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Friday, April 30, 2010

Anyone have $300,000?

Zee Mah has sent the listing. 9,000 sq ft. 5 floors. Mixed use. Needs complete rehab thus the bargain price. Imagine with me for a moment a day when we have a beautiful card/paper/office supply/copy shop on the first floor, 1 or 2 floors of office space with residential on floors 4 and/or 5. Hell..... throw on a roof deck and you have the best building in all of Downtown Lynn.

I'm trying to find out what the price tag is on the repairs needed. The building says it's in need of a full rehab and is being sold as-is. Anyone have any idea of the ballpark for rehabs of this kind?

-Corey

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Red X = Collapsing Ceilings, Floors, and Plaster

Lynn Fire Department Deputy Macdonald filled me in on the Red X today when I called over to the LFD business office.



Zee Mah? Fix your roof. During all the rain storms of the past month, the Fire Department took a little check in to the old Arnold's Stationary building. Apparently the water from the storm was appearing in the basement without too much trouble as it came straight through the roof, down through each floor, and in to the basement.  That's a lot of neglect. It appears to be a five floor (or four with an attic) building.

The Fire Department has put the Red X up as a warning to Fire Fighters that the building is unsafe and to watch and be aware that plaster, ceilings, and roofs might be collapsing on top of them.   The Deputy Chief informed me that this presents no more danger to the buildings connected to it. If the Red X was there or not, we'd be in the same amount of danger. It's simply for informational purposes for our firefighters in the Lynn Fire Department.   That makes me feel a little better, but I still would rather the fire department be able to go inside safely if anything were to happen. We shouldn't allow our out-of-town landlords to cause our men and women in uniform unnecessary harm.

Jamie Marsh and ISD are on this like wildfire. I really continue to be impressed by Mr. Marsh and his commitment to doing the right thing for the downtowners. I'm told Zee Mah is coming to town. Maybe we should through him a parade? It's probably the first time he's been in Lynn in 5 years. Brendan Crighton has also promised his support in getting this space cleaned up.  I look forward to a better visual through the first floor windows by next week. It's such a cool space. If you look inside, there is a great staircase at the back of the floor. Curtains, or painting the glass white (like Mayo does) is not a great answer. Let us see inside these amazing historic spaces. Set it up like a show room to entice people to want their office to be there. Put a freaking FOR SALE sign up somewhere. Maybe, then, someone might know it's for sale? God forbid, someone might want to buy it? Gee, what a concept!!!

Still waiting for Zee Mah to send me the details on what the building is all about and what he's looking at for a price tag. Doesn't seem to want to sell the property at all from my perspective or maybe Phil got to Zee first and told him not to sell me anything. 


Demolish Order - Temporarily On Hold - We'll see if he pulls through next week.

We need to try Donut City!

Took a blogger from Stoneham to clue me in to a new spot in Lynn at the corner of Chestnut and Rt 107. It used to be called Java Brewin, but I guess that didn't survive. Check it out, next time you are on 107 and thank this blogger for supporting our fine Lynn eateries by commenting on the story below.. 

http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/2010/04/donut-city-recently-opened.html

-Corey

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mah Zee, Do You Sell Trash Bags in Your Stationary Store?



Oh wait... it's not a stationary store. As a matter of fact, it hasn't been anything for the entire four years I've lived here. Turns out the owner, Mah Zee, has no real interest in doing anything with this property.  Mah Zee runs a "business" called Boston Peak Real Estate. Give him a call sometime and ask for details on the property. I did. He said he'd send me information on the property about two weeks ago. Tick Tock, Mah? Mah? Mr Zee?


Boston Peak Real Estate Inc

maps.google.com
36 Wycliff Avenue
West Roxbury, MA 02132-4919
(617) 278-1818


He had it on the market a few years ago when no one was here. Hey Mah? We're ready now! Everything else on the street is full! Your property is a disgrace.  At least clean up the storefront to make it appealing to a potential buyer. Oh wait, you probably are too scared to go inside. Is that it?



Anyone know what the RED X means? I do. The Fire Department puts these on buildings which are UNSAFE TO FIGHT FIRES FROM THE INSIDE. So, the building in between one building where kids learn karate, and another building where kids learn to paint, could burn down to the ground and all our Lynn Fire Department is allowed to do is throw water on it from the outside. 

I'm asking Brendan Crighton to place a demolish order on this building with the hopes that this will spring our absentee owner from West Roxbury into action!!! Will our City Council stand behind us this time? I certainly hope so!!!



-Corey

Friday, April 23, 2010

Live Music at Turbine Wine Bar tonight

Come to Central Square enjoy a bottle or five and listen to some great acoustic music while hanging out with the Central Square crowd.


Go to http://www.turbinewinebar.com for more information

-Corey

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Mexican Food in Lynn, MA is Phenomenal!

I just finished by Chicken Burrito from Tacos Lupita on the corner of Washington and Munroe. Fresh ingredients, pleasant quick service, and great attention to detail. The burrito comes with a side cup of hot sauce. A perfect compliment to an already amazing menu item. It's been a long time since I had Tacos Lupita and it was a great welcome back.  My wife and I just watched the most horrible movie of all time, The Surrogates with Bruce Willis. Tacos Lupita appears in that film during the motorcycle chase. I still do not recommend the movie, but I do recommend the burrito. :-)

On Anita's blog this week, she profiles Casa Molina. This place is a little out of Downtown on Lewis Street. I've heard a few people rave about it now. Perhaps we need a "Taco Showdown" in Central Square.

-Corey

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Love Cambridge

Seems like an odd statement, doesn't it? I mean this is the Downtown Lynn blog, right? Have no fear, you're on the right site. I just love Cambridge. You see, Cambridge is where I work during the day. 

