The Year 2014 on NorthEndWaterfront.com

Watching the New Year’s 2014 Fireworks at Christopher Columbus Park (Photo by Matt Conti)

New Year’s is a time of reflection. Let’s take a look at what happened on NorthEndWaterfront.com during 2014.

NorthEndWaterfront.com was viewed 2.4 million times in 2014, according to Google Analytics. Wow! Within those views were over 350,000 users (unique visitors) putting in more than 660,000 sessions (visits to the site). All those numbers are noticeably higher than the previous year. I am most pleased to see that our bounce rate has dropped dramatically this year. That means when folks visit a page or article on the site, they stick around to read more. Hopefully, that’s because you are finding our content more compelling and worthy of your time.

In the past year, we added 1,389 posts growing the total archive on NorthEndWaterfront.com to 7,191 posts in our six year history. We consider building our archive to be the “store of value” as we are documenting the neighborhood’s history. We frequently hear of readers searching through old posts from years ago.

Despite the neighborhood’s reputation as one of the safest in Boston, crime reports are the most viewed category on the site. A Valentine’s Day sexual assault investigation recounted the arrest and subsequent dropping of charges against a North End man. This incident and a similar assault on St. Patrick’s Day eve remain unsolved. Later in October, a suspect was found and charged in a separate sexual assault by Boston Police.

The case of missing resident, Eric Munsell, was followed closely and ultimately ended up with his body discovered in Boston Harbor at Long Wharf. Also topping the public safety hits, we counted two car chases that ended in the neighborhood.

In the summer, the North End turns to its annual ritual of Italian Feasts. As the next generation of these religious societies takes over, this year’s feasts brought a mix of tradition and new twists. One thing is for sure, our feast coverage is extraordinarily popular.

No neighborhood has more restaurant comings and goings than Boston’s North End. We try to keep on top of it all because we know folks love to read about it. One of the smallest places generated the most buzz on the site when “Parla,” the Italian Speakeasy opened on Hanover Street.

Real estate is always popular and the latest surge in condo prices brought more clicks on the Real Estate Sales posts. Weather and the rising tides have a strong following from Nor’easter flooding, snowstorms and of course, rainbows.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the growing list of prolific commentators for their thoughtful opinion, history and lifestyle articles this year. In no particular order, take another read of the posts by Karen Cord Taylor (Downtown View),  Jim Ring (Necessary Assets), Nick Dello Russo (Life on the Corner), Tom Schiavoni (Copp’s Hill Moment) and Bob Skole (Nothing New). Even some of the more sporadic opinion pieces garner attention, such as the controversy about the Homeless at Haymarket. I also will take this opportunity to thank John Romano for an endless stream of information and Ralph Martignetti for NEAA baseball write-ups.

The North End / Waterfront has a multitude of non-profit and community organizations. I am grateful for the work they do on behalf of the neighborhood and for sharing their activities with us here on the site. A few of the more visible ones this year included the ABCD Center, BCCFOCCPFONEBLEliot K-8 School, Nazzaro Center, NEADNBSS, NEMPAC, NEWNC, NEWRA,  NEW Health, Old North, Paul Revere House, ROC Teen SaturdayRUFF, St. John School and the West End Museum.

Many thanks also to Gabor Korodi, Jacqueline Gray, Victor Passacantilli and Phil Orlandella for their informative coverage. If I have forgotten you, my apologies and please let me know!

Oh, and one last word on Conor Finley, who I have come to respect as a partner on the site. Every so often, something happens and I wonder how I am going to keep the site going. This year, it was Conor that came to the rescue with his diligent work and patience in responding to my ever growing list of “things to do.”

Speaking of keeping the site going, I am humbled by the response of voluntary contributions made via our new Patron system. With nearly 100 patrons offering over $650/month (plus many, many one-time contributors too), this helps cover our expenses and is truly a vote of confidence by our most loyal readers. I will have more of a thank you and update as we look to grow this effort in the year ahead. If you care to make a small contribution now, you can sign up online here.

