Monday, October 22, 2012

Blog in Hibernation

This blog is now in hibernation.  Thank you for visiting.  You'll find great up-to-date information about the downtown Lynn area at the following web sites:


They are great resources maintained by dedicated, enthusiastic, and very capable community of residents.  

Best,

  Marcus

Friday, August 26, 2011

Biotech for Downtown

Came across this article in Lynn Item today:

http://www.itemlive.com/articles/2011/08/26/news/news01.txt

Biotech is a very good fit for our downtown area.  Their research and development facilities were nearly chased out of Boston due to absurd fears of bio hazard, and the crowding an cost of space in Cambridge have driven many start-ups to other states.  Yet, Boston & Cambridge keep attracting these businesses because of the high concentration of researches the area attracts and universities produce.  Lynn is in a good position to get a piece of this business due to it's proximity to B&C yet much lower property cost.  The researchers can hang with their buds at Miracle of Science in Cambridge but work / live in Lynn.  Although last I checked R&D types seem to live at work anyway.  Lynn's industrial past seems to be a nice fit with a move to supporting Biotechnology business as well, just from a historical perspective, I mean. 

Biotech is not all R&D, there is manufacturing and all the lab work and admin that accompanies the whole process.  This means jobs for people who don't where lab coats.  Boston Scientific opened up a whole new facility out by 495 a few years back after spending years in Cambridge and Natick.  Many of their employees lived in Boston, and they lost quite a few because of that move.  We are only 9 miles from Boston.  Had Boston Scientific opened up here, they may have held onto those valuable employees and helped our community as well.  That point, being able to hold onto good talent, is a very powerful value-add for our location.  This is an opportunity we cannot, must not let go.  We pursue it and support it to the fullest!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Turbine

Turbine is the new wine bar at 56 Central Sq. in downtown Lynn.  It took over the space of the original Gulu-Gulu cafe; a fine establishment that has moved on to Salem and is doing well there.  The Gulu of old died a slow and lingering death and I was happy to see it shutter sooner than later.  I hate watching businesses wilting to oblivion about as much as I enjoy watching a sparrow starve to death... not that I watch sparrows starve to death very often.

If you visited Gulu-Gulu, you'll immediately be taken aback by two things about Turbine:

  1. The obvious familiarity of the space.
  2. The incredible transformation of the space!
The layout is familiar just because it's so hard to do anything about the odd 'L' shaped layout.  Narrow entrance with a fat short elbow at the back.  With that said, Steve, the new owner, a different Steve than the Gulu-Gulu owner, did an incredible job of designing the space to be both different, dramatic, yet comfortable and integral to the neighborhood.  The brick we all love is fully exposed with pieces of art hanging on the wall.  Ok, one piece of art contributed by Sean hanging on the wall.  The ceiling is now black with drop lights and track lights, the walls painted a rich deep, but dark red like the kind working girls sport on a Friday night.  Cafe tables line the way towards the larger back space where there is now a bar at the back with all the liqueurs and wines on display.  A small galley kitchen is behind the bar.

Steve has managed to redesign the space into a dark but inviting industrial space.  It's stark yet warm with the color choices and the openness of the space setting the foundation of its vibe.  It will feel empty and open to some, chic and cool to others.  Probably something in between to most.  In my humble opinion it could use some more warm texture up in the front section.  I imagine a velvet banquet lining most of the length along the brick front wall.  It would use up some of the space and amp up the warmth factor.  I'm sure some will disagree and that's good since my tastes tend to run a little odd anyway.

The food is prepared by chef Dorothy Kaiser.  She studied under David Fitzgerald, chef of OSG and Dowtown Bistro and finished her education at Le Cordon Bleu.  The food is superb.  Turbine serves small plates, which I think is a wonderful idea since I'm trying to stay within my existing pant size.  We're in a recession you know, can't afford to change my entire wardrobe.  The quality is excellent and there is something for everybody.  I'm quite fond of the tuna miso trumpets.   I avoid reviewing specific dishes.  Just go and try it.  You will have little difficulty finding something you like.

