Rose on her daily drive down Water Street, where she gets her yummy wraps and sometimes coffee at The Broadway Restaurant and Catering at 100 Water St.
Did she tell you she loves this place? The idea of this place? The people of this place? The look of this place? The love wafting over every cup of coffee (bottom-less!) in the place? The INTEGRITY in each and every Broadway French fry?
What gives the B-Way its Best Ways? The Isaldakli family, of course! Owners for decades, after Billy Isaldakli realized his engineering degree wouldn’t make him as happy as or rich as owning the Broadway, the Isaldaklis bring a love for each other, their kids, grandkid and community that has fueled the Broadway’s success … for decades. Billy and Betsy, his wife and work partner, bring a magical Old World affection, unpretentiousness and moral code to the little corner eatery in my neighborhood that never fails to uplift and inspire me in this crass, narcissistic Trump world. The Canal District’s trendy bars, eats and people may come and go – I’ve seen these places open with such fanfare and then a year or 2 later, poof! gone! – but the Broadway endures. Like the turning of the earth, like the salt of the earth … like an epic Broadway Hot Fudge Sundae!
Years ago Billy bought the Broadway biz from the old and soon-to-retire Sam, a Green Island legend in his own right. Every Sunday morning Sam would be at the front entrance of his Broadway in a suit coat, shaking hands with and greeting each and every one of his (steady) customers as they walked through his front doors! When I was a little girl growing up in Green Island my mother, like half of Worcester, would take us to the Broadway for breakfast after Sunday Mass. And there stood Sam, gate keeper to my sisters’ and my burgers, fries and Cokes, smiling seriously. (Ma had breakfast – always a cheese Western omelet and coffee💜.) Rich, poor, in-between – Sam treated ALL his customers with the same Sam brisk-but-attentive courteousness. It was a whirlwind Sunday! Sam was a king atop the Broadway hill!
Billy brought a more fun vibe to the place. Chatty, given to giving you unsolicited advice (usually spot-on. “Rose, you’re too deep into your life to adopt kids!”), political, smart and philosophical, Billy could have been a great politician – or Pope.
But it has been the Broadway where he’s built his life and flourished. I chalk much of his success up to his smarts, cooking skills but mostly Big Greek Love – for family, customers, Worcester – everybody. To experience the Broadway is to be swaddled in a warm world of connections, smiles, banter, family, integrity, homemade ice cream, hard work – the American dream slathered over your cheese burger, don’t hold the pickles!
Billy has owned his culinary icon for years and never ceases to impress folks with his family affair at 100 Water St! Billy, wife Betsy, daughter, son, soon grandson, all work at the Broadway at some point in their lives. They all seem to gather there, in the back dining room, for their informal Greek dinners. Often with a waitress, just off her shift. The room radiates clan, LOVE, family first, good food. AND…respect for every Woo girl and boy!
To visit the Broadway is to visit a more no-nonsense, honest time in America where rules and rituals mattered: Billy and Betsy married for years and still flirting with each other over the feta, still respecting each other’s points of view, admiring each other’s skills. The cute Billy cheat on the pretty Betsy? Never in a billion years! She’s the whipped cream on his Belgian waffles! And, besides, more important, it is WRONG to cheat on your wife, your life’s helpmate and best friend.
… Billy grinning to himself over the French fries when Rose tells him his three-year-old grandson has his mom’s – Billy’s daughter Daniella’s – smile. Rose can see Daniella’s exact same smile, the exact same mischievous little curves in the two corners of the little boy’s mouth when he grins. This amazes her. She tells Billy so. A quiet, contented grace washes over Billy’s gently lined face as he accepts the compliment. No words spoken.
Giving to the community is first nature with this crew. Every Thanksgiving, Billy and family and a few staffers cook ALL the turkey dinners for Worcester shut-ins for the Bishop’s Catholic Charity Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels. At the Broadway! For 17+ years! Under the radar, sans self-promoting Instagram photos or press releases. That is how the Isaldakli family spends – and celebrates – their Thanksgiving. Sweating and (Billy) swearing over hundreds of scoops of their homemade stuffing, scores of Butterballs (the Bishop supplies the turkeys – Billy cooks them) and cans of cranberry sauce. Community service, totally out of the public eye.