Our newsletter emails were opened an astonishing 409,000 times in the past year. We love it when readers say NorthEndWaterfront.com is their favorite read in the morning. The email newsletter continues to be a primary source for folks to read the site. (Not subscribed yet? Go here.) After that, people find our posts on Facebook and Twitter with a little help from kind folks at citywide sites, such as Universal Hub, BostInno, Eater Boston, Boston.com and our local directory at NorthEndBoston.com. For those who ask me about the technicals, traffic is now 55% desktop and 45% mobiles to the site.

So, what’s in store for 2015 on NorthEndWaterfront.com? Look forward to new features, more contributors and even a new commenting system. Photos and videos will continue to be a focus and we have some nifty graphics ready to rollout. As always, I have more ideas than time. History articles are always on my list as are more people profiles. Remember that 1970’s documentary I mentioned last year? Well, maybe I will actually get to editing it this year (sorry, Janet!). At the core, we’ll stick to our knitting and focus on the reliable community “news & views” that you’ve come to love on NorthEndWaterfront.com.

I am always looking for constructive feedback on the site. If you have ideas or interest in contributing content, please leave a comment below or  contact me.

Thank you to all the contributors and readers of NorthEndWaterfront.com for a great year. Sincere best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015. 

Matt Conti, Editor

7 Choices for a Healthy 2015

by Mary Wright, RN, health educator for North End Waterfront Health

The American Cancer Society suggests the following changes in your lifestyle to help you have a healthier 2015:

  1. Stop smoking.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. Your diet should include eating 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat less red meat and processed meats, fewer sweets, and choose whole grains.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation. Men should have no more that 2 drinks a day and women no more than 1.
  5. Engage in physical activity. Adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Kids need at least 1 hour of physical activity each day.
  6. Limit exposure to sun and UV rays. Wear protective clothing and a sunscreen of SPF 30 every day even in the winter.  Limit time in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Avoid indoor tanning.
  7. Be safe. Wear seatbelts in your car. Wear helmets on bikes and motorcycles. Avoid misuse of prescription  and illegal drugs.

December 2014 North End / Waterfront Real Estate Sales

Here are this month’s sales of residential real estate in the North End / Waterfront area:

$0 – $499,000 

  • 8 Battery #2: studio, 1 bath with 450 sq.ft. sold for $318,000
  • 32 Fleet #A: 1 bed, 1 bath with 463 sq.ft. sold for $347,000
  • 480 Commercial #4A: 1 bed, 1 bath with 459 sq.ft. sold for $367,000
  • 26 Stillman #5-5: studio with 1 bed with 680 sq.ft. sold for $445,000
  • Intercontinental #14U: 1 bed, 1 bath with 432 sq.ft. sold for $450,000
  • 122 Fulton #5: 1 bed, 1 bath with 802 sq.ft. sold for $455,000
  • 199 Salem #2: 2 bed, 1 bath with 702 sq.ft. sold for $465,000

$500,000 – $799,999 

  • 65 E. India Row #12D: 1 bed, 1 bath with 744 sq.ft. sold for $552,000
  • 37 Fleet #2: 2 bed, 2 bath with 731 sq.ft. sold for $561,000
  • 99 Broad #3E: 2 bed, 2 bath with 759 sq.ft. sold for $564,900
  • 108 Fulton #1: 2 bed, 1 bath with 1,912 sq.ft. sold for $637,500
  • 158 Commercial #4B: 2 bed, 2 bath with 1,153 sq.ft. sold for $729,000
  • 234 Causeway #907: 1 bed, 2 bath with 1,454 sq.ft. sold for $765,00

$800,000 – $1,499,999 

  • 65 E. India Row #5B: 2 bed, 2.5 bath with 1,637 sq.ft. sold for $822,000
  • Intercontinental #18S: 1 bed, 1.5 bath with 864 sq.ft. sold for $837,500
  • 100 Fulton #2J: 2 bed, 2 bath with 1,220 sq.ft. sold for $837,500
  • 65 E. India #30B: 2 bed, 2 bath with 1,675 sq.ft. sold for $975,000
  • Intercontinental #17C: 2 bed, 1.5 bath with 1,132 sq.ft. sold for $1,223,000

$1,500,000 + 

  • 350 North #702-703: 4 bed, 4 bath with 2,553 sq.ft. sold for $2,100,000
  • 20 Sheafe Street: 5 unit building with 8,832 sq.ft. sold for $

Real estate sales compilation courtesy of CL Waterfront Properties.

