Tag Archives: Canal District

Garbage in the Canal District!


Every day, heading onto Millbury Street, you can see the new garbage dump! Sometimes there are bags and bags of white garbage bags at this infamous spot, sometimes food galore, sometimes – like a few days ago – there’s a sofa and more refuse.

No matter how often the City of Worcester sends their DPW folks to truck the crap away, there’s more refuse within an hour or two.

People come from all over the city to dump here! Residents are sick of it!

The local crime watch group has been complaining about this spot forever… State Rep. Dan Donahue says he is going to be discussing the situation with residents …

Maybe now is the time for the City of Worcester to install video cameras and start recording license plate numbers, taking names and FINING folks – heftily.

A shooting nearby was reported a few days ago.

A week or so ago, a person outside the Hotel Vernon on Kelley Square was stabbed in the face …

Attention must be paid! The mundane work of reviving an inner-city neighborhood must be done! The other stuff won’t work if you’ve got murders and stabbings and garbage dumps! You need supermarkets, drug stores, health centers, day care centers, public library branches – stuff for the residents who live only a two-minute walk away!

Or else everyone (especially the poor! always the poor!) pays the price when a neighborhood undergoes gentrification.           

– Rosalie Tirella       CAM00819

All over Green Island yesterday, on Millbury Street, Worcester police cruisers, state-ies, drug-/criminal-sniffing German Shepherds …

By Rosalie Tirella

… Oh, my! I said to myself as I drove through the hood yesterday afternoon, running my biz!! So pretty out! So sunny out! Perfect day for a man hunt! Or a huge huge heroin bust!

There they were, three cops, on foot patrol, being led by a single minded German Shepherd dog who was pulling them into all the doorways of all the establishments on Millbury Street. Then the Worcester police cruisers with lights flashing (sirens off), then the state police cruisers with their lights on (also silent) filled the scene.

This city girl said: COOL! I wanna tag along!

In my car, driving slowly, gunking up traffic, I thought: This must be big! Maybe I’m in the middle of a search for a killer or drug-lord or just plain ol’ drugs! I stupidly followed the cops who were working diligently, with their dog. And I caught their adrenaline rush!

Cops may not wanna admit this but they must love the high of the chase, the adrenaline rush! On the edge! You have to think FAST! Very Steve McQueen! Some of their coolness rubbed off on me cuz I got fearless and giddy and felt EXCITED. The officers – two men in their 30s and a woman in her 30s – showed not a smidgen of fear. They smiled as they walked the hood with their lanky dog, and when a car tooted at them (not me!) the gal copper yelled at him: NOW THAT HELPS! Then she looked at her colleagues and smiled. She was beautiful and full of  herself! I like to see fearlessness in women doing dangerous jobs! I hope she is or becomes a mom and raises FEARLESS DAUGHTERS!

The German Shepherd dog had a mind of its own and led the police officers, all crisp and buff, up Endicott Street. I followed along in my jalopy, trying to snap photos.

Then they made a right onto Ward Street, their dog straining, putting his nose into people’s yards and then, as if thinking NOPE!,  moving on to the next property.

I called out to them! You have a beautiful working dog! Here’s mine – Jett! Jett was bounding up and down in the back seat, eager to jump out and play with the working dog, who didn’t even know we were there. HE WAS WORKING THAT HARD. One of the cops, nice enough, but with a smug little smile on his face, said: Ma’am, the dog is working right now!

I said, I know! Then I said who I was and told them I was snapping a few photos for the website and paper.  The cops, youngish and cocky, the queenie and her kings of the hood – until some punk maybe decided to shoot at them (or me!) from a window (everyone and his/her brother seems to own a gun in Worcester!) – looked at each other and grinned. I smiled back.

Spring in the city!


State Representative Daniel M. Donahue will host office hours next week in the following locations:

–                      Tuesday, December 10 from 11am-1pm at the Greenwood Gardens Apartments Community Room, 341 Greenwood Street.

–                      Wednesday, December 11 from 10-11:30am at the South Worcester Neighborhood Center, 47 Camp Street.