That’s how Billy likes it.
Rose is thinking of Billy today. Billy, a middle-aged guy (he married young) surviving in a Facebook world. Billy, a guy with a moral code that rivals Lincoln’s, a guy who doesn’t know what Snap Chat is and couldn’t give a fuck. Slinging grape nut pudding, joking with the dish washer and the kid at the counter. Billy knows that inside the rules is where you are absolutely free! No one else in America seems to get this any more. In this crazy country, folks (kids!!) post pictures of their boobs, butts and trendy meals on Instagram. Fake loves, too. For everybody to see … curated, manipulated, cropped and colorized. Billy Isaldakli will have none of it. Billy runs around the Broadway kitchen sweaty and stressed, yelling over the assistant cook. Betsy calmly grabs a fish platter and throws a reassuring glance at her husband, her beloved. Waitress Cathy makes fresh coffee…friends/customers come in. The Broadway world spins on, a cozy delight.
When I was a little girl growing up in Green Island, New Year’s Eve was the one holiday my father, “Daddy,” celebrated with my mother and my two kid sisters and me. And Bapy, our Polish immigrant granny!
My father was a rover, an Italian Romeo, who my poor minimum-wage-working mother fell in love with cuz she felt the magic with Daddy (lust!), after dutifully going with a dutiful, church-going Pole from the neighborhood for years. “Stan” had loved her, was romantic: he gave my mother an engagement ring. He once took off his coat and laid it over a big mud puddle so my mother could walk on it and not through the puddle! He was a furniture delivery kid for Millbury Furniture on Millbury Street, who went on to become a school teacher.
But “Ma” chose foolishly: she dumped good boy Stan for bad boy Daddy, the hot Mediterranean with killer profile – Daddy’s high, red pompadour (his moniker when he was a kid? “Red”!), his long elegant Roman nose! Swoon-time! – and attitude. Daddy came with the complete bad boy package: a big-boned German German Shepherd dog named Heidi (tougher than the American breed), a big dump truck where Heidi sat in the passenger seat and hard, calloused, workman hands that had caressed many a’ ghetto-girl breasts and hot rod tires, and a true rock n roller outsider stance. Daddy was taciturn, even gruff, kept his demons close to his chest. He didn’t talk to us kids, his children! – or any kids, for that matter. What was the point? He was in and out of our lives but always managed to make a pit stop at our Green Island flat when he needed to recover from whatever shit he had stirred up around Worcester.
Above: one of Daddy’s pitstops; below: Ma’s First Holy Communion pic
I remember: Daddy walking into our Lafayette Street tenement after days or weeks or MONTHS away from home, MIA, looking like the January winds had blown him into our poor flat! His pale hazel eyes red and teary, his now auburn hair wild and swept-up. He had axl grease on his hands and under his fingernails and on the front and back of his blue work shirt. Seeing this junkyard dog of a man, Ma would (to our consternation) … melt!! Like goo. Get all flustered and start running – running!! – to their closet to get Daddy a clean tee shirt, run to another closet to get Daddy a clean white hand towel. And as the Prodigal Daddy washed his dirty face and dirty hands in our kitchen! sink, Ma pulled out the big T Bone steak from the refrigerator (her pretty round ass filling out her snug house coat) she had bought special for Daddy at Supreme Market on Millbury Street. Just for him alone – an entire steak! We kids never got steak! Neither did Ma, who only allowed herself to gobble up Daddy’s leftovers – the steak’s “tail” – all fatty – after Daddy had finished eating. I remember seeing her eat the tail end by the kitchen stove, stealthily, her pretty mouth shiny with its fat – only after clearing the TV stand on which she had served Daddy his big meal, in their bedroom, where he lounged on their bed, solitary as a lobster. He couldn’t be bothered with or by his three little girls…. Today I make the same special salad dressing Ma once made for Daddy: a saucer of olive oil; add one clove of garlic, finely diced …
… a teaspoon of vinegar and pinch of salt. Stir with a salad fork and voila!
