Adding to the growing diversity of restaurants in the neighborhood, the North End will soon welcome a Italian-style tapas-restaurant. This DePasquale Venture will bring a diverse style of small plates and a wine bar to Richmond Street. Continue reading at, Boston Eater.
Shouting out to a wide range of historical sites, businesses, and attractions in the North End, this article speaks through the essence of the neighborhood, citing it to be, “the place to experience the Italian lifestyle.” Read the story at, Examiner.com.
The viral video of the “sea monstah” has been seen my most Boston residents, but did you know that the creature in the video was not a baby whale or some type of outlandish fish? It was simply an ocean sunfish, or Mola mola. The New England Aquarium addressed the famous fish species from the video.
Dog parks continue to be a growing trend for urban pet owners across the country and the North End will soon welcome their second dog park in the neighborhood. With the success of the dog park in “the Gassy,” funding for a permanent park slated to open next spring is now in the works, read more at Boston University News.
With most of Boston’s transformation coming through real estate and development projects, what about the business trends and atmosphere throughout the city? Read the article about the “ways that our old-time city is finally starting to loosen up for young professionals” at, The Boston Globe.
Did you come across anything that should be on this list? Great! Send us an email if you find any interesting articles!
At the opening day of the North End Athletic Association (NEAA) Soccer Program at Puopolo Park, the Nazzaro Center kids raised over $500 for Making Strides, a Breast Cancer Walk which they will participate in, according to John Romano.
“Paige Fitzgerald and her family organized the fundraiser along with Michele Deavue of the Center,” Romano said.
“Many residents baked goodies for the sale and others donated numerous prizes for the raffle,” Romano noted.
“Diane Szule handled all of the computer work putting together rosters and collecting all of the data from soccer registration forms,” he added.
Romano also thanked Mikey “Fud” Giannasoli, Heidi Romanow, Mary and Frank Romano, Patricia Romano, Guarino Vilar and all the coaches for their help and donations to the soccer program and bake sale.
This year’s Soccer commissioners are Juan Gali, David Serpa and John Boucher.
The Friends of the North End recently celebrated their 43rd annual reunion at the Sons of Italy Hall in Winchester. This year’s reunion was attended by 180 North Enders and was dedicated to Joseph “Dom Di Magg” Campochiaro. Dom was a friend, coach and mentor to practically all in attendance. Much of his memorabilia was on display and provided an opportunity to conjure up many stories, fond memories of Dom and a cherished privilege of growing up in a very unique neighborhood.
I turn to NorthEndWaterfront.com out of frustration and anger towards pet owners who allow their dogs to urinate on private property.
I am outraged that any normal person would think it was okay for their dog to pee on beautiful flower pots that I spend time and money on trying to make the North End look nice.
My flowers are dying and look terrible. It’s the same with my building on Fulton Street. The nerve of letting dogs peeing on one’s steps!
It is disrespectful and rude. I have to take time out of my busy day to wash down my planters and steps because some lazy pet owner can’t control their animal.
They are the same people who allow their dog to poop in the middle of the sidewalk. Whether they pick it up or not it still is there. I’ve had it. I will catch who is doing this and publicly shame them.
Below is a list of events in the North End / Waterfront neighborhood as we close the books on September and jump into the final quarter of the 2015 calendar!
Wednesday, September 30
3:00pm Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan Meeting at City Hall, 5th Floor The next Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Planning public meeting will have discussion of municipal harbor plan components and proposed MHP, next steps, process update, public comments and questions. Visit the BRA Webpage and view the Downtown Waterfront Planning Initiative Webpage for more.
6:00pm Founding Fashions at Old North Church Fashion Show in the Bigelow Courtyard / 21 Unity Street, Boston’s North End As part of Boston Fashion Week, the Old North Foundation is hosting an Eighteenth century fashion show. Learn about both fashion and function of men and women’s clothing during the Revolutionary War period. View the event post.
