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Design a Better Boston Are you disappointed with the state of Boston's current architecture/development? Think you have a better idea? Post it here.

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Old 04-15-2018, 06:02 PM   #21
bakgwailo
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Corner of Washington St & Mass Ave/ The Hotel Alexandra. Downtown Crossing concourse, Winthrop Square (for now - admittedly its better with the demo but still kind of meh),
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:03 PM   #22
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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I feel like a big reason for the low representation in the central areas is that the African American population is very small in most suburbs, and people from the city neighborhoods north of Boston and many of the suburbs visit the center.
I agree; suburban demographics has to do with it too. Either way, it is a different topic than blighted greenway parcels, the Post Office on Ft. Point Channel, rusting Northern Ave. Bridge, etc.

Everything non-optimal about our city doesn't roll up into one category.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:02 AM   #23
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

The Cambridge street facade of the Govt Services Center with chain link fences, crumbling concrete and govt cars just parked haphazardly on the sidewalk like they own the place
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:56 AM   #24
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Another embarrassing item is the rusty condition of highway overpasses and bridges. I know we live in a rough climate with salt. etc, but Chicago's is generally in much better condition than metro Boston's.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:08 PM   #25
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

From the perspective of a map-carrying walker:

- Overly wide "incomplete" streets in prominent tourists areas such as Charles St between the Garden/Commons (that's the worst) and through Beacon Hill; Tremont Street by Park Street; nearly all parts of the Greenway, etc.

- Esplanade pedestrian access

- Pedestrian-unfriendly crossing lights, signal phases, buttons, etc - that whole mess, citywide

- Any and all crossings of the Pike trench, but especially Mass Ave/Boylston

- Wretched Government Center Plaza

--

And just to add, I think an embarrassing sight that many tourists see is the downmarket one-story pub across Huntington from the MFA. One might be forgiven for thinking the immediate area could support some upscale retail/restaurants?
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:14 PM   #26
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

For me it's the T concourses at DTX. They're such a filthy mess, and the AC condensers blowing hot air INSIDE in the summer is unacceptable.

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And just to add, I think an embarrassing sight that many tourists see is the downmarket one-story pub across Huntington from the MFA. One might be forgiven for thinking the immediate area could support some upscale retail/restaurants?
Northeastern bought this and is sure to redevelop it eventually.

But honestly, I bet no tourists gaf about this.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:21 PM   #27
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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...an embarrassing sight that many tourists see is the downmarket one-story pub across Huntington from the MFA.
Shep, you're breakin' my heart.

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Northeastern bought this and is sure to redevelop it eventually.

But honestly, I bet no tourists gaf about this.
And some of us pine for old dives like Punter's. I played in a dart league there, half a lifetime ago. Cheap beer, Jim Beam, Paddy, and pizza through the window from the adjacent establishment (whose name escapes me). I vaguely recall having a lot of fun there...
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:27 PM   #28
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Sorry, BB, I have nothing against Punters! Just trying to put myself into the mind of a tourist who has no other context.

Why are there so few nice restaurants near the MFA/Gardner? Are there any?
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:42 PM   #29
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Good question about restaurants near the MFA. Whenever I visit, I'll often look for a place nearby for a bite, but I almost always end up somewhere in Fenway rather that on or near Huntington. The restaurants in the MFA seem to do a really good business. I can see why!
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:56 PM   #30
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

It's funny, if I were visiting a different city and I saw an old industrial age-era piece of infrastructure like Northern Ave Bridge or Charlestown Bridge, I would definitely take some time to check them out.

Maybe I'm just weird.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:59 PM   #31
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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Sorry, BB, I have nothing against Punters! Just trying to put myself into the mind of a tourist who has no other context.
No hard feelings -- it does have a bit of a Trainspotting vibe to it that elicits shudders in the nice folks who find themselves on Huntington for the Monets and Renoirs...

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Why are there so few nice restaurants near the MFA/Gardner? Are there any?
I ask myself the same thing a little closer in, when I attend concerts at Symphony and Jordan Hall, or the Huntington Theatre. One would think that a fine dining establishment with a proper bar would do quite well during theatre and concert season.