–                      Wednesday, December 11 from 12-1pm at the Addison Apartment Community Room, 2 Addison Street.

–                      Thursday, December 12 from 11-1pm at the Lafayette Place Community Room, 2 Lafayette Place.

Rep. Donahue encourages residents to attend these office hours with any questions about upcoming legislation or any personal matters. Drop-ins are welcome, but feel free to schedule a time with Rep. Donahue beforehand by calling 617-722-2006.



Worcester City Council meeting tomorrow, Tues., Sept. 24 … AND Lafayette Street tree pic, plus Bobby Largesse’s Canal District dump

By Rosalie Tirella

Lost and losing circumstances????

Meeting at City Hall, Main Street – 7 p.m. If you would like to talk to the circus/exotic animal issue or the foreclosure mediation program issue (City Mananger Mike O’Brien is against it, even though Woo and the City Council is for it)  show up a bit earlier than 7 p.m. The City Council hears folks on issues the council is studying/voting on BEFORE THEIR MEETING BEGINS. You have about 3 minutes to get your points, hopes and dreams across … .


For Worcester City Council agenda, click here!



Peggy Middaugh of the Worcester Tree Initiative has identified this Lafayette Street spot as TREE READY! 3-tree ready! Hooray! The property is owned by CDC Worcester Community Housing Resources, headed by our ol’ pal Dominic M.

Here’s hoping they jump on this opportunity PRONTO!



Then, we travel from Lafayette Street to nearby Millbury Street to take a gander at Millbury Street, now part of the chi chi Canal District … and we see the neighborhood”s BIGGEST EYE SORE … THIS BOARDED UP BUILDING (for years!) that runs the length of two or three stores (to the right – we missed a good chunk of it when we took our pic – it used to be a hardware  store – Sadek’s – in the 1950s and 1960s). The dump is shamelessly put out there for all to despise by its owner Bobby Largesse – a Canal District Task Force and Alliance member (for 10 years!). Bob’s building has looked like this for YEARS!!! He used to own the package store to the left – the old McGoverns – and that place was also a filthy eye sore – ruining the street he is trying to lift up. It was very recently repainted/improved by its new owner. But for years, folks in the hood lived with the ugle McGoverns – and the ugly store front.  Bobby couldn’t even get a neighborhood guy to paint the front of the building. Cheap Cosmetics …

How insane! Largesse sits on the Canal District Task Force and is one of the area’s biggest cheerleaders!

The notoriously famous cheap skate would have had to spend a little money to make his property presentable. He didn’t want to. SO FOR YEARS PEOPLE HAVE TO LOOK AT URBAN GARBAGE.

The Canal District – Millbury Street –  looks pretty nice these days, except for the property owned by Canal District member Bobby Largesse. Can’t the city condemn the building and raze it???




Met up with Worcester City Councilor Phil Palmieri yesterday …

By Rosalie Tirella

… Impressed! We spent some time talking about trees and beautification for Green Island – the streets where real people live. Families, kids, working people. People who deserve better than having their streets look like East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down. Yup. It is that stark on Lafayette Street, Ellsworth Street …. Weeds rule in many places. Flowers don’t exist in this concrete world.

So we got some folks working to make things better for the community! Including District 2 City Councilor Palmieri, whose district includes the Wyman Gordon area.

Totally impressed with Phil. He met me in his truck in the Water Street parking lot. I was in my car with my dog Jett. Off we went, Phil following me in his vehicle as I gave him a mini tour of my neighborhood streets. Along the way, we’d pull over and talk about such and such a corner. What could we do here and here and here?

Phil was great! He told me what could be done in a basic, down to earth style. But he was also very savvy in what the city could do, volunteers could accomplish, the kinds of resources he could bring to the table. Very smart guy! I was impressed by his knowledge, his experience – with all the names and agencies at the tip of his tongue. He told me he would call this person, that office, bring in that group. WOW I said. WOW. WOW!!!!