Today, The Mayor and other City department heads are meeting to discuss 6 anonymous individuals who work in Lynn and do not live here (the horror!).  Now, don't get me wrong. The law is the law. If it's proven to be true, then those individuals should be fired or given some reasonable time to move back here. It's in the charter, so it should be upheld.

There are some on one side of this debate, that believe if you don't live here, you obviously don't care enough about the city. I don't buy it. My parents don't live here and they think about Lynn all the time. Read the "They're Talking About Lynn" series. Go on Facebook sometime and join the Former Lynners fan page. Then come back and tell me, that you don't care about Lynn if you don't live here.  Come to think of it, we just made a city council decision based solely (from what I can tell) on the fact that 75 people from Wakefield would be working in Lynn during the day. HOORAY! We gave away a prime retail spot for this decision. I'm sure they will grow to love Lynn. 


So... I really love Cambridge. You look around Kendall Square and it has an identity (High Tech and Biotech). You look around Central Square and it has an identity (retail, dining, and the arts). You look around Harvard square and it has an identity (education, history).  What is Lynn's identity? What do we want to be when we grow up? What is Downtown Lynn's identity?  Recent council decisions would have us looking like Longwood Medical Area. Some of our politicians think we need more dining options. Some think we have too many (ahem!..grr....). Where is our leadership? Who is going to take us to the next level?

We need outside ideas, folks. We need to hire the people that built Lowell back up. We need to bring in the experts who are turning all of Sommerville into GOLD!  Sure, we could hire them all as consultants and get around the charter... or we can save a hell of a lot of money and just bring them in for a longer engagement. And you know what...... We don't need to make them move here first. It's just plain silly!  Come to think of it, everytime we ask for a strategic plan from consultants, we immediately begin ignoring it. We need people with skin in the game. They can live in Lynn or in Bora Bora for all I care, as long as they love their job and do it well.

-Corey

P.S. Lynn, I love you too. Don't you worry! You can care about where you live and where you work. It's funny that way. Don't listen to those jerks who tell you otherwise.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Have I Ever Told You About Fernando's?

Ok... So I guess you can call me obsessed! I've talked about the sandwiches enough. My last few visits to Fernando's have been over breakfast meetings. The last time I was there, I had a veggie omelette. No offense to Rep. Fennel and my beloved Capitol Diner, but Juan once again takes the crown. He just has a way of doing everything....better.  If you do go to Fernando's for breakfast, get the Guatemalan Breakfast. It's the most expensive thing for a REASON. It's the best breakfast I've ever had. Plantains, beans, eggs, tortilla. It's a breakfast to remember and I have remembered...



Juan treats his customers so well and it's starting to show. I was in there during the afternoon recently and it was quite busy. I hope that keeps up.  It looks like they may be holding a block party on Munroe in late May. Stay tuned for more information, but most importantly, go help out Juan and give Fernando's a Try.

23 Munroe Street directly across the street from Pho Lynn.


-Corey

Thursday, April 15, 2010

All Care VNA Site Plan Review

Just got off the phone with Tim Phelan, Your Council President.  Not sure he's mine, but he has one more chance to prove me wrong. This site plan review will come before the ISD. If the ISD is not happy with the design, they could send a letter to the council stating as such. It will then be up to the council to do something about it. I'm hopeful it won't come to that decision point. We all as citizens and residents of Downtown Lynn need to remain engaged in this process. As one resident said at Council, this is our backyard. As many said, this is our Welcome Sign. Both those metaphors should mean something to all of you.  I am hopeful that the architects and Shawn Potter will look to projects like Ashmont Station as opposed to projects from the 70s like NSCC or Eastern Bank.

Take a look at this great use of land sold by the MBTA in Dorchester:
http://transitrealty.com/completed.asp

So, somewhere down the line, the Inspectional Services Division led by Mike Donovan at City Hall will have to perform a site plan review. This will include aesthetics and building design. They can make recommendations to All Care VNA on the design. If All Care VNA, does not follow these recommendations, the council can decide to "take action."  I'm not sure what leg the council has to stand on at this point, but I suppose they could cry foul if Shawn tries to go against his word and put a BOX there.

The City Council Office was ale to provide me with a list of who is involved in this site plan review:

  • ISD
  • Public Works
  • Community Development
  • EDIC
  • Water and Sewer Commission
  • Lynn Police
  • Lynn Fire
  • Any other Department or Board determined by the Planning Department to have an interest in the proposed project 

I wonder if they've ever invited a Neighborhood Association to the table. Now that would give us a sign from the city that we are in this thing together.

Looking forward to seeing this all unfold. If we see another drawing/rendering like the one we saw at the neighborhood meeting we will have to get loud.   I've been told we're too nice.  If we get pushed around on this one, it will be time to get mean. 


-Corey


Artist Swap at Lynn Arts Thursday 4/15 7PM

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lynn's High Rock Tower to be Used on Friday for NASA Research

PRESS RELEASE

April 14, 2010, 6:15 PM
For immediate release

"Lynn's High Rock Observatory in Special Alignment for Asteroid Shadow"

John W. Briggs, an instructor at Dexter & Southfield Schools in Brookline, and Paul D. Maley, an aerospace scientist associated with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, will attempt to measure the diameter of an asteroid named Sappho in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 17th, using the High Rock Park Observatory in Lynn. The asteroid, also known as a minor planet, was discovered by an English astronomer in 1864 and orbits in space between the planets Mars and Jupiter. 

Sappho's diameter is currently estimated to be about 50 miles, making it too small to be seen as a measureable disk by Earth-based telescopes. However, for a few brief seconds Saturday morning, the asteroid will line-up with a much more distant star.  The result is that a shadow of the asteroid, as measured in starlight, is predicted to pass right over Lynn, Nahant, and some surrounding communities.  Among astronomers, the event is called an occultation. 

