150 Years Ago Today….

The Civil War ended 150 years ago and today the “Return of the Flags” was reenacted this morning on Boston Common.



December 22, 1886 was the exact day that the Govenor  of Massachusetts , John J. Andrews, was presented the battle flags of the returning Civil War battalions for  permanent installment at the State House. Those original flags are now stored away for preservation.


Today,  volunteer actors , some with direct Civil War ancestry, marched from the Common to the State House with replica flags.




And look who happened to stroll by…



Conan Obrien ! Lots of selfies with the troops.



Naughty or Nice…

Old St Nick made an early scheduled stop to the Ritz-Carlton South Tower recently . He just wanted to catch up with Christmas wishes of the excited youngsters.  And excited they all were. Of course there were cookies and milk on the menu too.

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We all know Quechee is always on the nice list…


But it wasn’t just the kids  or the pets that Santa took a shine to.


Whether these two are on the naughty or nice list, well, I  think I will leave that for you to decide!








MCDRA Last Meeting….


Last week at the MCDRA meeting ,which was held at the Modern Theatre , attracted a smaller than usual crowd, most likely due to the busy holiday season.



John Fitzgerald,  Deputy Director 

The main focus was on a presentation of Imagine Boston 2030, the first master plan for the future of the city in 50 years.

You can get the whole story at: www.imagine.boston.gov

And you can participate in their surveys to provide your own vision for shaping the future of Boston. It is expected that the final plan will be adopted in the Summer of 2017.

Also on the agenda  for the brief meeting was an update on the Godfrey Hotel which has been under construction for over 2 years. But it looks like the end of that mess is in sight.



Apparently they are waiting on and expecting a liquor license from a defunct Lonehorn Steakhouse out in the Brookline area.   They have , however,  already taken room reservations for mid-January . I would say that the end of construction is near!










Realtor.com Prediction for 2016….

Well, we certainally hope so!

The Greater Boston real estate market will be one of the best in the country in 2016, according to a new analysis by realtor.com.

In the site’s “Top Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2016,” Boston came in at No. 10, with realtor.com predicting a 10 percent increase in existing-home sales and a 6.09 percent increase in median sales price.

Here is the complete ranking

2. St. Louis
3.San Diego
6.New Orleans
9.Virginia Beach



                     Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston


All of the housing markets in the top 10, realtor.com noted, see 60 percent more listing page views on its website than average, and homes in the markets sell 16 days faster. The main factors contributing to that demand include growing household formations, a strong job market, low unemployment and large populations for the Millennial, Gen X and Silent generations.


Merry Christmas from the Mayor…


The City of Boston announced that two hours of free parking will be provided at the city’s 8,000 metered spaces on select days this holiday season. Parking meters are conveniently located throughout Boston’s Downtown, as well as in several of the city’s residential neighborhoods that also host thriving commercial districts.

“The winter holidays are a great time to experience Boston,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “People visit from around the world to dine, shop, visit our arts and cultural attractions, attend sporting events, or just take a stroll and soak up the holiday spirit. Offering free, curbside parking is one way that we are welcoming people to our city this holiday season.”

Two hours of free parking at metered spaces will be offered in Boston on the following days.

1) Friday, November 28
2) Saturday, November 29
3) Saturday, December 6
4) Saturday, December 13
5) Saturday, December 20

While payment at meters will not be required on these five days, the time limit on the meters will be in effect. The purpose of this is to allow as many drivers as possible a chance to take advantage of this opportunity.

“We are pleased to provide this incentive to Boston’s residents and visitors,” said James E. Gillooly, Interim Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department. “Boston’s meters are located in some of the liveliest, most popular areas of the city, and free parking at them on weekends during the busy holiday season is a bonus that I encourage drivers to enjoy.”

The standard maximum time limit at the vast majority of Boston’s meters is two hours. However, at a limited number of meters, it is indicated on the meter that parking is regularly allowed for a maximum of four hours. At these meters, four hours of free parking will be provided on these five days. Parking at meters in Boston is always free on Sundays and no maximum time limit is enforced.

Makes One Think…

An avid blog reader sent me this. I hope it is accurate but I don’t know how to verify it. Either way, it probably is a good idea to think about where your good intentions really go…


There are so many organizations competing for our “giving” dollar that it is good to know the following.


The American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans’
Salary for the year was $651,957
Plus expenses


It is called the March of
Dimes because
Only a dime for
Every 1 dollar is given to the

The United Way
President Brian
Receives a $375,000 base salary
Along with numerous expense benefits.