I really like the open feel of the back space.  It promotes group conversations.  Plenty of space to stand, drink, and share gossip... which is what we tend to do most of the time in Turbine. Considering the excellent wine and beer selection, it's easy for everyone to find an adult beverage to their liking.  If you're looking for the straight-poop of the happenings of downtown, go to Turbine on Tuesday or Friday night, liquor up some locals, and chat them up. Guaranteed juicy info.

The thing that distinguishes Turbine the most is the exceptionally personable and attentive level of service.  The staff makes sure you are well cared for.  Everyone from the bartender, floor staff, and owner ensure you leave happy and satisfied.  Unfamiliar with a menu item, ask.  Unfamiliar with a wine, ask.  Don't know what you want, ask.  Can't get a date... that's your problem.  You will be educated, served, and invited to try new things.  It's a great way to increase your exposure to good and new food.

There is this guy, Guido. He's Italian, I mean like straight off the boat.  He's also like 100 years old!!  Well, not that old, but close.  In other words, he's seen some really serious shit in his long life.  And, being Italian, Guido understands good food.  Guido is a regular at Turbine.  Maybe you're thinking "so what."  Maybe you're thinking "so, his taste-buds might be dull at that age."  Me, I think you should go there to find out if he knows something you don't. Especially since he's seen stuff you will probably never see or experience in your entire dull miserable life... in caparison to his, that is.

So, go to Turbine.  Pay honmage to Joanna the goddess bartender.  If Guido should be there, be sure to pay your respects.  If you're lucky, he may deem you worthy to school you in what's truly important in life... brush up on your Italian.

  Marcus

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

It's been a very long time since I wrote.  That date down there on the last entry below is not an error.  It's been 3 years.  Without getting into the "whys", "what fors", and "how comes" let me just say life got very complicated very quickly and I barely held my head above water for awhile.  It's still a bit tough but as my grandfather, a boxer, would say "chin up, eyes forward, get on with it."  And, so I shall.

I've been asked to write again.  And when enough people you respect ask you to do something as mundane as put your thoughts to paper... err... blog, well, it gets to the point where it's insulting to say no.  Add to this a confluence of significant events and one develops that most hallowed of motivations --- self service.  :-)

If you guessed that I'm writing to plug my 'hood, I say to you, bingo.    And no, I'm not moving.

A walk down Central Square today is not the same as it was 3, 4, even 5 years ago.  Most of our store fronts are full:

Convenience Store - check, actually, I've got 2
Pharmacy - check, right across the street.  Friendly people, very nice
Ice-cream parlor - check
Barbershop, with enough glowing neon to scorch your retinas - check.
Fashion forward clothing store - check (very fashion, very forward)
Travel agency - check, again, I've got 2, and no, I don't know why
Jewelry Store -check
Karate Studio - check, feeeeeel the burn!
Art Therapy Center - check (RAW!), absolutely amazing place
Insurance Agency - check
Dunkin Donuts - ooooohhhhhhh yeeeeeeaaaaahhhh, check (I am a DD man)

And last but not least..... wait for it.....

Snazzy Wine Bar!! - CHECK-UH-MUNDO!! - Hellooooo Turbine Wine Bar!!


If it crossed your mind that I'm writing while drunk... you are incorrect.  I was drunk about 3 hours ago while doing my taxes, but now am perfectly sober.

All of this urban goodness is within one block or closer (Turbine is in my building).


There is a renewed sense of optimism here in the center, and given the enthusiasm I have for Turbine, you'd be forgiven if you incorrectly guessed an impending assault of Turbine kudos amassing to bludgeon your senses so you and your hordes embark upon a pilgrimage to submit burnt Benjamins and consume much vino at the alter of Joanna the goddess of bar-tending.  That comes later.  No, the change in the air actually started about 3 blocks from here; in a place that fell under the relentless grind of capitalism not once, but twice.  I am of course referring to what is now the Blue Ox.