We kids would stay in the “front” room quietly watching The Carol Burnet Show on our black and white Philco while Daddy feasted on his steak in the bedroom. We were 8 and 7 and 7 (twins) and expected nothing. “Good little soldiers,” as Ma used to call us. We kids, Ma – and, of course Bapy, who got Daddy’s number from day #1 and hated his guts – had grown accustomed to Daddy’s ways: no birthday gifts on our birthdays, no candy Valentine’s hearts on Valentine’s Day, no Christmas gifts during the holidays. Daddy was a cheapskate who kept his money to and for himself; he had zero interest in making his little girls smile during their birthdays or the holidays.
Rose went to her aunt and uncle’s house for the best birthday parties; above: her cousins, pre-birthday party sugar-and-salt blast!
Except during New Year’s Eve, a time when something magical stirred in Daddy. For two or so years he was a night watchman at the Worcester Country Club. Night time was his time, and he worked the holidays at the country club for time and a half pay. So… Daddy worked his shift New Year’s Eve and, way past midnight, after watching the club, but also watching (or hearing) Worcester’s well-heeled drink champagne, dance past midnight to a local big band, ring in the New Year with party favors that cranked, whirred, buzzed, twirled and honked… After the big ball room New Year’s countdown, after the big night, after all the Merry makers had departed for their nice homes in Burncoat or the West Side, the ones with big back yards and flowers trimming front lawns, so quiet in the moonlight…only then would Daddy stoop and pick up all the spent favors, the discarded tin foil caps, the popped poppers on the dance floor and take them home to us. He’d even take the ceiling and wall decorations off their perches! The big tissue paper silver balls and the big crepe-paper New Year’s bells that hung from the country club’s ballroom ceiling were not safe from Daddy’s nimble fingers!… And the big cardboard New Year’s Babies that had hung from the ceilings and had floated above all the dancers and party goers in their top hats and cute diapers, like the champagne bubbles… floating off to happy land… would float right into our third-floor Lafayette Street tenement, in Green Island!
So much fun to hear Ma yell to us: “Look what Daddy brought you from the Country Club!” It was past 3 in the morning but no difference! Ma wanted us up! My two sisters and I jumped out of our beds and, in our pajamas, ran into our big kitchen where Daddy was gingerly placing (on the kitchen floor) our New Year’s treasures. We squealed and picked up the used party favors and streamers and began running in big circles on our big kitchen floor. We took the white big paper bells and lifted them high over our heads into the air and yelled: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We ran with the streamers – our New Year’s Eve’s kites – all over the apartment! I grabbed a big cardboard New Year’s Eve baby! Tomorrow Ma would help me tape my diapered little prince on my bedroom wall!
Ma made sure silly Belle, our English Setter mix …
… was on her dog pillow, an old chair cushion bestowed to her by Bapy, her true mistress!, away from all the tinsely temptations!
Daddy’s New Years Eve was as fun to me as another winter tradition in our flat: when Ma hung the laundry to dry in our kitchen! On two long ropes she had strung up from one wall to the opposite one! We were too poor to have a clothes dryer, so Ma always hung our laundry outside on the back porch clothesline. Except for below freezing days like today when she brought the operation indoors and my kid sisters and I would clap our hands and giggle and hug each other as Many hung the big white sheets out to dry. We’d run under them touching them with our hands, our little faces, screaming!, Ma smiling. They smelled so nice, our make-believe snow mountains, drowsy and deep and white in Green Island!
So News Year’s Eve at our house was just as exuberant! Ma smiled as she watched us play and Bapy, sitting in her over-stuffed wooden easy chair at the head of the kitchen table, sipped her cup of Sanka instant coffee and sang a Polish nursery rhyme while tapping our little butts with the palm of her old hand as we ran by her giggling, glitter on the soles of our feet!
Bapy loved music and encouraged us to sing and make joyful noise year ’round! Our house was filled with music 24/7, except for nighttime when we slept. But during the days the radio blared Bapy’s polkas and Ma’s Beatles and Herman’s Hermits and Top 45, Wolfman Jack, baby! On special occasions I cranked up Bapy’s Victrola and played Ma’s old 33s, from when she was a maid in the Bishop’s house in Springfield: Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney …
… The Dorsey Brothers, even Al Jolson! I used to love to belt out, with Al: “Hallelujah, I’m a bum again!!”!