CEO Caryl M. Stern
$1,200,000 per year (100k
Per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS
Less than 5
Cents of your donated dollar goes to the




CEO and owner Mark Curran
Profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a
Very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business
And then he sells the items for
He pays nothing
For his products and pays his workers minimum wage!
Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to Help anyone!

Instead, consider giving to any of the following:
The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett
Receives a small salary of only
$13,000 per year(plus housing) for
Managing this $2 billion dollar Organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go To the cause.

The American Legion
National Commander receives
A $0.00 zero Salary.
Your donations go to help
Veterans and their families and youth!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars

National Commander receives
A $0.00 zero Salary.
Your donations go To help
Veterans and their families and youth!

The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives
A $0.00 zero Salary.
Your donations go To help
Veterans and their families and youth!

The Military Order of Purple Hearts
National Commander receives a
$0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go To help
Veterans and their families and youth!

The Vietnam Veterans Association

National Commander receives
A $0.00 zero Salary.
Your donations go To help
Veterans and their families and youth!

Make a Wish:
For children’s last Wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or
Special wishes for a dying child.

St. Jude Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and
Helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and
Cannot afford to pay.

Ronald McDonald Houses
All monies go to running
The houses for parents who have critically ill
Children in the hospital.
100% goes to housing, and feeding The families.

Lions Club International
(ONLY $1.00 PER SHOT).

Merry Christmas!


Don’t Forget…

In the rush of the holiday season, it is easy to forget:

Just a friendly reminder that the December monthly meeting of the MCDRA will be held at the Modern Theatre at 7PM on Monday, 12/14


Local business matter – Godfrey Hotel liquor license application

Safety update from BPD and MBTA Police Officers

Imagine Boston 2030, John Fitzgerald, Deputy Director

See you there!

What We Could Use a Little More of…

image imageI guess the Christmas Spirit is still alive.


Another Loss for the Ritz Family…

imageVery sad to hear the news of the recent passing of friend and North Tower Board member Jim Marshall of Boston.

It was a privilege to work with Jim over the past few years on a number of projects at the Ritz-Carlton Residences . We had some laughs working together on the parking committee, he could make a mundane topic more interesting during our meetings.

Will miss you Jim.




The Fate of the Colonial Theatre…

Emerson College has floated the idea out there that they wish to possibly convert the Colonial Theatre on Boylston Street to a student union for the college.



Today on WGBH Radio there was an interesting show on Boston arts:
The Show Must Go On. But In Boston, Where? | WGBH News

Take  a look and tell me if you hear anything from the College President Lee Pelton or  Jared Bowen that  would indicate any input from the residential neighborhood would come into play.



Open Studio with Jared Bowen, WGBH Boston.

Open Studio with Jared Bowen, WGBH Boston.

From left to right: Boston Lyric Opera General and Artistic Director Esther Nelson, Emerson College President Lee Pelton, WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen, Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros, and Huntington Theatre Company Managing Director Michael Maso.
Credit Meredith Nierman / WGBH


Now Equal Time for the Guys…

Great Male Singers of the 1940s and 50s

After his successful fall seminar on female singers of the 1940s and 1950s, (which attracted over 95 registrants,) David Maister is offering a new seminar on male singers of the same period.

The 8-session weekly seminar will be held on Sunday evenings, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, beginning on January 31. Due to the generosity of ArtsEmerson, which is donating the space, the seminar will be held in the Bright Family Screening Room inside the Emerson/Paramount Center at 559 Washington Street, Boston.

Since this facility is a fully equipped cinema, the audio-visual experience will be superb. (Two of the fall seminar classes were held there, to the delight of the participants.)

image image
The seminar will cover not only those singers who had the greatest chart success, such as Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, but also Hollywood singing stars such as Howard Keel, Mario Lanza, Fred Astaire, Harry Belafonte and Danny Kaye. Also included will be Broadway’s greatest stars of the period, such as Alfred Drake, John Raitt, Stubby Kaye and Ray Bolger.
Popular singing groups like the Ink Spots, the Mills Brothers, and the Ames Brothers will also be introduced, as well as master musicians such as Hoagy Carmichael and Mel Tormé. Finally, we’ll look at those who were big on the R&B and Country music charts, such as Louis Jordan, Billy Eckstine, Gene Autry and Eddy Arnold.


For each singer examined in class, 4 or 5 performance videos will be shown, along with biographical and career information. In addition, David will send out an email each and every day for the whole period of the seminar, providing a video and biographical facts about a new, different singer each day. In this way, we will examine more than 80 singers by the time the seminar is over.