The guy knows how to make city streets pretty! LOOKING AT AN UGLY FENCE TOPPED WITH CYCLONE WIRE, Phil said, There’s one in my area and we had it painted black. Remove the weeds and over growth. It will look so much nicer. WOW !!! Spying an especially depressing looking spot, Phil said, I don’t know if it’s asphalt or concrete, but we can see, you can break up and dig down and plant in asphalt. He said neighborhood folks and businesses would have to be drawn in, so they could SUPPORT ALL THE GOOD WORK that was going to be done.


Phil said it was a process and sometimes government works slowly, especially for folks like him. And me! But Phil, whose district includes parts of Green Island such as Lamartine Street, Wyman Gordon area, seems committed to the cause. He said he will be working with D 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera, who told me a few days ago that she will be working to revive a kind of Green Island masterplan with residents. Add Peggy Middaugh and her group (The Worcester Tree Initiative), which scoped out Lafayette Street a few days ago, looking for places to plant trees, and we just may have ourselves a softer, prettier Green Island. FOR THE KIDS. FOR THE MOMS AND DADS. FOR MY BELOVED GREEN ISLANDERS!

Went to a party in Main South last night …

… on the road home I couldn’t help but notice the city looking so … regal. I mean it! Tree-lined inner-city streets, a downtown with kids walking around (notice there are more young people making their way around city hall and the public library during week days?  Super!) The garbage and abandoned cars seemingly gone. All the colorful flowers and flower pots – bursting all over our city! Restaurants galore. Yeah, I had a good buzz on, but it couldn’t all be attributed to the white Russians! … Kelley Square, Green Island, Main South, Downtown – pretty but still gritty enough for me … made me feel like this song …

Click here to watch video!

… (You can never go wrong with T REX!) – R. T.


Millbury’s slots problem is Worcester’s slots problem

By Rosalie Tirella

Amazing! Rush Gaming regrouped so quickly – to pull this – proposing a slots parlor in Millbury, the town right next door to Worcester! If you don’t think a slots parlor will impact Woo, think again. Several years ago, I had a conversation with the owner of a pub/bar on Millbury Street. It was struggling. I asked why … The person said since the Blackstone Shoppes, with their Apple Bees and other free standing restaurants opened in Millbury, people have been driving by their exit on the highway to get to  the Apple Bees, etc in Millbury. They sorta shared the same types of customers. Apple Bees “ate” into (excuse the bad pun) their customer base.

Example #2 I live in Quinsig Village, home to eateries and other businesses. One biz person recently told me his morning crowd has diminished since the Rt 146 connector was constructed and drivers – his morning crowd – stopped traveling down Greenwood Street like they used to. An entire group of customers – poof! Traveling down a different road.

If slots come to Millbury, these Worcester businesses, many fragile, will take another huge hit of competition. I believe that the damage will go as far as the Canal District.

And the social ills will be with us, too. The same Worcester gamblers will be heading a few miles down the road to Millbury – not the Wyman Gordon site. Big problems for families and individuals – from Woo, Millbury and beyond.

We need to make Millbury’s business our business and educate their selectmen, small biz folks, church groups, etc. STOP the Millbury Slots Parlor!


Doubling Down on Gambling in Atlantic City

When it was built, Revel emphasized luxury and did not allow smoking. Now it has a large smoking area.
Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times


July 6, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY — Known simply as Revel, the newest addition to this gambling city was going to be different.

The emphasis was on luxury, with the Himalayan salt grotto in the spa, the botanic garden winding toward a rooftop pool, the Michelin chefs instead of all-you-can-eat buffets. There was no smoking in its 47 stories, and with floor-to-ceiling windows offering vistas onto the Atlantic Ocean, you could almost forget the seedier streets at its back. There was a casino, but it was self-contained on one floor, as if it were an aside. This was a resort, its promoters said, that happened to have gambling.

Little more than a year after opening, Revel is sorry. Deeply, dearly sorry.

And it is an expensive apology. As it fights its way back from bankruptcy, Revel announced that it would refund all slot losses and match all other casinos’ promotions for the month of July. Revel cost $2.4 billion to open and has spent millions more in recent months to install diner-fare restaurants, more slot machines and air filtration systems — because it now allows smoking, too. Buttons worn by employees and billboards along the Atlantic City Expressway declare its new slogan: “Gamblers Wanted.” And its new official name: Revel Casino Hotel. …

To read entire story, click here!

