitchen will be run by two Columbian sisters who can sometimes be quite argumentative and who happen to be conjoined at the hip. Each one creates a dish with ingredients they think the other one would have used with items stolen from the other sister's fridge. Both were named as "chefs to watch" in the 2007 year-end issue of Chefwatch: the magazine about Columbian conjoined sibling chefs.
There will be one communal table, situated in an old bank vault, but it will feel like wartime France. Reservations will only be accepted in French, and reservations will be required even for seats at the bar, which is actually a salvaged farmhouse sheep urinal, shipped over from a working organic farm in Reykjavic which has been in operation since 1371. Videos of the urinal's restoration and rebuilding will be shown on screens over the bar. Reservations will also be necessary for the restrooms. All food will be organically grown and from farms no further than five miles from the South End. Menus will be printed on organic heirloom tomato pulp with cruelty-free, organic squid ink. One percent of the profit from all amuse-bouches will go to an outreach and education program to stop local valet parking employees from smoking.
Children will, of course, be welcome and no diner shall be more than 3 seats away from a baby-changing station. Valet parking for strollers will be available and valet parking for automobiles will be mandatory. There will be a dog-walking service and free shuttle service to Atelier 450, Atelier 490, Atelier 560 and any other South End condominiums with a vaguely artistic or bohemian name. A 9-square-foot retail "space" next door will sell the chefs' favorite organic tap waters from around the world at extraordinarily-inflated prices, as well as hand-signed original discarded menus from the restaurant.
Anyone want to invest?

54 Comments:

Blogger The_Writer said...

Is L'Arriviste currently taking reservations?

Since you hesitate to do so, I'll suggest one reasonably priced restaurant I enjoy (and I have a very sensitive bullshit meter): Orinoco (Venezuelan). And now I await the backlash from future commenters.

I'm also excited about Teranga, a new Senegalese restaurant planned to open soon.

What works for me is one country's authentic cuisine + reasonable prices.

April 27, 2008 at 10:31:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Don't tell anyone about Orinoco!

Anyway, I live in the South End but don't usually patronize restaurants here, except for a place named after a river in S.A.

I like to explore different neighvorhoods because I'm here in the S.E. so much anyway. My motto is "Don't eat where you....".

My latest favorite restaurant is Grain and Salt on Cambridge St. in Allston. It serves wonderfully flavored and seasoned Indian and Pakistani foos. No liquor license, though.

April 27, 2008 at 11:13:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also Don Recardo's over by the post office in villa victoria. They're super nice, inexpensive, and the food is great!

April 27, 2008 at 1:26:00 PM PDT  
Blogger 42 said...

I'm a low-life south end house-sitter so what do I know, but the restaurants and stores here are hilariously expensive. have you been to Lionette's Market? sure yeah if you bank half a million a year you have no problems with $20/lb meat and $10 jars of imported Estonian picked-by-grandma's-gnarled-hand jams. every time I go by GOE it's closed and in fact I've never been in the place. I guess the owners are too wrapped up in Lionette's or something. Oh and I like how Blades charges exactly twice as much for a worse haircut than what I got in Lowell or even Andover. Bitches, get over yourselves. Francesca's I tried once. Blah, whatever.

I like it here, but if I had to actually pay to live here? bwahahaha. when this gig is over I'm off to Omaha or Louisville or some other cheap-ass town. Most other cities really aren't all that different from Boston, except there's lots less insufferable stuck-up idiots. there's no shortage of twee yuppie feedlots in the whole USA.

oh and SE parents? enough with the double-wide AWD ABS airbagged larva carriages that take up most of the sidewalk. I am NOT moving aside for your sex-trophies and keep those goddam things out of stores and restaurants.

April 27, 2008 at 5:55:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhpas you should just move out, since the blacks felt this way about the Puerto Rican development, and both felt this way about the gays. Now the beacon of tolerance - the almighty tyrannical queen homo - can't take the heat in the kitchen she invaded. Neighborhoods change. Get over it. Where would you be without baby carriages?

On some recent walks through the South End, I have sen a lot of families. Looks nice.

Welcome propserity. Good Bye, sketch!