Maley and Briggs will use a video timing technique to measure the disappearance of the star, which will appear much brighter in the sky than the asteroid itself.  "The occultation is thus like a mini-eclipse," said Briggs, "and we are very grateful that there happens to be an excellent telescope and observatory right in Lynn that we can use to make the recording."  Because the speed of the asteroid is already well known, its diameter can be measured from timing how long the star is covered.  Other nearby observatories, like the Clay Center facility in Brookline where Briggs teaches, are not predicted to be in the shadow path.

"If enough observers collaborate on this event, we get a clear picture of Sappho's silhouette," explained Briggs.  "Each observatory in the shadow path that's able to make a timing will contribute a part of the overall picture."  Mr. Maley has traveled to 235 different countries around the world, generally in pursuit of similar astronomical events. Mr. Briggs traveled to Australia late last year as part of an MIT team to observe a similar event.  "I'm grateful this one is closer to home!" said Briggs.

--------

High Rock Tower is a gem and you should go check it out. During the nice weather it is open to the public on Tuesday evenings.

2010 High Rock Observation schedule...

Tuesday Night, April 20, 8:30 Saturn & The Moon
Tuesday Night, May 18, 8:45 Saturn & The Moon
Tuesday Night, June 22, 8:45 Saturn & The Moon
Tuesday Night, July 29, 8:50 Saturn & The Moon
Tuesday Night, August 24, 8:45 The Moon
Tuesday Night, September 21, 7:45 Jupiter & The Moon
Tuesday Night, October 19, 7:30 Jupiter & The Moon

Enjoy,
Corey

Boston Legends, A Tribute to James Cotton - May 21st at Lynn Auditorium

Visit Lynn Auditorium for tickets and more information.

Outside.in profile on downtownlynn.com

Outside.in is a fabulous company working with bloggers and traditional media all over the country to bring those two things together in new and innovative ways. I personally like to search outside.in for "Lynn, MA" to get a hyperlocal view of the news in the area. They recently wrote a profile of downtownlynn.com. Check it out!

If you're a blogger, check out their whole "Bloggers We Love" series. I've got a lot of good advice from reading the column.

Thanks to Esther and the crew at outside.in for everything they do.

-Corey

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let's be clear....

We did get a giant middle finger shoved in our direction today. Not by our Ward Councilor (I believe he tried to do right by us... and was also on the receiving end of that finger), but by the entire City of Lynn. "Thank you for your opinions, but no one cares. Please go home!" If someone heard differently, let me know.

I still think this is a win for us. I loved watching the community come together like that for this cause. It was amazing to listen to each and every one of you. I listened. They didn't. They choose to listen to those who don't have to live with this in their backyard (who also get a paycheck from Potter) and one dude from Munroe Street.

Is it just me, or is it asinine to let All Care VNA go forward without a prayer of having an influence on how this building is going to look? Yeah....that's what I'm thinking too. We have NO IDEA what the building is going to look like. They knew we hated the design so they opted to not show the artist rendering tonight. UGH! Why not show everyone that you plan to build a mini office park building?????? Scared of the outcry?? Shawn? Hello??? Anyone there?

Our council might as well have said, we don't care about Downtown Lynn. Let it be the medical ward, centennial park, whatever. We don't live there. Who cares?

I had one councilor whisper in my ear on the way out, that this is BS. They all know it too.

Oh yeah, Shawn Potter is going to show us his designs and ask for our feedback, sure. That is really not the point. Guess what his next design is going to look like. Eastern Bank. NSCC. Don't even think for a second that we're getting historic Lynn back. It's too expensive. It's not something a non-profit can afford to do. Once again....wrong thing for that space...

But...the council decided that the city shouldn't have a say. We should just put it in the hands of ISD for a final site review (which will be able to say which side the toilet flush handle should be on) and forget that we really have a plot of land of value here.

The city has no clue when it comes to urban development. The city has no idea what the future potential of Market Street is. The state tried to teach them, but they seem to think they know better then the experts. Forget all the plans we have in place for success. Let's try something random.

I hope you all are reading and realize it's time to get rid of these elected officials who have no idea what to do with the Downtown. I understand why Councilor Crighton had no choice but to approve this permit. I personally believe he was backed in to a wall and told exactly what to do. If he didn't he wouldn't have the votes and he'd just get Shawn Potter mad and unwilling to work with us (on that whole toilet seat flush handle side thing).

I just wish, we could get rid of the goon bullies above him. Unfortunately, not even the Mayor stood up to the big man. Big shun of the residents. Big embrace of a guy from South Hamilton and his pitiful PILOT. ~40,000 sq ft for 10K in year 1. I pay 2K for my 800 sq ft. That means just my building alone, 7 Central Square, is worth a hell of a lot more to the city coffers then this project. Why doesn't anyone care about that?

250 and decreasing.... A Discouraged Ward 5 resident tonight....

Not to worry readers... I'm back to positive starting tomorrow. Thinking about this whole thing gives me the willies (if willies are bad, which I think they are).

-Corey

Table this....don't reject it...

I've been hearing from a few people that there may be potential interest from the college in using the first floor of the new All Care VNA. We owe it to our Downtown to table this petition tonight and find out if that's true. We need to find All Care VNA a solution that keeps them in Lynn, on floor two and above.

More foot traffic at night. Potential college bookstore open to the public. Maybe a cafe or gallery run by the college students. Let's get them out of that box across the street and more engaged in the community around them, while helping the VNA build the right thing for the Gateway to Downtown Lynn. NSCC use now and something much bigger once the Downtown comes all the way back. It's too important a space to be used for just office space from now until the end of time!

Hope to see you tonight!