The address of 191 Oxford St. was first home to the pioneering soul Oxford St. Grill (OSG).  OSG was the child of Lowell Grey.  His vision was an establishment offering excellent Germain Cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.  Lowell succeeded.  One of my grandfather's being German, I especially loved this idea.  OSG was a very nice place.  White tablecloths, gentle manner, sophisticated libations, good vibe, music and atmosphere.  We hoodies loved it.  The food was great, it provided an inviting and civilized place, and most importantly it had a FULL BAR!  It was a place for us locals to meet, greet, and get plastered on a school night and stumble back home, stopping at the Hess for smokes and Doritos in route (Sean).

OSG folded I guess after about a year.  The reasons are numerous, and I'm sure only a handful are genuine, but they are only important to those interested in such things like those plotting to succeed where OSG failed.  What matters to me, though, is the precedent OSG established and the legacy it left to the residents.  The former is that a fine establishment with amenities to match does have a following, however small, in of all places Downtown Lynn.  The latter, is that it provided a common ground for residents to gather, banter, bubble, boil, and brawl -- really get to know each other, before escorting wounded comrades to our respective front doors in this gritty pocket of North Shore.  Like all agreeable social activities, it was addictive and longed for, whether you knew you longed for it or not, and eventually... missed.  The closing of OSG was solemn and quiet.  Befitting a pioneer.  And with a deep breath... I really don't have much more to say about it.  We must give OSG it's due, but I would genuinely lament it's passing more if it weren't for one important item of note, the emergence... of the Downtown Bistro.

John Moore moved into OSG's old space.  He made a few changes:  used paper tops on the tables, added carpet, changed the menu to add more modest priced offerings, and he changed the overall vibe of the place to something more casual.  I loved the place.  The staff at Bistro were smart, funny, affable and just really fun and pleasant.  They were a crew that appeared to enjoy working together and they certainly made my time there enjoyable and memorable.  Upon initial opening the old crew from OSG reappeared and so did some new ones.  We had great times there.  It really was a great hangout after a hard day or week of work.  The place had a good vibe and if you were in a bad mood when you got there we and the staff made sure you were all smiles or at least completely pain free before you left.  Bistro was a fabulous place, but it too couldn't, didn't financially survive. It too closed after about a year.  Why did Bistro close?  I don't know.  Some same it was a lack of marketing, and you know there really was very very little marketing by the Bistro.  Compared to Blue Ox, both establishments had a famine of marketing.  Is this the prime contributor.  I don't know.  But, I can same it is a key differentiator between Ox and its predecessors.

An important item to note is that both OSG and Bistro has the same chef, David Fitzgerald.  He is a talented, gifted, and affable professional.  His cuisine is superb, and most importantly, he's always striving to improve, try new things, make things work, exciting.  The quality of food was definitely not a contributor to the demise of the two businesses.  David moved to Ecco Lounge in East Boston.  It's a nice place.  The food is familiar to me, but mostly different.  It's Italian "Tapas."  Unfortunately I haven't been by in quite some time.  Be sure to stop in, ask for Dave, say hi, and tell him I'm thinking of him, and hopes he comes back to the hood soon.

But I digress..


Along with the closing of Bistro came the first hint of the recessions.  Gulu-Gulu closed it doors in Lynn, and many of the shop fronts emptied.  Residents sold and left, divorced and left, rented out their place and left, or just left.  The first winter came, and all was quiet.  I honestly wondered if I made a mistake moving here.

Even with all the departures the reality is most of us remained.  What's astonishing, however, is more residents moved in.  Even more astonishingly, the newcomers were just like us:  mildly screwed up, demanding, fun loving, quirky, and optimistic about the future of downtown.

The Bistro space stayed closed for quite some time, but from the onset of its closure there was talk of its impending purchase.  Then the rumors started flying about the star power of a particular chef and his street cred. It helped that he too was from the area.  I don't remember, or want to dig up, all the details, but suffice it to say renovations began and shortly after the Blue Ox was born.

