Finding Your Way- South Boston’s Waterfront

South Boston Waterfront Wayfinding Sign

Exploring South Boston’s amazing Waterfront – on foot — is a treat. There’s so much to excite the senses: the water, museums, restaurants, artist studios, and much much more. Some have noted, though, that navigating through the area can be a challenge. So, to the rescue came leaders from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and A Better City. They designed a plan that includes a pedestrian way-finding pilot program. That plan, involving the use of signs to guide the way, has been implemented this month.

Temporary signs along several paths to and from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center are now up. Transit stations, restaurants and other points of interest are easier than ever to locate. The current signs will be up through October. Aiming, ultimately, to improve the experience of pedestrians throughout the South Boston Waterfront district, the team who created this pilot initiative hopes to get a clear sense of what permanent signage is needed. That team needs your feedback in order to plan appropriately.

To that end, they’re asking that we all let them know how those signs help (or don’t), and if there’s other signage they should try. They’ll track feedback with the hashtag #WalkSBW.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Boston Redevelopment Authority

 

Restaurant Week/Dine Out in South Boston

Restaurant Week South Boston

It’s August so that means it is time for Restaurant Week! Actually, for two weeks – August 16th  – 21st and 23rd  – 28th — not just one, we’ll have a chance to explore the awesome range of cuisines in our midst with special menus at select establishments around town. Let’s begin with the “B”s:

  • Barlow’s , 241 A Street, South Boston.  Offering a two-course lunch plus non-alcoholic beverage for $15 and a three-course dinner for $33. Menu highlights include rock shrimp gazpacho, Korean two-shell taco, bourbon BBQ chicken, blueberry peach cobbler, and so much more.
  • Bastille Kitchen , 49 Melcher Street, Seaport District.  The three-course dinner is $38. And what a dinner: Appetizers (grilled watermelon is just one of them), entrées (an escargot omelette anyone, or salmon, or steak?), and desserts (among the choices, a mélange of all-things-strawberry — muscadet mousse, strawberry tarragon granita, strawberry rhubarb jam).
  • Blue Dragon , 324 A Street, South Boston. Presenting a five-course dinner menu for $38. Snacks you won’t find elsewhere (Japanese sweet potato chips with charred scallion and meat jus dip; whipped edamame hummus with spiced pita chips; etc.), tapas galore (for example, tamarind-glazed lamb lollipops with glass noodle salad and teriyaki bison burgers with smoked gouda, caramelized onions & shiitakes) and a deep-dish chocolate cookie await.

We’ll throw in a couple from the rest of the alphabet as well. All are excellent.

  • M.C. Spiedo , 606 Congress Street, Seaport District. Lunch is available at $20 for a three-course menu. A three-course dinner is $38. From summer vegetable soup and gnocchi sardi/herb pesto to veal saltimbocca and marinated shrimp pizza to sweet corn panna cotta and summer berry sorbet, this Italian spot covers all the bases.
  • Tamo, 1 Seaport Lane Boston, Seaport District. The two-course lunch is $20. The three-course dinner is $33. Contemporary American cuisine with a flair: Grilled avocado with mango salsa; fisherman’s stew (chef’s choice of fish with mussels in fennel and bell pepper stew with a roasted red pepper rouille), Nepalese dal bhat (lentil stew served with wild and red Himalayan rice), flat iron steak and even “s’mores in a crock.”

Check out these and other local “restaurant week” specials this month, and be sure to make a reservation. Tables go quickly. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and American Express bring us Restaurant Week/Dine Out Boston twice a year. For the August 2015 event, all participating restaurants will donate a $100 certificate to be auctioned off at DOBauction.com. Proceeds from this auction go directly to the charitable partner, The Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Veer.com

 

Outdoor Concerts and Movies in South Boston

Outdoor Concert in South Boston

A movie, perhaps some music, maybe even a bit of dancing – all can add some spice to the already pleasant evenings of summer. Listed below are a few summer series that bring the old and the new, the classic and the edgy, right to our neighborhood.

Summer in the City” at the Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf: Enjoy live concerts, al fresco dining and classic movies on the big screen four nights a week from now through the first week of September. Tuesday evenings feature Soul music; Wednesdays showcase Rat Pack tunes; Thursdays it’s the Blues; and on Fridays, cinema (including, for example, The African Queen on July 17th and Young Frankenstein the next week)! The bands play from 6:00 – 10:00 pm, and movies start at dusk.

