Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do You Remember

That PSA that used to run in the 80's about cocaine? "I need to keep working more hours, so I can make more money, so I can buy more coke, so I can work more hours, so I can make more money so I can buy more coke, so I can work more hours so I can buy more coke...." And so on and so on.

I have a new one for Worcester.

There's no one downtown, because people think it's dangerous, because there's no one downtown, because people think it's dangerous, because there's no one downtown, because people think it's dangerous... and on and on and on.


duncan said...

while I understand what your saying on a bigger level, speaking personally, I don't go downtown because I have absolutely no reason to be there on a regular basis. I see shows at Mechanic's often but other than that, I am not avoiding downtown, there is just no reason for me to be there. It's not because I think it's dangerous.

The Armsby Abbey will be one more reason for me to be there regularly.

Gabe said...

Yeah it is the bigger level. As I have said before on this blog there are way scarier people in Central Square in Cambridge than most places in Worcester, but you very rarely hear anyone talk about how scared they were when they went to the Middle East. I hear how scary downtown is all the time, and it's not. It's just that the street type folk out number everyone else by maybe two to one. In Central Sq it's like there is 1 street person for 5 of everyone else but there is about 100 times more people. If there were 90,000 people downtown I don't think there would be 60,000 street people.

duncan said...

People would be downtown, unafraid, if there was a reason to be there. That's all I am really saying. If you are in Central Square you are doing something.

Give people a reason to be downtown and they will be. You are saying people aren't there because they think it's dangerous and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, and what I am saying is that they aren't there because they have no reason to be there.

Gabe said...

I say people don't come down here because they think it's dangerous because they say to me, "Gabe, how do you live down there? It's dangerous."
I am not really talking about Worcester insiders here. That is not who we have to worry about, that is not whose perception we have to worry about. Read reviews of my building, why people have moved out. Why people didn't come to the fashion outlets when they were open.

People like me and you may not be scared of downtown, but people who don't know the city like the back of their hand are, and it is something the city needs to address.

On top of this I don't know why this has taken an arguementative tone because on the whole we are both saying the same thing. We are both saying there needs to be more to draw people to downtown, I am just saying that the reason it is unsettling to people is due to the lack of other people.

duncan said...

no argument here, I enjoy the topic, I just thought we were coming at it from different places. I think we both want the same thing, a change in perception of Downtown.

As a side note things like Summer Nationals do not help this in any way. Outsiders coming in to the city to see this event see a city that clearly doesn't give a shit about their downtown, it's a carnival.

As for people who question why you live downtown are similar to the people that question simply living in Worcester. I don't give a shit about those people. If things really improve, perception will naturally follow, no effort needed. For that improvement to occur the city has to stop being anti-business.

Gabe said...

Question is though, who is louder? The people saying anyway who thinks Downtown is scary are suburban ninnies or the people who are saying downtown is scary. The tide is starting to turn but I would say in my experience growing up the naysayers have been far louder.

The city needs a marketing machine and THAT needs to be loudest of all.

There is a lot to market down here already but downtown and the rest of urban Worcester sometimes feel like someone who doesn't know how to dress themselves.

Which is too bad, because you need to get beyond that appearance to see the treasures that really lie there.

John said...

The wife & I have been to 3 shows at the Hanover Theatre since it opened, the last being on a Saturday night about 3 weeks ago. The thing that struck both of us as we walked from the Pearl/Elm garage was not the few shifty looking people lurking around but the lack of anyone walking around. Most people at the show just parked across the street & left .
downtown right after. People feel safer in crowds.

The city has to give people a reason to stay downtown after a hockey game or show & the more people that stay the more people will be attracted to the area.

Gabe said...

Yeah you are right John. But what makes people stay in the Theater District after a show? Or do they stay in Boston but go somewhere else.

The thing is that you want people to be able to have a full night out. Dinner, show, and drinks.

That's why I say the city is like someone who doesn't know how to dress. Dinner at Ding Ho, show at the Hanover and then drinks at the Red Baron? These things do not go with each other and all three of those businesses lose out because of it.

John said...

Exactly. After the show we went to Block 5 & the place was hopping..

Last Tuesday some guys from work & myself (all 40 somethings) went to Funky Murphys to watch the Red Sox Game. We expected that on a Tuesday night the place would be pretty slow. Not at all. When we left around 10 the place was packed with looked to be 20 & 30 somethings. Downtown needs to attract this crowd.

How does McFaddens do for business?

Gabe said...

McFadden's does okay. It's packed on the weekends but I don't know how it is on weeknights. Irish Times does well also.

There are other places downtown for nightlife, all having different levels of success. The Gym is always crickets when I walk by. Tammany and Red do well on Pleasant St. There is the club on Commercial, Art Bar? Moynaugh's is an underrated bar that I should go to more often living right here.

Two new places, The Venue and Armsby Abbey should be open by the end of the summer.

Are those bars next to the Palladium even open anymore?

People are afraid of the unknown though. I think they come out of the Hanover, The Centrum, Mechanics Hall and the Palladium and maybe they aren't so sure about venturing around and walking in doorways where they might be unsure about what lies behind.

melissa said...

It's difficult to compare Worcester to Boston or even Cambridge, because the population is so different. Boston's 2006 pop was 590,000, Cambridge's 101,365. Not including the other small surrounding communities that all use those 2 cities' resources and entertainment/shopping venues regularly, plus all the people who don't live there but do work there, that's a total of 691,365. Worcester's pop is around 175,900, or about 25% of Boston/Cambridge. Is it fair or even realistic to compare Worcester to Boston? We don't have a waterfront area to attract visitors, like B/C. And we may not have the population to sustain all the commercial venus that they do.

On the other hand, I do agree with Duncan that I don't go downtown because there's NOTHING to do. The last place you'll find me on a weekend night is strolling down Main street. If there was something to do, I'd probably go.

In a related note, I think our public transportation system needs a lot of work. I know that it's underutilized and bus routes are closing regularly. However, as a lifelong resident, I also know that there's plenty of parking and it's just easier to drive from one place to another. In our city, you pretty much HAVE to drive from one place to another because everything is spread out. Until there's more than one place to go per neighborhood, that's not going to change. For example, you can go to dinner on Shrewsbury st, but then what do you do? I guess you could get dessert, but the walk from say the Flying Rhino to Dolce has some sketchy barren areas that I'm not interested in walking down. There should be shops open until 9, on the roads interspersed between the restaurants. But all the shops are in the mall or in plazas. so.. the foot traffic is minimzed.

In a related note, I was at Blackstone in Millbury 2 Fridays ago. You would not BELIEVE how many people there were outside. Teenagers, mostly. I guess that's where they hang out. It's the suburb's answer to Coolidge Corner Both places have dining, an ice cream shop, and a movie theater. Also both have a Gap. ;)

FreeArtWorcester said...


You, 4Rilla and FreeArtWorcester need to organize a mass-pillow fight, a silent rave or a drum circle on a Saturday afternoon on The Worcester Common VERY SOON.

The City DOES need a better marketing machine but we all have to do our part to stir things up/get things happening!

LET'S DO IT!!!!!