Archive for the ‘city’ Category

Cannoli-Eating, Patois-Speaking, North End Good and Evil

Sunday was sunny, so I went for a walk around the adjacent neighborhood–the North End. I was on a pilgrimage ( of sorts) to the Church of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, which incidentally, I had visited before, but had not gone into for reasons that I don’t recall. Anyway, there I was, standing off of Hanover Street in a plaster-fawn encrusted courtyard. The church was very ornate inside, and pretty in a wabi-sabi way, with murals and statues and candles that are run on batteries. It was very quiet. 

Back out on the street, passing cannoli-eating, patois-speaking, masses on the sidewalks, I made my way past three favorite eateries: Neptune Oyster, L’Osteria, and Monica’s looking for this cafe I really like, which has wide windows that open to the street and a ceiling covered in football (euro, not american) flags. It’s called, Cafe Paradiso. I guess tourists like it but so do I. 

By then I was getting a little hungry, so I stopped into a Gigi Gelateria. What a tourist trap. I say SKIP IT, mostly due to their extremely rude staff. After being ignored for a good five minutes, I asked if, having never been there before, I could taste a flavor. I tasted the chocolate hazelnut ( not great, not very flavorful). Could I try the mint chip? No! Only one taste per customer, he said. Excuse me? I said. Only ONE taste per customer, he said. What, did he think I was just trying my darndest to get as much free gelato as possible and that an effective way to do it was by the quarter-teaspoonful? So, not wanting to get stuck with a six-dollar cup of something that was as equally gross as the one flavor I tasted, I left without buying anything. Good sales tactic, guy–way to reel in the new customers!

So then I moved on to the tourist trap next door, Vittorio, which I love because they have excellent cappucino and I take everyone there who comes to town to visit me. However, on my latest visit, I got an annoying waitress. I understand that you only get paid $2, waitress, i have been there. But believe me that is more than I am getting paid now. So, just let me enjoy my Cappuccino in peace, ‘k? After delivering the check, she told me that she was closing out, could I please pay now? I was in the act of getting out my wallet, so I am not sure what she thought I was doing instead…so as I am taking the money out, I lay it on the table, and was just fishing for the tip when she came up and grabbed the check and the cash I had already laid out, and walked away. All of you out there who are waitstaff–rule of thumb is, let the customer put down ALL their money first, THEN take the bill away. Poor girl thought I probably stiffed her on the tip. Well, after my negative gelato experience, I wasn’t about to run after her with my two dollars. 

So that is the North End for you. Full of pushy people and overrun by tourists and the shopclerks who hate them. But if you are willing to be brave, and maybe stop and say a little prayer, it can be worth it for the day out. (Especially if Ben Affleck is there shooting his newest movie….)

Twitter Roundup

Well, I’m finally getting settled in here, and hope to begin posting some more.

One of the first things I did on moving into town was to look for some good Twitter people to follow. Its an easy way for me to see whats going on around town.

Here are a few of the Boston-related Twitter accounts I’ve been following. Suggest more in the comments.

1. @BostonTweet You can tweet things to @BostonTweet and have them show up on, which is nifty. Apparently that guy eats and pub crawls for a living or something. Good heads up on concerts, events, and chances to snag tix to things.

2. @EvilBostonTweet Remember that episode of Star Trek where Kirk gets split into his good and evil halfs? Yeah. This is pretty much what you think it is. By which I mean hilarious.

3. @Boston_Police Nothing contributes to a sense of well being than a constant stream of Tweeted police blotter stuff. “SHOTS FIRED: 20 Charlotte St., Dorchester, 2 suspects in custody, 2 firearms recovered.” See? You feel better. I knew it.

4. @AmalieBenjamin Boston Globe reporter for all things Red Sox. I know her from her appearances on NESN before games, bringing the knowledge while other female correspondents seemed to bring mostly…umm…something else. You know.

Obviously I’m just getting started. Tell me what I’m missing.

Middle East Rocks, but you knew that already

Mean Creek at the Middle East DownstairsI am embarrassed to admit it, folks, but as a music and art afficionado, it was my first time at the Middle East Downstairs in Central Square this past Saturday, for an excellent and eclectic show from Mean Creek, Drug Rug, and others. 

As my friend put it,” What a great city we live in! We just saw an amazing show that was as good as a concert anywhere else, for 12 bucks!”

