Dear Members,Happy Spring!  Please join us for the next meeting of the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Assocation (MCDRA) on April 13th:Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street(Handicap Accessible)Thank you to Suffolk University for making this space available to MCDRA

(Unless otherwise noted, MCDRA meetings are held at 7PM on the second Monday of each month)

We will welcome Bob Mayerson, CEO, and other members of the Patriot Care team, which is proposing to open and operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 21 Milk Street in Midtown / Downtown Crossing.  We will also welcome Rosemarie Sansone, President of the Downtown Boston BID, who will be discussing the business community’s perspective on the proposed dispensary. The presentations will be followed by Q&A.

Meeting Notes from MCDRA March Meeting

A special thank you to John Nucci, Jason Wright, James Kaufman, Ben Sigda and their team for hosting the March MCDRA meeting.  Their generous hospitality in providing us with a meeting home in-kind is greatly appreciated!

Elected Officials’ Offices Represented & Special Guests:  State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz; Patrick Lyons of State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz’s office; Sophia Wang, Neighborhood Representative with Councillor At-Large Michelle Wu’s office; and Will Dickerson of Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty’s office.  Also in attendance were Sgt. Jimmy Chin of the Boston Police Department and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Maynard of the MBTA Transit Police.

Rishi Shukla, MCDRA Executive Committee, welcomed past and new attendees and provided a brief history of the MCDRA.  He also shared that the website has some new features, including an events calendar where members may view and suggest events. To view upcoming events, please To suggest an event, please visit

Dr. Marilyn Plotkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Theater at Suffolk University and Artistic Director of the Modern Theater, welcomed guests. She gave an overview of the Theater’s founding, restoration and current programming.  She encouraged all to return to a live performance at the Theater.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz introduced himself and provided information on current issues and his proposed legislation.  Rep. Michlewitz also expressed his excitement about the formation of a residents’ association in Midtown / Downtown Crossing and plans to hold a casual drop-in coffee hour for residents during the coming months.

Next, members heard an initial presentation from the 171 Tremont Street project team, which is proposing a condominium development at 171-172 Tremont Street. The letter of intent that was submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority is posted here. The project team shared that their plans for the proposed condominium development were still in the early stages. This was the first time the team had presented their plans to the community. The majority of questions from members were related to the proposed height (355 feet) of the building and the fact that the current proposal exceeds zoning regulations.

The project team’s presentation has been posted to our website and can be accessed here.  Also, as promised, we have developed a survey to ensure that residents have an opportunity to provide feedback – this survey can be accessed here.  Preliminary results will be presented at our April meeting and will also be shared with the project team and City of Boston officials.  The project team has agreed to present their revised plans at an upcoming meeting.

Rishi thanked Laurie & Mark LaConte and Jane Fine for kick-starting a social component to MCDRA.  A paper survey was circulated at the meeting.  Please take a moment to complete the survey here.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13th!


Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

ArtEmerson Preview…

Join us for a special preview and announcement of
ArtsEmerson’s 2015/16 Season
Intentionally Different, Entirely ArtsEmerson

THU, MAY 7 @ 6:30PM
Emerson/Paramount Center
559 Washington St, Boston


Our 2015/16 Season will be different. In the midst of a wild array of fresh stories from around the globe, we’ll invite you to be part of something wholly eclectic…and entirely ArtsEmerson. We’ll experience diverse cultures, multiple languages and unexpected musical forms; we’ll crack open the classics, travel to new lands and even battle space aliens. Together, we’ll continue to discover the world on stage and celebrate that being different isn’t just okay…it might just be the best thing ever.

Join us for a special evening full of sneak-peek performances, a party with next season’s artists and be among the first to hear how YOU can be part of all the exciting things to come! Free drink, food and merriment provided!

This event is free and open to the public but reservations are required. To RSVP, please sign up for your free tickets here.

Hear Ye Hear Ye…Town Hall Meeting…





Music to my Ears…

Coming in the Fall: A Seminar on Great Female Singers of Popular Song

Neighborhood residents will have a wonderful treat in store this fall.