6:00pm Eliot School Construction Update at Nazzaro Center [30 N Bennet St, Boston]
The City of Boston will be updating the community on the Eliot School construction schedule, highlighting construction progress with logistical impacts on the community during the upcoming months. If you have any questions, please contact Maria Lanza, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Liaison at email@example.com. More information on the meeting notice.
6:30pm Volunteer Social at North End Library [25 Parmenter St, Boston]
The Friends of the North End Library are looking for NEW volunteers to help us with all the fun events we do! Some events include: book sales, gardening, tax/legal advice, holiday party help, fundraising, donation coordinator. Pizza & refreshments will be served! All are welcome!
7:00pm Lewis Wharf Hotel IAG Meeting at Nazzaro Center The proponent will present to the IAG for the first time under their formal Article 80 review. The public may come and participate if any time is leftover, but IAG members will have preference to speak. The official public comment period is now open and set to expire on October 15th. Public Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org the electronic version of the Project Notification Form can be found here.
Thursday, October 1
1:00pm Doors to History: A Visit with Paul Revere [Paul Revere House]
David Connor portrays Boston’s favorite patriot. Find out what really happened on his midnight ride. Chat with Revere about his other exploits during the Revolution, his family life, or about his work as a silversmith, dentist, and copper plate engraver. Doors to History programs are made possible by a generous grant from American Express. Free with museum admission. There will be 4 Chances to attend: October 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, more information on the event.
6:00pm NE Public Safety Meeting – Nazzaro Center, 30 North Bennet Street These monthly meetings are open to the public and are lead by Area A-1 Boston Police.
6:00pm Italian Heritage Month Kickoff at Mass State House Italian Heritage Month Kickoff at the Mass. State House, view the event notice for more information.
Saturday, October 3
1:00pm Paul Revere House: Colonial Leather Working Located at 19 North Square, find out how colonial era leather workers fashioned scabbards, sword belts, and harnesses. Fred Lawson demonstrates and invites visitors to try their hands at punching holes and sewing leather. More information on the event.
7:00pm Italy American Style Concert at St. Stephen’s Church
Located at 24 Clark St, Boston, the St. Joseph’s Society presents a musical concert “Italy American Style.” More on the event.
Take a look at our events page, updated daily for your convenience!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Brass Quintet performed at Christopher Columbus Park onSunday, September 27th. This special event and other concerts are part of the Fall Parks Concert Series in cooperation with Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Here are some photos from the concert and park crowd.
It is September so my thoughts naturally turn to property rights.
It’s not so outlandish. In September, downtown Boston has many new permanent residents—new owners of houses, condominiums, lofts. Those new to downtown Boston may have to learn new attitudes toward their property.
You may be one of these new owners. You may have a deed to your property now. But it is likely that there have been many owners before you. And there will be many owners after you. You’re a part of a continuum. Your property is not all about you.
This is especially true if you live in one of Boston’s historic districts. If you want to change anything that can be seen from a public way, including new paint in the same color, you have to get permission from your neighborhood’s architectural commission at City Hall.
Small changes are easy. You submit an application and a staff member okays it if it is in keeping with the history of your building. If not, or if you are applying for more extensive changes, you have to appear before the architectural commission overseeing your neighborhood and gain their approval before the city will issue you a construction permit.
Novices complain about this. People whose mindset is “it’s my property, and I can do what I want,” will also complain. You wonder—why did people buy property in a historic district if they didn’t want a home that fits in and enjoys the historic district’s protections?
Because that is what these rules are about—protecting the historic nature of the environment. It keeps neighbors from erecting a huge television dish next to your house, as one of ours did in New Hampshire long ago. It keeps neighbors from building a monstrosity next to you. It keeps the value of your property from eroding.
A good example of the protections in action was the matter of a once-popular singer who bought a house in a 19th-century historic district in downtown Boston and proceeded to remove the original interior, replacing it with a southwestern theme.
Nothing could be done about the inside, which is not protected, but when she applied for a permit to change the entryway into something vaguely southwestern, the architectural commission said no. You might wonder why someone would buy property in a 19th-century New England neighborhood and want a southwestern theme, but then you would also remember that some people are crazy.
