Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bullish on Downtown Lynn - The Quiet Before The Storm?

It's been a while since I just talked to you guys. I'm very bullish on our downtown this year. A feeling I haven't had for a few years. 14 Central is locked in by RCG and will soon become new residences. Anything to increase our number downtown is a good thing in my books. Empty buildings don't do anyone good. I believe that the RCG folks are trying to work with the deadbeat Athanas family to see what they can do with the Hawthorne lot. That would be a huge victory. I would like to be there with the first sledgehammer.

33 Central also seems to be in play. The city has done the right thing to ensure our safety and somehow this has led to the lowering of the asking price to 249K and more recently 200K. I can't find a listing now, but the 200K price was the last I saw publicly on the internet. I guess Zee Mah is finally serious about helping us out and unloading this thing to someone who can do something with it. Looking forward to the day those boards come down.

If you read the Lynn Journal, please stop! It's like the onion, only The Onion lets you know it's fake news. The Lynn Journal recently called our Downtown "dead on arrival." So clueless it almost makes you wonder if the Onion writers may be on staff?


Friday, January 28, 2011

Oh, Fortucci!!!!

A little Opera Pun for you...

This is no joke however. According to the Item, the Mayor has some serious complaints about our CFO that has led to a lot of city money being thrown down the drain. We will see if the council uses their ears and then their brains on Tuesday. It's a tall order, but I have slight confidence that they can do it. If not, at least Cahill and Crighton will vote correctly. Pay attention to this one, it's going to be fun.

City Council Session on Tuesday, February 1, 2011:

To take whatever action the Council so desires on the following:

A Public Hearing to Determine Whether to Remove Richard J. Fortucci
as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Lynn.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Men Rescued from Garage on the Lynnway

Upate 9:00: Deputy Chief McDonald just did a great job with the press. He is reporting that the two men in the vehicle are out, on their way to Mass General for observation, and seem physically ok. They had to dig 3 feet of snow off the roof and take them out through the roof. Amazing job by the Lynn Fire Department. He's urging all of us with flat roofs to get the snow off of them. These roofs are not meant for this type of load.

UPDATE 8:30: Hearing through Facebook that both men that were trapped were able to walk out of the GLSS garage. Sounds like this could be good news.

This morning a roof collapsed in the Garelick complex on the Lynnway (GLSS garage?). Although it is on the Eastbound side, it's causing even more delays on an already snowy commute in to work today. Stay home!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LynnArts Mixed Media Show Opens on Saturday 1/29

LynnArts has a great show for you which officially opens on Saturday, 1/29 from 2-4PM in the Time Warner Gallery. Also opening that day is the Lost and Found exhibit by Linda Germain in the Willow Community Gallery. This LynnArts show is getting quite a bit of buzz in the art community. Some artists I love are involved in this show including Joanne Caputo-Carfagna, Robin Samiljan, and Christine Marie. If your name is there, you did a good job of advertising that you are in the show. If your name isn't, it's not because I love you less. I can't find a list of the other artists involved, but I am already intrigued. Be sure to check out the show this Saturday.

Live Music by Clay Ventre and the Bond Girls

While you are in the LynnArts building at 25 Exchange Street, check out The Little Gallery Under the Stairs and the Cuba: In Form exhibit.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lynn Footprint

I saw a show tonight that kind of turned a mirror on me.  I love social theater and this one happened to be about a controversial urban development in Brooklyn, NY called Atlantic Yards. The play is at Arts Emerson in the new Paramount Black Box Theatre and was called In the Footprint: The Battle for Atlantic Yards. 

As we were walking out of the theatre, Sarah turned to me and said, "You should have been in this show." I said, "I was."

Phelan, Clancy, Potter, McGrail... You were all in this play too.

Lynn Item, Lynn Journal... you made a few appearances.

Sasaki... You guys were in this play....

Now, I don't mean any of this literally as none of you were in Brooklyn during Atlantic Yards and the players there were larger than life with names such as Bloomberg, Jay-Z and Gehry in the mix (no offense).   But... you were in this play.  Some of the mannerisms, speeches, non-action, action, writings... were played out almost like someone was playing a recording of some of our meetings and city council sessions.

It's one of those things you typically read about in a history book and try not to repeat it, but in this case, the mistakes and horrifying actions basically happened yesterday.