Rose leading her two-kid band (her sisters) in the big Green Island kitchen!
Come January 2, Daddy was a “bum” again, as Bapy sputtered into her cold Sanka, cursing him in Polish (“Dog’s Blood” spoken in her native tongue sounded deadly). He was gone from the flat, our lives, once more. With feeling. He had made his getaway early in the morning, while we kids were still sleeping, as was his custom, usually around 5:30 a.m. Ma would wake up at 5 to make him his breakfast and fresh coffee. See him off!! My sisters and I got to keep our New Year’s Eve paper regalia, but the bells and streamers now sat crumpled in a corner, on the kitchen floor. Except for my cardboard New Year’s baby which still delighted me and, like I said, Ma would help me tape to my bedroom wall later in the day.
Looking back, I now see that our peripatetic Daddy was almost as poor as we were. Once he was beaten up by a goodfella for a Shrewsbury Street loan shark who didn’t get the dough Daddy had borrowed from him – and still owed him. I remember Daddy coming through our backdoor (of course), sheepishly – so unlike his usual entrances. I remember Ma putting her hand to her mouth, which had fallen open, then running to Daddy to examine his big cauliflower ears…
So, today, I catalog some of the gifts a poor Daddy gave to his poor daughters. At the time, I considered them more his plunder than our gifts, but still… He always placed them on our big kitchen table or big ol’ kitchen floor, like sacred junkyard offerings (when they weren’t too cumbersome):
1. A Frank Sinatra album
2. Two Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons albums (one of them double!)
3. Barbershop equipment – all the mirrors, stand up and wall, which he picked up somewhere in his truck – got paid by the shop owner for hauling them away. I remember running downstairs to see all the mirrors in his truck, glinting in the sun, and helping him lug them all upstairs, to our third floor tenement!
4. A cast iron baker’s rack, which I also helped him lug upstairs! It became my plant and ceramic animal stand. For years!
5. A rusty old Maxwell House Coffee can, filled haphazardly with dirt and in the middle of the dirt: a lovely pink lady slipper, puffy in full bloom! My sisters and I rushed to the old coffee can when Daddy placed it on the kitchen table. We ooohed!! and ahhhed!! at the lovely flower, touching its velvety, prickly hot pink petal. We had never seen a lady slipper in our lives! Not even pictures of them in our school books! I was mesmerized….Daddy had picked it during one of his many walks in the woods up by West Boylston. We didn’t walk in the woods, like our father. And he’d never dream of taking us – especially three GIRLS! – along with him, though I remember one of my sisters, the Tom Boy and his favorite, always pleading with him to accompany him.
I never asked to go along…
And those are all the birthday and holiday gifts my father gave to me and my two sisters. Ma got squat. But she kept her costume jewelry from Springfield, gifts from Stan, in a box lined with purple crushed velvet and wore her twinklers to our schools’ Parent Nights where she was told what good girls she had. And Rosalie! So smart! All A’s again!
My gifts to my mother!
… I still have a few of Ma’s earrings. She used to let me wear them around the house when I had a cold and was too sick to go to school or play outside. They were a quick pick-me-up! But I never wear them these days – I don’t want to lose them, lose the memory💜.
These days, I live in Green Island, again. I see on my old Millbury Street the new old Millbury Street…today’s poor …
… walking, as once my sisters, mother and I had walked, sometimes trudged, during winter in the inner city: wearing layers of cheap clothing, heads down, heading home with treasures like a bag of bread, a fish sandwich, a scarf or two from friends more comfortably off…And I look up to see the snowman, angel, snowflake or Santa decals pasted to the frozen-shut crap windows above the storefront windows. And my heart flies straight up to meet those windows’ Santa’s and snowflakes! I love them so much – best of all! I see my Green Island childhood in them: poor families making the best of things, making things Merry and Bright in spite of the fact! The decals pasted up by poor kids or their mothers or fathers or their uncles or aunts. Or big brothers, sisters … cousins. No matter! It’s all done with the same love! And hope!