April 28, 2008 at 4:20:00 AM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

Sorry, dude, but the gays were NEVER as obnoxious as the new wave of entitled me-first South Enders that invaded about 5 years ago. The gays kinda just kept to themselves.

But then again, this blig isn't necessarily about straight vs. gay. Many if not most of my straight friends who have been in the S. End since BEFORE the invasion feel the same way.

And my parents didn't feel the need to put me in a $700 Swedish stroller of the moment, and they were nice to people.

And as for "good bye sketch?" I guess it all depends on your concept of sketchy. I find frathouse behavior on my street and in my building such as spoiled 21-year olds shouting and vomiting, as well as mom's leaving their kids unattended in running suv's, kinda "sketchy," but that's just me.

April 28, 2008 at 10:45:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

42, you are the most bitter Boston blogger that I have ever encountered. Have you thought about doing something positive, or do you just like to complain about the things in this neighborhood that you can not afford?

April 28, 2008 at 1:43:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Michael said...

I could not agree more with this blog. My partner and I have lived in the South End for over 10 years and on nights when we would like to go out we always have to go down the list of restaurants that are affordable and you can go in jeans and a t-shirt....needless to say there are not that many. And of course not to have to wait over an hour for a table.

April 29, 2008 at 7:39:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Ricardos. Go there.

April 29, 2008 at 9:32:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words: Yum Mee!

April 29, 2008 at 2:22:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Kyle R. said...

I suggest Columbus Cafe (most entrees under $15 & good people), Deluxe, and JJ Foley's on Berkley recently opened up another side, which is really nice, and are serving reasonably priced Irish pub fare and some great pints on draft. And Slade's Bar & Grille on Tremont has the best fried chicken wings and ribs around with live jazz a few nights a week.

April 30, 2008 at 6:18:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my wife and I are looking for cheap but good food, we head over to Chinatown. It's about a 15-minute walk away.

In the South End there are still plenty of affordable places to eat. A few that come to mind are Joe V's, Buttery, Flour, Red Sea, Charlie's, Giacomos, Picco, House of Siam, etc.

April 30, 2008 at 11:34:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Shelley T said...

Hilarious, creative, and well-written post!

April 30, 2008 at 7:53:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Alison said...

There you go again.....blah, blah, blah, my little southend playhouses are gone, boohoo! The girls came into our treehouses.....with their babies!! Oh no! You know, the biggest part of your problem is you probably cannot afford the scene now, and you probably need to make some more money flipping property again in Dorchester or somewhere since the Southend is all tapped out now. Have you seen the potential along that road you take when the SE Exwy is packed - all tacky Asian places or cheesey Irish dive bars? I bet you guys could do wonders with fixing up one of those joints, and then you could have us spend money there and finance your way to Neimans heaven! So get off your soapbox and get out there, I'm bored with the current restaurant line-up.

May 1, 2008 at 8:37:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of South End restaurants, look for prices to go up even higher at Pho Republique. A scene from Kate Hudson's new movie, "Bride Wars", is being shot there today.

May 2, 2008 at 9:28:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous M said...

42: "Oh and I like how Blades [Barbershop on Tremont] charges exactly twice as much for a worse haircut than what I got in Lowell or even Andover."

Me: I won't tell you (or anyone) my barber's name at Blade, since I don't want to wait 6 months for a cut there, but concerning your comment that the price for a haircut in the South End is more expensive than in Lowell or Andover - guess what, South End commercial rents are many times more than what they are on the North Shore or many other Greater Boston neighborhoods.

When I opened my business in the South End, commercial rents here were a fraction of Newbury Street storefronts. When my lease expires next summer it will likely be cheaper for me to relocate to the Back Bay - ironically to a street that has significantly more daytime foot traffic than we have here.

People also fuss about restaurants catering to the upper economic classes, but in the prime spots (location + raw square footage)there is no way a "cheap eats" can afford to operate if the landlord is charging a premium rent.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but we all are partly responsible for what the South End has become. I pay more than what the previous business paid for my space, and the next guy will undoubtably be able to pay more than me. This is simply a factor in how neighborhoods change over time.

May 2, 2008 at 11:33:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous kyle r. said...