In the play, a whole neighborhood is pretty much handed over to a developer along with an unrestricted ability to take whatever they needed by eminent domain. This of course took years and lots of court time, but it eventually got done. Of course, the project was not anything like what was originally planned and the city government never took ONE SINGLE VOTE on the project. They basically had no control. No city planner. Sound familiar?

The bloggers were in the show. We are an annoying bunch. There is an incredibly funny scene where they present the bloggers as a "greek chorus" of sorts all dressed in their pajamas. Some of us (me) have end goals where we don't truly understand what they mean for the neighborhood we've entered. I've never been shy about wanting increased property value, but you know what... I need some re-thinking there. We often complain about not being able to mix well with corners of Munroe Street near Turbine or the Fenix Discotech or Union Street as a whole, but do we ever really think about why that is?

Who was here first and what was in these buildings before us? If increased property value is a goal, how do we bring up the rest of the neighborhood so that they can afford the new market rate? Is that even possible? I like the mission of SPIN's Financial Stability Center for this reason, but we're going to need a lot more than that.

As we build out the Downtown and start on our new Waterfront I really hope we can learn from projects like Atlantic Yards. Bring everyone to the table early and often. Don't let developers run hogwild with anything. Even if they are incredible supporters of everything we live and breath. If the project is wrong, it is wrong. Period. Inspect and make sure it's right for the people in the footprint. I'm talking to the elected officials, but I'm also talking to all of us. We need to do a lot more to understand where everyone is coming from and then work together to get where we all want to go next.

I'm sure I sound completely naive and I don't care. After all, I'm just a blogger in my pajamas.


TLGUTS Opening - Cuba: In Form

CUBA: In Form

Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, PiƱar del Rio
photography by 
Gretjen Helene


I'm always amazed at the quality of work that is presented to the community at TLGUTS. This current exhibit is no exception. Go on over to to read Gretjen Helene's statement and see some of Gretjen Helene's photography from her documentary series on Cuba. 


TLGUTS will be having an opening reception from 5-7PM in their gallery downstairs at 25 Exchange Street. Definitely stop in and spend some quality time in the gallery before heading upstairs to Sights and Sounds of Cuba at 7PM presented by Arts After Hours.  


 The city wants an arts and cultural district. We already have one. Come and experience it! All day Saturday, January 22nd. The Arts are Alive in Downtown Lynn!



Destination Downtown Lynn - Lynn Museum - Saturday 12-4

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lynn Woods Exhibit Opening at The Lynn Museum on January 22nd 12-4PM

Into Lynn Woods!! Grand Opening is on Saturday, Jan. 22, 12pm-4pm @ The Lynn Museum 590 Washington Street in Central Square. Bring the family and enjoy art activities, live birds of prey from Wingmasters, and Storyteller Janet Long.

There is something special about Lynn Woods. If you've never been over there, you really have to go and take it all in to understand. You can get lost (in a good way) for hours taking in all the trails and special landmarks like Stone Tower and Dungeon Rock. You can sit on the rocks by Walden Pond and watch the fish jump out of the water. It's a very peaceful place to be.

There are multiple ways to get in to Lynn Woods. The Pennybrook Entrance is over off of Walnut Street and there is another Entrance near the Gannon Golf Course. This weekend and for the coming months, there is one more way to get a peak at Lynn Woods: The Lynn Museum at 590 Washington Street.

It's an important resource for Lynn. It's the reason we had clean water while the rest of Massachusetts was out of luck when the main supply from out West went bad. It's an important thing to understand and keep around for years to come. Bring the family and start the kids on the road to a deep appreciation of one of the greatest assets we have right here in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Say hi to Kate Luchini, Director of the Museum. Shake her hand ferociously. She's doing amazing things for the Museum, for Downtown Lynn, and for Lynn as a whole.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Re-Creating Cuban Sights and Sounds

Either right now or after you read this post, go to Facebook and RSVP for the event of the year presented by Arts After Hours. Sights and Sounds of Cuba is coming up fast. January 22nd from 7-9PM with a TLGUTS opening of Cuba: In Form from 5-7PM. Cuban photography by Gretjen Helene, Cuban music by La Timbistica, Cuban food by Juan at Fernando's... Your senses will be Cubanized.

So, why Cuba?