Wavelengths” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Avenue: A wonderful selection of waterfront concerts and D.J. nights awaits. Doors open at 6:30 pm for the ICA’s new Friday music series. They are giving the stage over to both well-established and newly-blossoming acts whose music spans an exciting style spectrum.

“Lunch Breaks, Dance Parties and DJs” at Lawn on D, 420 D Street: Take a lunch break between noon and 2:00 pm any (or every) Friday through October 9th, and head over to hear concerts presented by the prestigious Berklee College of Music’s Summer in the City program. Until the end of July, Friday nights feature D Street Dance Parties, where everyone, regardless of age or dance experience, comes together for fun. Amazing DJs play a range of tunes from 6:00 – 9:00 pm to get people in the groove. And on Saturdays, check out the local DJs, musicians and music industry luminaries sharing rock, r&b, punk and more. Beer and wine is available for purchase, as is food from Lincoln Tavern. There are even food trucks set to stop by. Saturday evening events begin at 6:30 or 7:00. Look at the calendar for updated information.

Mayor Walsh’s Movie Nights” at Moakley Park, 1005 Columbia Road: The Boxtrolls will be shown under the stars in one of South Boston’s lovely parks on Monday, August 10th. Presented by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Northeastern University, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment, all movies in this family-friendly series – held in a different park each week — begin at dusk.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Veer.com

New Local Beach Opens, with Families in Mind

Family on South Boston Beach

Sand, Surf, Sun: A day at the beach is a summertime treat. And South Boston is blessed with some very nice beaches indeed. This summer, a new “family-friendly” site is opening: Earlier this month, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that as of June 20th, families can head to an enclosed stretch of beach along Boston Harbor, on the M Street side of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) Curley Community Center (1663 Columbia Road). Clean water, lifeguards, outdoor showers, beach game equipment, picnic tables (even with umbrellas) and changing tables in the restrooms answer so many family needs. There’s even WiFi – perhaps Boston’s only beach with wireless access — and an indoor area. The season membership fee per family is $5.00; memberships can be purchased at the K Street entrance of the BCYF Curley Community Center.

Members will get smart-card IDs, which the city will use to gather information to contribute to planning for next summer. For example, they’ll follow use trends to see if they need more staffing at certain times of the day, or if beach access hours should be extended.

The Curley Community Center is housed in what was once known as the L Street Bathhouse, which opened in 1931 to give families access to showers and recreational facilities along the beach. The largest public recreational facility in the City of Boston, it covers a quarter mile of land! Beach-going families might want to check out Curley’s great fitness and teen centers, and range of summer program offerings.

South Boston’s Family Friendly Beach

Open seven days a week through Labor Day weekend

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Veer.com

Southie Family Fun Day

Southie Family Fun Day

South Boston continues to polish its reputation as very family-friendly: On Saturday, June 6th, local families and their friends will be coming together for a day of simple family-oriented fun. Here’s a way to celebrate one another, and our great town.

From 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at Marine Park on Farragut Road, join the MOMS Club of South Boston as they host Southie Family Fun Day. Free and open to the public, the event features face painting and arts and crafts as well as performances and a range of other kid-focused activities. Local businesses and community groups participate by highlighting some of their good work.

Southie Family Fun Day had its debut in 2009. As the MOMS Club (which boasts over 200 members) explains, “We are passionate about making South Boston a community where children and families feel free to play, engage in their community, and connect with each other.”

Here’s to a fabulous day of fun- both with and for families!

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Veer.com

South Boston Gets Bike-Friendlier

In 2012, Boston was named one of the top 20 bike-friendly cities in the United States. City Hall’s Boston Bikes program encourages the use of bicycles for fun, exercise and transportation. The program includes free bike tune-ups at area farmers markets; “Roll it Forward,” which gets donated bicycles to people eager to ride; low-cost helmets; bike sharing; a Women’s Program; and bicycle infrastructure planning – covering the designation and creation of bike lanes. Since 2007, 82 miles of bike lanes have been added to city streets.

