VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2
A Local Food Stylist Gives Us an Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at Her TV Show
WBUR’s ‘On Point’ Host Tom Ashbrook Charts a New Course On Public Radio
C E LE BRAT E
Winter Fashion and History Collide in City Hall’s Public Spaces And Hidden Corners
Eleven Banks Call Newton Centre Home. How Does That Affect The Village Center?
THE HOLIDAY ISSUE DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN MEET THE WONDER WOMEN WHO CHANGE THE WORLD AND CALL NEWTON HOME
Paula Apsell Barbara Grossman Simone Winston Sara Whitman Julie Kahn Anita Diamant Cynthia Creem AND MORE, P. 42
DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
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Newton Living contents
december 2011/ january 2012 Volume 1 Number 2
Features 42 | influential
women We honor
ten extraordinary women who change the world—and call Newton home. By katherine bowers. photos by mark ostow
52 | the host
Newton’s Tom Ashbrook, host of WBUR Boston’s On Point, charts a different course for talk radio. By doug smith
56 | winter fashion:
the politics of
style In the historic
Newton City Hall, cooler weather brings hotter fashion: chic boots, cozy knits, and luxe outerwear in leather, fur, and wool. Red tape has never looked so good.
Photos by bob packert. wardrobe styling by dana moscardelli
66 | welcome to
the banking mecca of america Eleven
banks call Newton Centre home. Does that spell trouble for the future of the village center? By amy wyeth
Baroque pearl with vintage crystals on a sterling silver antique chain, $485, Kiki D. Design. Gray lamb coat, $1,695, LuxCouture. Floral net tight, $18, Bloomingdale’s. “the politics of style,” page 56. for retail locations and credits, see page 64.
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Newton Living contents
december 2011/ january 2012 Volume 1 Number 2
Departments 06 | publisher’s desk 10 | Contributors 72 | Old and
Village 13 | food
Behind the scenes with food stylist Denise Drower Swidey; roast duck at John Dewar & Co.; Bread & Chocolate’s recipe for flammekueche. 18 | DRINK
Holiday cocktails. 20 | style
A revolutinary semipermanent mascara treatment from Lash L’Amour; new beauty destinations; seasonal lipcolors. 24 | Home
Finding order in holiday abundance; common old-home design challenges. 26 | arts
Artist Roberta Paul; event listings. 28 | sports
Tai chi for seniors. 30 | travel
An afternoon in Portsmouth. 32 | business
Design consultancy Continuum; Chocolate.com; Ceaco/ Gamewright. 36 | giving
Newton Partnership. 38 | Affairs radio man newton resident and wbur radio personality tom ashbrook. “the host,” page 52.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
Community Preservation Act; a proposed development of MBTA riverside property; City Briefs.
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A Sense of Place
off the record five things i learned creating this issue
In 1936, Newtonville had a fruit stand called R-Peak-O-Fruit. p.72
George Washington operated one of colonial America’s largest rye whiskey distilleries at Mount Vernon. p.18
Community preservation efforts are more about quality of life than freezing places in time. p.38
Casting around for names of Newton’s influential women, I asked one of our writers for suggestions. She said: pretty much every fourth woman she knows in Newton is influential. And I think she may be correct, which means this issue’s feature on ten extraordinary women is but a tiny sample of the many individuals whose contributions extend into business, civic life, law, media, medicine, and other fields. As the profiles of these individuals demonstrate, and as Tom Ashbrook mentions in our interview of him (page 52), Newton is home to a collection of many extraordinary individuals. Whether you’re enjoying a pint at the West Street Tavern, a latte at L’Aroma Cafe, or waiting in line to check out a library book, these individuals are all around us. And the city itself is no slacker in terms of places and architecture. When we first thought of doing a winter fashion shoot for this issue (page 56), the great halls, marble staircases, wood paneling, and architectural details of City Hall drew us in to discover new sights—many that only city staffers are privy to—such as the mayor’s secret staircase. Other spaces and places drew our attention as well. Newton Centre, with its profusion of bank branches, led us to examine the dynamics of office and retail space in our village centers today (page 66). And it’s interesting how that conversation connects to an old photograph (page 72), taken some seventy years ago on Walnut Street in Newtonville. At that time, neighborhood grocers may have outnumbered banks ten-to-one. You will find the words explore, discover, and celebrate on the cover of this magazine. Every issue of Newton Living will not only seek out those people and places that help define our city, but the magazine will also examine the issues that affect us and the history to which this wonderful place is connected.
