Blog Archives

Downtown View:More Children Downtown.Now What?

September 1, 2015
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Karen is taking a break. This column from January 2012 still has relevance three years later. New mayor, but same problem, and a new school in the North End and an expanded school in the North End is not enough for downtown families. Mayor Menino has once again focused on the schools, and we...

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Downtown View:Is There Hope for Downtown?

August 20, 2015
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Karen is taking a break. Here is a column from 2010. Isn’t it interesting how times have changed? Even though Downtown Crossing’s central location should make it a convenient destination for Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, North End and Waterfront residents, few choose to go there, even though a good number work nearby. I...

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Downtown View:Predicting the Future

August 14, 2015
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Karen is taking a break. In 2009, she asked several Bostonians to predict the future. How did they do? Last June, I bet you didn’t think we’d be here now: Obama as president, Hillary as secretary of state, the economy gone bust, General Motors in bankruptcy, Lehman Brothers no more, Sal DiMasi under indictment....

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Downtown View:Immigrants 1850

July 22, 2015
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Recently I researched and wrote a book about a group of immigrants who came to America in the 1840s and 1850s. Getting to Grand Prairie: One Hundred Londoners and Their Quest for Land in Frontier Illinois will appear this summer. It tells a true story of the farming community I grew up in. I’m...

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Downtown View:Questions You’ve Always Wanted Answered

July 9, 2015
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Recently we’ve noticed small, colored plastic disks embedded in the asphalt on Boston streets, especially in sections that have been repaired. What are those disks doing there? “They signify the utility contractor that did the work” wrote Gabrielle Farrell, associate press secretary in the mayor’s office, in an email. “This gives the Public Works...

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Mass.Eye and Ear Selling Hotel/Garage

July 9, 2015
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Officials from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, now known as the Mass. Eye and Ear, are in talks with several developers about selling their property on Beacon Hill. “The John Jeffries House is historically significant to the Mass. Eye and Ear, but it was not part of our mission,” said hospital spokesperson Jennifer...

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Closing a Church and Its Garden

July 3, 2015
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Church attendance is down all over America, but especially in New England, where only 17 to 22 percent of the residents report weekly attendance. Almost half of all Americans report they rarely or never go to church. One web site lists 27 churches in Massachusetts for sale to developers. The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston...

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The More Things Change

June 23, 2015
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Larry DiCara remembers his first encounter with Mayor Kevin White. It was 1971. DiCara was newly elected to the Boston City Council. The mayor phoned. Would DiCara meet with him? The young DiCara, outfitted in his best suit, entered the mayor’s office at the new city hall. White stood at the window overlooking Faneuil...

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Love in the Lab

June 18, 2015
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Kerfuffle. Brouhaha, contretemps, a wrangle, rumpus, melee, a ruckus, a to-do. It is curious that some of the best words in the English language describe a commotion, a disturbance, a fuss. My big American Heritage dictionary, published in 2000, strangely does not include the word. But the online Oxford English Dictionary traces its origin...

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Downtown View:Embracing the Greenway

June 4, 2015
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It has been six years since the Rose Kennedy Greenway’s first spring. It has been even longer since the Greenway was established, since the non-profits that hoped to cover the ramps abandoned their plans, and since frustrated horticultural volunteers fled the park leaders as too annoying to deal with. Things are looking up though....

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