The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston Common (Avery Street) has generously agreed to donate a room for David Maister to offer a series of seven weekly, 2-hour talks that will examine some of the 20th century’s greatest female exponents of popular song, whose heyday were the 1940s and 1950s.

The seminar will cover Ella Fitzgerald and some of her contemporaries: Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, and, by way of contrast, Dinah Shore, the Andrews Sisters and Jo Stafford. Extensive time will devoted to the careers of Peggy Lee, Judy Garland and Doris Day. We’ll celebrate Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Margaret Whiting and June Christy. However, we won’t neglect Shirley Temple, Rosemary Clooney, or Blossom Dearie. Then there’s Anita O’Day, Patti Page and the mysterious Marni Nixon. And others.


By watching videos and listening to recordings, and by reviewing biographical and historical information, David will examine these performers’ works and lives, as well as of the culture of their times.

In addition to the videos shown during the talks, David will send each participant an email every day introducing a new singer from the period, together with some intriguing biographical facts, so that over the course of seven weeks we will have examined more than 80 singers.

David Maister, a former Harvard Business school professor, was an international management consultant for over 25 years before his retirement. He has more than 300,000 pieces of music in his collection.

The seminar will be open to residents of the Midtown/Downtown, Back Bay and Beacon Hill areas, and will be offered on Monday evenings from7pm to 9pm, beginning in late September, 2015. The hotel is planning to provide a cash bar outside the seminar room.

To offset the cost of purchasing the audio/visual equipment necessary for the seminar, there will be a small fee for the seven-class seminar.

In order to gauge interest in this seminar and determine the necessary room size, an incentive is being provided to sign up early for the course. If you sign up any time between now and July 1, 2015, the seminar fee (for the whole course) will be $30. After that date, the seminar fee will be $50.


To sign up or for more information contact David at :


Skinny Tower at 171 Tremont Street and more…

Don’t forget this very important neighborhood meeting next week!

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street

(Handicap Accessible)


You can view the developers ideas for the skinny building at:



Meet your US Rep. Joe Kennedy III…


US Rep. Joseph Kennedy III
Guest Speaker at IIIC’s Business Leaders Breakfast on April 2nd

The Irish International Immigrant Center (100 Franklin St.) will hold its 6th Annual Business Leaders Breakfast on Thursday, April 2nd. US Rep. John Kennedy III (D-4th) will be the featured guest speaker.



The breakfast, which is being hosted at the Boston Harbor Hotel from 7:30 to 9 am, is being held to support IIIC’s immigrant services. Tickets are $250 and there are opportunities to sponsor the breakfast. Please contact Mary Kerr for more info at or 617-695-1554.




Sneak Preview…

See us in the upcoming issue of Distinctive Homes…





Sports Club Looking to Party…

Just in case you missed it, the Sports Club (formally known as Sports Club LA) at the Ritz-Carlton on Avery Street was taken over by Equinox  several months ago and will embark on a major renovation job sometime soon.

Not only that, but it appears they would like you to stay a little later after your work out…actually, a lot later.

On April 6th, the owners will be seeking an entertainment license  for a 2 AM closing as they meet with the Mayor’s Office  of Consumer Affairs and Licensing at 10:30 AM in City Hall.

Included in the entertainment offered will be live music, DJs , dancing and more. Check out the notice below for more details.



Ritz-Carlton Boston Residences Needs A Starbucks!

One sure way to increase the value of the luxury condos  within the Ritz-Carlton Boston Towers may well lie within the reach of a cup of java.

