Saturday, December 19, 2009

They're Talking About Lynn - What have we learned?

I was in Barnes and Noble the other day and couldn't resist buying a Lynn book from the "Images of America" series. If I was thinking, I would have held off and bought it over at the Lynn Museum. Great gifts over there for any Lynners with last minute christmas shopping to do.

The book got me thinking about the series we've been running on this blog, They're Talking About Lynn. It's really fun to talk about this town and its' rich history. The Downtown is remembered so fondly by all who were a part of it from the 1800s to about 1980. I believe we're starting to build fond memories again of this area thanks to the revitalization efforts of the past 5 years.

So what have we learned?

I've been picking up on a few common threads.

#1 A reason to hang out! The Blue Ox has been the most compelling reason to get people from Ward One and Ward Seven over here. RAW Arts seems to do the best job at getting folks from those Wards as well as Lynnfield, Marblehead, and Swampscott. It's great that they do their fundraisers right in the heart of Central Square. The recent added event at Zimman's was also brilliant. I'm sure 70% of that crowd was floored at the fact that we had a store like that in Downtown Lynn.  So, how do we give people more of a reason to come down and hang out here?

#2 Food, glorious food.... All night cafeterias, the smell of fresh chocolate being made, the smell of cooking rotisserie chicken. The Blue Ox, Pho Lynn, and Tatiana's are probably the most popular reasons to eat downtown. We need more to get a critical mass of people flooding here every night to eat.  A friend of mine is a big wig at the 99. He used to always tell me, that they would watch for where everyone else was flooding. You actually want an Applebees and a Chilis right next door. It's good for everyone if there are options. Just get the cars and people coming in to the area, then worry about competing against each other for their business.  The demand is still there.  I heard you have to get booked 2-4 weeks in advance at The Blue Ox now for a reservation during a popular weekend slot.  This blog gets more searches for Turbine Wine Bar then any other term since the election. People want more things to open. They want more of a reason to come downtown. The Felix Discotec is one of the most popular bars I've seen down here in a long time. Every weekend it's completely packed. Not my speed, but I'm glad business is doing so well for them.    So, what should be next to open? Doesn't need to be a sit down restaurant. There is a lack of reasons to come here for lunch as well. Big Belly's was awesome, but not enough business, I guess, to stay open. Are you hungry? What are you craving?

#3 Entertainment - We have the renovated Lynn Auditorium now. I think with some more energy and focus you could book a lot more there now with the North Shore Music Theatre closed.  The problem is no one can fill 2,200 seats. We still are lacking a medium sized venue. We need a 500-900 seat theatre for touring comedians, small music acts, and a regional professional theatre.  This venue could also show art films, films from the RAW kids, etc. Maybe it's a venue that connects the Museum to the Lynn Arts building. How about even an outdoor amphitheater for summer acts.  We could build one of those over by the Lynnway looking out on the skyline of Boston. What do you do for entertinment at night? It's not about movie theatres anymore. So, what is it about?

Some of these are ideas I've shared with you before. Some are new. But, honestly, who cares what I think? I want to know what you think?



  1. Downtown Lynn needs new businesses that know exactly why they have chosen Lynn. They each need to have a vision of what they feel they can create in a city like Lynn and succeed. They can't come expecting other businesses to keep them affloat. Their idea needs to keep them afloat. The Blue Ox has proven this already. How about an Indian restuarant? I see woman in saris in Lynn, so there appears to be an Indian population in town. I bet that kind of resturant would flourish. Personally, I come to Lynn for it's ethnic restuarants. How cool if there was a bar like the Middle East in Cambridge. It would be great if it catered to world, rock, folk and jazz music. Lynn is a cool city. I know the right businesses can definitely thrive if they are realistic with their vision of what they are and who they want to cater to. Lynn will never be another Salem, but it can surely continue to grow and evolve as a unique city with a very unique spirit!!


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