This event came together rather organically from Day 1, when the Arts After Hours crew sat down to think through the season for 2011. (Sorry I still can't announce the June musical). Jocelyn Almy-Testa, local gallery owner and my Arts After Hours partner, filled us in on a Gretjen Helene show she was going to be doing in the January time frame. It turned out to be photography from her recent time spent in Cuba. The photography is absolutely exquisite and we immediately went to task at figuring how to get more people to come and see it.

We immediately thought of Divinity Dance Studio. They had classes on Broad Street for a while and are now located on Western Avenue in the Lydia Pinkham Building. Yaya and Sharon are phenomenal dancers and agreed almost instantaneously to be a part of this event.

Notices went out to Berklee College of Music, we begun an almost impossible hunt for Cuban food in Massachusetts, and were able to find several different Cuban organizations in existence right here in Lynn through Danielle Girard's connections at SCILynn. La Timbistica, 2008 Jazz Band of the Year in DownBeat Magazine will be our headliner on Jan 22nd. Juan Gonzales from Fernando's will create some Cuban tastes for us. We already know his Cuban sandwich is to die for.

Yesterday's LA Times article about Obama opening up a bit more to the people of Cuba (embargo still firmly in place) kind of hit a chord with me and really does wrap up why I got so passionate about this topic. Many of the people of Cuba are creating beautiful art, making wonderful music, cooking delectable food, and living good lives. We don't hear a lot about this, we don't see it, we don't experience it. Travel to Cuba is very restrictive and with the embargo, experiencing Cuban product is almost impossible. So... we re-create it the best we can.

Come and experience the Cuban sights, sounds, and tastes at Arts After Hours on Jnauary 22nd. All of the details are on Facebook where you can RSVP or on our website at

See you there. RSVP Now!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The Chefs of Lynn Are All-Knowing Food Gods!

Have you met these architects of culinary utopia? Most of them are even more than chefs, they are business owners in our growing Downtown. Lately, I've been doing something I never thought I'd be doing when it comes to food. I've been putting it all in their hands. When I walk into Fernando's, I just look at Juan and say, "Whatever you want to make me." Out comes some of the most fantastic food that I never would have experienced otherwise. If you're ever lucky enough to be in there when Juan has a burger on his lunch special, buy 10 of them! They are truly amazing. You'll only be able to eat one, but you can keep the other 9 as mementos of the time you ate the best burger of your life! He is a master of special ingredients.

Today, a lot of you came out to Supreme To Go on Washington Street. I thought that was considered Central Ave since it's right next to Cal's News and 47 Central, but apparently it's Washington Street. Anyways.. I went in and Marco, the owner, asked me what I wanted. I asked him what their specialty was and he pointed out a few things. The Beef Lule (pronounced Lou-Lay) got my attention and so I gave that a whirl. I probably drove him nuts, but every time he asked me if I wanted a certain ingredient on the sandwich, I just replied, "Whatever you would do."

It paid off in spades. The Beef Lule, prepared the way chef Marco intended, is a masterpiece. I love the roll. It comes on that crispy bread that is similar to a Vietnamese Sandwich. The Beef is so incredibly tender and cooked just right. All of the ingredients including the hot peppers and pickles add surprise delightful tastes as you make your way through the sandwich.

Last night I was over at Turbine Wine Bar and I had been hearing about this Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Havarti sandwich special for about a week and I really wanted to try it. The owner, Stephen Hanley, looked at me kind of funny when I said I wasn't interested in the soup. So I retreated and said, just give it to me the way mother nature (or Steve Hanley) intended it. Well, once again, I was floored at the way the pieces fit together. One without the other would not make sense to be anymore.

Got me thinking that Matt O'Neil should have a Chef's Tasting at The Blue Ox where we are left to his glorious, skillful will in the kitchen. I've been able to try some things "off the menu" at the Ox and they are always a complete delight.

Three cheers to the Chefs of Downtown Lynn! I leave my taste buds in your more than capable hands.

Fernando's Restaurante
23 Munroe Street
Lynn, MA

Turbine Wine Bar
56 Central Square
Lynn, MA

The Blue Ox
191 Oxford Street
Lynn, MA

Supreme To Go
424 Washington Street
Lynn, MA


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Blizzard of 2011 in Downtown Lynn

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Turbine Wednesday Night! - Trivia (OPEN DURING BLIZZARD)

Don't forget to head over to Turbine Wine Bar at 56 Central Square tonight for some Turbine Trivia with host Sean Lobdell. Sure to be an interesting evening. Ask him if Eisenhower was ever president of the United States? You'll enjoy the answer.

