Friday, July 21, 2006

The Sloan Machine Speaks, Masons Appear and Other Musings

Sloan Machinery Lofts Speaks Out

The residents of Sloan Machinery Lofts are having their voices heard in an effort to influence the development of their neighborhood for the better. At issue is the development of a convenience store in place of the current towing service / car lot. According to the article Sloan Machine doesn't like the idea of having a convenience store next to them. My question is - why? If it's a nice convenience store, why not? I haven't walked down that way in a while. According to the article the resistance is because there are already several convenience stores nearby. I do recall seeing some, but they are small mom-and-pop shops catering to the tastes of locals of a different style than residents of Sloan Machine. However, with that said, it seems unlikely Tedeshi will produce something more appealing unless they listen to Sloan Machine. This is actually an opportunity for Sloan Machine to influence the development of a convenience store that can serve as a model for others. The article from The Daily Item follows:

LYNN -- The City Council tabled a petition to open a Tedeshi Food Shop and take-out business at 585 Essex St. Tuesday night so that neighbors can have the opportunity to air concerns about building a convenience store in an already congested area.
Petitioner Michael McLaughlin agreed to meet with abutters of Sloan Machine Lofts next Tuesday at City Hall after a considerable number of people from that condo association turned up at the hearing to speak against the project.
"We're happy to address the concerns of the neighbors," said attorney George Demakis who represents McLaughlin.
The site of the proposed convenience store is currently home to Bill Woods Towing Service.
McLaughlin is in negotiations to purchase the property from Woods and build a 16,000 square-foot convenience store. Because the site is already zoned for this type of business, Tuesday's hearing was for a special permit to build a take-out business inside the store, like a Dunking Donuts or Subway.
"This is a very important site for the resurgence of Lynn. It's a vast improvement over the current use and that's no disrespect to Bill Woods," Demakis said.
McLaughlin does not intend to have seating inside the store or a drive-through as part of his plan.
Hours of business will be between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m.Thirteen spaces are required, but Demakis said they intend to allow for 17 spaces.
A meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. next Tuesday at City Hall to address concerns of neighbors.
Because the issue was tabled, only one abutter against the project chose to speak at the hearing.
"I feel strongly that the placement of another convenience store would be a grave error," said Warren Sadow

Real Masons

I received confirmation from unit 4A in the front of the building that in-deed there are real masons doing real work on the front of the building. 4A should know since they've been hanging outside their windows for the last couple of weeks. Also, I noticed all the red dust, remnants of old brick work, scattered all over the sidewalk in front of the building. Progress at last!! Can't wait to see what they screw up! Uh, did I just say that? Why yes I did! Can you blame me?

A 24 Hour Mac Donalds

The Mac Donald’s on the Lynnway has on their signage that they are open 24 hours on certain days. Yay, now I finally have a place to grab a bite to eat late-night... now I just need a good place to vomit afterward. And NO, just because others vomit in the elevator does not mean I feel compelled to do it too. A man must have standards.

Farmer's Market

The Farmer's market has changed their hours to be open fron noon to 7-ish. I think this is a very smart move on their part. I for one always lamented missing the market. With the prior hours it was closed on the way to and from work. Now commuters can actually stop by on the way home and buy fresh stuff for dinner! Fantastic! If only I could get home before 7! Commuting by car sucks.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had the farmers market as a permanent fixture in one of the old buildings Downtown? Something multi-floor, multi-ethnic, multi-food... not just veggies but all kinds of locally produced stuff, and most definitely a fish monger. Lobster, Lobster, Lobster. Something along the lines of Pikes Place Market in Seattle. We are an ocean town after all. That's what I love about Lynn. It's location, old architecture, and eclectic collection of people provide tremendous opportunities to build something great, enduring, useful, and different. Add some motivated people, some cash, heavy dose of city-council help, and the mind of someone with vision and good taste - stir, bake at 400F for 5 years, and insert toothpick to check for doneness... Make sure you use an air-bake pan.

Indian Food

Is there an Indian restaurant nearby? I don't recall seeing one and I was really jonesing for lamb vindaloo the other day.

Gulu-Gulu Alfresco

No, I have no problems with Gulu-Gulu being in my building, but if they were able to relocate to the other side of the block where Big Scoops once stood they could have outdoor seating. Wouldn't that be great! Sip your double-shot-skinny-late as you bask in the autumn sun, read the paper, and listen to the harmonica guy that walks the block now and then. If you look at the width of the sidewalk at that location you'll see it's perfect for outdoor cafe tables. In the process of moving they can also plan their lighting better. Let's be honest, the lighting at Gulu needs some work. The fixtures are cool, and the light is better than functional - however, it appears no one really put in a lighting plan. Consequently it's difficult to feel cozy in the place. Turning down the lights helps, but instead of cozy, it feels cramped and sleepy. Ever notice how much better it feels when they have the fire-place video playing on the wall? It's not just the fire; it's the extra bit of dynamic spot-lighting it provides. Think about it the next time you're in the place. Some table lamps in strategic locations would help.

