When the Boston Bruins are in town for a home game, it doesn’t just excite the fans — it excites all businesses surrounding the TD Garden.
But every four years since the 1998 winter Olympic games in Nagano, Japan, the National Hockey League has gone under a two-week hiatus to allow the league’s players to participate in the winter games. This year, the league’s hiatus was a little over two weeks: 18 days, to be exact.
While the Bruins not playing and Celtics playing only two home games while the Bruins were off for the Olympic break, many businesses in the area were forced to adjust their schedules and restaurants adjust their menu based on the audience attending the TD Garden. The good news: Disney on Ice was in town for nine days.
“We will probably close during the weekdays and only open on weekends,” said a manager of popular bar nearby TD Garden who wishes to remain anonymous because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter.
Peter Colton, owner and manager of The Four’s Restaurant and Bar on Canal Street said that the NHL break affected his business some but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. He said the restaurant has become accustomed to decreased business during school vacation breaks and the hockey and basketball off-seasons.
Colton said The Fours hoped to attract a different clientele when Disney on Ice was in town.
“We get a lot of big groups, a lot of real young kids where we’re doing a lot of kiddie meals, hot dogs, chicken fingers type of thing so it’s a lot of labor, a lot of cleanup involved,” Colton said. “ Obviously the profit margin is not quite as large as the bigger meal, it’s a different business. ”
On a typical night before a Bruins or Celtics game, the bars and restaurants in the area fill up before and after the game. Before the game, customers would make a stop by the restaurant for quick bite to eat while some come to the restaurant to watch the game.
While some restaurants felt the loss during the break, so did some area hotels. Vanessa Vitale, general manager of The Boxer Boston, a boutique Boston Hotel on Merrimac Street, said the two week hiatus cut into The Boxer’s usual hotel and food and beverage business.
“During Bruins nights, especially pre-game, we get busy just from guests wanting a quick cocktail or appetizer, especially from the VIP-seated guests or the corporate guests,” said Vitale.
The hotel came up with alternative ways to rent rooms during the time off. People that typically come in from out of town but not necessarily far away — from the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut area — for a game weren’t booking roms while both the Bruins and the Celtics were away.
“We have found ways to be flexible and adapt to the market segments coming in whether they’re concerts. We have a very different guest when Justin Beiber is in town rather than Elton John on non-Bruins or Celtics nights because we know how
to cater to the Bruins and Celtics guest because we’re honed in on that person,” said Vitale.
Here’s the good news for North End bars and restaurants: the Bruins resume their home schedule against the Washington Capitols on Saturday, March 1, at 1 p.m. and play eight home games in March. The Celtics Play Wednesday night, Feb. 28, at home, and have nine homes games in March.
The MBTA today announced the start date for its planned two-year closure of Government Center Station -- Saturday, March 22.
The 24-month closure is part of a $90 million project to renovate and rebuild the busy station at City Hall Plaza.
MBTA personnel began posting signs today at Government Center and other stations, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
The T has also created a webpage with additional details, including recommendations for how passengers should navigate the system during the closure.
A transfer point for the Green and Blue lines, the station is the 13th busiest in the MBTA system and the third oldest, according to the T. On average, 11,315 people enter Government Center Station on weekdays.
Work on the Government Center Station project began in the fall while the station remained opened.
During the closure, trains will still run through, but will not stop at the station.
The T has said it will take steps to try to reduce impacts from the closure, including running: special bus route that will stop at Government Center, Haymarket, and State stations. And, Bowdoin Station, normally closed on weekends and after 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, will be kept open seven days a week and until the same time other stations close.
The overhaul, the first significant modernization to the Government Center Station in 50 years, will bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and make myriad other improvements. The most dramatic change will be a tall, glass-lined station entrance, or headhouse, emerging from City Hall Plaza.
Other work will include: renovating Green Line and Blue Line platforms; overhauling the electrical system; installing new elevators, escalators, LED signs, improved lighting, and an expanded fare collection area, and reconstructing some of the surrounding parts of Cambridge Street and City Hall Plaza, officials said.
The station is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2016. After it reopens, some work will continue before the project's scheduled completion at the end of 2016. The T has said it expects federal funding to cover about 80 percent of the project cost.
Skating Toward Better Education: North End’s Eliot School Free Skate Provides Fundraising Opportunity
Frank Sinatra blasted through the speakers of Steriti Memorial Rink as parents held the hands of their elementary school-aged children, skating around the ice.