I am there and IT'S ON! I have my wife this time. She's way smarter than me. 

Get those snowshoes and skis ready. We're going to Turbine.


Open Meeting Law Violation Complaint Process

In case anyone is interested, I did a little research after being locked out of City Hall for 20 minutes last night while the City Council session was going on. Someone came to the door and let me in just as the emperor's gavel came down.

Here is the link to the Attorney General's complaint form.  I'm going to call Councilor Phelan before I fill out this form to find out what happened, but next time I won't be so nice.

We should be filling this form out whenever we suspect closed door politics at play. It will not be tolerated in this term as council President, Phelan!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed In - So What? Let's go to Fernando's and Turbine Anyway!

Fernando's will be open in the morning for coffee and breakfast.   (MUNROE STREET)

If Supreme to Go is open, I'm there for lunch! (CENTRAL AVE)

Turbine has said that there will be trivia tomorrow night even if we all have to ski over there. (CENTRAL SQUARE)

It's not healthy to be stuck inside all day. Get out of the lofts, build a snowman, and support an open business on Wednesday.

I hope to see you all at Turbine. I am horrible at Trivia, but I talk some good smack. I hear local artist and business owner, Sean Lobdell, will be the MC. That spells fun to me.

You can't snow-in a Lynner! Let's prove it!


Phelan Remains President, Council Remains Afraid

Except for one man!  Pay attention. This is a man who is putting himself in political risk in order to pursue the change you all deserve in this town.

ok... he's getting a nickname.... he deserves it after sticking to his guns today.

Crighton the Titan (Ward 5 Councilor Brendan Crighton) was the only one with the balls, yes I said balls, to represent the public today. He voted in support of Dan Cahill for Council President. I spoke to quite a few people after the meeting who were there in support of Dan. The poll here is overwhelmingly in favor of Dan 23-2 at the time of this post.

It wasn't a surprise, but it is a disappointment.

Phelan once gave me a lesson in which he referenced the play Doubt: A Parable and the scene where the priest talks about spreading feathers from a pillow as rumors. The inability to go pick them all up after spreading them into the air is the lesson taught.

There's another important lesson in Doubt. Do not live in fear of authority figures standing at the pulpit.

Councilors, your vote was noted today. We'll have our chance next year. Who is Buzzy going to replace? I hear there may be others jumping in to the race. If you should be afraid of anything, that's it.... it's not the man at the pulpit.


Kansas at Lynn Auditorium: ON SALE NOW!

On sale now!  KANSAS!  Don’t miss timeless hits like Dust in the Wind and Carry on Wayward Son on March 19th at the beautiful Lynn Auditorium!

Get your tickets today at, by calling 781-581-2971 or visiting our box office in room 311 of Lynn City Hall during normal business hours.


Also on sale now:
The 2nd Annual Legends of Rock & Blues featuring Edgar Winter & Rick Derringer
The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus

Look for announcements soon on:
The Texas Tenors
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Howie Mandel

Monday, January 10, 2011

City Council Agenda for January 11th, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011:

Public Safety Committee, 7:00 P.M., Room 402Discussion re:  Constable Appointments; and Other Business.

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

Finance Committee, 7:45 P.M., Room 408Discussion re:  Financial Transfers and Other Business.

Roll Call
Moment of Silence
Pledge of Allegiance

Accept minutes of December 14, 2010 and December 28, 2010.

Her Honor the Mayor:

Dear Councilors:
Pursuant to the provisions of Masachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40U, Section 6,  I hereby appoint Robert J. Stilian as the Municipal Hearing Officer for the City of Lynn.
Sincerely, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Mayor

Disclosures of Financial Interest:
Ryan Brown, Lynn Fire Department regarding Contract for Snow Plowing/Sanding with the Lynn DPW. Daniel Dean, ISD, regarding Contract for Snow Plowing/Sanding with the Lynn DPW.