These Green Island Christmas windows will stay decorated through January, and I will look up at them every time I go by them!
Happy New Year’s Eve!
P.S. We remember Maggie Roche, who died this year. 💜 you, Roche Sisters!
So, it’s Christmas in my ‘hood, the place I thought I’d squat for a few years until I moved away to cheerier, safer byways. I planned on the change – leaving all the Kelley Square, Green Island and Interstate 290 noise, tail pipe fumes and dirt behind me. Shake all this neighborhood’s cussin’, anger, sadness, scrawny kids, wildness, displacement, unemployment, dysfunction, midnight screams from my shoes! And my coats and jackets – and face! I clean my ears and the “wax” comes out dark grey! (What’s happening to my lungs?? To my neighbors’ lungs?? All of us here??)
I tell myself: Rose, move your sticks of furniture, old boots, kitten Cece, red sweaters to the country!
Rent a little nook where Jett can roam…
… to his coyote heart’s content – (true! he’s from Appalachia, land of the coy-dog) – and not be dressed in cheap tinsel on my bed, for my amusement! A foil and comfort for my tired old heart…
I wished for something so different years ago! This picture, below! Straight off the old New Yorker cover… Barlow, 1939
A kind of cliche, if the feelings aren’t real. But magic, if they are!!
Instead, I got …
and this …
Concrete, so much concrete, never softened, no matter how many slips, and silk shirts flutter on the sparse clotheslines…
All the homeless people on the streets with their belongings few and far between, fitting perfectly onto the traffic islands where all the cars whiz by and they walk up and down, subtly, even delicately, begging for money. “What beautiful dogs!” one toothless street woman coos to me as I sit in my car in traffic, with Jett and Lilac. She is kissing up. I understand. Screw the City Manager’s admonitions! I look into my cubby by the brake for spare change… At the bottom of the sign post, on the traffic island, leans her life: in one paper holiday bag, two sandwiches, one pair of new fuzzy purple gloves; in the other paper holiday bag, one brown knit scarf popping out … Christmas gifts from motorists? It’s all so neat, compact – perfectly organized for her life. Amazing Grace! How sweet Thou art!
All my hood’s pain for me to see every day and to cry over – just a few quick tears I wipe away in seconds flat. Because I call myself jaded.
Worcester, more segregated than ever.
More poor versus trendy than ever.
So unlike my Green Island childhood when these now forsaken neighborhoods, Piedmont, South Worcester, Lower Vernon Hill, Green Island had the factories, the jobs and the shops and stores that catered to the people who lived in and owned the three deckers here. And all of Worcester was welcome in my neighborhood – Charles Restaurant, the Deb Shop, Kiddie Kastle, Widoffs Bakery! No such thing as gentrification back then cuz these neighborhoods worked back then, we’re self-sustaining!
TODAY, here, we need: JOBS THAT PAY A LIVING WAGE, FREE COMMUNITY AND STATE COLLEGE FOR RETRAINING AND GOOD JOBS, A REAL FOOD HUB WHERE LOCAL FARMERS SELL THEIR BRUISED FRUIT CHEAP TO US BRUISED PEOPLE! EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT!
NO MORE RACISM IN CITY SCHOOLS, CITY HALL, CITY LIFE!
We will never heal here unless this ALL happens. Everything else is Band-Aids. Rich folks’ feel-good charity…
So this Christmas I get it: I am here to stay. I have no choice. But my fate is sealed by my heart, as much as it is by my purse strings!
Because this banged-up place makes me happy! The crush of it! The fury, the joy, the whacks, the deep kisses. It is all here! What I have loved all along! The kids in their jackets in the cold, on their rickety bikes, doing wheelies outside the ancient dry cleaners. The loud hip hop booming from cars. The sweet 15 parties with the beautiful Hispanic girls in their pink taffeta dresses! The African guys visiting each other to go partying and calling to each other under their three decker windows… making clucking sounds in between their words, just like in Africa! I try to do the same but can’t! And the skinny Vietnamese kids running around the house their parents just BOUGHT!