Check out this report from Zillow…


America may run on Dunkin’ Donuts, or so the donut chain’s slogan claims, but the housing market seems partial to Starbucks, according to two Zillow executives.
In their New York Times-bestselling book, “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate,” Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries found that, nationwide, homes located within quarter mile of a Starbucks have appreciated more quickly than homes overall.image
Between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, on average, compared with 65 percent for all U.S. homes, based on a comparison of Zillow Home Value Index data with a database of Starbucks locations. Dunkin’ Donuts locations appreciated 80 percent, on average, during the same 17-year period, Zillow reported.
When looking at the nation’s top 20 largest metros, the five metro areas where home proximately to a Starbucks had the greatest impact on home values were Boston,Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Baltimore, respectively, according, according to Zillow.
In many cases, the overall pace of home price growth in the nation’s 20 largest metros was “dwarfed by the sheer magnitude of total appreciation in these large metro areas,” Zillow wrote on its website. In Seattle, for example, homes near a Starbucks appreciated in value by 16 percentage points more than the median value of all homes, but “this effect is diminished in the time series, given that overall appreciation is so high (105 percent for all homes, 121 percent for homes near a Starbucks),” Zillow said.
One notable exception to this rule was Boston,  the birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts, where homes near a Starbucks appreciated 171 percent during this time period, compared with 126 percent for all homes, Zillow reported.

Credit From theBankers & Tradesman

Leonard Nimoy Lived Long and Prospered with Beginnings in Downtown Boston

Before becoming Spock on “Star Trek,” actor Leonard Nimoy started his acting career in Boston. Nimoy, 83, passed away on Feb. 27th.

In 2013 he toured Downtown Boston with his son Adam, who was making a short documentary about his father’s life, from being born in the West End to his entry level jobs at businesses on Boylston and Bromfield streets.

Leonard Nimoy and his son Adam in Downtown Boston. (Photo from WGBH)
In the video Nimoy talked about his job as a vacuum salesman on Boylston Street, which taught him how to sell himself during auditions. He also sold newspapers on the Boston Common, and had a job in a stationery store on Bromfield Street. Click here to watch the full video made by Adam Nimoy about his father.

Leonard Nimoy on Boylston Street in Downtown Boston.


From the ‘Hood…Midtown Update

Dear Members,Perhaps Mother Nature forgot that it’s almost time for Spring, but we’ll still be moving our clocks forward this weekend just in time for our next meeting on Monday, March 9th:Monday, March 9, 2015 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street(Handicap Accessible)

Thank you to Suffolk University for making this space available to MCDRA
We are pleased to be joined by Dr. Marilyn Plotkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Theatre at Suffolk University and Artistic Director of the Modern Theatre.  She will provide a brief welcome and share information about upcoming cultural and artistic offerings, including special opportunities for MCDRA members.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, whose office has been engaged with MCDRA since the beginning, will introduce himself and provide a brief overview of his legislative agenda.

We will also welcome the project team that is proposing a residential development at 171-172 Tremont Street. A number of members of the team, including the ownership team, developer, legal counsel, civil engineers, and building and landscape architects, will be on hand to present their vision and answer questions. This will be the project team’s first neighborhood presentation.


  • Host Welcome: Dr. Marilyn Plotkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Theatre, Suffolk University and Artistic Director, Modern Theatre
  • State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz: Introduction and Overview of Legislative Agenda
  • 171-172 Tremont Street Project Team: Presentation and Q&A

Meeting Notes from MCDRA February Meeting

A special thank you to Allison Brawer, Barbara Capasso, and the A/V team at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common for hosting the February MCDRA meeting.  Their generous hospitality is much appreciated.

Elected Officials’ Offices Represented & Special Guests:  Patrick Lyons of State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz’s office; James Chan of Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan’s office; and Sherry Dong, who is the new head of the Chinatown / South Cove Neighborhood Council.

Deva Hirsch of the Executive Committee thanked MCDRA founding members Kaia Agarwal, Patricia Anjesky, Judy Cantwell, Margaret Carr, Mary Glynn, Stuart Peskin, Jim Robertson, Sarah Robinson, and Marilyn Smith.  Without their attendance and participation in an initial brainstorming session, MCDRA would not have been launched.

Members Peter Jones and Marsha Gordon called for a special toast and thank you to the Boston Police Officers and MBTA Transit Police Officers who serve and protect the neighborhood and its residents year-round.