Boston Bikes has just announced that parts of South Boston, as well as other neighborhoods, will be retrofitted with new painted bike lanes to help separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. The new lanes will extend from I-93 Frontage Road to Dorchester Avenue, filling in a gap along West Fourth Street. Hooray!

And, in additional bicycle-related news, word on the street is that Boston is looking to bring e-bikes (electric bicycles) here. E-bikes give riders an extra boost, just when they need it. Rechargable battery-powered motors are standard. They start up as necessary, even if a person stops pedaling. Very popular in some foreign countries, especially in Europe, they would be a new addition to our local transportation choices. Imagine arriving at the office without the sweat that comes from extreme exertion to get up those hills! Electric bikes are heavier than their conventional counterparts, and they do need to be charged. Nonetheless, their arrival in our midst would be most welcome.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: “3Rensho Super Record Export Aero” by Channone Arif – Flickr: 3Rensho Super Record Export Aero. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrating Pizzeria 260, Even Before its First Birthday!

At a recent Boys and Girls Club indoor hockey event, a Club director said to Diti Lappas (whose Pizzeria 260 sponsors one of the teams), “You guys [at the pizzeria] are the new ‘it’ place, according to the kids here.” How nice it is to learn that the word-on-the-street is — your new business is hot stuff!

Pizzeria 260 opened at 260 West Broadway in September of 2013. Diti’s husband, Allen Lappas, recognized an opportunity when this particular location in South Boston became available. Diti used to work in the neighborhood years ago, and was amazed at how Southie has been booming. She found the buildings along Broadway particularly appealing. “Wow,” she thought. “What a beautiful place!”

The Lappas’, along with partner Jimmy Ivanof, gutted the space, and put in contemporary lighting, granite countertops and other details to create an exceptionally bright, clean and welcoming venue.

It’s not only the ambiance that has a freshness about it: It is vitally important to them that all their ingredients (spices, vegetables, etc.), are fresh, too, including the pizza dough. “We have our cooks shaping it right then and there,” according to Diti, so that unlike in some other pizza joints, the dough is never prepared and frozen ahead of time for later use. They’ve done extensive taste-testing so as to select the very best cheeses. And the sauce – well, it’s Jimmy Ivanof’s family recipe!

Customers pop in for one of the oversized slices (Buffalo Chicken seems to be a particular favorite), or to pick up a pre-ordered whole pie. With five seating areas, the restaurant can accommodate small and large parties for a sit-down meal as well. And there’s plenty on the menu in addition to pizza: salads, pasta dishes, chicken parmigiano, buffalo wings, paninis, grinders and more. Responsive to their customers’ needs, the very experienced staff happily fulfill special orders. When a catering customer called to request wraps (yes, they cater, too!), Pizzeria 260 stepped up to the plate: “Wraps aren’t on the catering menu, but we made them,” Diti explains. “Even special salad dressing requests are honored.” In this way, the Pizzeria staff adds to its repertoire and customers get what they love. Everyone wins!

The restaurant contributes to South Boston’s sense of community closeness with its collage of photos of customers on the wall (and on their Facebook page). You’re sure to recognize neighbors, local police officers, school teachers and others you know. Come and get your picture added!

Orders are taken online, too: https://www.ediningexpress.com/live20/16/25/

Pizzeria 260
Dine in, Take Out, Delivery
Open 7 days a week from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
617-268-9600
 

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Pizzeria 260

 

Mortgage Master has Come to Town

Earlier this year, a new neighbor moved into South Boston: You’ll find Mortgage Master at 497 East Broadway, right where East and West Broadway meet. One of the largest privately-owned lenders in the country, Mortgage Master is a broker as well as a direct lender, specializing in residential home loans. Loan officer and branch manager Matt McCarthy heads up a three-person team at this office. “We [Matt and his brother Mike McCarthy, along with Pat Walsh] were all working at the hub office in Walpole which has over 200 employees. Now it’s just the three of us and we love it.” They’ve also taken a liking to their new community. “We’re extremely excited about being in South Boston, because of how vibrant the area is,” Matt adds. Plus, “being in the city allows us to have more face-to-face time with clients and real estate brokers.”