The sweet sour symphony of my neighborhood! The whole of it!
Merry Christmas Eve!
Have you ever listened to this album? It’s terrific!
The 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Breakfast Celebration is approaching.
This is a free event to be held at Worcester State University on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 9 a.m.
I invite you all to attend.
This annual event celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the achievements of Worcester’s youth.
If you are interested in attending, please R.S.V.P. for yourself and guests before January 6 at 508-929-8049.
More about this event:
“The all-youth program consists of poetry, dance, music and readings based on Dr. King’s life and teachings.
“Students from both public and parochial high schools in Worcester compete in a poetry-writing contest addressing Dr. King’s philosophy, principles and goals around non-violence, unity, equality and ending racism and discrimination.
“Each year, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Breakfast program honors and celebrates the contributions of leaders around Worcester who continue to provide opportunities and pathways for Worcester’s youth:
“The Dr. George Storms Smith Youth Service Award recognizes an individual within the city who has demonstrated exceptional service to our youth.
“The Dr. George Storms Smith Community Service Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the teachings of Dr. King, through distinguished community service and academic achievement.”
This event is always a huge success, and it is great to see the Worcester Community come together!
I hope to see you there!
Karen Richards, Parent Coach
Positive Parent Coaching Program
Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc. (Y.O.U., Inc.)
70 James St., Suite 270, Worcester, MA 01603
After-Hours Crisis Support: 1-800-435-9990
******** I am praying for the Palestinians! – Rose T.
Homeless couple: Worcester’s Canal District, Green Street
The woman vomiting
THE CITY OF WORCESTER SAYS IT WANTS TO HELP THE HOMELESS.
HERE’S THEIR EVENT:
We would like to invite you to join us for our Longest Night Vigil on December 21st, 2017 at 5PM.
December 21st is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. It is also known as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. As we pause to remember those who have died while living without a permanent home, we will bring attention to this issue that impacts all of us in our community.
This event will also be an opportunity to come together and make a commitment to continue to work towards a community where no life is lived or lost in homelessness.
HOSTED BY: City of Worcester Department of Health & Human Services; Community Healthlink’s Consumer Advisory Board
But don’t we need more than feel-good p.r. events like the above? Yes, they raise awareness but, more often than not, they just make the comfortable feel less guilty and selfish during the holiday season, when their stomachs are stuffed, their holiday getaways booked and their Christmas trees wobble from all the presents underneath them.
Don’t we need to literally HELP FOLKS, not symbolically support them? As a civilized community, don’t we need to provide homeless folks SHELTER, food, a clean bed, a place to shower and refresh themselves??? … or they’ll fade away. Some people in our city would like that very much.
As the second-largest city in New England, we tout our “renaissance,” which at this point mostly revolves around high-end restaurants and their chi chi foodies who photograph their meals!! in arrogance – and pointlessness. But doesn’t a first-rate city have … a homeless plan? … A desire to bring more minorities into the work force … a desire to create opportunities for all, not just for the big shots’ families and extended families and pals and their pals? Worcester is still a closed-off place. You see the effects in our city core, in all the poor and minority folks hanging on with three or four shit jobs, an underground catering biz or junk-removal biz or, deadly to our neighborhoods!, a drug biz. A thriving heroin biz, complete with rifles and guns and wasted 15 year olds. And the drug-tragedy infects the neighborhoods, goes ’round and ’round, repeats itself in the next generation. City Manager Ed Augustus, walk around Piedmont, lower Vernon Hill, South Worcester any afternoon and see the broken people! See their drawn and tired faces, their scrawniness or obesity, their kids, hidden in their apartments because their streets are so tough … The despair is heartbreaking!
Our city’s lack of a plan for caring for our homeless people is the most egregious example of our civic heartlessness. We need to do so much more! With the closing of the PIP shelter, and not enough beds for our homeless, and below-freezing temps closing in, the City of Worcester needs to step up! We cannot expect Father Madden, pastor of St. John’s Church on Temple Street, to do it all!