Pomodoro Restaurant “Pops Up” at Volle Nolle Before Move to 204 Hanover Street

Signs on the former Pomodoro at 319 Hanover Street point to the “pop up” restaurant at Volle Nolle (351 Hanover Street) Photo by Adam Castiglioni.

Pomodoro is operating as a “pop up” restaurant in the Volle Nolle space at 351 Hanover Street until its new digs at 204 Hanover Street are ready.

After losing its lease at 319 Hanover Street, the longstanding Italian restaurant operated by Siobhan Carew recently won city approval for a move to 204 Hanover Street in the space formerly occupied by High Gear Jewelry.

In the meantime, Adam Castiglioni – North End @conceirgeboston Twitter extraordinaire – shares this photo of the window signs at the former Pomodoro location pointing customers to Volle Nolle. Apparently, the pop up has been operating on the down-low for a few weeks in a mystery uncovered by a Chowhound blogger.

The new restaurant at 204 Hanover Street is proposed to have 39 seats, including an 8 seat outside patio that is recessed within the owner’s property line. Inside, a dining counter will face Hanover Street similar to the former Pomodoro at 319 Hanover Street.

Neighborhood groups split on the application which faced vocal opposition from abutter Angela Romano (Romano Florist) but was supported by other neighbors. The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) opposed the move while the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) voted in favor. Mayor Walsh’s office supported the application easing passage through the zoning board for the necessary variances at a recent hearing.

Happy New Year!

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Wishing all of our readers a safe and Happy New Year: We would like to thank you for reading our coverage on what was a great year full of local news, stories, events and more!

Welcome 2015 in style by taking part in one of the many events featured by First Night Boston 2015 and Winter on the Waterfront

Toasting a great 2015 to all the readers of NorthEndWaterfront.com, Cheers!

Vandals Knock Down Granite Bollard at Christopher Columbus Park

Fallen Bollard at Christopher Columbus Park (Courtesy of Christian Pleva)

In an act of apparent vandalism, one of the bollards at the statue of Christopher Columbus was knocked down over the weekend.

The public art stands in the center of Christopher Columbus Park along a popular waterfront path. North End resident, Christian Pleva, shares the scene in this photo to the right.

The marble statue itself does not appear to be damaged. The engraved granite bollard structure holds a chain surrounding the statue.

The granite bollard is put upright with police tape to surround the statue through the New Year’s festivities. (Image courtesy of FOCCP.)

Friends of Christopher Columbus Park reported the vandalism to City Hall and oversaw a makeshift repair according to a post on Facebook begging the question, “Why?”

Notable News: Ice Sculptures, Sneaker Wars, Cheap Dishes, Sidewalk Collapse, Sludge Stop

Throughout each week, I dig through dozens of news outlets looking for the noteworthy stories that pertain to the North End / Waterfront. As time consuming as it can be, with the Notable News post, keeping up with the local news has never been so easy!

Ice sculptures in the making at New England Aquarium

Aquarium News and Updates

This is a time of ice sculptures around the city of Boston and the aquarium will not be sitting this out! A fitting themed ice sculpture of a penguin family stands outside in the blissfully cold winter weather. See more at the  New England Aquarium.

A lawsuit with some kick: Is this town big enough for two sneaker companies?

The Brighton-based shoe company, New Balance, is suing the soon-to-be North End-based Converse over complications with similar stylings of other vendors’ sneakers. Converse makes the Chuck Taylors, a famous sneaker that is the arch rival of the PF Flyer line made by New Balance. Read the story at, UniversalHub.