In any case, the singer departed, sold her house, and the new owners promptly restored all that she had destroyed inside. Even better, the value of the neighbors’ houses were not eroded by interrupting the pattern of entryways on the block. These things are important when houses are so close together.
Several historic neighborhoods in Boston have no protection against weirdnesses like this. The North End and Charlestown, the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, have no architectural protection for their buildings. On Soley Street in Charlestown a new owner tore down an old house. Maybe the replacement will fit in with the neighborhood. Maybe not.
Even the neighborhoods who do have protection sometimes lose. On Beacon Hill, a Chestnut Street owner got permission over neighbors’ objections to tear down a house he claimed was unstable, even though several other houses about to fall down have been saved. Years ago in the same neighborhood, the architectural commission denied permission for an owner to change the façade of his house. Mysteriously, one night the façade fell down. Hmm.
After living in a historic district for many years, I would have reservations about owning property in a place without those protections. Nearby owners with little knowledge about architecture or peculiar taste could affect my property’s value if they decided to “remuddle” their house, as an old house magazine used to call it.
Studies show that property in historic districts tends to be more desirable, to keep its value better than property elsewhere, and to provide a more pleasant environment in general. Giving up the chance to choose a favorite paint color seems a small price to pay for keeping a historic property appropriate for owners 100 years from now.
Downtown View is a column by newspaperwoman Karen Cord Taylor who founded The Beacon Hill Times 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. Karen now works from her home in downtown Boston and blogs at BostonColumn.com. Please feel free to leave responses in the comments section below.
On Wednesday September 30th @ 7:00pm the proponent will present to the IAG for the first time under their formal Article 80 review. The public may come and participate if any time is leftover, but IAG members will have preference to speak. There is an Elliot School abutters meeting from 6 to 7pm this night so this is at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Nazarro Center.
Also, following our IAG meeting, on Wednesday October 7th @ 6:30pm the public is invited to a community meeting where the project will be presented. This meeting will also be at the Nazzaro Center (in gymnasium). This will be more of an open forum and everyone will have an opportunity to fully participate.
The official public comment period is now open and set to expire on October 15th. Public Comments can simply be emailed to email@example.com and they will be shared with all BRA senior staff. The electronic version of the Project Notification Form can be found here:
Victor Brogna, North End resident and Impact Advisory Group Member for the Parcel 9 project at Haymarket, catches us up on the progress (or lack thereof) in the long-delayed development. [See also the Parcel 9 post archive here on NorthEndWaterfront.com.]
September 23, 2015
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02201 firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Development of Central Artery/Tunnel Parcel 9
As you know, I am a member of the BRA’s Article 80 Impact Advisory Group (IAG) for this project. I am writing to you at this time because of the lack of current information on the project available to the general public as well as to the members of the IAG. I last wrote to you by email on November 26, 2014, requesting information regarding the scheduling of the next IAG meeting and noting particular matters that I wished the IAG to discuss. I await your reply to that request.
A Brief History. It is my understanding that the Parcel 9 development proposal in its latest form remains under review in the BRA’s Article 80 process. The plan as now proposed calls for two major departures from the form in which it was originally bid by the developer and accepted by MassDOT. The low market hall, which was originally a view-preserving 20 feet high, was raised by the developer after bidder selection and award to a view-blocking 27-30 feet high. The hotel, which was originally 84 feet high and comparable in height to the Clinton Street Garage, its 85-foot neighbor, was raised by the developer to 103 feet. The post-bid change brought the hotel far above its other neighbor, the Millenium Bostonian Hotel, which is only 74 feet high.
These are the maximum heights which we have been led to believe the developer’s project will reach. However, in the developer’s Expanded Project Notification Form dated October 14, 2014, the developer stated on page 1-5, “As currently contemplated, the Project will be ten (10) stories with a zoning height not to exceed 115 feet.” (Emphasis added.) The developer went on to state on the same page, “[T]he Project will require relief from the provisions of the Code for use, height and FAR.” The height permitted by the Boston Zoning Code is 55 feet. The zoning height now sought by the developer is double what the Code allows.