St. John’s Church on Temple Street
St. John’s feeds the city’s hungry here, seven days a week
Father Madden is an amazing person! With a smile and a hug, he takes in the homeless on winter nights, feeds the homeless and struggling every day, gives food to the homeless and hungry every day and runs a residential program for folks who would most likely BE homeless. All this on top of his more conventional priestly duties: leading mass, writing sermons, praying at funerals, baptisms, weddings … counseling parishioners, running church groups and even fundraising for the diocese. If city officials worked half as hard to honor the individual as Father John Madden does, Worcester would truly be GREAT! You’d see it in the people’s faces in my neighborhood and throughout our inner city!
We can’t diss the wonderful “Dr. Mattie,” the city’s relatively new health czar! She’s terrific! She’s got brains and heart! She’s recommended the city establish a kind of camp for the homeless, many of whom don’t want to be in buildings/ institutions. The camp would be permanent and have cots, showers, bathrooms, a 24/7 police presence and social workers. Many big American cities have these camps. This would ensure our homeless brothers and sisters are safe, warm, cared for and maybe just maybe primed for job searches!
Of course, the cruel Worcester brigade weighed in. The Turtle Boy bunch, which includes Mike and Coreen Gaffney, local uber bitch and attorney-who-was-formally-reprimanded-by-the-bar-assoc (the City Manager is on the cusp of giving her his blessings and appointing her to a City Board!) Margaret Melican, and dunderhead squawker Paul Collyer threw words around like “hobo” and hobo camp and the cruel jokes began and the public swallowed the stereotypes hook, line and sinker. These savvy assholes stopped an intelligent community conversation around homelessness dead in its tracks. They stopped solutions from being born.
So unlike Boston or Somerville, or other world-class cities where problems like homelessness are confronted in a real and muscular way. These days, besides its millennial scene, Worcester grows its very own ghettos! Remember the late, great Boston Mayor Tom Menino and how on bitterly cold winter nights he’d be out with Boston social workers handing out blankets to the homeless, leading them to the city’s homeless shelters???
That kind of compassion is beyond Augustus and company.
Which is why so much of our urban core is now a wasteland …
… why so many of our homeless people are sick, dying…
… and the city’s homeless event is ultimately a crock of shit.
Lilac was dumped by her previous owner. … Do we love our homeless dogs more than we love our homeless PEOPLE????
Woo Common: Crappy tree, happy people come together to kick off the season of love! pics: R.T.
City of Worcester Festival of Lights
City Hall Common, 455 Main St.
info from the city website:
Festival of Lights is an annual tradition which brings thousands of people to the Worcester Common for a night of affordable family fun.
In addition to the official tree lighting, …
… several trees throughout the Common and along the streets of downtown are lit up, and many downtown businesses decorate their storefronts.
It is truly an evening of community and civic pride celebrating the beginning of the holiday season in Worcester.
Each year, Festival of Lights welcomes choirs from the Worcester Public Schools, as well as a headlining artist. The City of Worcester is pleased to announce our headliner this year is Jessica Cabral, a Worcester native who was a contestant on Season 15 of American Idol!
Additional performances this year by Sasha the Fire Gypsy, Snow Queen Stilt Walker and LED Light Performers from Cirque DeLight.
Free ice skating on the 12,000 sq. foot public ice skating rink
Christmas carols sung by choirs from the Worcester Public Schools
Horse-drawn sleigh rides
Free hot chocolate and face-painting
Get into the spirit of the season with the City of Worcester at the annual Festival of Lights!
Join the Mayor of Green Island, Lorraine Laurie, and Santa’s helper Patty, as they LIGHT UP THE KELLEY SQUARE CHRISTMAS TREE!
Patty and Lorraine with new baubles for the Green Island tree!🎵🎼💜❄
Saturday, December 9
The Gulf gas station at Kelley Square
Mayor Petty and City Manager Augustus Stand Against Provisions in Proposed Federal Tax Reform
Today Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. sent a joint letter to Congressman James P. McGovern, as well as Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, explaining that they have concerns about the proposed federal tax reform bill, specifically language that would have negative effects on the City of Worcester and its residents.
Focusing on the proposed changes to tax-exempt bonds, historic tax credits, new markets tax credits, and low-income housing tax credits, the letter outlines the ways in which these programs benefit the entire city. “These amendments will have a negative impact on the City of Worcester and our ability to continue to provide the vibrant and strong community expected by our residents,” states the letter.