The chatter and laughter from dozens of teenagers, parents, and helmet-wearing children filled the indoor rink on Commercial Street in Boston’s North End. The Eliot K-8 Innovation School’s first-ever free skate and 50-50 raffle, held last Saturday, was the reason for the family-friendly fun.
“This is not a fundraiser as much as it is an opportunity for students, families, and teachers to come together,” said Principal Traci Griffith of the Eliot School. “We’re doing a small raffle, but it’s really just to build and strengthen our Eliot community.”
Organized mainly as a get-together for the Eliot School community, the event also served as a fundraiser for the North End’s public school. Members of the Eliot School’s Family Council, similar to a Parent-Teacher Association, sold 50-50 raffle tickets and Fred White, owner of the North End Skate Shop and Snack Bar and also an alumni parent of the Eliot School, agreed to donate event proceeds to the school.FULL ENTRY
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
The MBTA announced today that a number of its bus lines will receive a countdown clock system to alert riders to when the next bus on each route will arrive. Last week, the transit system completed its 18-month installation of 314 of these countdown clocks at 53 stations along the Red, Orange, and Blue lines. While by all means good news for the T, the announcement left me and the nearly 220,000 daily riders of the Green Line wondering: What about us?
The Green Line gets a pretty bad--and in my opinion, undeserved --rap.
What other line serves more than 60 stations, covering 12 Boston neighborhoods and parts of Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, and soon Somerville?
What other line touches Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, the Colleges of the Fenway, the Downtown universities, and even (with a 15-minute walk) MIT?
What other line drops you off steps away from Boston's biggest landmarks--Fenway Park, Newbury Street, the Science Museum, to name a few?
Why will it be one of the last lines to get the countdown clocks? The MBTA said it will introduce the technology on the Green Line by the end of this year.
It's time to reclaim the Green Line, Boston's and America's first subway line. Sure, the rides may be bumpy and the trains may be delayed (though that problem's not exclusive to Green Line,) but it excels at taking you where you need to go. What else can we ask of it?
I am a proud Green Line commuter. It's the line that ferried me around the city as a college student. It's the line that still does that today. The Green Line and I may not always get along, but day after day, it keeps showing up, and I keep riding.
Today, we asked you what you love about the Green Line. Here are some of the responses:
@BostonDotCom Growing up next to the E Line, I hated the loud noises! But now I'm in the suburbs, hearing the screeching reminds me of home.— Henry Wu (@ByHenryWu) February 6, 2014
@BostonDotCom I love when it remains stationery under ground for extended periods of time.— KerryJ (@KerryJSay) February 6, 2014
@BostonDotCom I love the mystery and suspense of wondering if a Lechmere train is ever actually going to come. I'm an adventure junkie.— Sean Marsters (@swmarsters) February 6, 2014
Sarcasm aside, the Green Line touches a lot of this city's population. Let's embrace Boston's only streetcar, subway line.
Lastly, as promised on Twitter, a Green Line poem:
O fairest of T lines, you take me away
From Park Street to Lechmere, Riverside to Fenway
In rain, sleet and snow
You still manage to go
Though often you run on substantial delays.
The MBTA plans to soon install countdown clocks at a number of bus stations throughout its system to notify riders when the next bus on each route will leave that station, the agency announced today.
The bus way at Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain will be the first bus location to get the electronic message boards, according to T spokeswoman Kelly Smith.
Signs are also planned in bus ways at Dudley Square and Ruggles stations, she said. Eight other stations have been "tentatively" chosen to receive the signs: Harvard Square; Haymarket, Ashmont; Kenmore; Maverick, Wonderland, Jackson Square, and Central Square.
The signs should be operational by summer, Smith said.
The signs, using real-time bus tracking data, will provide information about when each route serving that station is next expected to depart. The signs will feature both visual and audio messages.
The project is funded through federal stimulus money, and each sign costs about $50,000, a price tag that includes the display, hardware, software, installation, maintenance and a push-button activated sound system so that people with visual impairments can access the information on the sign, she said.
Most stations will have one sign each. Dudley, because of its size, will have two, she said.
"I've often said our buses are the work horses of our system, serving more than 375,000 people on a typical weekday," T general manager Beverly Scott said in a statement. "The countdown signs at our busiest bus stops will provide customers with information that will make their public transit experience easier and more convenient."
Last week, the T completed an 18-month-long project to activate a total of 314 countdown clocks at all 53 subway stations on the Red, Orange and Blue lines, which officials said made the T one of the first transit agencies in the country to equip all heavy rail stations with train-arrival information.
Officials said the signs have been popular and well-received by riders, and since they were introduced in the summer of 2012 the agency said it has made regular improvements based on rider feedback, including making the signs more accurate and easier to see.