An Article 80 Scoping Session was held at 2:30 pm on October 27, 2014, and the first and only IAG meeting quickly followed at 5:30 pm the same day. That evening, at 7:00 pm, the first and only public meeting was held. All this took place less than two weeks into the 30-day public comment period on the PNF filing. I received notice from the BRA of the PNF filing on October 17, 2014. I filed a comment letter addressed to you and to David A. Carlson, a BRA member and Executive Director of the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC), on November 14, 2014, within 30 days of the BRA’s notice to me of the PNF filing. Please confirm the receipt of my comment letter, and inform me regarding the process by which my comments and comments from others were considered or will be considered in a following Scoping Determination or other BRA action.
Although a Scoping Session was held on October 27, 2014, I am not yet aware whether a Scoping Determination has been made by the BRA with respect to this project. I note that under Article 80B-5.3(a) the BRA is to issue a Scoping Determination 45 days after a PNF is filed. If a Scoping Determination has indeed been made, please email me a copy so that I may see what issues the BRA has directed the developer to address.
Shortly after the three meetings which took place in rapid succession on October 27, 2014, the BCDC reviewed the developer’s proposal with its post-bid changes on November 4, 2014. Thereafter, the BCDC’s Design Review Committee reviewed the proposal on November 25, 2014. The BCDC reviewed it again on December 2, 2014. I appeared at all three BCDC meetings and opposed the post-bid changes because of their blocking of view corridors from the North End and the Greenway, and because to permit the adoption of substantial changes in the project after bidder selection and award would reflect negatively on the integrity of MassDOT’s public bidding process. Notwithstanding my objections, the BCDC approved the proposal with its post-bid changes at the meeting of December 2, 2014.
The issue regarding blocking of view corridors did not end with the BCDC’s approval, however. The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) on January 26, 2015, made an official determination that “the proposed project will have an ‘adverse effect’ on the Blackstone Block through the introduction of visual elements that are out of character with and alter the setting of this historic district,” citing Federal and State Regulations.
Pursuant to the regulations cited by MHC, I requested on February 21, 2015, that the developer’s consultant, Epsilon Associates, and the MHC, furnish to me all documents exchanged between them, including design alternatives. I received copies of two design alternatives sent by Epsilon Associates, Inc. to the MHC by letter dated February 19, 2015. One of the design alternatives showed a return to the 84-foot height for the hotel as originally bid, but no reduction in the increased height of the market hall. The other showed a hotel at the 55-foot height permitted by the Code, which covered the entire parcel. This latter design alternative would succeed in blocking views of the Blackstone Block almost completely. I have received no design alternatives or other documents since that date from any source.
I also requested of Epsilon Associates and the MHC that public meetings be held pursuant to the requirement of the MHC’s regulations that there should be “maximum public participation in the review process” (950 CMR 71.08), the purpose of which “is to eliminate, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to properties listed in the State Register of Historic Places.” (950 CMR 71.02) The regulations state that informing the public may include holding or sponsoring public meetings. (950 CMR 71.08[e]) Nevertheless, no public meetings have been held by the MHC or Epsilon Associates in spite of my request.
Further details of the project’s history are contained in my comment letter of November 14, 2014. Since, as I noted above, the Scoping Session was held less than two weeks into the comment period, my comments and the comments of others were not available for discussion at the Scoping Session. If a Scoping Determination has been issued, I hope that all public comments received have been addressed. If a Scoping Determination has not been issued, I request that all public comments be addressed in the document when it is issued.
The Scoping Determination and Public Benefits. The developer has proposed in its Expanded Project Notification Form at page 1-1 a community room, a fitness room and “potentially” a pool. I would expect that these as well as additional public benefits would be required of the developer in the BRA’s Scoping Determination. Public rest rooms, for example, should be an additional requirement, and other public benefits may be suggested by other members of the IAG at the meeting which I am requesting that the BRA schedule.