Cpt. Ken Fong and Sgt. Jimmy Chin (Boston Police Department) and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Maynard (MBTA Transit Police) provided an overview of the history and evolution of the neighborhood along with a safety update.

Rishi Shukla of the Executive Committee let members know that representatives from the proposed 21 Milk Street medical marijuana dispensary will present at an upcoming meeting (they are tentatively scheduled to present at the April meeting).  The decision was made to postpone a resident vote on this proposal until after the April presentation.  Rishi also shared that there was no new information regarding the proposed Latitude 360 project but that MCDRA remains on top of it and will share relevant information if / when it becomes available.

Liz Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of Public Garden, gave a presentation about the Garden, Common and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The Friends is a park advocacy organization with a mission to preserve and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. If you are interested in learning more or becoming a Member of the Friends, visit or call (617) 723-8144.

Chris Cook, Commissioner of the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, also shared information about the Common and how his department works with residents and the Friends of Public Garden. Residents asked how they may assist in ensuring the Common remains clean, safe and well-maintained.  Several residents expressed displeasure with a Fall festival called the Freedom Rally / Hemp Fest.  Chris Cook encouraged attendees to contact his office to share feedback. Chris’ contact information is as follows: / (617) 635-4989. Those interested in voicing their displeasure with or support for the Freedom Rally / Hemp Fest being held on the Common should contact Chris and other elected officials. The Friends of the Public Garden has put together a list of key contacts and guidance around writing an effective letter to elected officials – the document can be downloaded here.  A list of elected officials can also be found on the MCDRA website.

Finally, a big thank you to Laurie & Mark LaConte and Jane Fine for kickstarting a social component to MCDRA!  The first gathering, held yesterday at Tremont on the Common, attracted over 50 guests and provided an opportunity for residents to meet informally and share ideas for future social activities. A survey will be circulated this week to gather your thoughts on additional social activities and venues.


Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

About the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA)The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA) is an independent organization that was formed in October 2014 by residents of Boston’s Midtown / Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The organization, run exclusively by volunteers residing in the neighborhood, facilitates community building and ensures that residents are informed and have a voice in key decisions that stand to impact the quality of life in and development of Midtown / Downtown Crossing. MCDRA requires that members disclose any conflicts of interest and that they reside in the neighborhood. To learn more, please visit us at

1,2 and 3 Under Agreement…

The  Winter weather has been awful , the traffic a mess, and then there is the parking! But it hasn’t stopped us here at Atlantic Associates RE!

Lined up and ready to close are these three Ritz-Carlton Boston Residences:

2 Avery Street #25 H

1 Avery Street #17 B

1 Avery Street #34 D

And we have a new home just listed at 2 Avery Street!

Enjoy three dazzling exposures from this high floor “C” unit located in the desirable South Tower of The Ritz-Carlton Boston Residences. Watch the sun rise over Boston Harbor and set over the winding Charles River & Back Bay skyline. Walls of floor to ceiling windows showcase the amazing views and abundance of light.  3 generously sized bedrooms, all en suite. Spectacular entertainment sized, wrap-around living room and dining area.  Gourmet chef’s kitchen with Viking gas range, double wall oven, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher & U-Line wine cooler.  Includes 1 valet garage parking.  Direct elevator access to Equinox, hotel lobby and restaurants.  Exclusive $3,695,000photo.aspx (1)

Get Up To Date on What’s Happening…

From your DOR

Dear Resident:

Change is underway in our neighborhood, Downtown Crossing.  There are new residential developments under construction, as well as new hotels, retail stores, and a Roche Bros. Supermarket.


In order to assure all our Residents are up-to-date with this information, we have scheduled a Community Update Social Event with Roche Bros and a representative from the BID.  Roche Bros will cater this event and provide a food and beverage offering to give Residents a taste of what is yet to come, along with displaying some detailed drawings of their new supermarket!

