Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recession Got You Down?

Rethinking your career path in light of the ongoing economic blues? How about a job in a new line of work that combines "a populist blend of satire, performance art, and adult entertainment"? This weekend the world of Burlesque descends on the Cambridgeport Hyatt, in the form of The Great Burlesque Exposition.

The Expo will feature dozens of classes (including some free drop-in classes), with fabulous titles such as Hula Hands and Flirting Eyes with Vivienne Vavoom" and "Planning a Comedy Striptease," as well as a costume exhibit and art show. The weekend promises to give us some fascinating people watching in the neighborhood.

Photo of noted 1930's Burlesque performer Ann Corio from the Expo website.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Public Meeting about Western Ave on Wednesday

Per an email blast from the city:

Community-wide Public Meeting
Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 7:00 P. M. - 9:00 P. M.Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, 806 Mass Ave., Central Square (map). We are currently at the very beginning stages of design. The purpose of this initial community-wide meeting is to give residents an opportunity to learn about the scope of the project and provide initial input as to what they like and don’t like about Western Avenue, what works and what doesn’t work. If you cannot attend the meeting, be sure to fill out our quick survey to give us some feedback.

For more information about the project, please visit our website.
On the website, you will find some great maps and other resources that help us better understand the corridor. Copies of the committee presentations and meeting notes are also available.

Community walks of Western Avenue corridor
These informal walks are led by city staff with occasional outside guests. The walks provide opportunities for neighbors to learn more about the project, and provide input to city staff. The walks are free and open to the public. Each walk will start near Central Square, go down Western Avenue to the Charles River, and back.
  1. Project Overview walk: Monday April 5, 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm (meet at Andala Café, map): Led by Jeff Rosenblum, Project Manager for Western Ave. surface design, CDD.
  2. Human Centered Design, Design for persons w/ Disabilities walk: Monday April 12, 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm (meet at Au Bon Pain, 684 Mass Ave, Central Square, map): Led by Chris Hart, Institute for Human Centered Design and Michael Muehe, Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities
  3. Traffic, Signals, and Stop Signs walk: Monday April 26, 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm (meet at Andala Café, map): Led by Jeff Parenti, City Traffic Engineer

All walks are on RAIN or SHINE.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turkish Night on Saturday

It's Turkish Night tonight down at the Morse School, a fundraiser for the CRLS students headed on a trip there. Food, music, and crafts...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DPW Comes Through

Though one could find some humor in the Brookline Street sinkholes blogged about on Monday, the situation was probably more than a little dangerous for cars and pedestrians alike. DPW's reaction was commendable: warning signage and traffic barrels were put up during the rain Sunday. The water-filled holes were filled (again, in the rain) with gravel on Monday. By Tuesday, the two main sinkholes were asphalt patched and driver-ready. Nice work.

Now count me among those who are ready for Brookline Street to be resurfaced, the project completed and leaves to appear on all the new trees!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Thought Exercise

Start with a not-yet-completed street improvement project.

Add days of unrelenting, saturating rain, which causes sinkholes in the unfinished roadway. Fill the sinkholes with more rain, disguising the sinkholes as mere puddles.

Throw in some speeding cars that run into the sinkholes with a great deal of force, jarring anything not bolted to the car loose.

What do you get?

A) C-port's newest public art project;

B) a new mom-and-pop auto body shop; or

C) a severely value-engineered traffic calming installation for CDD

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walk for Haiti on March 27

Not technically in Cambridgeport, but on a rainy weekend you can't help but daydream about springtime strolls on the Charles... especially those that also raise funds and awareness for an extremely worthy cause. The annual Walk for Haiti, organized by Partners in Health (PIH), is Saturday, March 27th. PIH is the Boston-based organization started by Dr. Paul Farmer (featured in Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains) that has worked for decades to bring health care to places the international community has forgotten, especially to Haiti--making this year an especially poignant year for the walk. From the website:

Now in its seventh year, the Walk has brought together students, activists, religious organizations, high schools, colleges, and others for a three-mile scenic walk around the Charles River and an afternoon of Haitian music, culture and crafts. All funds raised directly support the health initiatives of the world-renowned Dr. Paul Farmer in various sites throughout Haiti, specifically in Boucan Carré and Cange. Since its inception, the Walk has helped equip operating rooms, provide community health education and schooling (including scholarships for over 800 students), supply medicine, construct reliable shelter, improve and expand water/food programs and raise the standard of living for thousands of Haitians through PIH with nearly $250,000 in funds raised.
For more info, see the Walk's press release and website.

Image courtesy Walk for Haiti

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cambridge: Bad for Renters

Not really news for those of us that have had the experience of scouring the city for a meager but pricey pad, but some entertaining Friday survey results, per the Chronicle:

Looks like Cambridge might not be the best place for apartment renters, according to, which released rankings of renter satisfaction for the largest college towns and college cities in the country.

At the bottom of the list, along with Cambridge, were West Lafayette, Ind., San Antonio, Texas, University Park, Pa., Northridge, Calif. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Central Square Retail Tide Turning?

Every few weeks in the past year, you notice another one. Another Central Square retailer, here one week, gone the next, replaced by brown packing paper blocking the windows and a phone number to inquire about leasing. The AT&T store on the corner of Mass Ave and Magazine St. A printer supply store. The Gap. The Attic. A florist. Pearl Art.

This week, some good news comes to us via Gus Rancatore of Toscanini's via his blog:
It's interesting (and wholly unsurprising) that many of the closed stores were national tenants with corporate decisionmakers far from Cambridge, and many of those filling the void are ventures with local or regional bases. Come out and support the new business--as well as some of our favorite, more established ones!

Image of Central Bottle, 196 Mass Ave, courtesy their website.