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June 21st, 2004

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12:57 am
There seem to be a lot of new people reading this LiveJournal, not the least of which is my longtime pal Noah, who lives closer to Fenway Park than I do and is a very smart playwright. Sup Noah. There are also a bunch of new LJers who have friendslisted me and I have tried to friendlist as many people back as I can. Sup guys! I cannot promise brilliance with every post, as I tend to wibble from moments of sheer lucidity to animated FUN IN ALL CAPS but hey, that's how the brain works and maybe that's how you like it. Sure hope so. Anyway, feel free to introduce yourself and say hello. Don't be shy. We're all pals here.

Anyway, I am about to take a nice four-hour nap and then wake up bright and squirrelly to take the Red Line from Porter to Downtown Crossing and then take the Orange Line back out to Wellington.

Why? Because I gotta be where I hafta be at 7 AM and the first 90 bus of the morning doesn't get to Wellington until 6:58 AM. Unfortunately I cannot get to where I hafta be in two minutes so I must take the long route, and take it much earlier than I should. Still, it's nice to know the bus will still be running in the afternoon, when I get to go home.

Some Boston bus lines over the years have received special names due to their usefulness or goodness; the 66 that goes from Harvard Square to Brookline's Coolidge Corner and beyond was once named Bus Route of the Gods by someone whose name I forget (probably Tikva.) The 88, which runs up Highland Ave in Somerville, was the Most Holy Route, and I called the 77 "the Electric 77" cause it went up Mass Ave when I lived in North Cambridge and was cool and electric and stuff. However, after perusing the 90's schedule and realizing that it is of only marginal use to me (doesn't get me there in the morning when I need it, and also doesn't run at all on Sundays, which is when I'd need it too) I have decided to call it the Wholly Ineffectual Bus. Compounded to the frustration is the fact that the 90 is the only direct link between the Davis Square area and the Wellington area of Medford. For four weeks, however, I will only be able to use it to get home. Once I start Having To Be someplace at 8 AM, the bus will become a lot more useful, so maybe its name will change. Maybe.

One of the best parts of the 90 is that it stops at the Assembly Square Mall, which is a Real Live Dead Mall. Nothing says "Come by and shop!" like a bunch of boarded-up mall entrances. I wish I'd seen the inside of it while it was alive, but I wasn't around for that. There's something about failed commerce which intrigues me, and it could very well be because I grew up around one of the more famous of the American dead malls, the Mountain Farms Mall, killed in the late 1970s by the mall that was built right next door. (Ironically, that neighbor mall is now the one in a sad state of serious decline, while the Mountain Farms site has been revitalized by a buncha Big Box chains such as Wal-Mart and Bed Bath and Beyond.)

Oh, sure, numerous attempts have been made to revitalize the Assembly Square area, with both IKEA and Home Depot at one time or another salivating over the idea of planting big boxes down there, but I think the most recent plan involves just renovating the existing structure and throwing in some smaller chain stores. This does nothing to overshadow the fact that the Assembly Square Mall building used to be a Ford plant where they manufactured, of all things, the Edsel.

History rules.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 21st, 2004 04:25 am (UTC)

Almost, but not quite.

I often find myself taking the same route. The more consistent analogue to the 90 is the 86, which runs from Harvard to Sullivan. You can T it or bus it from nearby stations. But you likely knew that.
[User Picture]
Date:June 21st, 2004 05:58 am (UTC)
Of course, the 86 has also earned a nickname, from me: "The Bus of Broken Dreams", for the number of times it left me bereft and stranded somewhere by being horribly, horribly late.
Date:June 21st, 2004 07:57 am (UTC)
I had all sorts of names for the 90 when I lived near Sullivan. None of them are fit to print in a family journal such as this. When it ran, it was the perfect bus. It took me right by Rachel's and to Davis Sq, but I think it only ran twice a day on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I was kind of fascinated by the Assy. Sq. Mall, too. I wonder if it's more dead now than it was 3 years ago. Is there anything at all in there other than Kmart?

That site doesn't have my dead mall, which is actually no longer dead. The Tallahassee Mall occupied a huge amount of space right on the main north-south street in town. In the early 80s another mall was built a couple miles east of the capitol. Tally Mall became a ghost town. At one point in high school, it had two big box stores (the now defunct Gayfer's chain and the now defunct Montgomery Wards chain), an American Cookie Company, a tiny two screen movie art house theatre, and Nothing Else. You could actually hear the air conditioners moving the air. Then in the early 90s it was finally sold and the new owners put a ton of work into revitalizing it. They built a new wing that has a Dillard's and a Burdine's in it, a food court, and a ten screen, stadium seating AMC Theater. The theater went in around 1995. For the first couple of years, that wing was busy and the rest of it was a ghost town, but eventually the whole mall came back to life.
[User Picture]
Date:June 21st, 2004 08:09 am (UTC)
Awww.... remember when they still had the working mill with the gold fish in the middle of the Mountain Farms Mall?

And when the fountain in the Hampshire Mall was still a fountain and not a huge planter? I used to think that people really lived in the "houses" in the food court. Those were the days.

Have you been to ghosttowns.com? It seems to me like something you would be interested in.
[User Picture]
Date:June 21st, 2004 08:12 am (UTC)
Worcester's got a great Dead Mall. It's smack dab in the center of the city.
[User Picture]
Date:June 21st, 2004 11:11 am (UTC)
My mom and I shopped for my back-to-school clothes for my first year at boarding school at that K-mart.

I fit in rather better than you might expect.

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