Photographs of all the past mayors of Newton offer an impressive array of facial hair styles. p.56
some Important people share my love of the Knotty Pine’s home fries. p.42
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
john sisson Editor and Publisher
the cover paula apsell photographed by mark ostow on october 19. apsell is the Senior executive producer of NOVA and NOVA Science Now, and the director of the WGBH Science Unit.
In our article on Newton’s restaurant revival in the last issue (“Where to Eat, Now,” page 42), we did not mention some of Newton’s finest restaurants—or some of the best dives. One restaurant we said was closed (Prana Café) reopened and one we listed (C.Tsar’s) closed. In the article examining school crowding (“Why Is My Kid’s Classroom So Crowded,” page 56), we learned that the construction of new housing units was an even smaller factor than the article reckoned, as many of those new units were replacing existing ones.
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editor and publisher
production artist and designer
copy editor image specialist
John Sisson Robert F. Parsons Robert Parsons Design Betsy Blazar David Hill Adam DeTour Vivek Bajaj, Katherine Bowers, Alyssa Giacobbe, Doug Hardy, Stephanie Horst, Marni Elyse Katz, Robin Regensburg, Don Seiffert, Clara Silverstein, Tiffany Smith, Amy Wyeth Robert Boyd, Jared Charney, Christopher Churchill, Sadie Dayton, Adam DeTour, Conor Doherty, Kate Kelley, Keller + Keller, Joe McKendry, Dana Moscardelli, Mark Ostow, Bob Packert, Dana Smith, Anthony Tieuli, Carl Tremblay, Sharon White Newton Living is distributed to every business and residential address in the zip codes 02458, 02459, 02460, 02461, 02462, 02464, 02465, 02466, and 02468, and to thousands of addresses in 02467 (Chestnut Hill). For subscriptions outside of Newton, please send an email to email@example.com. If your business would like additional copies for customers, please call 617-340-3668. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Newton Living does not accept unsolicited editorial materials for publication and is not responsible for such submissions. events: news:
617-340-3668 firstname.lastname@example.org Newton Living P.O. Box 590718 Newton Centre, MA 02459 617-340-3668 617-299-3385 fax Newton Living is published bimonthly by Garden City Press LLC, P.O. Box 590718, Newton Centre, MA 02459, USA. Advertising rates available at newtonlivingmag.com. The editorial content of this magazine is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/. Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA. Member of Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce.
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THE NEWTON PARTNERSHIP
You May Just
1 steve brodner illustrator “welcome to the banking mecca of america,” p. 66
Steve Brodner (stevebrodner. com) is a humorous illustrator and political cartoonist whose works appear regularly in The New Yorker, Mother Jones, the Washington Post, and other publications. He also produces video animations on current affairs for the web and PBS’ Need to Know. For this assignment, Brodner drew on Edvard Munch’s iconic Scream to create the anxious figure overwhelmed by banks. 2 dana smith photographer “the host,” p. 52
Dana Smith (danasmithphoto graphy.com) is a widely published editorial photographer. His clients include Time, Newsweek, Stern, Fortune, the New York Times Magazine, and Boston magazine. Dana had a “radio-guys-never-look-like-youimagine” moment when meeting (and photographing) radio personality Tom Ashbrook. “His Jon Voight-ish good looks were a bit
of a surprise when I had always assumed he looked like Mayor Adam West of ‘Family Guy’. Once I saw it wasn’t the case, I had to stop and rethink the whole shoot.” 3 mark ostow photographer “influential women,” p. 42
Mark Ostow (ostow.com) shoots portraits for advertising and editorial. He has photographed Mitt Romney three times but says photographing this issue’s ten influential women was more important to him. “Never have I met so many crazy smart, beautiful, magnetic women,” he says. Mark’s clients include: the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, Boston magazine, Forbes, the American Prospect, and the Boston Globe Magazine. 4 katherine bowers Writer “influential women,” p. 42
