Video: “The Last Little Italy” Fights Proposed Starbucks in North End

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The Last Little Italy” is a new video opposing the proposed Starbucks store at the gateway to Boston’s North End, located on the corner of Hanover and Cross Streets. The video was created by Rocco Capano and features many of the North End caffes and business owners.

The group has been active on Facebook and is petitioning e-signatures against the development by property owner Charter Realty. [See renderings in this previous post: Baristas at the Gate! Starbucks Coffee Proposed at 198 Hanover Street]

The petition reads:

“The North End is one the few surviving “Little Italy’s” in the United States, known for it’s authentic array of independently held community businesses. It is home to some of the best Italian cafes, delis, restaurants and pastry shops in the country, all of which help form the rich cultural fabric that makes this neighborhood so special. We believe the proposed project and location will negatively impact the neighborhoods many locally owned family businesses, while severely eroding the history, culture and aesthetic of an area that attracts so many visitors each year. There are over 10 Starbucks locations within .5 miles of the proposed location.”

For its part, Charter Realty and Starbucks have created their own Facebook group called “North End Piazza on the Greenway. There is also a petition to support the project.

Three community meetings are scheduled in the next few weeks where the project will be presented and public comments heard. All these meetings are at the Nazzaro Community Center, 30 N. Bennet Street.

June 28, 6pm – Abutters Meeting by Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
July 9, 7pm – North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC)
July 12, 7pm – North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA)

Check the Community Calendar for updates.

37 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t care for Starbucks and rarely patronize it. So whatever to them. But it’s bizarre that many of the people opposing them here definitely get coffee on the regular from Dunkins. People are strange.

  2. While I would certainly prefer not to see another “chain” entity come to the North End, Peet’s Coffee is already here. How is Starbucks different? In addition Cafe Graffitti (originally on Hanover St. and now sadly gone from the North End) opened on Cross Street as did Nick Varano and Frank DePasquale – all local business owners. So that location was open to local businesses who eventually vacated for whatever reasons.
    Finally, we also had a Dunkin Donuts for a number of years on Salem until a fire closed it. Boston Bean was in business on Salem Street for quite a few year as is The Thinking Cup on Hanover – both small (local) chains.

  3. Where were all these people when CVS, 7/11, white hen pantry, opened their doors, now and only now we here from them?
    To be honest most of these people in the video weren’t even born and brought up in the neighborhood, they’re only concern are about their pockets not their hearts for our neighborhood.

    • I think the CVS replaced a guitar store and competed against our one remaining local pharmacy. But it served a purpose. A place where drug addicts could go to shoplift. Starbucks will provide a public rest facility.

      • Tosi Music – they sold all sorts of instruments, sheet music and I think I remember knives with elaborate handles in the window There was also Julios a kind of 5&10 plus a kitchenware store along with the European (now CVS). These stores were well patronized and truly “local”.

        • Tosi’s also sold weapons and music. I bought my first record there a 45 for 89 cents.Tosi was up the street from where the CVS is. The European was located where the CVS is now. I seem to remember that there was a bowling ally there once as well.

        • Oh Julio’s,, beauty supply place,, how many times my friends and I would go to. Julio’s buy hair color and dye each other’s hair,, tosis buying 45 every week and a new needle for the record player,, what I found hysterical was the knives ,, hunting guns and music sold in there,,

    • …and there’s another one opening directly across the street from the Armenian Memorial. You can practically see it from the proposed Starbucks on Cross St. How many is too many?

      The North End doesn’t need a Starbucks at its Gateway.

      • the north end probably doesn’t also need any more italian restaurants, but they keep opening them up. maybe some of the 10,000 people who actually live in the this neighborhood want a starbucks at this location. ever consider the that?

        • People can walk to the Starbucks on Atlantic Ave, the Marriot Hotel, and 8 other locations within a half mile. I want a NY style Jewish deli, an Indian restaurant, a middle eastern restaurant and a BBQ joint within walking distance but NOT IN THE LARGEST REMAINING LITTLE ITALY left in the country. People love Dunkin but the neighborhood defeated one going on Hanover St. .

  4. Considering that there used to be a liquor store there with drunken bums urinating in the open at the same location, just how detrimental is another coffee house? Starbucks draws hipsters with their laptops. How would you like it if they put a pot dispensary at the Gateway? Also, who made that location the “Gateway”. I thought that Endicot St. was the Gateway. And then again, there is a sign in Columbus Park claiming that it is the Gateway. The only claim that Hanover St has to being the Gateway is that is where most of the eateries and tourist traps are located.

  5. Perhaps all these restaurant owners should pool their money to buy the building so then they can have more control about what happens to it.