7pm meet at the site - corner of Broad and Market
8pm City Council meeting - City Hall

-Corey

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meetup 7pm - April 13th- Corner of Market and Broad

For all those heading to City Hall tomorrow to speak in opposition or in favor of The new development at market and broad, we will meet on the site at 7pm to discuss the relevant opinions with the full context of this important piece of the Downtown right in front of our eyes. We will then walk the length of our prime retail area, historic Market Street, to City Hall.

1. 1st floor retail mandatory.
2. Build to the street and high enough to cover garage.
3. No fence.
4. Video surveillance in back alley created by new space.

No one wanted to be here 20 or even 10 years ago. In the last 5 there has been extreme progress made. One year ago the land went up for bid. This is not the right fit for the gateway to Downtown Lynn. Think 5 more years down the road. Do we want it to look like an office park when people turn off 1A? I don't think we do. Add first floor retail. Engage the city resources on getting Shawn Potter a partner and make this the right type of development. I want the VNA in Lynn, just not on the first floor.

-Corey

Hey Phil.. You need a new fact checker!!

The Item is at it again. They really seem to enjoy telling one side of a story. This time it's regarding the new development slated for approval at city council on tuesday. If you read the paper you would think that all of the resident's concerns have been answered in the current design. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing has been resolved. We are still getting a building half designed by landscape architects hired by all care VNA and half designed by city councilors, both of which have no idea how to plan for urban revival. It looks like something out of an office park on 128 in Woburn. It is set back from the road. It has no first floor retail. It has a fence around its entire perimeter. Which concerns of the residents were resolved? Lynn Item, could you please answer that?

It's our job to tell one side of a story, our personal belief. Your job is to tell both sides. I know you were unable to do that during the election, but I thought you'd be willing to learn from that experience? He didn't win. It didn't work. Try really informing the public. That means both sides of the story. Journalism 101. At least I hope that's what they are teaching. But then again, what do I know. I'm just a blogger.


-Corey

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lynndiana Jones and the Fences of Doom

An homage to John Williams and Lynn's urban planning abilities.

See you on the 13th at City Hall!


North Shore Magazine's Best of the North Shore!

The North Shore Magazine is running their annual Best of the North Shore. The Blue Ox wants to win "Best New Restaurant" on the North Shore!!! Help them out!

http://nshoremag.com/category/bons/2010-bons-nominees/

While you're in there, vote in other Lynn Greats!

Furniture : Zimmans
Jewelry: Omar and Oscar
Lighting: Lucia Lighting
Kid-Friendly Dining: Tatiana's
Art Gallery:The Little Gallery Under the Stairs
Golf Course: Gannon
Trivia Night: Tatiana's
Bakery: D'Amicis
Breakfast: Capitol Diner or Fernandos
Burger: The Blue Ox Burgers
Cakes: D'Amicis
Ice Cream: Flavaz
Italian: Old Tyme Italian
Mexican: Tacos Lupita
New Restaurant: The Blue Ox
Pizza: Fauci's
Sandwiches: Fernando's
Steak: The Blue Ox
Vietnamese: Pho Lynn
Wine List: Turbine Wine Bar

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Emerson & Lake at Lynn Auditorium

Tickets still available for this once in a life time opportunity to see Keith Emerson and Greg Lake perform right here in Lynn, MA at the Lynn Auditorium.  Tickets available by calling 781-581-2971  or on-line at www.ticketfusion.com

Show starts at 6:45, doors open at 6:00… full concessions and free parking!

Tickets will also be available at the door!  3 City Hall Square!

The Mayo(nnaise) Group finally paying for their Incompetence

Maybe we can get some of our incredible buildings back from their grasp and into the hands of those developers who don't find themselves to be indicted for horrible crimes these days.A lot of the storefronts that are still empty (not many these days) are in Mayo's hands and they do little to nothing with them, other then write them off at tax time.

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=cagopressrelease&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Cago&b=pressrelease&f=2010_04_05_mcgrail_arraignment&csid=Cago

Never thought I'd say this, but GO Martha Coakley!

-Corey

Friday, April 9, 2010

Committee Agendas
 

Ordinance Committee, 6:30 p.m., Room 402

PUBLIC HEARINGS re:  A Proposed Ordinance Amending the Ordinance Requiring Door-To-Door Solicitors to Obtain a Permit from the City Council of the City of Lynn; A Proposed Ordinance Prohibiting the Sale of Drug Paraphernalia in the City of Lynn; and Other Business.

Public Safety Committee, 7:00 p.m., Room 402
Discussion re:  Constable Appointments, and Other Business.

License Committee, 7:15 P.M., Room 402
Discussion re:  Minor Licenses and Other Business.

-------------------------------

City Council Agenda
April 13, 2010


 
Roll Call
Moment of Silence
Pledge of Allegiance

Accept minutes of March 23, 2010.
Communications:
Richard J. Fortucci, City Treasurer:

Dear Councilors:
The City of Lynn has foreclosed on the following properties:
15 Groveland Street – Owner: Frank & Marie Rocker
Liberty Street – Owner: Alex J. & Alexandra Alcindor
Sincerely, Richard J. Fortucci

 

Public Hearings:
Petition of All Care VNA, Shawn Potter, Pres. & CEO, for permission to construct a general office building on a light industrial zoned parcel at Market & Broad Streets.  (Crighton) 

Petition of Omar Fernandez, Santo Domingo Liquors for permission to transfer an existing all alcoholic beverages License from 86-88 Newhall Street to 224-226 Union Street.   (Colucci)

Petition of David Addario, Patriot Recycling for permission for a contractor’s yard with parking for 1 truck at 20 Cooper Street.