The Ox as we and just about everyone calls it started marketing itself even before its renovations were complete:
"We are a casual neighborhood restaurant that strives to be inviting, relaxing, and value-oriented. Our dining room and bar offers an approachable American style menu with a twist, warm and family-friendly d├ęcor, and exceptional service filled with personality."
The interior was expanded into the adjacent space, required a wall tear-down, the lighting changed, the bar top upgraded to granite, the carpet ripped up (YAY), and different art.  The menu is familiar, or better stated as familiarly written.  Since the central idea is to provide cuisine that is instantly recognizable by the locals.  Where as OSG and Bistro tried to offer something complete new, Ox provides things that everyone recognizes, or at least has names and descriptions that everyone recognizes.  Ox word smiths each plate name and description so as to not scare anyone away.  Human beings, myself included, tend to fear the unfamiliar.  How many of you have steered clear of restaurants in foreign countries just because you didn't recognize anything in writing?  I bet just about all of you have, if not as adults at least as children.  Well, here's the realty of our area, it's full of old people, and old people like the familiar.  The founders of Ox seem to have a better sense for their predominate customer base and have marketed themselves accordingly.  Some will argue that some of Ox's dishes have "fancy" proper names elsewhere and the menu is portraying it as something else.  Like it's false advertising.  So what?  They're not selling drugs they're selling food.  What Ox is doing is good business, and, most importantly, it's working.

I've eaten about 5 times at Ox.  Every night I've gone it's been packed, which is terrific.  Unfortunately for me it's not my kind of crowd.  Good people, just not my kind of people, which are, you know weird and damaged.  No, Ox folks (Oxen?) are mainstream people who are not as weird but more damaged... but we can debate this later.  I didn't care for the food at Ox. Don't get me wrong, it's good, it was just inconsistent and not up to the quality I was expecting.  You should NOT read this as food at Ox is bad.  You should read this as Marcus didn't like the food at Ox. You should go yourself and check it out.  The way I figure, that place is packed.... so the odds are it must be my palate.  In the overall scheme of things I'd rather have a packed place that is not to my palate than no place at all, because it benefits the neighborhood and that's more important than my individual needs.  Luckily, I have Turbine...


(Next time, new entry: "Turbine")

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Slow is Contagious

Looks like I've caught Mayo-itis. It's taken me forever to update this blog. This will be a brief, and I apologize for any grammar and spelling errors. It's been a while since I've written in real English.


Keith Building

The Keith Building is transitioning control of the condominium to our board of trustees. We've chosen Harvest as our building manager. Looks like things will work much smoother once Harvest is managing our daily activities. Mayo is still bound to address our outstanding punch-list and warranty items, which I still have two, but they will no longer care for the building. This isn't such a bad thing considering Harvest is doing a good job in other buildings in the neighborhood.


Why No Blog for So Long

The short answer is I've been really - really busy. It's hard to blog when you're swamped taking care of your own life. There's been much going on in the neighborhood, but after sitting in front of the computer for 16 hours a day for 7 days straight for 4 months, you'll forgive me for slacking off. I'm definitely out of the groove, but plan on writing more going forward. Considering I haven't written much in months, "writing more" shouldn't be too hard.


State of the Neighborhood

Gulu-Gulu is opening a new place in Salem. This is an expansion not a relocation. The extra revenue stream will benefit both cafes.

Rumor has it that the new owner of what was Oxford St. Grill will open sometime in the immediate future. For all I know it could already be open. I need to walk over there and find out. However, three weeks ago I noticed activity in the place. It'll be nice to have another place to hang after a hard days work.

Tatiana's is a great place to watch games and grab and drink. The bartender I had was great, the food decent, and the prices acceptable. The drink selections are extensive. So if you want to watch a game someplace other than home, head to Tatiana's. As an aside, I knew Norma, the owner, when she was working in the cafeteria of a client of mine. Very astute lady. Lots of energy, and lots of heart.

