Central Square

czsz

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Central Square has less neon, but it's arguably denser today than it was at midcentury. It's also got a way more diverse restaurant scene. It's the one neighborhood out-of-town friends seem to consistently enjoy.
 

Ron Newman

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Also, there is once again a Central Square Theater, except that this one is a live stage. (And on the opposite side of Mass. Ave. from the last two venues to have that name.)
 

blade_bltz

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The Central Square of today is far more culturally rich than anything I see in that picture. Jo Ann fabrics? A Jewelry store? Gimme a break. I'll take cheap Indian food and TT the Bears any day. Would you rather have Moody's Falafel Palace or the White Castle* that preceded it? I think we're getting a bit carried away on the Midcentury worship train.

*I'm pretty sure MA has never had a White Castle, but everyone claims the small, white cheapo mock castle inhabited by Moody's used to be a franchise of that venerable chain. But yeah, the example is illustrative anyway.
 

FrankG

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*I'm pretty sure MA has never had a White Castle, but everyone claims the small, white cheapo mock castle inhabited by Moody's used to be a franchise of that venerable chain. But yeah, the example is illustrative anyway.
I'm really curious about this now because there's not much else that building could have intended to be. I found this:

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2007/05/07/the_geek_who_captured_the_castle/

Q. White Castle has cult, kitsch status. It has this retro cool.

A. It predates McDonald's. The ads go for that. I learned something very interesting from a woman at White Castle who fancied herself a White Castle historian. I was telling her about the Falafel Palace in Central Square. Everyone always talks about it once being a White Castle. But she said, 'Oh no, we never had a White Castle in Massachusetts. That must have been a copy, like White Palace.'
 

Ron Newman

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There was another similar chain called White Tower, and perhaps this was one of them. For a definitive answer, one of us should ask the folks at Cambridge Historical Commission.
 

FrankG

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Aha!

http://bomplist.xnet2.com/0211/msg02263.html

"It was a White Castle which became a White Tower and it closed sometime
in the early to mid 70's. There was another one in Somerville. I grew up
in Central Square from when I was born 'til I was 11 then went back there to
live 1979-92. I still have family down there living in the neighborhood
between Pearl & Magazine Sts. My godparents owned the A & A Market directly
across from the WC that turned into Anthony's Greek Market that turned into
a hole in the ground that turned into some glass & steel thing that doesn't
fuckin' belong there."

I love this post because I live in the glass & steel thing that doesn't fuckin' belong here.
 

ablarc

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The Central Square of today is far more culturally rich than anything I see in that picture. Jo Ann fabrics? A Jewelry store? Gimme a break. I'll take cheap Indian food and TT the Bears any day. Would you rather have Moody's Falafel Palace or the White Castle* that preceded it?
A different and current form of cultural chauvinism. Some folks clearly disrespect customers of Jo Ann. Don't worry, they can't be offended; they're probably in their graves --and if they're not, they don't read archBoston.

Salt of the earth.
 

czsz

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Culturally chauvanistic, or personal preference?

I prefer today's Central Square over Stepford-in-the-City too. That doesn't mean I'm looking down at Jo-Ann.
 

blade_bltz

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A different and current form of cultural chauvinism. Some folks clearly disrespect customers of Jo Ann. Don't worry, they can't be offended; they're probably in their graves --and if they're not, they don't read archBoston.

Salt of the earth.
Do a location search of Jo-Ann fabrics in MA. There's a reason you only find them in the
suburbs (exurbs?), and it has nothing to do with folks like me.

Now if there were more urbanity in Boston to go around, of course there'd be nothing at all wrong with such utilitarian retail smack dab in the city. But I don't see how you could persuade those who packed up for the Billericas/Naticks/Tyngsboros (wtf?) of the world to come back.

Good to see that location in West Roxbury is still alive. I'd always thought it was Dedham. (How can anyone tell the difference?)
 

Ron Newman

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In the davis_square LiveJournal community that I co-moderate, "where can I find a fabric store" is a repeating topic of discussion. So it certainly isn't true that only suburbanites would patronize such a store.
 

blade_bltz

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^ Of course. And my own experience in quasi-urban Brookline was full of trips to fully suburban shopping malls, etc. That doesn't mean I'd be willing to trade off one for another.

Okay, in Brookline's case, a time machine might be nice (Woolworth's vs. Generic Space-wasting Cell phone store)

But the Central of today is wonderful as is. It needs to be improved, but we ALL agree on that (parking lots). I think it's silly to accuse me of cultural chauvinism for liking the current incarnation over the earlier. The transformation of the area is obviously reflection of shifting preferences, and it meets the needs of nearby young people better than the old version would. None of this is inconsistent with Ron's observation that a significant subset of the techno-whiz population in Cambridge/Somerville has an need for fabric that can't be satisfied locally. Who knows, maybe they'll get a fabric store? But would those same people give up, say, JP Licks for such a store? Doubtful.
 

Ron Newman

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Actually, the usual answers to the fabric store question are Sew-Low and Sewfisticated, both in East Cambridge.

I like Central Square and Inman Square pretty much as they are today. The niche formerly occupied by Woolworth's has been largely taken over by CVS, Walgreens, and Family Dollar.
 

NJBostonFan

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Bump:

Ablarc, would this drawing be a perfect description of your vision for Central Square?



BTW, I can't see the photos that your originally posted to show examples of what your vision of Central Square should be. Can you please give me a link to them?
 

Lurker

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The best fabric place is Winmill Fabrics Chauncy on Street downtown. They have quite the store kitty too.
 

PaulC

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Property for sale in Central Square

Could be lots of development opportunity in Central Square:

Several parcels of land spanning a wide area of Central Square, including several prominent locations along Massachusetts Avenue, were recently listed for sale. Speculation surrounds MIT’s potential interest in purchasing the properties, which include several parking lots and the Quest Diagnostics building.
http://tech.mit.edu/V132/N60/centralproperty.html
 

rdeastcl

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I would love to see 2 or 3 more 150+ft tall buildings in central
 

Arlington

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Reviving an old thread (2 years inactive) to ask:

What's the deal with how little is going on at Central Square?

From this spot, at Prospect and Bishop Allen, you get a good idea of what a Potemkin Village Central Square is:
https://goo.gl/maps/2idPW

- Huge surface lots associated with the low-rise 45 Prospect/130 Bishop Allen. (nice locust trees, though. I hope they save some when development comes)

- Condemned stucco apartment block immediately north of the the surface lots (visible through the locust trees)

- Strange "suburban" massing of 45 Prospect/130 Bishop Allen

- A whole 'nother block of surface parking south of Prospect

All in a super-prime location close to the T, Groceries (3x), Convenience, Harvard, MIT and with super-high Walk-Scores.

Why does this all just sit and sit?
 

George_Apley

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I believe that plans are in the works for those dead parcels. I think there have been several holdups in the process, but I don't remember what they are.
 

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