The T said it expects to introduce the countdown clock system to the Green Line by the end of this year. The light rail line is undergoing work to upgrade its less-sophisticated train tracking system with GPS and sensor technology to allow for countdown clock capability.
The agency has also said technology upgrades on the Green Line will allow smartphone-carrying riders to be able to track in real-time the whereabouts and expected arrival of the line's trains by 2015.
Trains on the Red, Orange and Blue have been tracked by mobile applications since the fall of 2010, when the agency made real-time train location data on those lines available to private software developers, who have created numerous smartphone applications. The T made real-time data on bus locations available to software developers in fall of 2009.
State health officials Friday released the names of companies that will receive the first 20 licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts.
In Middlesex County, licenses will go to facilities slated for Lowell, Ayer, Newton, and Cambridge. In Norfolk County, the locations are in Brookline and Quincy. In Suffolk County, two are slated in Boston.
In Plymouth county, licenses will go to facilities slated for Plymouth and Brockton. And in Worcester County, the locations are in Milford and Worcester. In Essex County, they are slated in Salem and Haverhill.
Here are the others: Mashpee and Dennis in Barnstable County; Taunton and Fairhaven in Bristol County; Holyoke in Hampden County; and Northampton in Hampshire County.
Counties without a selected dispensary include Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes and Nantucket.
Celebrity Series of Boston, the same group that brought the city Street Pianos, is looking for over 150 dancers to participate in a unique dance extravaganza. The enthusiastic, contemporary line dance will descend on Copley Square this May. Information meetings will be held Feb. 2 to Feb. 4.
Volunteer dancers will participate in a series of 20 rehearsals to learn and perform Le Grand Continental, a co-production by Montreal choreographer Sylvain Émard Danse and the Festival TransAmeriques. Produced in partnership with the Celebrity Series of Boston, the performances promise to be an explosive, grand finale to cap off the organization’s 75th anniversary season.
Gary Dunning, the executive director of Celebrity Series of Boston, said the performance runs about 30 minutes, with multiple styles of music and dance. He said they are looking for as many dancers that Copley Square can hold, and that no prior dance experience is needed. This way, the performance becomes just as much about community as it does about performance art.
“We look for passion, energy, and the desire to do this, while we take on the responsibility for training. We’ll take all the applicants and work with them,” Dunning said. “In a sense, it’s as much about creating community as it is about celebrating community.”
Dunning said that he is excited to offer this energetic, professional dance experience to the city. He was amazed by the success of Street Pianos Boston and felt the city craved more opportunities to participate in and develop community around performance art. He said that kicking off the season with Street Pianos reflected Celebrity Series of Boston’s mission, and that it is only fitting to end the season with another event that reflects performance art’s “spirit of adventure.”
“There’s a pent up demand for good, fun, public performance art projects, and the city hasn’t had very many of them. The response to Street Pianos and the early response that I’m getting to this is that Boston will embrace it, both as an audience and as performers,” Dunning said. “Our goal is to have a project every year of some kind or another that celebrates how much Boston loves performing arts.”
Le Grand Continental requires no previous dance experience. Dunning said that the piece relies on energy, passion, and a desire to participate within a large community. He said all ages are welcome, and that the current ages already range from young teenagers to those in their 70s. He hopes potential participants will recognize what an amazing, unique opportunity this event presents.
“You can take on a new adventure, try something, and learn something new in a supportive and professional environment,” Dunning said. “You make new friends and experience something you never thought you could, which is performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people. It’ll be great to be part of such a cool community project and to connect with people across the city.”
Le Grand Continental will be performed in Copley Square three times throughout May 16-18. Dancers will attend 20 rehearsals before then, learning choreography in small groups leading up to show day. Information sessions will be held on the following days at the following times:
Sunday, Feb. 2 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
For more information or to sign up for an information session, visit the event’s website.
This one's a surprise: Boston--and by extension, its pride and joy of a transit system--was ranked the third best US city for public transportation by Walk Score.
To assemble the ranking, Walk Score calculated the Transit Score of 316 cities and nearly 7,000 neighborhoods. Boston scored a 75, falling behind New York (81) and San Francisco (80.)
Transit Scores were based on the average resident's access to public transit in the city, using a population-weighted methodology. Only cities with more than 500,000 people were included in the top list.
Walk Score said the ranking favored Northeast cities "with established subway systems."
In other MBTA news, the Green Line is delayed.
After more than 67 years with a single location in Boston’s North End, Mike’s Pastry is looking to open a second shop in Harvard Square as soon as late spring.