Top 12 delectable cheap dishes of the year

The North End is known for their espresso, famous deserts, bakeries, classic Italian food, and Mexican food? Tenoch Mexican in the North End comes in at one of the top places to get a cheap meal in Boston. Read the article at, The Boston Globe

Come along on a tasting tour of some of Boston’s best international cuisine

Many visitors who come to Boston look to try their personal favorite food dishes and items, for many that may be a classic North End Pizza. For this food tour, it took a turn through all corners of international cuisine, everything from Brazilian food to Vietnamese. See the story at, PRI.

Photo courtesy of UniversalHub
Photo by Clare on Twitter via UniversalHub

Bollards! Causeway Street obstruction takes balls

A woman shares a photo of the sidewalk next to the TD Garden, outside of the Tip O’Neill Building. It was around noon when this woman saw the sidewalk completely caved in behind the road barriers. View post at UniversalHub.

‘Sons of Liberty’ tells tale of America’s founders

A new miniseries called “Sons of Liberty” will be premiering on the History Channel, showing the true radical and mischievous side of revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The North End is deep rooted in this history, from Paul Revere riding through on his famous midnight ride to the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston’s North End. Continue reading at, Times-Enterprise.

The day the sludge stopped

Last Wednesday marked the 23rd anniversary of sewage sludge no longer being poured into the Boston Harbor! It was workers from the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority) that established a water treatment plant at Deer Island.  View the post at, UniversalHub.

Paul Revere’s House in the North End. Photo by David L. Ryan of the Boston Globe
Paul Revere’s House in the North End. Photo by David L. Ryan of the Boston Globe, Boston.com

Historic Boston Has Its Fair Share of Historic Homes

It is no secret that Boston is home to some of the most historic landmarks and some of the richest American history. Without a doubt, among the most famous is the Paul Revere House as it makes this list at Boston.com.

2015 Preview: 10 Most Anticipated Boston Venues for Meetings and Events

The greater Boston area is home to many places that are heavily sought after for meetings and events. In 2015, one of the most anticipated venue openings will be Select Oyster Bar in Back Bay. A creation by Chef Michael Serpa, the popular chef from the Neptune Oyster House located in the North End. Read more at, BizBash.

Find any other interesting news the past few days? Great, shoot us an email!

NEMPAC American Music Concert “I have a Dream….” January 16th, 2015

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The North End Performing Arts Winter Concert Series presents a special American Music concert, ‘I have a Dream…’, in celebration of Martin Luther King Day on Friday, January 16th, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. This concert will celebrate the multiple dimensions of American identity through a musical look at different aspects of the American dream. It will showcase five American composers born between 1910 and 1960 who have made significant contributions to twentieth-century American music.

This one-hour tribute concert will take the listener on a journey that moves from German Romanticism into American modernity with Samuel Barber’s Cello Sonata, and continues through the deeply moving voices of three American poets in Richard Pearson Thomas’ tribute to 9/11, “Race for the Sky” for soprano, violin and piano.

The godfather of American twentieth century music, Elliott Carter, continued to evolve his vision of the American dream through his 1948 pinnacle work, the Cello Sonata, of which select movements will be heard. A celebratory and profound selection of African American songs from Leslie Adams and Jean Berger, with poetry by Langston Hughes, round out the program for the evening, which promises to be a special, timely concert with which to begin the New Year.

NEMPAC is especially thrilled to have Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova serving as the Artistic Director of this special concert on January 16th. Dr. Ivanova joined NEMPAC’s team of artistic staff in October 2014, just in time for their fourth Winter Concert Series season in the North End. “We are very excited to have her on-board with us. This upcoming concert will give our North End community a taste of the exceptional chamber music programs that are in NEMPAC’s future. Christina has the ability to creative intriguing programs that are paired with the perfect repertoire, therefore making music relatable and attractive to new audience members today.” – NEMPAC Executive Director, Sherri Snow

NEMPAC Concert Series Artistic DirectorDescribed as “a perfect partner” by Klassik Newsletter Berlin and “a brilliant collaborative pianist” by Wiener Zeitung (Vienna), Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova is a pianist, chamber musician, opera and lieder coach, and orchestral pianist based in Boston. Her performances have spanned throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Taiwan and China.