  6. What ever happened to making a pot of coffee and drinking it at home,, saving some of it for ice coffee,,that would solve the problem,,it’s one thing to meet your friends for coffee and have breakfast or go for lunch,, let’s face it,, I don’t know if people are aware of the prices at Starbucks,, a biscotti is 2 bucks,, the. Baristas are a bunch of snobs,, can you go in there and say you want a coffee,, they will say what kind we have,, beans from Columbia,, Africa,, Vietnam,, all you want is a cup of coffee,, ask them if they have regular coffee and the reply will be this is not Dunkin’ Donuts,, venti latte,, latte,, etc,, what ever happened to a cup of coffee or a iced coffee,, so invest in a fiber ware electric percolated,, buy good coffee and make your own coffee ,,10;000 people living in the north end. I’m sure making a pot of coffee isn’t that hard,,if anything the north end don’t need a coffee shop there are many mom and pop. Coffee shops you can enjoy,, years ago down haymarket there used to be a store called Kennedy’s, were the butter was cut to order,, fresh butter,, the bacon was cut thick,, and peanut butter to die for,, maybe a store like that,, or maybe a hardware store or a 5 and dine,, I don’t know,, people are saying no one wants them because they will take business a2y from Hanover st,, please,, a cappachino from there can’t light a candle to a cafe,, the pastry. Modern ,,Maria’s and mikes have no competition,, hopefully a decent store will go there,,and venti lento’s whatever they are called will stay away,, Peace our

  7. I don’t mind Starbucks to go on that corner. And we already have chains- Pet’s and 7/11 and CVS. I am more concerned with Air B&B and trash/rats problem. Pick your battles!

  8. I rarely comment but here I must. Starbucks is the poster boy of gentrification which has decimated our community to 10% Italians left living here. Enough.

    • Starbucks didn’t “gentrify” the north end. The north end was gentrified because north Enders sold their buildings and condos for a high price and moved to the suburbs.

      The residents that kept their units rented them to “yuppies” for high rental prices.

      I’m not blaming them. Probably would’ve done the same. But that’s why the neighborhood changed. Not because of Starbucks or cvs or 7/11.

      • I never said Starbucks gentrified the North End only that it symbolizes it. Besides its not about competition, its about trying to save what’s left of the Italian culture of the past and its flavor not the money.

        • I never said Starbucks gentrified the North End only that it symbolizes it. Besides its not about competition, its about trying to save what’s left of the Italian culture of the past and its flavor not the money.what the North Ender’s should do is to create a Historical District to try and preserve its Italian Culture before it disappears.

  9. In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal an official from Starbuck’s said that they are not interested in expanding in urban areas as growth in these areas only grew by 1% Why are they looking to expand in the North End? The Cross Street location will decimate businesses such as bakeries, small cafes, and some restaurants. I would hope the owners of larger facilities would get behind keeping Starbuck’s out as once Starbuck;’s opens the charm and flavor of the North End will decrease and all businesses will be affected.

  10. I can understand neighborhood businesses not wanting to feel the pressure of another business coming into the neighborhood and watering down their business. But I have heard many local business people say they make money from the tourist trade, but depend upon local support to maintain their business. How many times have you had a tourist ask you what places you recommend? This happens a lot. People don’t come to the North End to get Starbucks, they want something unique that they can’t get at home. Starbuck’s recent problems in Philadelphia appear less to be a diversity issue, but their failure to integrate into that neighborhood. Same here. Whether they stay or end up closing in a year will depend upon how can they adapt to the North End, not how they change the neighborhood. They will adapt or die off like so many chains have done. Didn’t we already have this discussion about Pinkberry? Where are they now.

  11. I am just as saddened as many here about the changes in the neighborhood, but as some have pointed out:
    -It’s hard to argue that a Starbucks shouldn’t go there when there is a Peets 2 doors down and several other chains already in the neighborhood. That horse has left the barn….
    -We live in a democratic market-driven economy. If someone local wants to take on the lease, gather up the $$$ and make a competitive offer for the space.
    -People come to the North End for the character and charm, not for a chain experience. I honestly don’t feel that a lot of local business will be lost to Starbucks. I don’t think a lot of the younger professional traffic frequents Dello Sport, Paradiso, Vittoria, etc. (but I may be wrong).

    • May get some flak for this but here goes. I fail to see the so called “charm” in the North End .A Starbucks isn’t going to change something that has been missing for years.

      • agree. charles street in beacon hill is charming. hanover street, while active, is generally a mess of people and garbage. that said, there are a few charming restaurants and cafes, but unless you are from out of town, hanover and salem streets should be avoided. okay, now tell me that i should move if i have such a problem with it. let me have it!

        • Beacon Hill has very stringent rules about who can open a business on Charles St. Perhaps that has something to do with it’s “Charm”

  12. Rats,trash,junkies, needles,people stealing from churches,stealing packages,dog crap everywhere.All nite parties,drunks screaming at 3
    or 4 AM.Non stop foot traffic ,gangs of teens terrorizing the neighborhood and people are concerned about a Starbucks?

  13. At least, due to recent events, there will be more public bathrooms so we won’t have to listen to people complain about that…

    Not that I want it but since when has “neighborhood outrage” ever stopped something like this, anyways… just don’t go and maybe it will go out of business… the people that should be the most upset are the other Starbucks that will lose business…

  14. I think we have enough places to buy Starbucks. Every city I’ve visited in the US. Every stop along every interstate. STARBUCKS. ENOUGH! Our neighborhoods need to be able to retain their character. I, for one, enjoy visiting a neighborhood that is occupied by people whose heritage originated in another country. I haven’t been to Boston yet, but when I do, it won’t be to go to another Starbucks!

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