Katherine Bowers is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in WWD, W, Women’s Health, Self,
Boston magazine, Whole Living, and many others. Although she recently interviewed Tom Brady for another publication, Kate was more star-struck by the chance to speak with Anita Diamant, a writer whose talents she’s long admired. “The energy these women have is impressive,” she says. “They are ‘and’ people—as in, they have pursued their own vision and talents, and have looked to improve the lives of others along the way.” 5 adam detour photographer “old and newton,” p. 70
Adam DeTour (adamdetour. com) grew up in Newton—New Hampshire—and has worked as a photographer in New York City and Boston. His clients include Improper Bostonian, Boston magazine, Northshore magazine, and the New York Times Magazine. Adam also works as a professional retoucher, ensuring the color in our publication renders true. Shooting “Old and Newton” in each issue, Adam says, is “like one giant puzzle that
10/30/11 7:58:17 PM
Choices without compromise… retirement living right in your own neighborhood 5
• Independent Living
• Assisted Living • Assisted Living for the Memory Impaired
Choose Local 9
Choose your own way of life
has to be put together. By adjusting distance, focal length, angle, and how I hold my arms, I get the image to fit as closely as I can.” 6 marni elyse katz writer home, p. 24
Marni Elyse Katz started out in the fashion closet of Rolling Stone, gave Heidi Klum her first cover at New Woman, and transitioned to online media when AOL still had channels. She contributes regularly to the Boston Globe Magazine and Design Milk, and writes her own blog, StyleCarrot.com. Katz, a holiday minimalist who appreciates that refusing to send holiday cards can be perceived as “green,” got a kick out of interviewing those with over-the-top holiday habits for “Lights Out.” 7 doug hardy writer “the host,” p. 52
Founder and principal of The Content Guild (thecontentguild.com),
Choose Beauty Choose Springhouse!
a writing and multimedia consulting firm, Doug Hardy has been a writer and editor for thirty years, directing book, magazine and Internet publishing at companies such as The New York Times Magazine Co., Random House, AT&T New Media, and Monster.com. Doug is the author/editor of eight books, and scores of articles and web pages. Interviewing Tom Ashbrook for this issue, and sitting in for a broadcast of On Point, reminds Doug that getting paid to indulge an insatiable curiosity is darn close to heaven on earth. 8 dana moscardelli stylist “the politics of style,” p. 56
Boston-native Dana Moscardelli has been working as a fashion stylist and fashion show producer for the past decade, dividing her time between Boston and New York City. Dana’s personal style of classic fashion has become her signature. Her clients include Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Nanette Lepore and Fashion Group International, L.L. Bean, Casual Male, Orvis,
Coca-Cola, and Garnet Hill, the Boston Globe, and Fashion Boston. About this shoot: “Photographer Bob Packert (below) captured the classic silhouettes of the wardrobe and melded well with the city hall location. It felt like we were stepping back in time and yet contemporary at the same time.” 9 bob packert photographer “the politics of style,” p. 56
Bob Packert (packertphotography. com) is a Boston-based photographer/director for stills and video who creates a special world for models and wardrobe to inhabit. Combining technical precision with serendipity his editorials have been featured in Time, Boston magazine, Improper Bostonian, Northshore magazine, the Boston Globe Magazine, and in international webzines including Spirited/ US, Complexd/China and Labb/UK. “A special part of the shoot for me was being able to play off of the architecture—and getting a sneak peek at the hidden stairway in the Mayor’s office,” he says.
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kitchen confidence Denise drower Swidey, culinary producer for wgbh’s Simply Ming. see “tv dinner,” next page.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
10/28/11 12:22:57 PM
Behind the scenes with food stylist Denise Drower Swidey. By Clara Silverstein
mixing it up Swidey hard at work in her home kitchen.