“Slots” of times … times like these call for …

Bob Marley and the Wailers. Not only did Marley write some of the greatest love songs of all time (listen to one of my faves – WAITING IN VAIN – below), but he also penned incredible, spiritual protest songs!

Take this Rush Street Gaming!!!! And smoke it!!!

– R. Tirella

We remember Gloria!

By Maureen Schwab

I’m not exactly sure what it takes to earn the title of “Green Island Girl,” but I am sure that Gloria Markowski most certainly deserves the title as well as our respect and heartfelt thanks for all that she did to make Green Island a better place to live.

Gloria grew up on Ellsworth Street during the neighborhood’s glory days of the 50’s and 60’s; the years before 290 forever changed our lives with the constant hum of traffic and the creation of discarded and forgotten streets that go nowhere ; a foreshadowing of a doomed business district once vibrant and alive.

While some may think the only way sure way to build a neighborhood is with brick and mortar, Gloria worked to make Green Island a better neighborhood by helping people lead better lives. After graduating from Doherty High, she earned a degree from Anna Maria College, and began her work as a social worker right here in Green Island as a neighborhood worker for Catholic Charities at the Green Island Neighborhood Center on Canton Street. Eventually, she took over operation of the center and became the site manager.

She was also a member of the Little Sisters of the Assumption family in mission for forty five years, and worked closely with Pernet Family Health Services to provide help to those in need. For the last several years, Gloria worked part time at McGovern’s package store, and I would occasionally see her behind the register up at Harrahy’s on Ward St. She dedicated her life to helping the poor people of our neighborhood, a neighborhood that she resided in and worked in her entire life.

Gloria’s path in life did not lead her too far from her own front door, and Green Island was the lucky recipients of her gifts of charity, kindness and compassion. In my opinion, a “Green Island Girl” is someone who realizes it doesn’t matter where you’re from but where you’re going that matters. Rest in peace Green Island Girl; your work was not in vain.

Steak Dinner

By Rosalie Tirella

I am a little girl living with my mother, two kid sisters and my granny from Poland – and sometimes violent Italian father, “Daddy” – in the heart of Green Island. My father is not around these few years. Blessed years! It is like a vacation here in our Green Island flat! No fights, no yelling and … NO STEAK DINNER! No eating steak on a Friday night (when my father wanted it). No watching my mom prepare the steak or watching her as she serves the steak. Steak dinner with Daddy is no longer part of my world! Hooray!

Daddy is back with us. After being gone for a year or so. I am watching my mother make him his steak dinner. It is after her 11-hour day at the dry cleaners. It is after we kids meet her on Millbury Street and walk down to Supreme Market where she says hello to the manager – he always wore shiny black shoes and perfectly white socks – to ask him for a nice cut of meat (for my father). I forget the manager’s name but he was preternaturally cheerful, rotund, eager to please his customers. He would get someone to get my mom a great cut of steak and then my mom, my two kid sisters and I would leave, the steak wrapped in white paper and taped up with brown tape.

Home we went … .

Once home, I became preternaturally interested in the making of the meal. I would join my mother and stand a few feet from the stove watching her as she unwrapped, rinsed off and prepared the big steak. For my father. It was his steak. My father would be in the bathroom washing up after a day of trying to sell some junk he had picked up and shoved into his truck (kinda a junk man, a guy who loved old things, a guy who loved yard sales and old red kerosene lanterns) and tried to sell for scrap metal. Anyways, it was the end of his day and he was washing up in the sink, grumbling, and leaving the towel all dirty and the sink filled with dark grit. He was, believe it or not very fastidius. When it came to eat a peach or a plum, even if his hands were clean, he always picked up the fruit with a napkin and ate it with his fingers on the napkin, not touching the fruit, as if he felt he could never get un-sullied.