I agree with "M" that neighborhoods change and change is a good thing. However, there is a fine balance between change that is inclusive vs exclusive.

After working in the South End for a number of years I am now working in Jamaica Plain. Much like the SE, JP is facing numerous challenges around housing that is affordable, rising commercial rents that are displacing locally-owned businesses, many but not of which are owned by Latinos, and this whole concept of "diversity" and what that really means. One stark difference between the two neighborhoods is that in JP there are numerous community organizations who have paid staff who can reach out to and work with (organize) residents and business owners. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with numerous folks in the SE who volunteer countless hours to improve their community. However, there is only so much volunteers can do. In order to bring folks together in a strategic and inclusive manner a community needs on the ground resources. I know this is easier said than done but if one neighborhood (and there are a number of n'hoods with sustainable resources that focus on this type of social change work) then this can happen in the South End.

May 2, 2008 at 7:34:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous WSJevons said...

AMEN KYLE!

May 5, 2008 at 6:45:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous WSJevons said...

Once again, you are wrong. Following is a list of restaurants where I have been that I am certain you can get the equivalent of a dinner portion salad and half order of pasta with gratuity for $$17.62 (= $15.00 in 2003). I also checked online menus when available - just to make certain that the nit pickers have nothing to pick.

Orinoco, Mike's City Diner, Picco, Thai Village, Morse Fish Company, House of Siam, Francesca's,
Miami Café, Emilio's, Foley's, El Triunfo, Giorgianas, Meyers & Chang, Joe Vs, Red Fez.

AND, according to their website, . . . .(Wait for it) . . .

The Garden of Eden has the GOE Salad w/ Grilled Chicken for 10.50 with a Full Order of Mac & Cheese for 9.50. (Caveat: I do not see half orders or other pastas and I do not consider lasagna a pasta dish. It may be an old menu and the menu might change when the kids get the 'rents out of hock.)

Remember, these are the ones where I have dined. I am certain there are others.

For just a skosh more money (sometimes not) and picking carefully, you can have a salad and/or a small plate at Coda, Petit Robert, Union (very carefully) or Disney France.

May 5, 2008 at 6:46:00 AM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

No one said there weren't ANY affordable options. Its just that there aren't MANY left and the ones you mentioned, btw, have one thing in common: They have no valet parking. Also, while I like virtually all of them better, they aren't the ones that the bridge and tunnel crowd RAVES about. One last thing: You'd be hard-pressed to find the menu itmes you mentioned at GOE as many of their items are no longer available and they are not open as far as I can tell at dinnertime. Mike's , while one of my favorite lunch/brunch and or breakfast places, is closed for dinner (although I would love for that to change).

May 5, 2008 at 8:50:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What in Bank of America's name seems to be the attraction to Boston? Honestley I do not see any positives about the food, drink, nightlife, except the coffee at the Bostonian which seems to be yuppy free! SOWA residents all had an active hand in creating this market for Dick,Jane,Spot and the 5800 dollar leather sofa.

In wanting to elevatate and your once quiet deprived neiborhood you call SOWA ya'll priced yourselves out.

I work with alot of mid western natives that love to spend $15 on a salad or must have the Boston experience. I have traveled many places and lived in many a city and pretention is a disease in Boston that rubs off on the newcomer.
All I hear from co-workers are "A house in Watertown, Melrose, Cambridge", BLAH BLAH
"My Masters degree" BLAH BLAH "I got it at Thomas Pink" BLAH BLAH you have got to try their food"BLAH BLAH!!
It is all crap and people seem to be buying it like $h!t on a stick! no wonder the economy is in the dumper, their are too many people who gotta have it who cannot readily afford it. I laugh when I here what people are willing to pay for rent in "SOWA" $2000 per month. I comfortably pay a 1/3 of that for mortgage and taxes. As an added bonus Im located close to some of the best beaches and parks in Mass on Buzzards bay. My retirement savings are sky rocketing it may be a good time to purchase another property! at another fixed rate.

Meanwhile you can have it all! Have boston! Have a louder clearer voice when engaging in self promotion! Have a false sense of what is real! have 10 dollar Iceberg letuce salads. Have a dog park??

