At this week’s North End Chamber of Commerce meeting, it was proposed to have three cultural “over the street” signs that would define the North End as Boston’s Little Italy. Inspired by a recent trip to San Diego (see above picture), Damien DiPaola presented the plan for three signs, 2 at each end of Hanover Street and 1 for Salem Street. Analogous to the Chinatown arch, Chamber members wish to display Italian cultural heritage. Individual restaurant owners at the meeting volunteered to pay for the signs.
President Joanne Anzalone noted that the signs would go in commercial areas and would have to be tasteful. She noted that the Chamber has been working on over-the-street banners for a while and that remains an option. The Chamber plans on contacting City officials about the proposal.
Complementing the over the street signs, members discussed the possibility of banners on the side of street lamposts. Pictures were distributed showing famous Italian people on the vertical banners. Chairman Frank DePasquale suggested that instead of people, the banners could be sold as advertising to Italian companies such as Ferrari and Barilla Pasta in order to raise money for the Chamber.
Other issues discussed at the meeting:
Rat Problem – The Chamber views the rat problem as being caused by resident trash because streets such as Fulton St. are among the most infested. Restaurant trash is put out after 11pm in covered containers. It was noted that the press coverage of the City’s rat hearing has hurt business.
Combined Neighborhood Board –The Chamber reiterated its desire to have one licensing and zoning advisory board rather than applicants presenting separately to NEWRA, NEWNC and the Chamber. A letter has been sent to the Mayor and City Council members.
North End Tours – The Chairman proposed a Chamber-sponsored North End market tour because existing tours are excluding Chamber businesses, such as the new pasta shop and other cafes.
North End Restaurant Week – The Chamber is planning its own restaurant week to boost business in the winter.
Marketing – Several radio stations pitched the Chamber on various promotions.
Rewards Networks (formerly iDine) presented a proposal where their members would be incentivized through frequent flier miles to dine at restaurants that sign-up for the program in exchange for 14.5% of the check. Restaurant reviews would also be solicited, although only positive reviews would be published.