Then, without saying hello to me or my sisters, he would go into their bedroom, where my mom had set up a little card table and wait for his meal. He read the newspapers “articles for sale,” “used cars for sale” and sometimes he would call his sister or waitress gal pals to bitch in Italian (if it was his sister) or English (if it was one of his waitress gal pals) about how stupid my mom was and how crumby things were in Green Island.

When I was older – around 15 – and my father had returned to us after one of his jaunts, he was on the phone in the bedroom while my mom dutifully made him his steak dinner. He was talking with one of his waitresses. Without telling my mom, I went to the refrigerator, took a raw egg out of the egg carton, went to my parents’ bedroom and smashed the egg over my father’s head. That stopped the waitress talk fast. He hung up the phone and with the egg white and yolk running down his big red face with its big nose just laughed – guffawed.

I was enraged!

My mom served him his steak dinner.

Back to when I was little … .My father never ate steak dinner with us kids then, even though we were at our most loveable. At Lamartine Street School filled with stories about the Easter Bunny or trips to the science museum or who is the fastest runner in gym class. My father was interested in none of that. If we got started, he’d say, “that’s nice” and walk away absent mindedly. What was outside our flat was of much more interest to him. He was a man of the road, a man of the fast, secretive screw, a man of the woods. Once he came home with a Maxwell House Coffee can filled with dirt – and a lovely pink lady slipper he had found in the woods. He was smitten by the flower, had not picked it for my mother – or us kids. He took it, roots and dirt and all. For replanting? Where? We had no garden in Green Island. When he was growing up, my Italian grandmother, like all Italian families, had a huge garden, a garden with tomatoes and squash and even grapes that grew on a trellis. Daddy was stuck with us and lady slippers in Mazwell House Coffee cans.

And that day, the steak dinner came, too. The plant stayed on the porch, where it wilted and died. My mom, so overwhelmed with rasing the family and work and caring for our dog or cats, was not about to start rescuing plants. Down the lady slipper sank.

My Bapy, my Polish grandmother, knew the score – and like me, hated steak dinners. She hated having my father in our Green Island apartment that she helped pay for with her money and that my father, being on his own weird trajectory, refused to make any financial committment to. To see my mom beg for her $35 a week’s “allowance” from my father – for us kids, food, utility bills, rent was an exercise in learning to grow small, small in stature, small in feelings, small … pointless.

My Bapy, though 4 feet 10 inches high, was not small. She was TALL around our flat, the titular head of the family. No fool, she declared to everyone in broken English that my father was a “red devil.” Sometimes daddy would egg her on and she would throw part of her egg sandwich at him. To no avail. My mom still made my father his steak dinners. Bapy knew my mother – her youngest and favorite daughter – had fallen in love with a loser who had charmed his way into her bed and heart, only to ruin her life. He couldn’t hold a job. He couldn’t suopport or even contribute money to the family. He did nothing around the house. He had a car – a shiny blue muscle car with sparkes in the paint (car manufacturers used to put teeny metal flakes in car paint years ago to make them sparkle!). So when he drove up to the three decker you were dazzled. But my mom and me and my two sisters never got to ride in it. We walked every where and when the walk was too far, we took cabs. And when the walk was very far, my Aunt Mary (my mom’s siter) had her husband, my sweet Uncle Mark, take my mom and us three kids to where we needed to go – like the pediatrician’s office for vaccines and check ups.

My mother had fallen for my father after he asked her to go riding in whatever muscle car he owned back then – World War II. My mom was engaged to a sweet Polish kid who was off fighting in Europe, and my father drove up to her told her she had a beautiful smile and asked her if she wanted to go for a ride in his car. She did. And that was it for her. Fiance was dumped, broken hearted. A quick wedding in city hall and three kids in a cold water flat in the ghetto.

Not for him. So he jumped into his muscle car and drove out of our lives for the first four or so years of my life. He would appear occassonally, white leather cap on head, chomping a big cigar … frightening me and my sisters with his red, enraged face – the face he showed my sweet mother.

SLAP! went the back of his hand against her pretty face. I saw the marks when it came off. My mother didn’t cry. She never cried.Maybe once or twice during my childhood. If that. Later, when I was an adult and in college, she said she spent many long sleepless nights in bed just rolling over all the problems in her head and trying to solve them. No time for tears.