Sincerly

Enjoying life outside of 128!

May 5, 2008 at 6:19:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People don't dance no more/they just stand there like this/they cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and diss."

May 6, 2008 at 12:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Copper Cookware said...

As always, a great and insightful post. I was going to say to "42" that State St. Barbers is still a great place to get a cut.

May 8, 2008 at 6:55:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

South Ender, I agree wholeheartedly about the absence of reasonably priced dining in the SE. But I'm a little confused about your position on yuppies and their kids in the SE. In most posts, you seem annoyed by their increasing presence and disrespect for other SE residents.

However, last year, you seemed to be all in favor of the ludicrous astro turf soccer field that was built in an otherwise historic area of Worcester St., next to the Hurley School. At the time, you characterized the opposition by Worcester St. residents as that of entitled, straight yuppies vs. low income, minority children.

Of course, in reality, the building of the $250,000+ soccer field was due in large part to the efforts of those uggs-wearing, bugaboo-pushing yuppies in the Neighborhood Parents for the Hurley School. How else did you imagine the school would suddenly raise that kind of money? Who else but yuppies would spend it in such a simultaneously frivolous and conspicuous way?

These were the efforts of people not so much interested in the enrichment of children as they were in showing off. The field is little more than a giant green hood ornament--a symbol of their money and their willingness to spend it, even on stupid shit. If the parents of the lesser privileged children were given an equal say in choosing between a glorified putting green and, say, a field trip to Europe for the entire student body, at a fraction of the cost, I think they’d opt for the latter. But a trip like that might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for those kids. Whereas, the yupplings had probably been to half a dozen continents before they were bidet-trained.

The yups are trying to turn Hurley into a pseudo private school for their yupplings and you have unwittingly helped them. This is all fine and good until the yups toss the school aside (and the underprivileged kids who’ve been along for the ride) and move on to the next fad. But for now, they’re commandeering the available spots for their offspring. If you doubt this, just check out the “candidates list” from the Neighborhood Parents’ web site:
http://discoverhurley.org/candidates.php

Where do you suppose “Logan,” “Addison,” “Piper,” or “Cadence” hail from - lower Roxbury or the Laconia Lofts? Oh, and since when does a public school need a candidates list?

By the way, the Worcester St. residents who opposed the field were not yuppie newcomers. Many of them, gay and straight, were people who'd lived in the neighborhood for many years and had a relationship with the school built on mutual respect and support. In fact, those residents had often spent their free time supporting the school, not only with their wallets, but with the sweat of their brows, assisting with the upkeep of the building, shoveling snow, landscaping, etc. This is why the previous administrator kindly let the residents and New Baptist parishioners use the parking lot. It was neighbors helping one another. That was the South End of yore, the one you and I miss. Shoving a chunk of astro turf down the throats of some unlucky bastards dumb enough to be living across the street from a school? That's the South End of today.

May 8, 2008 at 6:39:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bullshit argument. That the good, supportive neighbors deserve to have their parking spaces over the needs of the children in the school. And yes, it's in a historical district, and real grass would be nice, but the school didn't tear down a block of brownstones. It was a paved lot behind an ugly cinderblock building.

May 8, 2008 at 10:08:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a photo of the good people of the South End celebrating the grand opening of the new soccer field at the Hurley School.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26479385@N08/

May 9, 2008 at 4:05:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn’t making an argument, I was describing a reality. You seem to be drawing on the same misinformation as the South Ender about who the parties were involved in this dispute and what their actual motivations were.

When it comes to the “needs of the schoolchildren” where would you place SAFETY? The reality is that the lot offered an absolute benefit to the school in that it made the street less congested, and therefore, a SAFER place for children to come and go. That would be a particularly important benefit now that the NPHS is promoting a walk to school program.

Most of the Worcester St. residents who opposed the field did so not to preserve a parking space for themselves but to preserve the safe and orderly atmosphere of the street for the school and for themselves. In fact, most of the residents have deeded parking in the alleys that run behind the school. The few remaining either parked on the street or in the lot, along with a few members of the New Baptist Church. Aside from them, the lot was used by a number of teachers, administrators, coaches, nurse, and other school employees who cannot fit all of their cars in the tiny lot in the back.