The Article 80 Process and Historic Resources. During the lengthy period that has elapsed since the Scoping Session was held on October 27, 2014, I have had the opportunity to review the Article 80 process as described in the Boston Zoning Code. I note in Section 80B-3.4 that certain requirements are imposed on both the BRA and the Applicant (the developer) with respect to the treatment of Historic Resources in the Scoping Determination. The full text is as follows:
“Historic Resources Component. In Its Scoping Determination, the Boston Redevelopment Authority shall require the Applicant to submit an analysis that sets forth measures intended to mitigate, limit, or minimize, to the extent economically feasible, any potential adverse effect that the Proposed Project may have on the historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural resources of any district, site, building, structure or object listed in the State Register of Historic Places. The Boston Redevelopment Authority may forward the Historic Resources Component to appropriate public agencies for their review, comment, and recommendations, including but not limited to, a statement as to whether the Proposed Project satisfies any regulatory requirements of such public agencies.”
Therefore, if a Scoping Determination has not yet been made, please make certain that it includes a Historic Resources Component in compliance with the above-quoted paragraph when it is issued, and that the Historic Resources Component is forwarded to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Federal Highway Administration.
I also wish to comment on the “economically feasible” standard mentioned in the paragraph from Article 80B quoted above. It seems clear that a return to the lower building heights contained in the original bid which the developer submitted to MassDOT must be taken as satisfying an “economically feasible” standard. To put it another way, the developer should not be heard to complain that the project would not be economically feasible without adding one floor to the market hall and two floors to the hotel (the latter representing a 25% increase – from 180 to 225 keys). Certainly, unless the original bid was not made in good faith, the developer would not have bid the project in the first place with an offer to build at the lower heights unless it was economically feasible. However, it appears that even those lower heights may not be acceptable to the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Federal Highway Administration, based upon the reasoning adopted by the MHC in its determination of “adverse effect” as set forth in its letter of January 26, 2015.
A Planned Development Area Designation is Not Permitted for the Parcel 9 Site. The developer has stated its intention to seek a Planned Development Area (PDA) designation for the site. Parcel 9 is located within the Government Center/Markets District created under the Boston Zoning Code. Section 45-9 of Article 45 of the Code establishes four locations within which a Planned Development Area may be permitted in the district. Parcel 9 is not included in the list. In fact, Section 45-9.1 states firmly, “No PDA is permitted within the Government Center/Markets District except within these areas.”
In its Expanded Project Notification Form, on page 1-5, the developer acknowledges that the site is not in an area in which a PDA is permitted. The developer states that it intends to seek an amendment to the Code to permit it.
However, for the BRA to permit a PDA at this site would be contrary to a position against PDA’s taken by the Mayor of Boston. I participated at a meeting which the Alliance of Downtown Community Organizations (ADCO) had with Mayor Walsh on May 18, 2015. The matter of PDA’s came up during the meeting, and Mayor Walsh explicitly stated to all those present that he was not in favor of PDA’s. Therefore, where the Mayor of Boston has taken a position against PDA’s generally, and the Boston Zoning Code firmly states that “no PDA is permitted” for a site such as this, the BRA should not support the developer’s request.
A Cooperation Agreement Between the BRA and the Developer Must Await the Completion of the Public Process. A Cooperation Agreement should not be drafted until impacts and mitigation measures are determined through ongoing public review.
In my email to you of November 26, 2014, I stated that it was my understanding that the IAG will be able to have a look at the final draft of the Cooperation Agreement before it is signed. The need for this would seem to be self-evident, but nonetheless it needs to be restated and confirmed: If, as its name implies, the Impact Advisory Group is indeed expected to give advice regarding impacts, it will obviously need to see what it is the BRA and the developer are proposing to agree upon before the agreement is concluded. Therefore, please confirm to me that there will be an IAG meeting scheduled before the BRA/Developer Cooperation Agreement is signed, and that a copy of the proposed agreement will be distributed by email to the members of the IAG for their review prior to the meeting. In the meanwhile, I would appreciate your sending me copies of any drafts of a Cooperation Agreement which may have already been produced.