Seven Central, Mayo's other condo across the street from Keith is almost full. That's good news in that it means more residents. The Mount Vernon St. lofts are also coming along nicely. Regardless of what I think of Mayo, as long as future residents take proper precautions they can make loft ownership less painful than what I endured. Remember, always, always get your own inspector, and also get your own lawyer!

We have a new flower Shop. I forget the name. Something like "Flowers in Bloom of North Shore." The older flower shop is gone. The new one may suffer the same fate if they don't improve their signage and visibility of their products. The store is difficult to see, not very inviting, and seems to sell more balloons than flowers. Running a flower shop is tough. Flowers die quickly, and unless you can unload them in time, you lose money. But, if you don't have flowers to show, who is going to visit to buy. Tough.


Quiet Clubbing

The bar formerly known as Cronin's, now Club Fenix, made some modifications, and it's much quieter now. I added some curtains over the blinds, and that seems to have made a difference as well. So, noise, is once again manageable.


Taco's Lupita

Great food, good price, wish the counter person would smile more, but I'm probably asking for too much. Grab a burrito. It's very tasty, but the hot sauce they gave me has no kick and tastes, well it's actually more tasteless than anything else.


Vietnamese Lighting

Pho Lynn, needs to improve their lighting. It's a big place, a friendly place, but not a homey place. The space and the lighting make it difficult to stay there and linger. Which, if they were really busy, would be a good thing, but it usually isn't that busy. I think some dimmers, and some wall dividers will help. Regardless, their food still Rocks!


Chinese and Hot Dogs in Swampscott

Went to a new Chinese place in Swampscott across from Red Rock Bistro. Can't remember it's name, but it's Something Chinese Bistro. Good food, nice service, and very good price. I recommend it. There is also a Hot Dog place across from RedRock Bistro. I don't remember it's name either; it's probably - Something Hot Dog Bistro.


Earth Day Every Day

I participated in the Central Square Cleanup on Earth Day. I arrived late, naturally, but there was still a good crew cleaning up. It was great. We got a lot done, and I met some great neighbors. We made a noticeable difference, and we got free T Shirts!

It's impressive how many people turned out and what wonderful neighbors we have. Yet another small, but very important, incentive to live here.


Good Neighbors

I was away for two weeks on Holiday. While away my neighbors outside my building actually noticed. Steve of Gulu-Gulu asked "where are you?" To which I replied, "I was in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Disney." To which he replied, "you suck!" To which I responded, "yes I do."

Remember kids, in the social circle of males real friends make fun of you all the time, but most importantly they always pick you up when you're down, hold you up high when you've earned it, and carry you when you can't stand on your own. Occasionally they'll drop you to make sure you're not faking. If they don't make fun of you, they don't really give a damn about you. Just remember to always return the favor. I've found the word "turd" to be especially useful - mild yet effective.

That is all I have to report. Until next time - remember, get an inspector, get a lawyer, no glove no love, and yes you really do want resident parking.

Marcus

Sunday, December 10, 2006

As Slow as Mayo

I, am, of course, speaking of Mayo Group. It's now a year and a half since I purchased my condo from the Mayo Group. Since the city council meeting of Feb. 14 2006 they've taken action to fix all the problems we have with our building. That's the good news. The bad news is that Mayo Group have yet to fix our problems completely. They economize too much. I realize that you have to trim here and there in order for a business to survive, but you know what, we're talking about peoples homes here. Do they think we're not going to notice? They brought in a company to repair the front facing brick. Great. They caulked the rear windows. Great. But they failed to caulk the South facing windows. NONE of them have caulk around them. So, on Dec. 1st, the last great rain storm, I had water raining into my apartment through leaks in the windows. So did the front facing units. In other words, we still have water problems.

In addition, I still have banging pipes in my walls from the intake and exhaust pipes in unit 2C. They opened up the wall try to fix the problem, but their solution was to jam wood into the space in order to brace the piping. I pointed out that the pipe bounced from front to back not side to side, but it's the only solution they could think of. So, I let them try it. Well, it didn't work. So, I'm getting very little sleep at night and I'm very grouchy about the whole thing.