The lot also provided a safe, off street area for parents to pull into when dropping off their children, rather than in the middle of the street where speeding is an ongoing issue. It was also used by parents and family visiting the school for special events.

Now all of these cars are spilled onto the street, clogging the sidewalks. Before, you would typically find a few sparsely parked on the sides of the street. It was easy to see schoolchildren, people on bikes or walking their dogs from behind a parked car. Now, the sidewalks are bumper to bumper and the chance of a tragic accident occurring is a daily cause for concern. We only wish that the so-called “Neighborhood Parents for the Hurley School” were actually familiar enough with the “neighborhood” to have given some thought to this reality before throwing their money around.

When it comes to the “needs of the schoolchildren,” you might also consider the fact that, with $250,000 at their disposal, the NPHS and school decided to bypass essentials like crayons and pencil sharpeners for the astro turf field. You’ll see these kinds of items being requested via donation on the “wish list” posted on the NPHS web site:

http://discoverhurley.org/wishlist.php

It’s hard to get behind the “needs of the children” argument when you see the money being squandered foolishly.

I know a couple of parents who live nearby and they’re not happy about the situation either. They have quietly expressed their regret about the field, though not to the type-A personalities in the group who pushed it through.

I agree it’s an ugly building but there’s nothing that can be done about that other than to start anew on a lot large enough to accommodate the proper facilities for the growing student body. One where they could have a normal sized soccer field and other up to date facilities. There's only so much you can cram onto the Hurley lot. The money being raised could go a long way toward that goal if it wasn’t being squandered.

May 9, 2008 at 12:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

This last comment has to be a joke, right?

I don't know where you get your facts from, but your claim that most Worc. St. residents have deeded parking spaces is hilariously out of touch with reality.

These entitled yup's still can come up with some pretty funny arguments that the demise of their god-given perking spaces has created a safety hazard for the schoolchildren?

How 'bout not having any nearby outdoor play space for athletics? Was it safer for children to have to walk blocks and blocks away, through traffic, to find a playspace only to be forced out by older teens?

This is an argument about the right to park - it was several months ago and I guess it is now, as well.

May 9, 2008 at 5:12:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, i wish i had written this. brilliant, and spot-on.

May 10, 2008 at 8:26:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 10, 2008 at 8:28:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, you are wrong. Following is a list of restaurants where I have been that I am certain you can get the equivalent of a dinner portion salad and half order of pasta with gratuity for $$17.62 (= $15.00 in 2003). I also checked online menus when available - just to make certain that the nit pickers have nothing to pick.

Way to economize, WSJevons! And maybe next year we can keep our dining-out affordable by ordering quarter-size orders of pasta, and maybe 1/8 of an order in 2010. I hear the trend for 2011 will be a single paper-thin slice of "perfect" proscuitto served atop a "hand-carved wedge of Pane Rustico (Rustic Italian Bread) with a drop of olive oil, and a pimento"

Yes yes, it's affordable so long as we redefine all our habits to accommodate the needs of the restaurants.

May 10, 2008 at 9:15:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, look, it's the South End moms in NY!
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=33944768

May 11, 2008 at 3:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

Thanks for the clip - Love it!! Needs to be broadcast at the corner of Waltham and Tremont where I've noticed a new phenomenon: Yummy Mummies pushing strollers out onto the road before looking both (or any) ways and certainly before themselves. DSS, take note!!

May 12, 2008 at 2:28:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous WSJevons said...

Dear "anonymous May 10, 2008 9:15:00 AM PDT",

The original order was in the SE'rs post. Not mine. Blame his economizing. I merely pointed out that the GOE's online menu was roughly the same price for the same order the SE'r paid before 2003. So, no habits need to be changed to accommodate anyone - except you should probably get in the habit of reading before you speak to accommodate the relevant people on this board. (Ultimately,SE'r is the only relevant one on the board. We are free riders. Or, we serve at the pleasure of SE'r.)

However, I need to retract the GOE part of my argument. That GOE menu I referenced is too old to be relevant.

Anyone know when the GOE is going to pay its back taxes and open up again?