I concur. 

I thought the Middle East Downstairs was surprisingly atmospheric and, well, hip! It had columns, stained glass windows, good lighting, and a floor reminiscent of a roller-derby or jitterbug days. It has a lived in, well-worn sort of feel that makes you want to relax, have a PBR, and get into the music, maybe while dressed in plaid or something from American Apparel. It helped that it was packed with hipsters, art-school types, and young, creative people with outfits and haircuts I will probably be trying to emulate in days to come.  The acoustics were good, though not great. Once it was packed with people it  was better, but some of the less experienced bands, who don’t realize how important sound adjustments are to their sound (duh) just crank up the volume so that even if you screamed someone a foot away still couldn’t hear you ( I tried it). 

The music itself was great though–a really good show. I would definitely go again. Though next I will be hitting up the Middle East Upstairs, which is not in fact, the Middle East itself, where there is always music inside the picture window, and it is not above the Middle East,  but is down two doors at the other Middle East and at the back by the bathrooms and up the stairs above Zuzu…why they don’t just give the places completely different names is beyond me, but then, that might kill the eclectic treasure-hunt quality of establishments that Boston has refined so well….


photo credit: Mean Creek at the Middle East.

Being Green means being Catty…Meow!!!

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe


I was partaking in my favorite procrastination pasttime…surfing the web…when I came across this post in a blog sponsored by Boston Globe. The hilarious thing about this article is not the content, but the comments that follow it. 

This is one of my favorites:

Well, Flynne, not everybody who reads the reporting in the Globe lives in Brookline…shocking, I know…so not all of us who have to deal with wild turkeys are doing so while walking around Coolidge Corner. So, those of us who do not live in Brookline (and there are QUITE a few of us…again, I know this is shocking) actually DO appreciate the “ingenious” garden hose suggestion.

Brookline is not the center of the universe. Imagine that.

There is some serious hatred of Brookline and Newton residents. I mean, I think Brookline and some of its residents are really annoying and self-righteous in many ways, but I don’t feel the hatred like some of these people. I do have to say, however, I found myself laughing more often than not. If you are a sensitive Brookline resident that can’t take a joke, then don’t read the comments. For everyone else, make sure you scroll down. It’s hilarious!

Pepperell Says No; Interview With Sharon Mercurio

Pepperell had their override vote, and they voted, ‘No,’ 326/700.

Sharon Mercurio, the Council on Aging Senior Directer, answered a few questions:

BM: First things first: as the Director of the CoA, what do your responsibilities entail?

SM: As the COA Director I am responsible for running the Senior Center (budget, building, staffing, programs, Meals on Wheels) and any Elder Service issues. I enjoy the position. No two days are ever alike and the people I get to meet are incredible.

BM: So — Pepperell voted no. What’s your reaction? What do you think were the determining factors in the vote?

Also, you’re quoted in the Globe saying that seniors are terrified, and that since their SS payments weren’t going up, “A lot of them are fearful of losing their homes.” What have you been hearing from seniors since the vote? How would a “Yes” have affected them? How does the “No” affect them?

SM: I really wasn’t sure which way the vote would go. I don’t know how many people actually got to the polls to vote. I think a lot of folks didn’t really understand what it was all about and some actually thought that it was a done deal when it was voted on at Town Meeting to have an Override. The seniors seem relieved that the vote didn’t pass. We’re not quite sure what will exactly happen to our budgets since the override didn’t pass. I do know some of the seniors are planning to attend school committee meetings this year and try to become more involved with what is going on with their budget.

Greater Boston Legal Services

They need your help.

(Via UHub.)


Before the weather decided that our idea of a “white out” needed to be replaced with rain, I’d just gotten out of a movie downtown and was making my way to Park Street. Before I shot down the steps, though, I heard a crunch, and my friend said, “Hold on, I want to see this.”

The this? A car had just lodged its bumper beneath the bumper of an ambulance. They were the only two cars on the street.

A crowd gathered. There was an expectant hush. Everyone seemed okay, but what, exactly, had happened? And then it came, a clarion call, lifting us up, carrying us up, away, and through the rest of our respective days’.

“Hey, you’re a jackass!

And just like that, we left, and most of the others did, too, seemingly — wonderfully — satisfied.

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