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photos: anne swanson


aste Back Bay

SAve the dAte thurSdAy, April 2



Winter 2009

C o M M E N TA ry

old south, Boston public library: delayed access and avoidable damage


the serious damage to old south Church represents the second instance when a national landmark has fallen victim to the mBta’s construction project to provide improved access to Copley square station. the first case was damage to the Boston public library. Both were preventable.

naBB and the Boston preservation alliance pursued the mBta, urging it to study prudent and feasible options that would provide the same level of access while posing less peril to these

historic structures. the mBta never seriously considered these options. now, further delays and additional costs loom.

in a joint statement published in the NABB News summer 2006 issue, naBB and the preservation alliance summarized their con- cerns. one in particular was: “… engineering studies indicate that the integrity of the foundation of old south Church could be jeop- ardized by this construction.”

naBB, the Boston preserva- tion alliance, elected officials, and other concerned parties tried hard to avert this exact problem

at old south Church. the course of action to address this problem should commence immediately, be fully transparent, and open to all affected parties.

naBB believes that inde- pendent consultants must now be retained to: (1) confirm the cause of the failure; (2) review the means proposed (or in place) to immediately stabilize the structure; (3) identify permanent structural solutions and ensure that all repairs to, and restoration of the historic fabric are consis- tent with department of interior historic preservation criteria; (4)

monitor for continued structural integrity; and (5) determine the prudence of continued construc- tion in this location. it is of utmost importance that Copley station be made fully acces- sible and that national landmarks be preserved. the most prudent and feasible solution is to relocate the elevator to the opposite side of dartmouth street in one of several locations proposed as part of the mBta’s It is of utmost importance that Copley Station be fully accessible and that National Landmarks be preserved. original studies. naBB asks that the study of these options be undertaken without delay under the oversight of an indepen- dent consultant directed to eval- uate the best solution to both preserve old south Church and provide access. Ann Gleason is NABB’s chairman. Versions of this article appeared in the Boston Courant and the Boston globe Letters to the Editor.

Graffiti nABBers’ Spring to-do list


New Officers for NABB

The Graffiti NABBers continue to focus on our mission of spreading responsibility for the cleanliness of our neighborhood among all those who share the joy of living, working, and studying here. If you embrace the idea of renewing America one community at a time, please think of joining us. If you care about preserving our fragile natural global environment, please also consider caring for the historic built environment we share right here. If we all become stewards of some small part of the whole, we will control and even solve the problem of the steady degradation of the Back Bay, and make it a model for the rest of our fair city. This beautiful place belongs to all of us and is our legacy for the future.


photo: stephen quigley

Kathleen Alexander is heading up this program, working with neighbors to simply take responsibility for their own blocks. Several people can co- adopt a block or two together. We will show Adopters how to remove small graffiti, stickers, and expired signage, and report large-scale graffiti for removal by the City’s Graffiti Busters. Most of our blocks have already been cleaned by the Graffiti Busters and should require perhaps only one or two hours per month of very light maintenance. The key to deterring taggers is to remove new vandalism immediately! A very peaceful transiton of power for NABB’s top leadership was accomplished at the Annual Meeting in September with the election of Ann Gleason (far left) as chairman and Angela Lanoue as president. The new administration was introduced to attendees by outgoing chair Jackie Yessian and president Manya Chylinksi (far right) at the conculsion of their outstanding two-year term. Both teams flank guest speake , television journalist Emily Rooney. Also elected were Kelli O’Brien, vice chair; Steve Wintermeie , vice president; Steven Sayers, treasurer; and Susan Bake , secretary. For more about Rooney’s keynote address and the Paul Prindle Leadership Award and the Mary Natale Citizenship Award, please turn to page 2. cleAn to the curB JoAnne Leinwand and NABB’s City Services committee initiated this program on Newbury Street last spring, and the business community was very cooperative. However, the problem with sticker and graffiti vandalism persists. This spring the Graffiti NABBers hope the program will expand its success to Boylston Street and that cleaning to the curb will include graffiti and sticker removal as well. All residents and businesses are welcome to pitch in. city improves Sidewalk Safety By SuE PrINDLE

upper-Story GrAffiti removAl

Anne Swanson will continue to work with Erik Barry of E. J. Clean to get permission from property owners to remove upper-story and rooftop graffiti. E. J. Clean removes graffiti from elevations the City is not equipped to reach, therefore the work must be done at the owner’s expense. However, many owners are happy to participate because they regard Mr. Barry’s prices as affordable, and the transformation is dramatic! We urge all property owners to cooperate with us in getting the job done this spring.

A s you may have noticed in your travels, the brick sidewalks on Marlborough Street between Dartmouth and Berkeley streets have become much easier to navigate recently—at least in good weather!

Last year, Commissioner royer of the Department of Public Works instituted a block-by- block process for addressing the sidewalk problems

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In the upper photo, graffiti mars the alley façade of 327 Newbury Street. In the lower photo, a crew member from the City’s Graffiti Busters power washes the same wall. Graffiti NABBers worked with more than 300 property owners and Mayor Menino’s Wipe It Clean program to coordinate the cleaning of 42 alleys in the historic district during fall 2008.

GrAffiti BuSterS ServiceS

Last fall the City’s Graffiti Busters finished initial cleaning of all 42 core alleys in the Back Bay Historic District. We will continue to work with them to schedule periodic maintenance cleanings. In

continued on page 3

inSide: A highlight of nABB’s Annual meeting was the announcement by the community Service Awards committee, chaired by Susan Ashbrook, of this year’s honorees. the paul prindle leadership Award was presented to Shirley kressel. Brenda Adams received the mary natale citizenship Award. | pAGe 2

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