Dr. Wright is currently a Staff Pianist with Boston University, Pianist Coach for Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and formerly a coach at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, the Franco-American Vocal Academy (FAVA) in Salzburg and the Handel & Haydn Society. She will join the Tanglewood Institute Faculty as a Vocal Coach in 2015.

The “American Music Concert – I Have a Dream” with feature performers: Kristin Young, soprano; Stephen Marotto, cello; Jessica Nicolet, soprano; Sarah Ryu, violin (*NEMPAC faculty); Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova, piano. The concert will be held at the North Bennet Street School Performance Space, 2nd Floor at 150 North Street, North End of Boston on Friday, January 16th, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Advanced purchase tickets are now available online at http://ihaveadreamconcert.eventbrite.com/. Tickets will also be available at the door for: $20 Adults, $15 Students, $5 NEMPAC Students under the age of 18.

Questions please contact NEMPAC at 617-227-2270 or visit our website, www.nempacboston.org

Ring in the New Year With First Night Boston 2015 and Winter on the Waterfront

The cover page to Winter on the Waterfront, featuring New Years Eve events, view more.
The cover page to Winter on the Waterfront, featuring New Years Eve events, view more.

New Year’s Eve on the Waterfront–an official cultural partner of First Night Boston–unites a dozen indoor Family Fun Sites along an ice sculpture trail from East Boston to the Seaport. Duck inside each site for free food, music, crafts and other activities. Take a selfie with the ice sculpture, post to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WOTWBOS, and you are entered to win a waterfront prize!  Look on the First Night website for the final program schedule.

Tag your photo tweets with @NorthEndBoston and we’ll feature the best pics!

The following are New Years Eve events, all taking place on Wednesday December 31st, and are broken down by location:

North End / Waterfront / Downtown

12pm–4pm Stop by and warm up at the Maritime Museum for cookie decorating and hot cocoa!
Battery Wharf Hotel

10am–3pm Complimentary musical performances by local Boston musicians amidst the holiday décor in the three-story central winter garden. International Place

12pm–1pm Join Alex Krieger, curator of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Collection, for a rare, behindthe-scenes tour of original Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay maps located in the Boston Harbor Hotel lobby. Magellan Gallery, Boston Harbor Hotel

12pm–3pm First Night on the Wharf: Join us for skating on the Rotunda Rink and complimentary hot cocoa and cookies! Boston Harbor Hotel

12pm–4pm Climb on board and explore some of the coolest vessels in Boston Harbor. The Boston Harbor Pilot Association’s CHELSEA and other unique boats will be docked for public tours. All aboard!
Rowes Wharf behind the Boston Harbor Hotel

All Day “The Ice” Ice Sculpture Collection. Faneuil Hall Marketplace

2:30pm–3:30pm Historic Waterfront Tour: Join Boston By Foot to explore Boston’s great seafaring heritage on a free walking tour of the historic waterfront. Atlantic Wharf boat dock beside 290 Congress Street

5:30pm–10pm New Year’s Eve at the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille Boston Harbor Hotel, Reservations: 617-856-7744

9pm–1am New Year’s Eve at the Rowes Wharf Bar Boston Harbor Hotel, Live entertainment

7pm New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at BOND restaurant | lounge
The Langham, Boston   –  21+; $175 with dinner per person with glass of champagne; $60 minimum per person lounge only after 11pm First Seating: 5pm– 6:30pm; Second Seating: 7:30pm–10pm Toast to 2015 at Meritage Boston Harbor Hotel Reservations: 617-439-3995

11pm–12:45 am Thanks to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and Mass Bay Lines, enjoy a free harbor cruise to view New Year’s Eve fireworks on Boston Harbor.
Gate C, Rowes Wharf, behind Boston Harbor Hotel Boarding starts at 11 pm. Alcohol-free event. Limited to 300. Register Here.