Resident Parking Only

I want resident Parking Only from 6PM-8AM. I want those large elevated crosswalk/speed bump combos. I want parking spaces lined diagonally in front of the building with curb extensions to bracket the parking spaces. And I want an Aston Martin V8 Vantage to park in one of those spaces. I believe the Aston martin will be the only thing to actually materialize, but I can dream.

Hardware Store

You know, I wish the hardware store had better weekend hours. I guess business is probably slow, but I wonder if it would improve if they better fitted their hours to those of existing residents, and advertised with flyers that they exist - the store not the residents, but the residentds do exist too. I'm one of them. A resident.


A wine and cheese store would be really nice.... and a BBQ place.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Neighbors and Other Musings

7 Central Condominiums is starting to sell. There have been 3 closings already and rumor has it there are 7 more on the horizon, so at best 3 more. This is good news! More new neighbors to juice up the block. I hope they're nice. I hope the guy who bought 202 has ear-plugs for the train. How much do you want to bet he's going to try to rent it?

More Power Tools
I picked up a great little power-tool the other day. The Bosch 10.8 V. drill-driver. It's the size of a small ray-gun but packs a tremendous amount of power for its size. It has a variable speed trigger, 10 position clutch, speed chuck, work light, and 80 in/lbs of torque. It uses Lithium ion batteries - so it's lite-lite-lite. Two batteries come with the driver, take 30 minutes to charge, and hold their charge for nearly a year. Once home I promptly disassembled everything within reach that had a screw - except for the fridge (don't want to jeopardize the beer). Don't ask about assembly. The tool is compact, powerful, and handles like a dream. It's cute too. Can't wait to actually do something useful with it. Highly recommended.

Flower Store
Do people actually buy flowers from the Flower Shop here? When I look inside I barely see any flowers. It's sad when the Whole Foods has more flowers than the flowershop. The place seems geared towards fulfilling wedding orders, but I'm amazed that they can get any business at all. The store front definitely needs some work. I suspect their business would improve if they actually put some flowers out on the store front for passersby to see. Like people coming home from work. Some stepped benches in front of the store adorned with fresh flowers and plants would probably boost daily sales a bit since flowers and plants are quite often impulse buys. I would certainly grab some every week as I walk buy from train to home.

Video Store
The Russian Video store is gone, but it was only a matter of time. I mean think of the turn-over the place would need in order to just make rent. I still think a video store can succeed in Central Square, but it has to be mainstream in order to generate adequate sales. Obviously it should carry art films and such, but realistically it will survive on mainstream movies. The place must also be small and efficient with space. I think it's doable, but I could be wrong. There just needs to be an a business person to crank out the numbers and take the plunge.

Fishing Disaster
Has anyone else noticed all the fisherman, mostly Latino and Asian, tossing away skates and stingrays to die on the rocks? They catch them with their lines but apparently these fish are not desirable. So instead of releasing them back into the water they essentially leave them to bake in the sun. Do they realize how tasty they are!!!??? Skates and stingrays are of the same family as sharks. Consequently they are delicious. Their meat is similar to, get this, scallops. So much so imitation scallop meat is quite often really shark, skate, or stingray. All that yummy food gone to waste. Remember kids - the ignorant destroy.

Hooks Under the Bar
Ladies, in case you didn't already know the bar at the Oxford Grill has hooks for coats and purses under the bar. I discovered these to my great delight Saturday night. Very convenient. Why don't all bars do this? And no, I don't carry a purse... but I do have a man-bag.

Ghosts of Masons

We now have scaffolding up around the front of our building. I heard some voices this morning near the roof hatch and definitely activity on the roof. So when I left my house this morning I was surprised to see.... absolutely nothing. To Mayo Groups credit there is finally someone at our building to repair the porous brick of our exterior walls. It's good to see something finally happening after over a year of enduring water intrusion. However, I am a bit perplexed. Except for the occasional sound of people I've seen no-one on the scaffolding, and honestly I have no idea what they are doing. Which, of course, leads me to believe - they are doing absolutely nothing. I was out there at nearly 10 a.m. the other day and there was no one on the roof, no one on the scaffold, and it was a beautiful sunny day. Is anything going on? Have any of you actually seen activity?

On a sad note, this construction is affecting Gulu-Gulu business. It's in the same location people. It has the same great food, same great beer, and same great people - minus Nika. And when you consider there appears to be no work actually taking place - obviously there is no noise. So, come-on! Grab a sandwich! And be sure to be nice to Jack who now has competition on his home turf.