The proposed changes to these programs would affect critical infrastructure financing, private investment, economic activity, and job creation. The letter states further that, “Eliminating incentives that support local government, reduce costs and allow for infrastructure investment is a complete disservice to municipalities and our residents.”
The letter closes with the Mayor and City Manager urging Senators Warren and Markey to maintain these tax benefits.
The Honorable Edward J. Markey The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
United States Senate United States Senate
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building 317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Markey and Senator Warren:
We are writing in opposition to certain provisions included in the federal tax reform legislation. These amendments will have a negative impact on the City of Worcester and our ability to continue to provide the vibrant and strong community expected by our residents.
The elimination of tax-exempt bonds and advance refunding for tax-exempt bonds would have a disastrous impact on the ability of government to finance critical infrastructure projects. These tools are used to construct affordable housing units, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and other public infrastructure. Advance refunding enables the City of Worcester to lower our borrowing costs, specifically when faced with market conditions similar to those like the Great Recession of 2008. Without the availability of tax exempt bonds and flexible financing, private developers will have limited incentives for investing in less lucrative projects that often benefit our poorest residents and communities. The elimination of or reduction to the flexibility and benefit of tax-exempt bonds will have a far greater negative impact on the issuer of the bonds (state and local governments) than it will on the private market that currently is the recipient of the bonds. Residents of communities like Worcester, specifically those with the highest needs and support from government, will face the brunt of the changes to tax-exempt bonds.
Historic Tax Credits
The elimination of the historic tax credit will have a significant negative impact on the City of Worcester. As a community with aging housing and building stock, maintaining and restoring historic buildings is critical to preserving our cultural history as well as preventing blight and degradation of our community. The Historic Tax Credit is a key tool to our economic development strategies as it incentivizes developers to undertake costly rehabilitation projects and maintain our historic assets. Without the historic tax credit, preservation of these assets is at risk. Historic tax credits are also a “pro-growth” tool that stimulates economic activity, creates jobs and provides additional taxable revenue. The following properties in the City of Worcester have benefitted from historic tax credits. Many of these properties were slated for demolition but instead have been revitalized with a positive reuse and serve as reminders of our past while reinforcing our future.
• Worcester Courthouse
• Central Building (322-332 Main)
• Boys Club – Ionic Ave & Lincoln Square
• Former YWCA (29 High/10 Chatham)
• Abby’s House (52 High)
• Crompton and Knowles
• Wellington Community (Apartment buildings on Wellington, Jaques, and Ethan Allen)
• Paul Revere Insurance Building (18 Chestnut)
• Fire Alarm and Telegraph (230 Park)
• Junction Shops
• Melville Shoe Factory (44 Hammond)
• People’s Block (371-377 Main)
• Hadley Building (653 Main)
• Indian Hill School (155 Ararat)
• Quinsigamond Firehouse (155 Blackstone River)
• Worcester Corset Company (45 Grand)
New Markets Tax Credits and Low Income Housing Tax Credits
Tools like New Markets Tax Credits and Low Income Housing Tax Credits are also essential and must be maintained to attract private developers to rehabilitate underutilized properties in the city, and provide housing opportunities for the poorest among us. The financial feasibility of these projects becomes unattractive to developers without these tax credit tools, especially in distressed, lower-income areas.
Tax reform is a complex and polarizing issue. However there are certain provisions that have withstood previous reform efforts out of the necessity to operate effective and efficient government. Tax-exempt bonds, historic tax credits, new market tax credits and low income housing tax credits impact areas that, if eliminated, would have long-lasting and generational adverse effects on Worcester’s ability to create a thriving, vibrant community. Operating local government during times of rising costs and aging infrastructure is difficult. Eliminating incentives that support local government, reduce costs and allow for infrastructure investment is a complete disservice to municipalities and our residents.
We urge you to maintain these valuable tax benefits. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions. Thank you for your support.
Edward M. Augustus, Jr. Joseph M. Petty
City Manager, Worcester Mayor, Worcester