 

Public Hearings to be Set Down for May 11, 2010:
Petition of Michael Iovanna, for permission for a sign permit at Pride Hyundai, 777-793 Lynnway (Capano)

Petition of Donald Jaynes, Jaynes Industrial Moving, Inc. for permission to rent rooms in a Heavy Industrial area to musicians and artists at 69 Bennett Street with hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.  (Capano)

Petition of Oliver Toomey, Clerk, Neighborhood Development Association for permission to allow construction of a single family home in a business district with less than the required area (4,634 s.f.) at 393 Summer Street.  (Capano)

Petition of Comcast for permission to install (2) 4” PVC conduits, 294’+  in a Northerly Direction from Pole #1-2 at the corner of High Street and Baldwin Street, to existing pole 2017/2 on Baldwin Street to provide service to 424 Essex Street  (Colucci)

Unfinished Business:
To be adopted permanently: (previously adopted w/emergency 2/9)

Ordered that the City of Lynn accept the provisions of Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2005, “An Act Further Regulating Salaries of Public Employees Serving the Armed Forces of the United States,” as amended.  Said at provides that an employee eligible under this section shall be paid his regular base salary as a public employee for each pay period of military leave of absence after September 11, 2001, reduced by any amount received from the United States as base pay for military service performed during the same pay period.  For purposes of this section, base pay shall not include any allowances, overtime pay, shift differential pay, hazardous duty pay or any other additional compensation received for military service.

Laid over from Finance Meeting of March 23, 2010:
Ordered that the City Comptroller be and hereby is authorized to make the following Appropriation Transfer:

From the Account of Reserve Fund:            $6,000.00
To the Account of Unpaid Bills of Prior Years (Care of Dogs):   $1,200.00
And Account of Care of Dogs Expense:    $4,800.00

From the Account of Parking Meter Receipts:    $17,200.00
From the Account Reserve Fund:            $13,200.00
To the Account of Parking Expense:            $30,800.00   


Committee Reports:
Ordinance
Public Safety
License


Press Release: Mayor revives Informational Technology (IT) Advisory Committee

As I receive them, press releases from the City will be posted in full on the Press Release page (see the tabs at the top of the site)

This one deals with the use of technology within the City Departments. After Clancy's version of Menino's email gate and deletion of other important city records, City Hall believes it's important to reinstate this committee with a strong focus on usage policies and also have a focus on reduction of costs by using consistent and bulk purchasing.

It always amazes me, when I walk into a City Hall office and the computer is shoved off to the side of the room. There is so much lack of efficiency and antiquated process in that building. I hope this committee can help to change that. 

This committee should also be given a charge to focus on technology for Open Government initiatives. The Press release, unfortunately, does not go in to that area.

-Corey

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No Papa, Don't You Fence Me In!

(to the tune of Don't Fence Me In by Cole Porter as made famous by Roy Rogers in Hollywood Canteen. New lyrics inspired by the City's lack of understanding of urban city planning.)

Oh, give me retail, lots of retail under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me walk through the Downtown Lynn that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the register machines,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the Market Street skies.
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the Power Lines move.

I want to walk to the gateway where the Downtown commences
And gaze at the stores till I lose my senses
And I can't look at suburban office buildings and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.
No.
Papa, don't you fence me in


;-)


For more on fences, take a look here.

Shocked at MBTA Efficiency

After my shock and awe at the city not knowing this land was up for bid, I had to find out how it was advertised. If you don't know what I am talking about, check out the links in the top right box of this blog under Lynn NOW!

I contacted the MBTA today to find out how the public bidding process worked. I talked to customer service who transfered me to Transit Realty, a 3rd party that handles all MBTA real estate transactions. I told them who I was and where the property was and they transfered me to Christopher Ashe who handles Lynn.  At first, I think he was skeptical of why I was asking the questions I was asking, but he was very forthcoming. He pointed me to their website http://www.transitrealty.com to learn about the public bidding process. (By the way, if you go to this site, check out the Ashmont development... talk about knowing what's around you and designing something appropriate. That's what we need!).

He also informed me that the City of Lynn should have known about this if they were watching the standard public process. The MBTA publicized this in very grand detail in the Lynn Item for two weeks in April of 2009.  I searched the Item archives and sure enough.... there it was... (For just $10 a month, you can search the archives as well as have access to the actual paper online.  Gee.... for a paper I hate, I certainly advertise for it a lot. Phil should pay me!)



Just for the record, this doesn't make their planned use of the parcel any better. It just means it was all done above board. The failure was in the City's reaction/non-involvement in the bidding process in April of 2009.  If we vote Yay on this non-conforming use on Tuesday, the failure will be in the City Council's inability to see the future.

Kudos to the MBTA for getting me through their phone system in a matter of seconds to the right person. I really never thought I'd be typing that sentence.

-Corey

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Take This the Wrong Way, All Care VNA

Seriously, it's not you..it's me...   I mean I like you and all, but we just don't seem to want the same things.....


Ok, enough joking around... This is serious!


My point is....this has nothing to do with All Care VNA, it could be Eastern Bank trying to expand and we'd have the same issues.

You can be Floor 2 through heaven for all I care, but you can't have our ground level. It doesn't work long term, for what will be the premiere retail location in all of Downtown Lynn and leaves the area dead during non-work hours.

The main point of today was to see the renderings and share our concerns. While I think the All Care VNA lawyer did an excellent job of presenting the plans and history of how we got to this point, it just gave me so many more questions for the city. Those went relatively unanswered tonight. Most of my questions were for the city. I really think the vendor building the office building is irrelevant, it's that it's an office building, that's the problem.


Surprise Number 1. So the prime piece of real estate which connects Central Square, Market Street, Washington Street Extension, and the Waterfront is up for bid and the city didn't know about it. I'm sorry....could you say that again?