Charlestown

12pm–4pm Create rainforest masks that you can use at the First Night Parade! “e” inc. in the Charlestown Navy Yard

10am–5pm Experience hands-on exhibits, interactive programs, and creative crafts that introduce
explorers of every age to the heroic crew that sailed USS Constitution in the War of 1812. USS Constitution Museum, East Boston

12pm–4pm Enjoy free musical performances, crafts, snacks, and a dazzling hand-carved ice sculpture display. Special thanks to East Boston Savings Bank for sponsoring this event! East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

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On Wednesday, December 31st, Waterfront Boston is celebrating New Year’s Eve with a multitude of family-friendly activities for all from noon to 4:00pm.  Whether you’re a parent looking to entertain tiny tots or a couple of seasoned “First Night” celebrants looking for new experiences, come to Boston’s waterfront for our unique take on the last day of the year and arrival of the new:

Visit 13 waterfront indoor sites for family activities that will keep even your littlest ones season-greetings bright.  Here’s a quick selection:

View More
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Ice Sculpture Strolls

Discover 11 handcarved ice sculptures across our waterfront NYE sites. All within walking distance of Boston’s City Hall plaza and public transportation our waterfront ice sculptures are gauranteed to charm you.  Be sure to be on the look out for Olaf and Sven at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  They’re one of four large sculptures on display beginning Dec 30th for FHM’s “The Ice” event.  Be sure to get your cameras ready – it’s selfie time! More Information

Grown-up Fun

For those who are kids at heart the waterfront comes alive day & night:

  • Enjoy live Musical Performances at Faneuil Hall Marketplace from local artists
  • Design your own hand-held weaving in art-making activity at ICA
  • Local musicians and refreshments at International Place Atrium
  • Tour of Boston Harbor Historic Maps at Boston Harbor Hotel Magellan Gallery (noon – 1pm) – Boston Harbor Hotel
  • Ice Skate under the Rowes Wharf Rotunda with killer views of the Harbor and the Greenway – Boston Harbor Hotel
  • Tour Historic Waterfront Boston with Boston By Foot (2:30 – 3:30) beginning atAtlantic Wharf
  • Toast in the New Year’s in style at the BOND masquerade ball.
  • Wine and dine at Mertiage, or Rowes Wharf Grill and Bar
  • View Midnight Fireworks over Boston Harbor

Click Here for a complete list of all the First Night Boston 2014 events city-wide

North End Resident, Jen Royle, Competes on ABC’s “The Taste”

North End resident, Jen Royle, on ABC’s “The Taste”

Three-year North End resident Jen Royle along with French Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s four-member team will be appearing on ABC’s popular show “The Taste” this Thursday, January 1 at 8 p.m. Now in it’s third season, this is the fourth episode of a seven-episode Prime Time series.

Jen began her quest to compete and possibly win the competitive food challenge last September when she traveled to Los Angeles for a grueling four-week taping.

The author of the cookbook “Bullied Into Cooking,”a charitable book that raised funds for an anti-bullying campaign for the Boston Public School System, and now “Dare To Taste,” her second publication, was one of 24 original participants. The 24 chefs were immediately reduced to 16 in Episode 1, and are now down to 11. Jen was chosen by two judges on Episode one, but chose to go with the loud and emotional, to say the least, Lefebvre who spends most of his time yelling at Jen.

“Jen is a strong competitor who loves a challenge,” said her mother Dianne Royle, the President of the North End Music and Performing Arts Center. “I hope everyone will watch the show.”

Jen, a 12-year professional sports reporter, currently works for the Boston Herald spending most of her time conducting interviews with the Red Sox and Bruins.

She is also the owner of arguably the most famous Bulldog in the North End, Truman, who has been barking in favor of his proud owner since the competition began.

“Competing on The Taste was the best thing I ever did and I’ve done a lot of cool things in my career having covered MLB and the NFL for as long as I have,” says Jen. “It was stressful, but if I could do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat.”

“We are all so proud of Jen,” added Dianne. “She cooked her tail off on the show and I know she looks back on the whole experience with nothing but fond memories.”

Since the program has already been taped, the results will not be made public until the finale on January 22 has aired.