The entire building is very upset with the situation. It's taken over a year to remedy something that should have taken at most a month if it had Mayo's full attention. I guess maintaining a good reputation is not something Mayo is interested in. Their current reputation is that of being a slum-lord. I guess I should stop expecting such a company to aspire to be more. To be great. Instead, it appears the owner is content on being rich, but mediocre. And I do blame the owner, John Mc-Grail for all these problems. It's his company. So, he is ultimately responsible. It doesn't matter if his underlings are causing all the problems, because he is at the top. He is the one with the final decision, and as the owner it is a direct reflection on his ability to lead. The culture within his company is directly a result of his decisions and his involvement, or lack of. The company just can't seem to do anything to completion well. I'm sure he knows this, but why can't he fix it? Or does he even really want to try? Probably too busy trying to make a quick buck in Texas to pay attention to what's happening back home.

Oh, but wait, his home is actually Ireland. He's not American, so why would he care? I actually protected my country. What has he done? What has he done to set himself apart as a man? Make money? Drug lords make tons of money. So do arms dealers. Money keeps mixed company, and money doesn't make a man. A man is defined by his reputation, which is earned. So, what reputation has McGrail earned? It's not too late to change. I find it interesting that he has never come here to see for himself what we are dealing with. It's not that severe. It's easy to fix. But it takes a willingness to do it. To do the right thing.

If you need someone else's two-cents, check out the comments from the last post. There you will see a resident of the 7 Central Condominiums across the street also complain about Mayo's inability address their buildings issues. Most unfortunate. You would think Mayo would have learned from our building - instead it appears they do not have the ability to learn from past mistakes.

Speaking of which: we were dealing with a Mayo Group manager named Dennis Burke. Dennis has great people skills. For the most part, he put us at ease and things did get addressed. What's been accomplished so far is his doing. Incredible when you consider how difficult it must be to get resources from the company. Unfortunately, Dennis Burke is no longer with Mayo Group. I can only guess as to why, but I suspect it has something to do with jealousy and lack of appreciation from within the company. I wonder if others in the company felt threatened by the fact that he can actually get things done. Lazy asses fear nothing more than someone who's mere presence highlights their own inadequacies, but this is all speculation on my part. What's important is Dennis is gone, along with all the knowledge he had of our situation. This means Mayo is again clueless about what needs to be done here, and they'll send someone else that we'll have to educate. When a company is unable to recognize good people, unwilling to retain good people, it says a great deal about how inadequate the company environment is as a whole. They can blame "growing pains" only for so long.

I think I'll have a chat with the folks of 7 Central and maybe help them draw up a list of issues, and tips on how to get organized. I suspect they'll need it, unfortunately. Maybe we can help them avoid limping along in the slow lane with Mayo in tow.

However, to be fare, because you know how important that is to me - Mayo did successfully fix the roof leak in my closet.

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Lofts = New People

Ok, ok, ok.... I've been gone for a while, but now that I'm much better and working mostly from home I have plenty of time to keep you updated on the happenings of Central Square Lynn.

Development Continues

The Mayo Group is actively working on the Mt. Vernon St. artists lofts. They've torn out the old windows and appear to be in the process of gutting the building; thus, prepping it for its new life to come in the following months. It'll be nice to see what they develop. Now we all know I'm not enamored with Mayo, but I give credit where credit is due. They've contributed heavily to the revitalization of downtown. The Mt. Vernon St. lofts, as rumor has it, are meant to be sold to people who are in the arts industry. I have no idea what qualifies. It'll be interesting to see if this qualification holds. None-the-less, the more new home owners the better. You should see the bustle in downtown. Very active. Dunkin-D, FlavaZ (flayvuzz), Gulu, and Lupita are hopping! All the people are so nice around here too. Cars actually stop to let you cross the street, even when there is no crosswalk. How often do you see that in Boston?