Unfortunately Rosemarie Sansone is unable to attend but her associate will provide Residents with an overview of the new construction in our area, as well as an overview of possible future developments.

Rosemarie will be available to answer any questions that Residents may have about newly proposed nearby developments and clarify processes that would need to be undertaken in order for those to occur.

We cordially invite you to attend this event on Thursday, February 26 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the North Low-Rise Library, 3 Avery Street. We look forward to seeing you there!

Warm Regards,

James R. Zaratin
Director of Residences
The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common

Easier than a Trail of Breadcrumbs…

Navigating Downtown Crossing Just Got Easier

wayfinding-sm-(1).jpgThe Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) recently rolled-out the first phase of its pedestrian wayfinding program along Summer Street, between the MBTA’s Park Street and South Stations. The four kiosks are the first in the city built to the new display guidelines established by the BRA in partnership with the BID and local consulting agencies. The collaboration between the BRA Planning Division, led by John Greeley, Corey Zehngebot and Jill Zick, and design firms omloopand KMDG, has resulted in an ambitious and innovative framework for future, standardized wayfinding throughout the city.
wayfinding-sm-2.jpgTo achieve the goal of creating a more seamless pedestrian experience, concierges and BID ambassadors were consulted on behalf of downtown’s diverse population. Gone is static one-size-fits-all signage; maps now differ from one location to the next, providing passing tourists, students, and workers with tailored sidewalk navigation. And the wayfindings’ new, clean design makes it something area residents can take pride in as a feature of the Downtown Crossing landscape—not just a tool for travelers.
The new wayfinding shows Boston in its best light by utilizing innovative, energy-efficient light to illuminate kiosks 24-hours a day. These kiosks, powered by pilot wayfinding-sm-3.jpgsolar technology, are the first of their kind in the city. And it’s the hope of the Downtown BID and the BRA that this newly designed, energy-efficient model of wayfinding helps point pedestrians and neighboring communities alike in the right direction.

Passersby are encouraged to get an up-close look at the new wayfinding. But the differences are just as clear from right here, thanks to reader-friendly typeface and an easily digestible layout. Each feature is made even easier to see thanks to inviting, solar-powered soft backlighting. Summer Street and Winter Street kiosks shown.


Less Business- More Social…

Will March come in like a lion or a lamb?
Regardless of the weather…

Come join your neighbors from the MCDRA for coffee!

Sunday, March 1st
10:00am – Noon
Tremont on the Common, 151 Tremont Street (Function Room – 6th floor)
Please let the concierge know that you are attending the MCDRA coffee get togetherRSVP
Laurie LaConte | (617)

As you may have heard if you attended the last monthly meeting, we are kicking off an effort to add a social component to the MCDRA!

The coffee gathering on the 1st will be a very casual occasion to meet some neighbors and get some conversation going on what sort of social and community activities would benefit the neighborhood.  What would YOU like to enjoy with others in your neighborhood?  Come to share ideas or just to enjoy a cup of coffee and meet some neighbors.

It would be helpful to get an idea of numbers.  Please RSVP (Laurie LaConte, (617) 936-4294, with the name and number of guests – but feel free to just show up even if you don’t have a chance to reply.  We will have plenty of regular coffee and snacks, but if you prefer another beverage, please bring your own.  Also, feel free to e-mail me with any suggestions and ideas for the social arm of the MCDRA, especially if you are not able to make it on the 1st!  Watch for a survey soon on interests for connecting in the neighborhood.

Hope to see you!!!

Laurie and Mark LaConte, Parkside
Jane Fine, Tremont on the Common

About the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA)The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA) is an independent organization that was formed in October 2014 by residents of Boston’s Midtown / Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The organization, run exclusively by volunteer residents of the neighborhood, facilitates community building and ensures that residents are informed and have a voice in key decisions that stand to impact the quality of life in and development of Midtown / Downtown Crossing. MCDRA requires that members disclose any conflicts of interest and that they reside in the neighborhood. To learn more, please visit us at

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