To cover the costs of staffing the Bright Family Screening Room, there will be a fee of $30 for the whole 8-class series. David is donating his services free of charge, and any profit or surplus cash will be donated to ArtsEmerson to support their programming.

Discounted parking (approximately $7 for the evening) will be available

To register, send a check (no cash, please) for $30 per person, together with your email(s) (essential) to:

David Maister
1 Avery Street, Unit 32A
Boston, Ma 02111


We’re Number….5?

A new study from Bloomberg Business has rated Boston as the fifth-richest city in the U.S.

The gross metropolitan product per resident in Boston, according to Bloomberg, was $74,746. Boston’s biotech industry has greatly impacted the city’s gross metropolitan product, or GMP. Since 2008, Boston raised two places on Bloomberg’s list and Portland, Oregon raised six spots. The survey compared statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on 100 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S.

The GMP rising numbers is attributed to the increase in the number of educated workers. In the Silicon Valley, the GMP was double of the national average with $105,482. Bridgeport, Connecticut came in second with $94,349. Other prosperous tech areas outside of the Bay affected by the industry boom have been helped by the success of websites such as Amazon and Zulily. Since 2009, Seattle’s GMP per capita grew by a cumulative 7.9 percent. Below is a chart of Bloomberg’s full rankings:



Today’s Stupid Idea…


Pop Up Espresso Dave pays us a visit…

Pop up Espresso  Dave paid a surprise visit to the Ritz-Carlton South Tower lobby early  this morning.

Treating residents to delicious coffee concoctions as they made their way thru the lobby to work or other adventures. Here Dave steams up a treat for Laura while a few other residents check out the special offerings.

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I went for the double shot  cappuccino .

From the MCDRA- Mark Your Calendar…

Dear Members,

A friendly reminder that our next monthly meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 19th at 7:00PM (please note change in date due to Columbus Day):

Monday, October 19, 2015 at 7:00PM
Modern Theatre at Suffolk University
525 Washington Street

(Handicap Accessible)

We will begin by hearing from a neighborhood business. Next, we want to hear from YOU! Please come ready to share ideas about what you would like to discuss at future meetings and what you would like the Association to become in the future. We need your input to ensure that the Association is focused on what matters to you.

Mark your calendars: Julie Burros, the Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, will be speaking at our November 9th meeting.

* * * * * *

Please join us for a MCDRA tour of Chinatown on Sunday, October 18th at 11:30AM.

Two high school students from the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) will take us on a “See-Town” tour focusing on the development of Chinatown – starting with early immigration in the 1870’s, the effects of urban renewal in the 1960’s, and finally Chinatown now and in the future. The tour will also explore more of the cultural and commercial areas of Chinatown, such as bakeries, the grocery store, and herbal medicine shop. The tour will last approximately 90 minutes.

The students will incorporate stories of community struggle, advocacy, and triumph into the history that they have learned while working with ACDC’s youth program A-VOYCE (Asian Voices of Organized Youth for Community Empowerment). The mission of See-Town, one of A-VOYCE’s projects, is to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and voices of youth to not only support the local economy but to also advocate for Chinatown through story-telling and dialogue.

Tour participants also have the option of dim sum at Hei La Moon after the tour.

Fee: 13-20 participants, $14/pp for the tour. Dim sum lunch is an additional fee.

All profits made from walking tours are used to support the ACDC youth and youth programs.

Schedule: Sunday, October 18th
11:30am – 1:00pm – Chinatown Walking Tour (meet at Chinatown Gate at 11:30am)
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Dim Sum Meal
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on 10/19 and hope that you’ll be able to join us for the Chinatown tour as well on 10/18.


Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

Meeting Notes from MCDRA September 2015 Meeting

*MCDRA: We took a few minutes to celebrate the Association’s one-year anniversary, highlighting key milestones and accomplishments.

*Safety Update: Capt. Ken Fong, Boston Police Department, and Lt. Michael Rae delivered a safety update.

*Business Spotlight: Lauren Sheerr, Boston General Manager, Luxe Valet, introduced the company’s on-demand valet service and offered MCDRA members $30 in parking credits (download the application, set-up your profile, and enter promo code “MCDRA”).

David Gordon, Owner of Gordon’s Fine Wines & Liquors, presented his family’s proposed plans to purchase the Wine Cellar at 37 Temple Place and replace it with a higher-end establishment.

*City Council President, Bill Linehan, and Downtown Boston BID President, Rosemarie Sansone, lead a discussion around the continuing progress of our neighborhood and took questions from members. We would like to thank the BID for presenting MCDRA with a new map that indexes all of the residential buildings in our neighborhood – we will post a copy of it to the website shortly.

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 www.mcdra.org.


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