ABC’s “The Taste” is broadcast on Thursdays at 8 p.m. or watch the shows online.

Downtown View: Not All News Is Bad

Most readers probably think 2014 has been a year of bad news and more bad news. I won’t bore you with the details. You know what they are.

But there have been a few bright spots for Bostonians that should help 2015 be more satisfying.

Cleaner streets are the best news. This has been a long time coming. In the early 2000s, city officials finally decided to tow cars blocking the street cleaner. Downtown neighborhood leaders had been pestering them to do this for a long time, but transportation department officials were afraid of the backlash. And there was a backlash. Inattentive drivers set up a hue and cry about their cars going missing. And then things settled down.

Next, city officials finally extended the street cleaning dates through December in some neighborhoods. So we now have those big cleaners grinding down our streets nine months of the year, as long as snow doesn’t impede their progress.

Finally last summer, in some downtown neighborhoods, one recycling day was added and one trash pickup day eliminated. So now instead of trash bags sitting on the sidewalk and spilling out their contents for up to 19 hours three times a week, legally they can now sit out only twice a week—still for up to 19 hours each day, but who’s counting.

Getting trash off the sidewalks on only that one day has made a difference. The rats and the bag pickers have one less opportunity to strew around the stuff inside the bags. Perhaps it is only my imagination, but it also seems that the doggy doo has been reduced too. Maybe doggy doo is subject to the broken windows theory of crime fighting—less trash on the street has made those dog owners with low IQs more aware of how their dog’s mess dirties the sidewalk.

Another interesting development that could make our lives better if Boston’s Olympics bid is successful is the focus on walkability and public transportation. The Olympics bid is a first—usually plans for big events or large real estate developments focus on cars, even when the organizers are taking walkability into account. If Boston is chosen as the 2024 Summer Olympics location, I hope such a focus will improve walkability and public transportation in the long term. No promises yet, but nevertheless promising.

Finally, Market Basket’s situation has resolved in a way that provides welcome lessons for other businesses. I have yet to enter a Market Basket store, since the long fight between the Demoulas brothers’ families put me off. Maybe now, however, I’ll give them a try.

Not only did the workers prevail, but the head of the company, who is now carrying a big debt burden from buying out the other part of the family, apparently gave his workers a holiday bonus. It must have been a stretch for him.

I’m still not sure I’d like to be friends with any of the members of this belligerent crew, but on the surface at least, this is a company that has decided that doing good will help them do well. It’s such a relief from companies that reduce services to customers, shrink package sizes gradually so customers won’t notice, and replace local service companies with national companies requiring long-time employees to take pay cuts. Such steps may be legal. They may be “good” business. But they are immoral—and they may not even be good business. Market Basket has shown there is another way to profitability and good management.

I’m still wondering, however, how much Market Basket had to pay those supposedly brilliant “co-CEOs,” who, over the summer, allowed things to get so screwed up.

Finally, on both the city and state fronts, affordable housing seems to have entered the realm of a crisis, and funding seems to be appearing. Will someone actually make that happen? If so, that will be good news for next year.

Downtown View is a regular column by Karen Cord Taylor who founded The Beacon Hill Times weekly newspaper in 1995 and served as its editor and publisher until late 2007. She also founded and served as editor and publisher of the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge and The Back Bay Sun weeklies. Her column appears in those newspapers as well as the Regional Review, which serves Boston’s North End. These weeklies are now owned by the Independent Newspaper Group. She is the author of “Blue Laws, Brahmins and Breakdown Lanes: An Alphabetic Guide to Boston and Bostonians” and the co-author of “The Lady Architects,” a book about three women who practiced architecture in New England and elsewhere in the early 20th century. She lives in downtown Boston and blogs at BostonColumn.com.

Jigsaw Picture Puzzle: Holiday Rush on Hanover Street

Take your best shot putting together this 48-piece jigsaw picture puzzle. The scene is a familiar one this time of year with people rushing from place to place. This photo shows the Hanover Street hustle and bustle on a recent evening in Boston’s North End.

Photo by Matt Conti.