Public Hearings:
Recommends that the Lynn City Council be requested to set down a Public Hearing relative to a burnt, dilapidated or dangerous building or other structure located at 33 Central Square and, after hearing, may make record an order adjudging it to be a nuisance to the neighborhood or dangerous and prescribing to its disposition, alteration, or regulation all as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 139, Section

Public Hearings to be Set Down:

Unfinished Business:
Interview Committee Report of December 28, 2010
To be adopted permanently:

From Meeting of December 28, 2010 to be adopted permanently:An Ordinance Amending the Ordinance Pertaining to Sex Offender Residency Restrictions in the City of Lynn

Laid over from Meeting of December 14, 2010 to be adopted:
Order adjudging the property located at 102 Alley Street to be a nuisance to the neighborhood or dangerous and prescribing to its disposition, alteration, or regulation all as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 139, Section 1.

Order adjudging the property located at 104 Alley Street to be a nuisance to the neighborhood or dangerous and prescribing to its disposition, alteration, or regulation all as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 139, Section 1.
Committee Reports:

Public Safety Committee
License Committee
Finance Committee

New Business:


Petition of AT&T Mobility, Inc., Francis Kelley, for permission to do minor modification of an existing stealth Wireless Communication facility from 6-9 antennas, unmanned, no change in operation at Grace United Methodist Church at 372 Broadway. (Lozzi)  Tabled 12/28/10

Petition of AT&T Mobility, Inc., Francis Kelley, for permission to do minor modification of an existing wireless communication facility from 6-9 antennas, unmanned, no change in operation at 500 Lynnfield Street.  (Lozzi) Tabled 12/28/10.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arts After Hours - Sights and Sounds of Cuba. The full details!!!!

Arts After Hours - Sights and Sounds of Cuba
January 22nd, 2011 7-9PM

@LynnArts - TLGUTS and the Neil Rantoul Vault Theatre
25 Exchange Street, Lynn, MA 01901

Admission $8

Brought to you by TLGUTS,,, Subterranean, SCI Lynn

The Daily Item, Official Media Sponsor

RSVP on Facebook!

Copyright 2009, Gretjen Helene Hargesheimer

  • Live Music by La Timbistica, Berkley band awarded Jazz Band of the Year by DownBeat Magazine in 2008!

  • Incredible Cuban Inspired cuisine from star chef, Juan Gonzales of Fernando's Restaurante!
  • Delicious Wine and Beer from Central Square's new hot spot, Turbine Wine Bar!
  • Play Dominoes!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Volunteer for SPIN - An Incredible Way to Help Our Community and Our Economy

United Way Financial Stability powered by SPIN is in the second year of operation and is set up to assist families in gaining financial independence.

In the first year 45 volunteers were trained to do income taxes under the IRS sponsored VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) faced with a goal of 165 tax returns, the volunteers completed close to 700 tax returns for the citizens of Lynn. According to SPIN’s IRS representative, that amount is an extraordinary number for a first year VITA site.

This VITA program returned close to $400,000 of EITC payments due to eligible families from Lynn. These funds more than likely trickled back into our Downtown's economy. Some families left the Financial Stability Center with a tax refund of over $9,000.00. A team of volunteers who were supported and trained by the United Way and SPIN completed the tax returns.

United Way’s Chief of External Affairs, Jeff Hayward said to the group of volunteers assembled to celebrate the accomplishments of the site, “…that by volunteering you were able to effect someone’s yearly income by 15% to 25% or more. “Think about it, if a family made $20,000 last year, and you helped them get an EITC refund of $5000.00, you increased their income by 25%”. There are not many other volunteering opportunities that give you that ability to impact a family’s life in this way. Thank you for all of your help”.

If you want to assist United Way or SPIN in preparing taxes or a variety of volunteering opportunities, contact SPIN’s Volunteer Coordinator Jim Harris at 781-598-9417.

Introducing Exposed Urban TV

Exposed Urban TV is an online resource for everything in modern urban life and has just launched it's TV program with Episode One, Zuckerberg and the Urbano Vanguards. Yours truly with Mark DeJoie, local entrepreneur, non-profit executive, and part owner of The Blue Ox. We'll be introducing what we hope to be a national audience to the things that are working in the Urban areas of the North Shore in Massachusetts. Downtown Lynn being at the gateway to that area and one of the best examples of urban potential and rebirth. We'll be talking about the things that are working here and elsewhere and influencing positive change in urban areas everywhere. Join in on the conversation over at


P.S. Don't you worry. I'll still be on the local scene and reporting here won't slow down a bit.

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