The family-run pastry shop known for its cannoli and blue-and-white pastry boxes is hoping to expand on its success on Hanover Street with a new takeout shop in heart of Harvard Square.
The pastry shop has signed a lease at 11 Dunster Street behind the Cambridge Savings Bank near "The Pit" in the Square, and could open as soon as late May or early June.
Mike's Pastry general manager Angelo Papa, who is the stepson of the shop’s late founder Michael Mercogliano, said the North End shop has been doing business with Harvard University and MIT for years, and that has contributed to the decision to open a second location in Cambridge.
“We’ve heard for years, come here, come here,” Papa said.
Papa said everything in the Harvard Square location would be made by Mike’s Pastry in Boston and delivered fresh each day.
The pastry shop will be about 1,100 square feet and with only six seats it will focus on takeout orders. Along with its signature handmade cannoli, the shop will serve up other favorites from Italian cookies, to muffins, scones, croissants, turnovers and coffee.
The shop still needs a special permit and a license from the city and will go before Cambridge’s Board of Zoning Appeal Thursday night for a fast order food special permit. Monday night the business garnered the support from the city’s Harvard Square Advisory Committee.
While the Dunster Street shop would be only the second location for Mike’s, Papa said the business has been shipping directly to customers across the country for years.
Customers crowd into the Hanover Street location, which has been open since 1946, and Papa said he’s hoping he can bring a bit of that North End experience to Cambridge.
“You can go buy a cannoli wherever you want, but you can’t buy my cannoli,” Papa said.
The 25th annual Arisia—the largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention in New England—will be taking place January 17 to 20 at the Westin Boston Waterfront.
The convention promises panels and activities ranging from video game competitions and live action Angry Birds to discussions on how to kill your characters and Zumba for nerds.
Rachel Silber, last year’s convention chair, said Arisia is the perfect place for geeks to gather and connect. While some conventions are fairly small or limited to specific topics, Arisia spans many topics of discussion that exist within the science fiction and fantasy genre. She said the convention’s goal is simply to bring together the masses and connect different communities.
“Diversity is in the geek community. Whatever area that you want to focus on—whether you’re a historical recreationist, dancer, editor, artist or if you make things and want to share them—there’s a place here for you,” Silber said.
This year, Arisia’s theme is cross-culturalism. Nicholas Shectman, a former convention chair from years 1996 and 2006, said there are people participating from all over the world, including the convention’s guests of honor, author Tanya Huff, artist Lubov, and James Nicoll. He said this year presented a great opportunity to highlight how different cultures can come together and influence many aspects of sci-fi/fantasy.
“We have a lot of different cultures among our guests of honors, so it’s an opportunity to highlight the different types of groups that’s come to Arisia. You can interact with people who may have interests that are related to yours or are totally different,” Shectman said. “It’s a way for the different subcultures in geekdom in Boston, the U.S., and the world to interact with each other, for the sum to be greater than all of its parts.”
Throughout the convention, events, movies, panels, performances, and competitions are available 24 hours a day. Silber said that with so many varied interests, it’s difficult to limit opportunities for discussion and participation during the day.
Some of the top picks include New England’s largest Masquerade competition, an art show where participants can purchase sci-fi/fantasy art pieces, graceful period dances, a showing of the silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame accompanied by live organist Jeff Rapsis, and a gender-reversed presentation of Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles.” There truly is something for everyone.
Silber said that one aspect of Arisia that is different than other conventions is its focus on community and families. She said that now that the convention is in its 25th year, they are starting to see second-generation Arisia lovers. They offer specific programming targeted to children and teens, as well as babysitting services.
“One of the things I find unique [to Arisia] is how we have integrated family into programming and what we have to offer,” Silber said. “We get families together and let them network and meet each other in as many ways as they can. Those kinds of networks and relationships keep people coming back to Arisia every year, because that’s where those relationships are.”
Silber said that a lot of work goes into this convention, but that every year it grows and is worth it to the people who attend. Last year over 3500 people attended the convention.
“We are a completely volunteer-run organization,” Silber said. “It’s a large undertaking, but done with a lot of love.”
Shectman said he hopes people will take the opportunity to check out one of the biggest and most diverse conventions in the area. He said there is something for everyone, and that it’s amazing what people find when they participate.
“It’s a chance to find a community, or many communities. Which community or what event you’ll want to attend is different for everybody, but there really is something for everyone,” Shectman said.
Arisia will take place on Friday, January 17 until Monday, January 20 at The Westin Boston Waterfront. For more information on the convention, programming, or registration, visit the event’s website.