May 14, 2008 at 7:09:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Garden of Eden had a sign posted yesterday that said they were closed for business.

May 14, 2008 at 7:25:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous WSJevons said...

Nobody is questioning GOE's closure. We are wondering when/if it will open again.

The Boston Globe column on Feb. 22 said the kids were negotiating with the parents to buy GOE. However, the whole tax dodge issue is hanging things up.

I swear to all that is holy that if another french place opens up . . .

May 14, 2008 at 2:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

Sad, very sad. Its like hearing that a friend with whom you had a falling out a long time ago died. I had a lot of happy memories there - friends, past relationships, etc.

Let's all pray that it isn't taken over by Chez Louise (see link in original blog posting).

Seriously, I can only imagine what might find its way into that space. My pretentiousness warning system just went from elevated (orange) to high alert (red).

May 14, 2008 at 3:12:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure whatever new business goes into the Garden Of Eden space will follow the current (boring) trend of this city- - - so, expect a CVS, Dunkin'Donuts, or a Bank - guaranteed.

May 15, 2008 at 6:48:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sorry to read that the Garden of Eating had closed but with all the changes in the 'hood it was inevitable.

May 23, 2008 at 3:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just this afternoon, I was talking with a friend of mine outside of Francesca's, and he mentioned this blog to me. I'm so glad he did! What a hoot! It's too bad that resistance to the Mommy Invasion can take the form only of a blog, but I appreciate what this blog does. The South End I first encountered 15 years ago was already gentrified and exclusive in its way, but it has become ridiculously so. I miss black people! I miss being able to assume that the hot guy approaching me down the street liked dick! And don't get me started on the "luxury condos," with their parking garages--the idea, clearly, is that residents can drive in and out of the garages without ever having to be tainted by the actual streets around them. What's the point of living in a city?? I enjoy this blog very much--it voices many of my own complaints and regrets. If a reader of this post challenges me--"So why do you even stay here?"--I say that I stay because it's my home, because these brick facades are material reminders of my history, and because I still catch a cruising guy's eye now and then. Oh, and Orinoco's nice--too cramped to allow for strollers.

June 5, 2008 at 4:46:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is just the police doing their job, but I was a little bothered by this story in the South End News:
’Rush’ raid at Eros Boutique

Is this a priority for the police in the South End? Raiding a sex shop for selling poppers?

June 5, 2008 at 7:45:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow....so passionate about hating your own neighborhood!

Neighborhoods, towns, people, usually try to better themselves, grow and change...maybe you should too...

also...relax.... move on ....and try to be happy???

the SE is soooooo not over and newsflash...no one is keeping you here...you are free to move

:)

June 6, 2008 at 11:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more from the Pine Street opponents:
Boston Herald: The Need to be Neighborly

June 15, 2008 at 3:13:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please move out of the south end...for everyone's sanity, inlcuing your own poor soul! :)

June 16, 2008 at 8:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

What? That means the uber-yuppies will have won! No way.

The yup's will move when they realize that they just might encounter people of a different ethnicity or economic background on a daily basis. Then I'll get my South End back, thank you.

June 17, 2008 at 9:42:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boston Herald article on Upton Street: Mr.James Alan Fox, You are not a liberal. By definition a liberal is: a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes or views; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. You are prejudiced against those who have less than you and are narrow-minded. This is NIMBYism plain and clear. Why do you call Upton, "My street?". It is a city street and anyone is allowed to live there, including those who are struggling. On the other hand, you can move. I do not think you have the disposition or stomach for living in a diverse neighborhood which has always been the hallmark of the South End. You belong in the safety of the Back Bay or Beacon Hill where the population is more of your ilk. When you moved to Upton Street three years ago, Hope House was an established agency in three buildings and relations were harmonious. You bought your condo knowing Hope House was on your street with 60 residents who are recovering addicts. Pine Street wants to house 37 people. This should be an improvement in your view. You say "their attempt to claim a major section of my street is inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood". The character of the street included non profit Hope House sheltering residents in three buildings. This is another non profit looking to do the same. How does the character change? The "Character" of the street remains the same. Not having a non profit housing citizens is what would be inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood. Also, we are talking about three buildings out of 46 buildings total on Upton Street....hardly a major section of the street. Perhaps, you look at this sale as an opportunity to rid your street of people who do not walk and talk like you. This is a private sale between two non-profits. There is no city subsidy involved. Spreading misinformation is a strategy you and your fellow Uptonites frequently employ. Lastly, YOU and your fellow Uptonites have alienated neighbors and have fostered the climate of anger and hostility. The divisiveness of the neighborhood is laid at your feet. This divisiveness caused by your approach, your words, your actions, your hypocrisy will be your legacy which will never be forgotten.