The lofts at 7 Central Square are selling. A bit slowly, but they are selling. The model unit does a good job of conveying the possibilities, and having met one of the new residents I'm pleased to see the mix of people is, well, very well mixed. Nice.

And let's not forget RCG. Word has it RCG is working to convert another quasi-industrial building in Lynn to mixed use. This building, however, is in Western Lynn.

Rumor has it that the old stationary building next to Raw Arts is going condo soon. The biggest obstacle is the building needs an easment in order to have the land to put a second means of egress for the building. Behind this building is a latino "church." One of many (4) within a block of Central Square, I must add. Anyway, the church sits on the land. The church wanted a "donation." Something like 20k for the easment. That's right $20,000. I didn't know God was in such need. Anyway, there may be some progress. If not, the Church may be in such a state some other means of obtaining approval could be possible - oh like, eminent domain. "Give what is God's to God, give what is Caesar's to Caesar." Time will tell.

Anyone know what's up with the waterfront project? That barge is still sitting there. Leaning. Like something out of Planet of the Apes. Where's Charleston... and the hot babe? No, we don't need the horse or the monkeys.

Oxford Blues

Oxford is going downhill and in a hurry I am sadden to say. After the chef that lead it to earn the Best of Boston North Shore award left, yes he left, the place hasn't been quite the same. They ditched the nice white table-cloths. WTF!? Those table-clothes are key. Details, details, details. The place was sooooo nice. Now it feels unfinished and, well, awkward. The table cloths need t0 come back. If the issue is the price of laundering those cloths, how about doing what other high end places do... put sheets of white paper tastefully over the clothes. That should cut down on the laundry runs while preserving the sophisticated atmosphere it had. We have enough pubs and diners. We need a nice place to relax. A beautiful relaxing place with great food, great service, and attention to details, details, details! Otherwise Oxford is just another diner with a nice facade and cool lighting.

Speaking of food. Oxford's food isn't so great. I am unimpressed with the new chef Pierre's, yes that's his name, cuisine and presentation. The ribs were sour, the steak waaaaaaaay thin and not very tasteful. Picture this - 8 oz steak about 1/4 inch thick sitting in the center of a round plate with dreary looking carrot slices and soggy green beans lying parallel to it. Not very pretty, and, unfortunately, not very tasty either. Sad. Hopefully Lowel will get his good taste back in order. I heard the reason for the change in ambiance was because Lowel felt the place might not be warm, inviting, and approachable. You know, like a pub. Please! It's a nice sophisticated eatery. What's really going on? Maybe it's just an identity crisis. You tell me.

Soak Test

Starting late tonight we have a whopper of a rainstorm coming in. This will be the first stress test of the Keith Building's newly renovated forward facade, and roof leak fix. Please cross your fingers. I just moved all my clothes back into my newly restored walk-in closet. I'm feeling optimistic, and think all will be well.... Right, forget the optimism, I should move all the clothes out asap.

What Else?

We have a new business in the hood! Welcome Flag Pharmacy! Nice little place. If they don't have it they will get it for you next day. So convenient, so nice, and so local. The owner speaks Russian. For those of you not in the know, we have a large Russian population here in Lynn. Great people. Lots of fun.

I just noticed there is a Tailor around the corner from the Gulu. Fantastic! I have a pair of pants that need to be hemmed. I guess I should test the tailor out with a pair that isn't pricey. Maybe some repair work first. A good tailor is so hard to find.

I love Beden's Hardware. The place doesn't look very organized, but they have just about everything you need. I got my air filters and masonry drill bits there. So convenient. Now if I can only get a wine shop to move in. I am optimistic!

How I Miss The Silence

Cronin's is now the Fenix Latino bar. It's a club. I hear the music all the time. I call the police, the police call the Febux, the music goes down, and goes back up again, I call the police, the police maybe calls them... sigh... I just want a quiet nights sleep. All they need is to put in some sound proofing. How do you say sound proofing in Spanish?


That is all. Have a great weekend and stay dry. If we have any building drama you'll see it first right here!

Right, this set was lame. I'll do better next time.