Monday, July 12, 2010

They're Talking About Lynn - 2010 - We Can All Learn Something from a Newbie!

The individual moved here exactly 7 days ago and asked to remain anonymous for this post. There is a lot of great stuff in what anon was willing to share with If we are truthfully ever going to get our number from the 200s to the 500s, we need to listen! So, read the post, and then leave a comment. What did you learn?

-------- Guest Post from Anon DTLer -----------

Week one in this place

Howdy folks. I’m new to these parts, and this morning Corey invited me to take a stab at a guest post giving some first impressions of Lynn. It was such a welcoming gesture that I'll try not to wonder why anyone would read it. Between the heat wave and all of the stuff that needs doing, I’ve stuck pretty close to home for the week off before starting work. So I reckon the best I can do is natter on a bit about downtown. Still, it’s an outsider’s perspective, and that could potentially be handy/sobering/comically dumb, so why not.

I moved here from Los Angeles seven days ago, and as you know, LA is stupid big. So it's a transition in several ways, and it isn't even winter yet. The five or six Lynners with whom I’ve chatted face-to-face so far (one was actually a Revere Beacher) have all blurted out the same follow-up after inquiring into my origins. “Why’d you move to Lynn?” (their emphasis) I'll try to answer that below.

A big impression given by downtown Lynn is, in a word, closed. Everything, all the time shut - or so it looked at first. I did fly in on the 4th of July, so there’s that. But several restaurants, bars and shops seem to have unique hours of operation. Several also don’t post their hours on the windows, so I guess I’ll make a chart for those and gradually fill it in with empirical data. It seems odd that the farmer's market isn't held on Sundays. I've never seen one on Thursdays before, and that counts me out.

I wonder what needs to come first - the people on the streets, or the draw? More businesses and better hours will attract more people to Lynn, visitors and new residents alike. But do the people need to already be here in droves for new places to open and survive? I’m no student of business, so I don’t envy anyone with a new storefront, a broom and a song in their heart for the decisions they might face here. But then again, there’s no small number of lofts/condos downtown that are full of residents, plus all of the split houses and whatnot a little farther out. Open up, and they'll come out? I don't know. All I know is I can't grab me some pho if it ain't open.

Turbine, thank you for being there. I’ll return the favor by drinking your wine.

Little Gallery Under the Stairs, it's great to find a serious gallery here. Not so much in terms of the physical space – It’s tiny, with a low ceiling, limiting what you can show. But TLGUTS is checked in. If the Xiaowei Chen show is any indication of what to expect in the future, I think your calendar would do well in any major city. It’ll make me that much less homesick for the bright lights of elsewhere.

Bloggers, I’m reading all of your stuff (I think), and I already appreciate what you’re doing. Not just online, but mainly in your local activism. From getting your hands dirty with downtown issues to standing up in defense of wetlands that no one has any damn business threatening, it’s all important and inspiring. It makes me want to cause some trouble too.

I just realized that these comments are from living here a week. I should get around to my actual first impression, which resulted in a move to the City of Sin instead of Boston where the job is.

For starters, I was simply in the mood for an affordable factory loft. And I guess you have no shortage of those here. Pretty silly, but there it is.

Once I parked downtown and got out, I was charmed. I mean look at this architecture. It's easy to tune stuff like that out after a long while, but I'm telling you, it's an intensely handsome city. It would be a crime for any more of these old buildings get knocked down to build something new. Any new building that goes up should rhyme thoughtfully with your architectural history. I think All Care VNA ought to take a serious look at Heart of Lynn’s collaborative proposal for the Market Street site next to the parking garage.

My first restaurant sighting was Capitol Diner, and it put a grin on my face. And, I'll admit, it was open for business. I promptly ate some of their food and handed them some of my money.

I actually thought downtown looked kind of clean relative to where I lived. I remember thinking that. I know there's a real issue with trash here, especially in the winter. That was just my impression coming from a dirty, dirty place.

You had a train stop. Despite the big ugly garage, that's a good thing. I'm looking forward to commuting on it come Monday morning.

Lynn seemed cosmopolitan for a place this size. That reinforced that it’s a proper town, and not some distant suburb of Boston. A higher number of cultural influences is more squashed together in a smaller space here than we'd be in a metropolis. It complicates and enriches the overall local culture, and makes for some good variety of food just a short walk away.

Then there was the beach, and that crazy ribbon of the Lynn Shore Reserve. What a nice place to wheeze painfully for breath as I take up exercise again.

And that's just a bit of it. I haven't even seen the rest of town yet, or outlying areas. I'm picturing parks, old shacks, wild meadows, lakes... Do you have farmers selling boiled peanuts on the side of the road up here, or is that just a southern thing? I can’t wait to run around in Lynn Woods, and start exploring the big cluster of forest reserves to the north.

Speaking of woods and boiled peanuts, I suppose it didn’t hurt when choosing Lynn that I was raised in a swampy little Florida city about this size. Not relevant to anything going on here, but it was a factor.

So after signing a lease, I started doing a little research. I know – one should do that before signing anything, but whatever. I had a lot on my mind. I see that the city has been through some tough times, and is having some growing pains. But at least it sounds like it's growing. I’m a sucker for an underdog, and Lynn’s apparent reputation in this region just makes me want to root for it. Yeah, it’s scarred, lonesome, odd and sort of sleepy; but aren't we all. And it’s also beautiful. What’s not to love?

Who knows what I’ll think when my lease runs out, but I’m not worried. If I make a few friends along the way, that could seal the deal for a good long time.


Thank you Anon for sharing this with Sorry, no boiled peanuts out on the roads of Lynn, MA. At least, not that I've found...  Love the final points on underdog and rooting for something. Many of us are here for the creation of it all. Thanks for joining us.

Welcome to Lynn...The City Of Sin (you'll get yelled at for calling it this from some of the old timers... don't let it bother you, we embrace it!)


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