June 18, 2008 at 7:25:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to visit this blog every once in a while but I have to say, I don't quite get it. So...yuppies suck, but gays are OK, middle-class families are fine, but moms with kids are a real pain in the arse. The South End's heyday was...when exactly? 1980? 1995? 1963?

I don't live in the South End, but I grew up in Boston and have spent plenty of time here since I was a kid (I grew up in Beacon Hill where we had a family business, back when there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Dunkin' Donuts and numerous head-shops on Charles Street--yes, even Beacon Hill has changed). And yeah, the South End has changed a hell of a lot, but your point is...what? Newsflash--neighborhoods change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. It's what makes them neighborhoods. I have an older friend who grew up in Springfield, MA and remembers it with sad fondness as a thriving community of immigrants and comfortable middle-class families, not the struggling, crime-ridden shell it is today. And frankly, if your roots go as deep as mine, you'll remember that the South End of old was distinctly a mixed bag. A lot of amazing diversity, insluding the old Syrian neighborhood with its wonderful restaurants, and in the 1970's a lot of pioneering, urban-hippie spirit--lots of block parties, community meetings, neighborhood activism. But there was a lot of crime, a ton of boarded-up houses and general city misery too. I remember watching a pimp beat up a prostitute in broad daylight on Columbus Ave from the windows of our school bus. Then again, I don't know which era you're nostalgic for--back then there were plenty of people who distrusted the "gay invasion" and rued the changes in the neighborhood and the loss of the SRO boarding-houses. My point is this: you can't freeze a neighborhood in time. If you really want to be living in the South End c. 1992, then maybe you SHOULD be looking in Savin Hill. Otherwise I'd suggest that you think a little harder about what makes a neighborhood tick. I don't know about this whole Hurley hoo-hah, but personally I'd rather have yuppie parents invested in the public schools than driving off to Park or Dexter every morning.

And btw, Picco rocks. For the cost of a glass of wine across the street, you can get a totally decent dinner PLUS salty caramel ice cream. What more could you want? And yeah--you may have to share the dining-room with a couple of pre-schoolers. Deal with it.

June 19, 2008 at 9:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger thesouthender said...

I know, alot of people don't "get" this blog. Alot of people don't "get" alot of things. So they don't have to read it. Either you "get" it or you don't.

For those who want to try to understand it, here's the underlying premise, in short: Its not so much straight or gay. Its that a previously vibrant, diverse and creative neighborhood has been overrun with incredibly overprivileged yuppies of the most heinous variety (yuppicus heirloomicus tomaticus), and they have crapped all over the neighborhood. And with those yuppies come some really funny stories, thus this blog.

And although crime might have decreased since the 80's, is that really enough justification for the decrease of all else that made this neighborhood interesting? Affordable?

June 19, 2008 at 2:53:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like we would all be much better off if virtually everyone leaving comments on this blog moved out of the South End.

June 20, 2008 at 2:57:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Kitty said...

Southender, I love you, don't ever leave us!!! This post is hilarious, let me know when I can stop by L'Arriviste with a resume as I'd love to be on the opening staff.

July 1, 2008 at 3:59:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in SE for 10 years and sadly miss GOE, the Bostonian, the corner markets, a million restaurants before POPS, etc. I moved here because it was unique, felt warm and welcoming and I loved the availability of shops. So what happened to my SE? No more corner markets, now $400 shoe stores and where are the gays - gone. Now just baby carriages. When people say they want to move here or it's so cool, I think, yes, but remember when it was unique and you couldn't cross Columbus?

October 9, 2008 at 7:37:00 AM PDT  
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