Mortgage Master, Inc. works with over 65 different investors giving the company an advantage in being able to cater to a buyer’s specific needs. And with diverse talents and expertise, this triumvirate takes on the task of helping make home ownership a reality for each client with pleasure and a great deal of know-how. They have the inside scoop on all possibilities – from the different kinds of loans available to refinancing options to general money-saving tips.

Let’s meet the guys: Matt McCarthy has been in the mortgage business for six years, following three years of playing professional hockey in Europe. Matt has been ranked in the top 1% of mortgage originators in the nation three years running, and was ranked 278 in the country in volume in 2012.  Mike McCarthy played professionally in Europe as well, and then pursued a career in real estate before making the transition to mortgages. His knowledge of both sides of the deal is extremely useful. He has lived in South Boston for the past 6 years and loves it! Prior to working at Mortgage Master, Pat Walsh was the head trader at DG Capital.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Mortgage Master, Inc.
857-401-9132
mmcarthy@mortgagemasterinc.com
 

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Mortgage Master, Inc.

LoGrasso’s: A Barbershop For All

What comes to mind when we hear the word “barbershop”? Perhaps a venue whose business is cutting men’s hair and shaving or trimming beards. Perhaps a spot where old friends gather to shoot the breeze while one of them is in a cushy chair, getting pampered. Perhaps we think of a beloved neighborhood institution. LoGrasso’s Barbershop is all that and more. A staple of South Boston for years, the shop at 852 Summer Street is indeed a place for making and maintaining community connections, and a place for a range of hair services, for both men and women.

Rocky LoGrasso, born in Italy, moved to the United States to join his parents, who had emigrated earlier, when he was 20. He brought his barber skills with him across the ocean. Rocky and his sons Charlie and Sal, along with others on staff, take care of all who come through the door. Customers get more than a nice ‘do. Hanging out in the lounge area where a TV, pool table and couches beckon, they might catch up on the latest sports or other Boston news. And being locally owned and run – “I live just minutes from here,” says Rocky, “and it’s such a beautiful neighborhood” – adds to LoGrasso’s homey, welcoming atmosphere.

But let’s talk about the hair. Men, of course, feel right at home in those barbershop chairs. And so do women. Pictures of recent customers reveal a range of possibilities: cuts, color, glazes, up-dos, keratin treatments and more. Folks walk in off the street or make appointments by calling 617-765-8674, particularly for special occasions. Anyone have a prom, graduation party or wedding coming up?! LoGrasso’s offers gift certificates, too.

Hours:
Mon: 7:45 am – 6:00 pm
Tue – Fri: 7:30 am – 7:00 pm
Sat: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

 

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Hillcrestpvtltd (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Design Museum Boston Reimagines Our Public Spaces

Park Bench

Have you ever given much thought to the style or color or feel of a public bench? When you want to rest a bit as you’re out and about on a shopping spree, or wandering by the waterfront, or hauling groceries home, do you pay attention to the bench that offers you a place to gather your energy, or to sit back and enjoy the view?

Well, folks at the Design Museum Boston have. And now they are inviting the public to enjoy an outdoor exhibition of innovative public benches, all designed with the Fort Point Channel neighborhood in mind.

The exhibition, called Street Seats: Reimagining the Public Bench, features 17 unique public benches, selected from 170 designs made by people from 23 different countries as part of a competition announced last September. As the Design Museum’s website explains:

“On September 20, 2012, Design Museum Boston invited individuals and teams from around the world to rethink the humble public bench and design an iconic bench or ‘street seat’ for around the Fort Point Channel. The goal of the challenge was to improve the livability of this burgeoning urban area, using design, while being socially and environmentally conscious.”

Between May and October of this year, enjoy a guided tour of these diverse, fun, and gorgeous seats every first and third Saturday of the month, at 1:00 and 7:00 pm. You’ll learn about the designers and the thinking that went into each creation. Tours begin at StrataForm Bench by Children’s Wharf Park. Contact the Museum for more information. Or, wander among the benches on your own: The exhibition is free, and open 24/7.

The Museum is encouraging not only ground-breaking design for public spaces, but also cutting-edge engagement of the public with this exhibit. Download their new interactive mobile app that will allow you to both navigate your way around Fort Point Channel and all the benches, and to change the color of the Design Museum Boston Beacons at each Street Seat location once the sun has set.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team. Photo Credit: Paul Goyette