Thursday, January 12, 2006

All The Basics

There was a recent article in the Globe about Jamaica Plain and how its center is a bit disfunctional because it is lacking basic services. Basic services by this definition is easy pedestrian access to public transportation, groceries, and common services such as laundry, dry cleaner, post office, and pharmacy. You shouldn't have to walk 20 minutes to buy some eggs, although the walk will do you good. This article got me thinking about what we're missing in Central Square. My answer is - not much, really. Don't get me wrong, I want more interesting shops in the square, but all the basics are a 10 minute leisurely walk at most. The Shaws is the furthest away and I bet I can walk there in 5 minutes at a brisk pace. Right next to it is the dry cleaner and Bank of America. Across the parking lot is a European/Russian grocer, Radio Shack, and another bank. Everything is essentially within 3 blocks. Blocks heading northeast are smaller than those going southwest. Here's a short list of what's within 3 blocks of Central Square :

"b" means block

Absolute Must Haves (plug)

  • Live Music - Gulu-Gulu - less than 1b
  • Cafe - Gulu-Gulu - less than 1b
  • Euro Pub - Gulu-Gulu - less than 1b

Must Haves

  • Train - it's in Central Square
  • Shaws and Osco Pharmacy - 3b
  • Dry Cleaners - next to Shaws - 3b
  • Laundry - 3b
  • Post office - 1b
  • Police Station HQ - 2b
  • Bank - we have 4 - Sovreign 2b, Eastern 2b, Bank of America 3b, local bank 2b
  • Medical Clinic, 2b

Nice to Haves

  • Dunkin Donuts - the donut racks are in, so should be done soon - 1b
  • Convenience store - we have 2 - 1b
  • Barber Shop - I lost count 1b
  • Hardware Store - 1b
  • Video Store - Russian Video Store (I forget the name) - less than 1b
  • Music Store - there are 2, 1 latin, one used music - 1b
  • Deli - I saw 2, there are probably more - 2b
  • Fast Food - Tacos Lupita, Latin - 1b
  • Bakery - Petite Bakery - 1b
  • Asian Food - Pho Lynn - 1b
  • Upscale Eatery - Oxford Grill - 2b
  • Pubs, Sports Bar - several - 1b to 3b
  • College, North Shore CC - 2b
  • Diner, Capitol Diner - less than 1b

Places Of Interest

  • Raw Arts - - less than 1b
  • Lynn Arts - 1b
  • Zimmans - a sea of fabric and also some furniture
  • Beach - 6b

Useful Places Within 1 Mile

  • UHaul
  • KFC
  • Walmart
  • Several Furniture Stores ( a few within 3b)
  • McDonalds
  • Stop and Shop

Useful Places Within 3 Miles

  • Whole Foods - 2.5 miles, also a nice liquor store next to it
  • Trader Joes - 2.5 miles, near Whole Foods
  • TJ Maxx - 2.5 miles, near Whole Foods

Useful Places Within 4 Miles

  • Target
  • Home Depot

As you can see, there is a lot here. The store fronts aren't glamorous, but that will change over time. So, this leaves the question of what does Central Square need. Well, something I would most certainly like to see is a nice little Wine shop. Not a liquor store, but a wine shop. Someplace small and cozy with a modest but complete collection. A little whole foods like grocer would be great. I'd also like to see the Russian video store expand its collection into mainstream choices, otherwise NetFlix and I are to be good buds for the forceable future.

Open your eyes and you will clearly see that change has a firm grasp on Central Square. A casual glance will merely pan this place. A hard look, however, reveals excitement. Blues Cabaret playing live at Gulu tonight! See you there!

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