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The restaurants in the MFA seem to do a really good business. I can see why!
An then again, the fine dining deficit could be by design, enhanced by the insularity of the MFA and ISGM. You go, see, have a snack, visit the gift shop, and high-tail it back to (insert affluent suburb here). Perhaps this will change someday...

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It's funny, if I were visiting a different city and I saw an old industrial age-era piece of infrastructure like Northern Ave Bridge or Charlestown Bridge, I would definitely take some time to check them out.

Maybe I'm just weird.
Not weird, just in the wrong town, perhaps...
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:15 PM   #32
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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Originally Posted by statler View Post
It's funny, if I were visiting a different city and I saw an old industrial age-era piece of infrastructure like Northern Ave Bridge or Charlestown Bridge, I would definitely take some time to check them out.

Maybe I'm just weird.
Not weird; I enjoy doing that too. And until recently, I would have characterized the Northern Ave. bridge in that curiosity-inducing category.

But have you looked closely at it within the past 6 months? This thing has changed - it is now really decomposing, sagging, and honestly looks like it will soon collapse. Before it looked like a cool relic...now it truly looks like something dangerous that the city can't afford to deal with.

I honestly would not put the Charlestown/Washington st. bridge in the too-far-gone-to-be-interesting category (that's why I didn't list it on my list above); it is still safe enough to drive over and looks "well worn." Yes it needs to be replaced, and plans are in place to do so soon.

I like the example of the DTX mbta concourse as representative of blight too because it does not look like something preserved for its historic significance; it looks as though no one could possibly want it to be the way it is (so bad).
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:46 PM   #33
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

i like exploring extinct railroad lines in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Chihuahua, Durango, Mex, etc.

seen just a few narrow slices of what they must have seen.
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:57 AM   #34
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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Northeastern bought this and is sure to redevelop it eventually.
According to Northeastern's IMP this site and the adjacent student apartments were to be developed as a midrise residence hall. Rumor has it that it will now be developed as an academic building for DMSB.
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:43 PM   #35
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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pizza through the window from the adjacent establishment (whose name escapes me)
That would be University House of Pizza, or UHOP.

Punter's is the diviest of dives, and though it has some charms, it is also (to be honest) a little sad to be in. But it's a miracle that it's stuck around for so long, and I'll miss it when it's gone.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:56 AM   #36
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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Originally Posted by statler View Post
It's funny, if I were visiting a different city and I saw an old industrial age-era piece of infrastructure like Northern Ave Bridge or Charlestown Bridge, I would definitely take some time to check them out.

Maybe I'm just weird.
Not at all. Industrial era bridges are great and lots of people like them. It's awful that the city doesn't bother with maintenance of anything. So we are loosing our last two cool bridges that show Boston's industrial past. For new concrete highway bridges. Concrete bridges just don't hold up in this climate the way a well maintained steel one would.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:11 PM   #37
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Logan Airport.
(Nothing beats a 12 hour flight, and then waiting for 2 hours to get through customs and immigration. Welcome to our city!)
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:16 PM   #38
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

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Not at all. Industrial era bridges are great and lots of people like them. It's awful that the city doesn't bother with maintenance of anything. So we are loosing our last two cool bridges that show Boston's industrial past. For new concrete highway bridges. Concrete bridges just don't hold up in this climate the way a well maintained steel one would.
The North Washington St. Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge were built at about the same time, and to the same high quality. Why couldn't the N. Washington St. Bridge be restored like the Longfellow? I love the N. Washington St. Bridge. It has gravitas, it has a true industrial look, it's awesome. It is being replaced by some pastel Miami-looking piece of fluff. Too bad that's happening.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:34 PM   #39
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

^ Absolutely. Our old truss bridges have genuine character and grit. The many twin-leaf bascule bridges across the Chicago River give real presence to the experience of walking from the Loop into River North and the Magnificent Mile. Why Boston fails to recognize the value of this element of our history is a disappointing puzzle.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:18 PM   #40
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Re: Boston - Most Embarrassing Blight That Tourists See

Chicago is great that way; "The City of the broad shoulders". The elevated railways there contribute to that feeling as well.
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