The city was surprised about the bidding process??? What? They had no idea this parcel was up for bid?  I assume the city may have been a potential bidder had they known about it? Why didn't they know about it? Why wasn't that the states first ask? Did anyone else know about it? One of our most valuable pieces of land was put up for bid with a 925K minimum bid and no one else bid. The lawyer said All Care VNA got an invitation to bid. Bid 925K. Boom, it's yours. What does that mean? Anyone else get an invite?

Surprise Number 2. The city has been shopping them around town to various other locations. 

This one I knew a little about, but I didn't know the extent. They showed them an old school, they showed them the lot near Andrew Street where the fire was, they showed them a building on Central Ave. Nothing, apparently, met All Care VNA's needs. This could be entirely true, but....I ask the city...... why go through all the trouble of showing so many other spaces unless you really thought it was the wrong thing for the Gateway to Market Street.

Surprise Number 3. The building is a mini-Eastern Bank.

We were told the rendering would solve all our concerns. What we were shown was, as one commenter in the crowd said, a surburban office building set back from the road. It had nothing architecturally interesting from a Historic Lynn perspective. It looked awkwardly similar to the Eastern Bank office building across the street. Row of brick, row of glass, after row of brick, row of glass. Bottom floor lobby. Courtyard out front which all was entirely fenced in (not in the diagram, but on one of the blueprints).


There is a misunderstanding about the empty storefronts in Downtown Lynn. None of the viable storefronts are empty. I walk around Downtown and take pictures. I've profiled all the streets they are talking about in these meetings. There are some places that need to be demolished perhaps, but there aren't a whole lot of viable retail options. As a matter of fact, most of the viable storefronts have something in them and many have been filled in the past 6 months. In the past 3 we saw the opening of East Coast Karate, Fernando's, Turbine Wine Bar, and Dito's Corner Store.   They keep referring to the retail stores under the MBTA garage. First of all, there are very few storefronts there and NSCC has them all occupied. Does anyone even know they are available for rent?  I think the main issue is they aren't available, so of course there's nothing different in them. I feel a little insane having to explain that one.

A surburban office building, set back from the road with a perimeter fence.  Take a walk down Market Street sometime. I did....three times.. plus a driveby today before the meeting. You will realize in your heart that this is the wrong building for the Gateway to Market Street.

On the 13th.... Table this..... find a partner to bring retail and All Care VNA to that spot as one proposal.  We all know it's the right thing to do.  We all know it's the right vision and strategy for Market Street. We all know this....so now what?

I know what I'm going to do....start working on my opposition speech for the 13th.


and... Thank you to Lynnhappens.com for recording the meeting last night. You can watch it right now.

-Corey

Neighborhood Meeting TONIGHT

6:30PM - City Hall - Room 302

Will there be FIRST FLOOR RETAIL?

Will the building come all the way TO THE STREET like every other building on Market Street?

Will there be a FENCE or NOT?

If you don't have enough time to read the post, just read the capitalized words, but more importantly, whether you agree with me or not, come to the meeting!!!!!!!

If you have no idea what I am talking about, see the links on the top right column of this site. All Care VNA is up for a permit for non-conforming use on land in front of the MBTA garage. This is our opportunity to be heard on this topic. Your City Council is listening.

I'd like to reiterate that All Care VNA is a fine business and I completely support what they do. They could not be at this meeting for all I care. My issue is with how the state and city are going to potentially allow this particular parcel of land to be developed.... incorrectly.

Jamie Marsh from OECD, Jim Cowdell from EDIC, Tim Phelan, Brendan Crighton, and reps from All Care VNA will be in attendance. Our city planner can not attend, because......oh yeah, we don't have one.



See you there,
Corey

Got April Vacation Plans for the Kids? How about Downtown Lynn?

Send them to Lynn Arts for the week.

25 Exchange Street



For North Shore parents, from LynnArts: Don't forget about April School vacation week classes! Registration is open now. Help us spread the word! Repost! We'll be celebrating Earth Day with Green visual and performing arts projects, with an exhibition/performance for families on the last day!

 

 

 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fernando's is now ONLINE

See Fernando's entire menu online at

http://fernandoslynn.blogspot.com/

On Good Friday, I had the Guatemalan breakfast. Eggs, beans, plantains, and homemade tortillas. I felt like i was on vacation in Guatemala. Juan brought over a traditional Good Friday dessert (bread and cheese in some sort of liquid) after our meal. It was phenomenal. He never fails to impress me. If you haven't been yet, I don't know what else I can say to convince you!

28 Munroe Street
Lynn, MA
http://fernandoslynn.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Have a Happy Easter!

It was such a beautiful day on Friday, I had a few windows open and mostly I had been listening to the sounds of the street, the occasional loud radio or friends screaming at each other. The sounds of Lynn. Friday at around 12 noon, I heard an angry mob. They were shouting "Crucificale!!" I looked out the window and I saw floods of people. I grabbed my camera and ran downstairs.  What I saw was the annual re-enactment of the events of Good Friday.  It was pretty impressive and there were hundreds of people. They got my attention and instead of grabbing a few pictures in Central Square and heading back inside, I found myself following the crowd.  As a Jewish man, I found it incredibly thought-provoking. It sort of reminded me of the refrain in Jesus Christ Superstar, "If you'd come today..." It was very moving. Whether it's about JC, easter eggs, or chocolate for you, Have a Happy Easter!

Reminder: Sunday's Easter Brunch

We have delicious options for Easter brunch at Tatiana's on Market Street and The Blue Ox on Oxford Street. If you don't feel like baking ham and slaving over a hot stove, let Tatiana and Matt do all the work for you.

Included below is a brief intro to Tatiana's Easter buffet ($14 adults, $7 children) and The Blue Ox Menu ($29pp)

From Tatiana:The annual Easter Buffet is the first big event that Tatiana's put on during our first year in business, so it's a special celebration for me to continue to hold.  I try to maintain the true meaning of "family restaurant", so during the holidays i try extra hard to please all families that attend this celebration.

