Archive | July, 2013

Government Center Stays Open for Now

31 Jul

The renovation of Government Center that was scheduled to begin this season has been postponed. The project involved updating the station to meet new requirements regarding disability accessibility. The reconstruction involves renovating the train platforms, building a new entrance, completely redoing the electrical system to accommodate new elevators, escalators, LED signs, and better lighting. Plans also include expanding the fare collection area and improving some of the surrounding area including City Hall Plaza and Cambridge Street.

As part of the plans, the building would cause the Government Station T stop to close to passengers although trains will still be able to pass through. A special bus route that stops at Government Center, State Street, and Haymarket will be added to accommodate MBTA riders.

In order to avoid further disruption of traffic patterns, the construction has been postponed until the Callahan Tunnel is reopened in the spring. The Government Center reconstruction is still expected to finish by spring 2016.

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Youngest US Chess Expert

29 Jul

Massachusetts is now home to the country’s youngest chess expert! Nine- year old Carissa Yip has only been playing chess for about three years, but she’s already better than ninety-three percent of the players registered with the U.S. Chess Federation. The record has not been broken since 1991, when the federation switched over to electronic record keeping. Even though Carissa isn’t stressed about the rankings, her next goal is to become a master, which her father projects she can do within a year. She is also concerned with becoming the first female to win the overall chess championship. Carissa is currently the top ranked player the the Wachusett Chess Club, ranked within the top two percent of registered female chess players, and within the top seven percent of all registered players. If Carissa becomes a master within the next three years, she will have broken the record for youngest female chess master, which is currently held by Irina Krush.

Restaurant Week

27 Jul

Restaurant Week returns to Boston this August, bringing with it some new restaurants. This year, the week has been set for August 18-23 and the 25-30. During the week, visitors to participating restaurants have the option to order from a fixed price menu. A two-course lunch is $15.13, a three-course lunch is $20.13, and a three-course dinner is $38.13. The prices are per person and do not include beverages or gratuity, but it still is a deal for most of the participating restaurants. The lowered prices are meant to entice new customers, perhaps creating regulars in the process. It makes being adventurous a little more attractive by lowering the price tag.

The restaurants taking part are located all over the city and there is a wide range of different types of cuisine, to suit any taste. This doesn’t require tickets, passes, or even reservations (although reservations are strongly encouraged); patrons can simply walk in and request the menu. New to the restaurant week scene are: Abbey Lane, House of Blues, Bronwyn, Moksa, Fogo de Chao, Finch at the Boxer, and BoMA. Check out a list of all the participating restaurants here.

The Frost is Coming

24 Jul

Faneuil Hall is getting a new bar though it might not be quite what you’re expecting. Yes, it serves drinks, plays music, and is a good place to socialize but this bar happens to be made of ice.

The Frost Ice Bar already exists in several other cities, including New York and Las Vegas, but now it’s coming to Boston. This permanent, indoor installation required about 50 tons of ice to make everything from walls, chairs, stools, and even the cocktail glasses. The bar will be kept at 21 degrees Fahrenheit in order to maintain the integrity of the ice. Don’t worry about trudging through Boston’s heat wearing your parka though because the bar provides patrons with insulated capes and gloves (the fur lined boots will cost you extra). According to Grier Colella, the bar’s general manager, the maximum stay is forty-five minutes.

The Frost Group is partnered with the Boston Duck Tour so they’ve included a family friendly element. The bar plans to be open to families every day until 5pm, at which time it shuts down to anyone under 21.

Visiting the bar won’t be cheap; admission is around $20 and cocktails start at $11. The entry fee includes renting the cold gear and of course potentially having the experience of a lifetime.

Expect to see Frost Ice Bar opening in mid-August!

Earthquakes in China

22 Jul

On Monday, China experienced some fairly powerful earthquakes. Although the magnitude of these quakes never exceeded 6.6, there was still a significant amount of damage. The Gansu Province was the area mainly affected by the earthquakes. The quake triggered landslides, building collapses and knocked out phone lines, which added to the devastation. Reports suggest that more than 600 people have been injured, 14 are missing, and at least 75 were pronounced dead. The president of China has enacted “all-out rescue efforts” in response to this tragic disaster. Rescue efforts will prove difficult as time wears on due in part to forecasts of rain for the province.

The Gansu Province is one of the poorest provinces in China, meaning that most buildings would have been unable to withstand the force of an earthquake. The government has been quick to respond though, partly because of criticism they received regarding their actions when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Sichuan Province in 2008. This time around, the government aimed for speed, good communication, and efficiency, all of which they seem to be achieving in their current rescue efforts.

Disloyalty

19 Jul

Ten coffee shops banded together to encourage breaking away from your normal coffee staple for a taste of something new. With the creation of the Disloyalty Card, patrons had the chance to venture out to a new place while also earning a free drink. Unfortunately, the Disloyalty Card is no longer available, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting one of its featured coffee houses. The Disloyalty program just finished it’s second run in June and will most likely be returning next spring.

This is not a new idea. It was created in London three years ago by Gwilym Davies, the former World Barista Champion. Although, at first glance, it may seem counter-intuitive, the Disloyalty program’s goal is to gain general support for local and independent coffee shops. The attitude behind the program is to encourage customers to stay local even if it means one’s own store does not make the sale. If this feeling is indicative of quality, then you can be assured these coffee houses are worth going out of your comfort zone.

The New Team

17 Jul

If the Boston Celtics look a bit different these days, don’t be alarmed; they’re just rebuilding the team. The summer has brought the Celtics a new, younger face, with the trades of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, D.J. White, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. The longtime coach, Doc Rivers, also bid the team farewell as he moved to the Los Angeles Clippers. Boston isn’t too torn up about the trades though since they’ve already managed to get four first round picks and hired Brad Stevens as the new coach. The new members include: Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Boggans, and MarShon Brooks. Despite insistence that Garnett and Pierce have some good years left, the Celtics have opted for a younger, fresher team based around point guard Rajon Rondo. The Nets feel that they’ve made a good, albeit expensive, decision. The new players can provide their team with experience and leadership, which it was lacking in previous seasons.

Even now, Boston is still making moves. Currently, it is rumored that they are already preparing trades for Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. Humphries, who is known due in part to his 72 day marriage to Kim Kardashian, was not expected to stay with the Celtics long. Aside from his issues with Rondo, the Celtics were reluctant to commit to paying Humphries’ expected $12 million salary.