The Cooperation Agreement should also include the statement that the members of the North End, Waterfront, Beacon Hill, West End and Bulfinch Triangle communities are intended beneficiaries of the public benefits contained in the agreement, and that any non-profit organization representing the interests of the members of any of these communities shall have standing to enforce any or all of the public benefits by court action or such other action as may in its sole discretion be required.
Nearly a year has elapsed since the Scoping Session of October 27, 2014, was held. Circumstances have changed during that lengthy period. Public comments have been received. The MHC has made a determination of “adverse effect.” Other events may have occurred which need to be taken into account. An additional Scoping Session needs to be held, to fully inform a BRA Scoping Determination.
The MHC’s determination of “adverse effect” alone warrants that the Scoping Determination require the developer to prepare and file a Draft Project Impact Report. Other substantive issues that may have been raised in public comments on the Expanded PNF, but have not yet been brought to the attention of the IAG, may also warrant further evaluation and proposed mitigation in a Draft Project Impact Report.
I note that the position taken by the Massachusetts Historical Commission in its determination of “adverse effect” may have established criteria which cannot be met by the project presently proposed, even with a return to the lower building heights as originally bid. Therefore, if an impasse is reached, the best resolution may be to urge MassDOT to re-bid the project. I am informed that other bidders with the financial ability and interest in the project may be awaiting the opportunity to re-bid.
Alternatively, MassDOT itself could build and lease out a one-story market hall on the site, which would conform to the view-preserving schematic designs which were presented by MassDOT to prospective Parcel 9 bidders as part of its Request for Proposals.
In either case, new specifications would be developed to address all the issues in a full public process involving the participation of the MHC, the Boston Landmarks Commission, the Federal Highway Administration and the neighboring communities.
At this point, however, the IAG needs to be convened to identify the project impacts and determine the appropriate mitigation – the tasks it was created to perform.
Member, BRA Parcel 9 Article 80 Impact Advisory Group
Member, MassDOT Parcel 9 Advisory Committee
Chair, North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association, Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee
Friends of Christopher Columbus Park Hosts Columbus Park Fall Festival Free Family Fun Day in the Park!
WHAT: Friends of Christopher Columbus Park Hosts Columbus Park Fall Festival
WHEN: Monday, October 12, 2015 11:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
11:45 a.m. Line up and be part of the Kids’ Parade through the park
Noon Ceremony at the statue of Christopher Columbus
12:15 p.m. The fun and games begin and include visiting with the Stilt Walker and Mickey Mouse, Big Joe the Storyteller, Peter O’Malley the Magician, Jim the Bubble Guy, the Aquarium Tidepool, NEMPAC’s Craft table and more!
WHERE: Christopher Columbus Park, 100 Atlantic Ave., Boston, Mass.
On Monday, October 12, 2015, the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP) will host a day of family-friendly events that begins with a parade through the park at noon and includes a variety of free entertainment and games.
“This Columbus Day celebration has been an annual event since 2009,” says event chair and FOCCP Vice President Ann Babbitt. “Children love walking in the parade through the park! It’s a great time for North End and Waterfront families and those who visit the Park on Columbus Day.”
The entertainment, including a magician, storyteller, games, will begin after a children’s parade through the Park and ceremony at the statue. The event is free to all thanks to the generous support of Al Dente Ristorante, Benevento’s, Boston Harbor Cruises, Boston PushCart, CL Waterfront Properties LLC, Joe’s American Bar and Grill, NorthEndBoston.com and Tia’s Restaurant. The North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) will participate with musicians, singers, and fun art projects.
The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (www.foccp.org) is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization comprised of North End and Waterfront neighbors and business owners who work together to maintain and enhance the Park and to sponsor special events in the Park.
The current officers FOCCP are Joanne Hayes-Rines (President), Ann Babbitt (Vice President), Audrey Tortolani (Treasurer) and Patricia Thiboutot (Clerk). Board members are Joe Bono, Ford Cavallari, Beverly Knight, Susanne Lavoie, Robyn Reed, Patricia Sabbey and Christina Sperry.