If you never attended a Tatiana's Buffet then your in for a BIG surprise.  We put out a display that will please every palate and fill every belly!!  The food begins at 12 noon with the brunch part of menu. This year it will consist of many of our brunch favorites... assorted flavors of pancakes, Corn Bread French Toast, an Omlette station, assorted breads, muffins and bagels. We will also have our customers enjoy some Tatiana originals.  The lunch/dinner part of the feast celebration is presented not too long after the brunch part.  This year's main course buffet will consist of carving stations for turkey, ham and leg of lamb.  We will have many pasta dishes, Caribbean style rice dishes, many variety's of potato's, fresh salads and dinner rolls. The evening isn't done after that either... we have many other surprises in store for our guests.  We will be debuting some surprise dishes that will be on our new menu to be presented later this spring.  

Desserts!! Our dessert line up still hasn't been finalized but be sure we will have many different desserts for kids and adults!

The price will be $14 and $7 for children 7 years of age and under.


Tatiana's

70 Market Street
Lynn, MA 01901-1115
(781) 477-0700

From The Blue Ox:









Sunday, April 4th:  11am-4pm
Three courses- $29 per person

 
1st course- choice of:

pear salad
 roasted hazelnuts, goat cheese, maple vinaigrette
baked stuffed brie
 cranberries, apricots, figs, mascarpone cheese, truffle oil, crostini
pasta e fagioli soup
ham, cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, Parmigiano, extra virgin olive oil
spicy tuna tartare
 cucumber, cilantro, scallion, chive cream, homemade potato chips +4.
 proscuitto di parma

marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano  +3.
 baked Duxbury oysters

four oysters, mascarpone cheese, diced apples, scallions, apple brandy  +4.
 
 2nd course- choice of:
  

grilled local applewood smoked ham 
roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, sherry wine & shallot sauce
fontina, tomato, mushroom omelet
served with home fries
homemade lasagna bolognese
bechamel and tomato sauce
herb roasted boneless half chicken
red bliss mashed potato, spinach, white wine butter sauce
 grilled swordfish
red bliss mashed potato, warm romesco salad  +4.
 pan roasted salmon
Sardinian couscous, spinach, garlic, tomato broth  +3.
 grilled hanger steak
French fries, asparagus, port wine reduction  +4.
grilled 8oz. filet mignon
red bliss mashed potato, grilled asparagus, port wine sauce  +10.


3rd course- choice of:
 
toasted almond cream cake
mixed berries
carrot cake
whipped cream
chocolate cake
whipped cream, mixed berries
Reserve your table today by calling 781.780.5722 or clicking here.


Blue Ox The

theblueoxlynn.com
191 Oxford Street
Lynn, MA 01901-1117
(781) 780-5722









Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lynn Commons

Beautiful day today. Missed the Lynn Woods walk, so we walked around the Commons. We need to get more people down to the Commons. It's so nice over there. Shame on me for this being my first time in four years! Do they have summer concerts at this gazebo?























- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Rincon Macorisano - What a Chicken Sandwich!!!

Rincon Macorisano is located on Washington Street right across from the Hess Gas Station and at the gateway to Central Square from that side of Lynn. It is always bustling with activity and I've only heard great things about their food. I went there for lunch on Friday and ordered the Big Papi Chicken Sandwich Combo. It was so delicious. The ingredients were so amazingly fresh. I need to try their Cuban someday soon. They also have a ton of meat and seafood dishes in all styles (grilled, breaded, fried, etc). You can eat there or do take-out. Prices are very reasonable. I recommend it!

Fences: Protector of Grass or a Slightly Different Purpose?

While bottom floor retail is the major issue with All Care VNA's plan, a lot has been made out of this fence that somehow got added into the design by our city planner. Oh wait, we don't have a city planner.... Now, doesn't that explain a few things..... ;-)  

I walked around the grounds of the Lynn Museum and along the edge of North Shore Community College.  The fences definitely kept me from going where the owners didn't want me to go, but it seems to me there should be a person or two on the green area near NSCC. God forbid, a community grassy area where we could picnic or play catch. While I suppose the Museum's gates and barriers are fine to protect the museum,  I wonder if we really want more of this look around our office buildings downtown?  Come up with your own captions:





This last one is my favorite. Maybe we should take a cue from this and enclose all of our Welcome to Lynn, MA signs with a rod iron fence. I think this is just the thing we need to improve our image. 


-Corey

Friday, April 2, 2010

Your City Budget....Coming to a Website Near You!

I was able to have the honor of spending some time with the Mayor and Mayor's Chief of Staff today.  It's no secret I am a big fan of Judith Flanagan Kennedy. Today's visit further solidified that feeling.  She is currently in the process of pouring through the city budget, making sense of the nonsensical, and finding ways to reduce cost in several areas. The budgets from each department are due back to her in April.



She explained why they haven't posted the FY10 budget online by taking me through several examples of confusing scenarios that no one would be able to interpret correctly. She has directed the Treasurer to take the examples of Quincy and other model towns (when it comes to readable budgets) and provide the FY Budget in a readable and complete format. No "MISC" and "Random Expendables" line items. Some of those are big numbers in FY10 and have no detail and/or answers as to what the money went to or was planned for.

This all being said, any of you can go to City Hall and request a copy. I now have one on my desk and I'll be pouring through it over the next month to get a firm understanding of what we wanted to do in FY2010. I can't wait to see what we actually did (after reserves transfers and all the other horrific fiscal policy of the Clancy the Clown years).

I want to publicly acknowledge the Mayor for her transparency today and her commitment to increasing our city's transparency come July 1, 2010. You have a right to easy access to information on where your tax money is going. Mayor Kennedy and the City Hall website is going to give that to you.

