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Old 03-15-2009, 09:31 PM   #1
czsz
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Sad day in the Financial District

I walked up Federal Street in the middle of the afternoon today, and did not see a soul. Not a single car drove by, and not a single other person walked down the sidewalk. Granted, it was Sunday, but what a wasted space this felt like.

I turned the corner to Franklin St. The Boston Stock Exchange was boarded up. The London Harness Company was shuttered for the day only, but signs announced it was going out of business.

Even the Propagation of the Faith Store is giving up.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

London Harness is going out of business? Bummer. I bought my last wallet there years ago and it is now falling apart, needing replacement.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:52 PM   #3
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Gee whiz, the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day and the financial district was dead, what a shock! Everyone with a life was in South Boston enjoying themselves rather than walking around town figuring out what else they could bitch about. No wonder the parties you attend end at 12:30am ... it gives party guests enough time to get to a bar and drown any recollection of you. I know I'll be having another.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:24 AM   #4
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Actually, every other part of the city was pretty lively. Believe it or not, not everyone goes to that parade. People seemed to be coming back to it at that time, anyway.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:45 AM   #5
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Saturdays and Sundays are always dead in the Financial District. It's the best time to do architectural photography without people and with the ability to kneel down in the middle of streets without interference from traffic.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

^ Been that way since I can remember (See "Boston in the Seventies"). Surprising that the influx of residents hasn't changed that a little. Oh, I guess they sleep late Sunday mornings.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:31 AM   #7
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

I wonder if the ground floor renovation of the three Blackstone buildings might change this. Also if the folks who bought 185 Franklin St follow through with their plans to add retail to the ground floor, that could really change the area.

But as always in Boston...

Wait a few years.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:44 AM   #8
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

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Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
Saturdays and Sundays are always dead in the Financial District. It's the best time to do architectural photography without people and with the ability to kneel down in the middle of streets without interference from traffic.
I find weekends to be terrible for nighttime shots, only because none of the lights are on in the office buildings. But, in theory, I do agree.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:23 AM   #9
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

To clarify: London Harness is not going out of business, but it is closing its downtown store. Too bad: it was really convenient for buying a last minute gift, etc. and that store has been there for a very long time. Their suburban stores will stay open.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

I would never expect to see large numbers of people in the Financial District on a Sunday -- not even back in the 1970s. Why would they be there?
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:39 AM   #11
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

http://www.londonharness.com/specials.html

Dear Friends,

We have made the difficult decision to close our Downtown Crossing Boston store location this spring.

After the Boston Store Location Closing Sale (detailed below), we will service you with our stores in Hingham and Wellesley, as well as through our website.

The overall poor economic conditions and the weak retail environment in Boston's Downtown Crossing are not sustaining this location.

After 92 years at this location and more than 230 years in Boston, we regret having to close this door and we'll eagerly look forward to the time when we can reopen a Boston store again in the future.

Meanwhile, please do visit us for the special events and saving opportunities below and let us know what more we can do for you.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Jacobson Dan Woodman

Boston Store Location Closing Sale

Entire inventory on sale
Save 25% on all full-priced inventory
Extra savings on March Madness and Winter Clearance Sale
Applies to Boston store location inventory only. All sales are final. No returns or exchanges. Special orders and transfers excluded.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #12
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

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After 92 years at this location and more than 230 years in Boston[...]
Wow.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

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I would never expect to see large numbers of people in the Financial District on a Sunday -- not even back in the 1970s.
Especially not back in the 1970's, when nobody lived there at all.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:13 AM   #14
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

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...the weak retail environment in Boston's Downtown Crossing...
And getting weaker every day.

The landlords need to get together and offer short-term leases to start-up businesses at fire-sale rates --like 30 cents on the dollar. Then when things change...

Turn a disaster into an opportunity. Think of the incubator effect on new, local start-up retail. Isn't that what we all want?
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #15
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

I can't speak to any decade earlier than the 1970s, since I wasn't here then. But earlier than that, retail stores weren't even open on Sundays.

I'm going to try to visit London Harness some time this week. I was a customer there only once, but a very satisfied customer. I needed a men's wallet with a coin pocket, and neither Jordan Marsh nor Filene's nor Filene's Basement sold one. A helpful Filene's salesman directed me over to London Harness, a shop I'd never before heard of.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:26 PM   #16
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

I wasn't really surprised that there was "no one" in the Financial District on Sunday...although a bit surprised that there was literally no one. It felt like the dream sequence at the beginning of "Vanilla Sky" in which all the pedestrians and cars have disappeared from New York.

Midtown and Wall Street don't feel this deserted on weekends, perhaps because they're somewhat more mixed use. But Downtown Crossing and South Station were teeming relative to the FiDi, and each is mere blocks away. And I thought there was at least some residential development down there now?

The Greenway was no more lively, of course. I'd walked its course on Friday night, too, and found it similarly deserted, despite the unseasonably warm temperatures and pulsating light displays. Along with the surrounding 1980s skyscrapers, it all felt like some fresh, new boulevard (yes, boulevard, not chain of parks) one might find someplace like Dubai or Wuhan - one built more to impress with its girth than to accommodate human needs.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:27 AM   #17
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Downtown Crossing has retail stores, South Station has a food court and lots of train departures and arrivals. Of course they'll have more life than an office district on a Sunday.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:43 AM   #18
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Yes, obviousluy. But why was no one walking between them? Doesn't it seem odd that the 2-3 blocks between these two bustling areas were 100% deserted.

I think the boarded up Stock Exchange shocked me more than anything. There's no more potent symbol of the recession I've seen around Boston than that.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:49 AM   #19
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

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I walked up Federal Street in the middle of the afternoon today, and did not see a soul. Not a single car drove by, and not a single other person walked down the sidewalk. Granted, it was Sunday, but what a wasted space this felt like.
Yeah, I had a similar experience in the financial district on a Sunday last summer. I was walking in the area just south/east of the Custom House (around Post Office Square) and for a good 2 blocks I did not see one other person or even one car drive by. Of course, I expect the financial district to be dead on the weekend but this was downright eerie, literally like a ghost town.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:26 PM   #20
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Re: Sad day in the Financial District

Sunday afternoon's might be bad, but nights and evenings, especially on the weekends, are getting a lot better. I tried to go to the new bar in the Langham a few weeks ago and couldn't even get in the door. Likewise, Broad St is looking good; the new Littlest Bar is crowded whenever I go in; Market expanded into the old Black Rhino; the Place (for better or for worse) always looks crowded through the windows; and the Times added out door seating on the Greenway. Also, Kingston Station on Kingston St has made that corner of town pretty nice between it, Good Times, JJ Foley's, etc. The Financial District is still not a 24 hr part of town and Offices VASTLY outnumber anyother use, but it's better than it was, and for sure it's much better than in the CBD of most American cities.
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