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Report: Boston is gentrifying faster than any other US city

This must be Gentrification Day at Boston Real Estate Blog.

No sooner had we hit “publish” on the post below about Somerville’s gentrification moves, we noticed this front page story in the NYT about how a number of cities, including Boston, are trying to curb the effects of gentrification on long-time neighborhood residents.

What really caught our eye was this graf:

In Boston, which an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland last year found had the highest gentrifying pressure in the nation — followed by Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Washington and Atlanta — concluded that about one-fourth the city’s population lived in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Hmmm. And sure enough, here’s the Cleveland Fed’s report, putting Boston at the top in the gentrification-pressures trends.

The author makes a statistical case that gentrification is not really the bad sociological monster that it’s made out to be by some.

Then again, tell that to someone who wants to stay in their old neighborhood and can’t because of high prices.

Hey, let’s tear down most of downtown Boston for the Olympics

The Globe has a story (sub. req.) about a new commission study that says, yes, Boston, could theoretically handle the Summer Olympics in 2024 in terms of security and hotel rooms etc.

But – well, er, cough, cough – it would take a “monumental task” to actually do it, the commission says.

Monumental is a good word to use. The print story comes with a city map showing how much space a new Olympics stadium and a new Olympics “village” for athletes would need.

The Olympics village alone would be the rough size of the North End (with a little bit of North Station and the Greenway thrown in for good measure), while the stadium would be the rough size of, say, all of Beacon Hill and the flats (with a little bit of MGH and the Public Garden thrown in).

And that doesn’t include new bicycle and media centers. And the transit system would need major upgrades, too.

And, oh, the commission doesn’t have cost estimates.

Of course, the report suggests that maybe Bostonians are too small-minded to envision all the glorious benefits of an Olympics:

The commission acknowledged that it is an open question whether Bostonians, who it noted have a well-earned reputation for being slow to embrace sweeping new endeavors, even want to host the Games. “The biggest concern is related to the actual cost associated with hosting — from where funding comes from to how it would be allocated,” the report said.

Well, duh.

Here’s the thing: The state is still paying off the $15 billion Big Dig tab – a project that started out at one-third of the final price tag. And guess who’s largely paying for the Big Dig today? The minority of commuters who use the MassPike each day, not the entire region and certainly not all the I-93 drivers who derive most of the benefits from the Big Dig.

It’s as if Olympic supporters are thinking, “Hmmm. We haven’t had a multibillion-dollar construction boondoggle for a few years now. What can we do? … The Olympics! … Now who can we stick the bill to?”

Who would pay for the Olympics? Our best guess is that lawmakers would once again start with smokers. They’re so easy to pick on and tax. And tolls would go up on the Pike, too. That’s a given.

Then lawmakers would find other small groups of taxpayers to hit up, similar to how lawmakers tried to stick it to the tech community last year with a new “tech tax” that caused a near revolt before lawmakers rescinded it.

You get the idea.

Don’t get us wrong: We like the idea of hosting an Olympics in Boston. It’d be cool. But we have no faith that: A.) It would come in on or even near budget and B.) that lawmakers would actually spread costs around fairly.

That’s our main problem with this “ridiculous idea” (a great column by Eric Wilbur, btw).

File under: Show me the money

Boston’s impressive public parks system

Did you know that 15.9 percent of the land in Boston is for park land?

That fact and other features makes Boston one of the top cities for parks in the United State.

Another factoid that we didn’t know about (but clearly should have): The Boston Commons is the oldest public park in America.

The quick piece also takes note of the city’s “Emerald Necklace” of parks and the new Rose Kennedy Greenway.

File under: Impressive.

Spock comes home to visit his old West End

Legendary TV actor Leonard Nimoy (aka Star Trek’s “Spock”) recently came home to Boston to visit his old West End neighborhood, or what’s left of it, for a documentary he’s doing.

From the Beacon Hill Times:

Traveling with his son, Adam, Nimoy visited the West End Museum to shoot footage for a family film and view the current exhibit of photographs from Jules Aarons.

According to museum curator Duane Lucia, Nimoy spotted his grandmother in one of the photos, which launched a flood of memories of his early days growing up in the melting pot that was the West End of the 1930s and 1940s.

“He had many question regarding how the neighborhood has changed since urban renewal,” said Lucia. “We looked at the old maps of the neighborhood and he got his bearings using St. Joseph’s Church on Cardinal O’Connell Way, which was formerly Chambers Street across from where Nimoy lived.”

File under: Live long and prosper

To bury or not to bury

They’ve finally buried the marathon bomber.

OK, he was an odious, murderous individual. One can’t blame people too much for not wanting his body buried in their town, where it might turn into some weird shrine for deranged terrorist souls.

But still … We’re a civilized society. This really shouldn’t been so drawn out. Thank goodnewss for the gentleman who helped solve this.

File under: Issue, buried

How they helped

The BBJ has a big story (sub. req.) on how One Fund Boston, the main charity for the Boston Marathon attack victims, was put together so fast in the immediate hours after the terrorist bombings. It wasn’t the most important thing done in the 24 hours after the tragedy, but it was indeed important and it just shows how fast Bostonians reacted when the need arose to help others.

Don’t forget to give, if you haven’t already. At the site, they have PayPal and the mailing address where checks can be sent.

Also don’t forget: Back Bay. Visit. Shop. Eat. etc.

Mapping out last week’s bombings and manhunt

The Washington Post has a very good interactive map of last week’s dramatic events in Boston — all the whos, wheres and whens etc.

The subject of Friday’s day-long manhunt, i.e. the second suspect, didn’t travel very far from the scene of the original Watertown shootout to his final hiding place in a backyard boat. We’re talking about four or five blocks by the look of it.

In the “Manhunt” section of the graphics, keep hitting “next” to move the timeline forward. Number “3” is the scene of the shootout and “5” is where they captured him Friday night. Notice how he was outside the cordoned off area when he was finally found, though there must have still been a gazillion police cars zipping around that kept him hemmed in. He was also apparently wounded at the time.

Unbelievable morning

The Boston.com headlines say it all. Stay safe everyone. God bless.

File under: Boston history, literally and figuratively

‘The world is watching’

As terrible as yesterday’s bombings were, you still can’t help but feel proud of Boston and Bostonians today.

The number of selfless, heroic acts of bravery and kindness yesterday simply astound.

Above is MIT’s Green Building lit up in red, white and blue after yesterday’s bombings.

File under: God bless all

Update: Adam’s Universal Hub is providing outstanding day-after coverage.

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