Huzzah!!!

I found this page pretty interesting. As I find other tidbits, I may share. 43.5% of the budget in 2010 to Education.  Also, notice the lack in Health, Walfare, and Culture/Recreation. This is due largely to the fact that the City Budget does not include the Federal numbers coming in to OECD, EDIC in its' budget. Just one of the many issues in trying to make this readable for the public. This doesn't necessarily properly display the city's commitments in these areas.



More to come!

-Corey

Save the Date: April 6th - Neighborhood Meeting on All Care VNA

Your city council has been listening to you....On this blog, over coffees, and at City Hall, several meetings have been occuring to get everyone's points of view aired so that we all can have an effective City Council session on April 13th. Councilor Crighton has pushed for a neighborhood meeting to occur on April 6th at 6:30PM at City Hall in Room 302.

As is, I am in OPPOSITION to this plan. In order to move forward inline with any common sense plan for the gateway to our prime retail heavy thoroughfare, it must have:

1. Retail space on the bottom floor (or designed in a way to allow it in the future)
2. Stretch all the way to the sidewalk (in line with the retail space / 1st floor needs)
3. NO fence

If we can accommodate these 3 requests, while giving VNA their new home on floors 2 and above, there is no issue with construction starting right now! Any other solution to this, is short-term thinking. We are not in a Great Recession as some in City Council and Speaker of the House DeLeo would have you believe. We are in recovery. We don't need short term thinking, we need vision and strategy. It is why we had the Market Street Vision Plan put together in the first place. Read the plan, it makes perfect sense. Common sense!!!

I can only attend the first 45 minutes, but I will be there. Please do your best to attend on April 6th. It's much better to get your thoughts heard before the 13th.


Letter from Councilors Crighton and Phelan:


March 31, 2010


Dear Neighbor:

Please consider this letter a formal invitation to a Neighborhood Meeting on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 302 at City Hall.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the proposed plan by All-Care VNA to construct a building on the corner of Market Street and Broad Street.

In attendance will be representatives from VNA as well as James Cowdell, Executive Director of EDIC and James Marsh, Director of Economic & Community Development to answer any and all questions.  Your input, ideas and suggestions will be greatly appreciated on this matter.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on April 6th.

Very truly yours,


Timothy Phelan                                 Brendan P. Crighton
Council President                              Councillor Ward Five



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Brunch: Why Not Come to Lynn?

We have delicious options for Easter brunch at Tatiana's on Market Street and The Blue Ox on Oxford Street. If you don't feel like baking ham and slaving over a hot stove, let Tatiana and Matt do all the work for you.

Included below is a brief intro to Tatiana's Easter buffet ($14 adults, $7 children) and The Blue Ox Menu ($29pp)

From Tatiana:The annual Easter Buffet is the first big event that Tatiana's put on during our first year in business, so it's a special celebration for me to continue to hold.  I try to maintain the true meaning of "family restaurant", so during the holidays i try extra hard to please all families that attend this celebration.

If you never attended a Tatiana's Buffet then your in for a BIG surprise.  We put out a display that will please every palate and fill every belly!!  The food begins at 12 noon with the brunch part of menu. This year it will consist of many of our brunch favorites... assorted flavors of pancakes, Corn Bread French Toast, an Omlette station, assorted breads, muffins and bagels. We will also have our customers enjoy some Tatiana originals.  The lunch/dinner part of the feast celebration is presented not too long after the brunch part.  This year's main course buffet will consist of carving stations for turkey, ham and leg of lamb.  We will have many pasta dishes, Caribbean style rice dishes, many variety's of potato's, fresh salads and dinner rolls. The evening isn't done after that either... we have many other surprises in store for our guests.  We will be debuting some surprise dishes that will be on our new menu to be presented later this spring.  

Desserts!! Our dessert line up still hasn't been finalized but be sure we will have many different desserts for kids and adults!

The price will be $14 and $7 for children 7 years of age and under.


Tatiana's

70 Market Street
Lynn, MA 01901-1115
(781) 477-0700

From The Blue Ox:










Sunday, April 4th:  11am-4pm
Three courses- $29 per person

 
1st course- choice of:

pear salad
 roasted hazelnuts, goat cheese, maple vinaigrette
baked stuffed brie
 cranberries, apricots, figs, mascarpone cheese, truffle oil, crostini
pasta e fagioli soup
ham, cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, Parmigiano, extra virgin olive oil
spicy tuna tartare
 cucumber, cilantro, scallion, chive cream, homemade potato chips +4.
 proscuitto di parma

marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano  +3.
 baked Duxbury oysters

four oysters, mascarpone cheese, diced apples, scallions, apple brandy  +4.
 
 2nd course- choice of:
  

grilled local applewood smoked ham 
roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, sherry wine & shallot sauce
fontina, tomato, mushroom omelet
served with home fries
homemade lasagna bolognese
bechamel and tomato sauce
herb roasted boneless half chicken
red bliss mashed potato, spinach, white wine butter sauce
 grilled swordfish
red bliss mashed potato, warm romesco salad  +4.
 pan roasted salmon
Sardinian couscous, spinach, garlic, tomato broth  +3.
 grilled hanger steak
French fries, asparagus, port wine reduction  +4.
grilled 8oz. filet mignon
red bliss mashed potato, grilled asparagus, port wine sauce  +10.


3rd course- choice of:
 
toasted almond cream cake
mixed berries
carrot cake
whipped cream
chocolate cake
whipped cream, mixed berries
Reserve your table today by calling 781.780.5722 or clicking here.



Blue Ox The

theblueoxlynn.com
191 Oxford Street
Lynn, MA 01901-1117
(781) 780-5722









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