Still, in my youth, my mother kept making my father his STEAK dinners. Remember: it was the early 1970s and meat was still king and it was expensive for families like ours. Rich people had steak, not poor people like us. My mom – who made minimum wage salary – used to spend a lot of her hard earned money to prepare steak dinner for my father. I remember how the steak oozed a watery kind of blood, as he quietly and expertly carved up his meal (I would poke my head into the bedroom to watch for a second or two).

Friday night – Daddy’s steak night, a reward for a week’s worth of his daddying! A week of yelling, a week of name calling, a week of neglect of spouse and children, a week of taunting my tired old granny, who at one point during one argument had come after daddy with a very long carving knife, steak knives be damned! A week of daddy’s hot temper, a week of emotional out bursts and maybe a slap or two at my mom – her butt if he was being amorous. As he grew older, the butt taps came more frequently.

Was it all the steak dinners she had served – SERVED – him, like a slave?

As I watched her prepare his feast – a feast which my sisters and she did not partake in – I felt the unfairness of the situation.

And yet there stood my mom, every Friday night, sweaty from standing so close to the old – but very good – gas stove, hunch-backed from years of hard labor (she was in her 40s by now and she began working as a maid when she was 14), being ever so careful to cook the most beautiful steak for my father.

He loved spinach with his steak. So out would come the can of the Jolly Green Giant spinach. My mom would open the can with her hand held can opener, not the kind most folks use but the primitive kind you sometimes saw in the old John Wayne movies. I watched her and admired her strong bare arms and how the big purple veins in ther large hands bulged as she expertly opened the can. Never a slip up, never a cut, usually the can opened with one go-around. My mom! The human can opener! Did my father see her as something more?

Then she poured the spinach into a pan, heated up over a low gas flame, and after it was hot, my mom put a pad of butter in it and mixed it all up. Heaven! I loved spinach! Sometimes we kids would get the left over spinach. My father never ate the entire can’s worth. Then salad. My mom would make him his salad. Remember: it was the 1970s. No one was really into fiber and fruits then, except hippies and Italians who had grown up with huge vegetable gardens like my father. No one knew iceburg lettucke was pointless (vitamin less) back then and romaine was the qway to go. Neither did my father. So my mom pulled apart the light green round ice burg lettuce head, cut some pale looking red tomatoes she had bought in a package at Supreme Market on Millbury Street, cut a cucumber which my father always wanted perfectly peeled and then she would take some oil pour it in a saucer and add: garlic salt and pepper.

When steak was done (perfectly, after she had brushed it with some of the salad oil she made for my father), she would put it on top of stove with warm spinach. His salad stayed frosty in the refiregerator. Then I would watch my mom cut this huge piece of steak of the T Bone for my dad, lay the huge slab of meat on a huge dinner plate and then put spinach around it and then in a separate bowl place my father’s salad in it – ever so gently. Then I watched her take that delicious steak dinner and carry it to their bedroom where my father would grumble (I never once heard him say “thank you” to her) and fold up the paper he was reading (I could hear that he had mussed up the paper, thrown it to the floor) and begin to eat.

After he ate, he would grab a plum or peach out of the refrigerator and say: Gotta go! and head out the door. When he got older he fell asleep after the heavy meal. But when he was younger he wanted to walk off that heavy feeling. So he did. He would return late at night when we were all in bed, a mystery.

I am amazed whenever I see kids and parents sitting around a table eating supper together, chatting about their day, like I do when I visit my friend on Cape Ann, my gal pal who has a husband and children. In some weird way, I find the whole scene … noisy, too busy … annoying. It all seems so … tedious. The adults asking the kids silly, childish questions, the kids hogging (basking in!) the spotlight and giving answers that are way too long. I kinda want to edit them or … just get up and leave the table! Grab a plum or peach out of the refrigerator and hop into my car with my Husky dog Jett and go for a long ride, with just the moonlight twinkling off the ocean.

There is something to be said for being alone with your pain.