When chef Ming Tsai lifts a succulent piece of tea-smoked chicken from a wok, places it on a white plate, and garnishes it with mint leaves, thank Newton’s Denise Drower Swidey. As the culinary producer for the Simply Ming cooking show, Swidey has for nine seasons followed right behind the superstar chef as he cooks on camera. Hidden from the set by a sliding door with opaque panels, Swidey and her crew stand ready to rush steaming bowls of rice, grilled pizza crusts, or even toothpicks out to the set whenever Tsai yells, “Kitchen!” “One of the keys to my job is to be ready to go from zero to 60 miles an hour,” says Swidey, who lives with her husband and three children near Newton Centre. At a time when the public can’t seem to watch enough cooking shows, producers like Swidey play a hidden but essential role. They shop for and prep all the ingredients, and also
prepare camera-ready finished dishes. This frees the chef to pick up a bowl of chopped onions or a premeasured cup of olive oil, chatting all the while. The glamour goes to the chefs, but producers like Swidey thrive on the fast pace and the satisfaction of giving the food star billing, too. Cooking behind the scenes has also given the super-organized, energetic Swidey time to raise a family. Since she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1998, she has worked on Simply Ming and also tested recipes for the New York Times Magazine, taught cooking classes, run a cookie business, and developed healthy recipes for a cooking show for kids. The other challenge for Swidey in any culinary show is staying organized. She has to track down obscure ingredients, such as Thai bird’s-eye chili peppers and black sesame seeds. She also has to envision how food will look at different stages
On the Set at Simply Ming
WGBH Boston tapes episodes of Simply Ming in a special studio at the Clarke Luxury Appliance Showroom in Milford. The set’s green walls and bamboo garden look serene. In reality, the staff scrambles until the cameras begin to roll. Swidey’s level of planning goes far beyond making sure she has enough soy sauce on hand. The shelves behind the granite counter where Tsai cooks require tremendous organization. Kitchen tongs, trash, and towels always go in the same spot so “he doesn’t even have to look when he does something.” Paper towels are torn into individual sheets and stacked, ready for use. A few shelves are always kept empty so he can place hot pans right underneath and keep talking. Burn marks ming dynasty attest to their use. During “Cooking on the Fly!” episodes, Swidey sat with a laptop, typing swidey (behind tsai, center) so she could capture the recipes as the chef created them. She brought home some carawith the simply ming crew. mel sauce after one show to ensure the batch she made at home tasted like the real thing.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
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of preparation. “If we’re making a pie, we have to have several matches. One uncooked, one finished and cooled, and one extra just in case something happens,” she says. A dropped plate, a misplaced scoop of ice cream, or a too-gooey slice could require a retake. It’s also an unwritten rule never to eat the food before a shoot wraps, as it may be needed on camera again. Swidey decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America when she visited in her early teens. First, she earned a bache lor’s degree from Tufts University, where she met her husband. She began her television work in 1998 as an intern at the then-new Food Network, rotating between shows hosted by culinary stars including Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and Sara Moulton. Freelance work in Boston keeps her in contact with visiting chefs including Lidia Bastianich and Ruth Reichl. Despite perks like going out to dinner with Bobby Flay (she drove him back to his hotel in her minivan, pushing aside her daughter’s Barbie dolls to make room), Swidey likes to keep her job in perspective. “People think food arrives on the wings of magical fairies. Cooking looks so easy on TV. But a lot of cooking happens behind the scenes. There’s a huge schlep factor—the boxes, the crates. The glamour is in people’s heads,” she says.
Quick Bite: duck, duck, goose
The old English nursery rhyme “Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat” anticipates the roast goose served at many holiday tables. The tradition continues to this day. At John Dewar & Co. in Newton Centre, more geese and ducks are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas than at any other time of year, according to store manager Bill Rodden. Clerks help customers with selection (the average goose is 12 to 14 pounds; the average duck about 5 pounds) and give cooking tips. Rodden suggests blanching the goose first before oven roasting. A duck might be stuffed with an orange or an apple to add flavor. Call ahead for availability and prices, which might start around $4 per pound for a Long Island duck and $8 per pound for a goose. Complete your English-menu theme by making a steamed Christmas pudding for dessert. John Dewar & Co., 755 Beacon St., Newton Centre, 617-964-3577, johndewarinc.com. Clara Silverstein Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
10/28/11 12:23:53 PM
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped 2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste 12 oz. fresh cranberries 1/2 cup apple cider 2 tbsp. light brown sugar 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 5 oz. goat cheese, preferably from Vermont, crumbled Fresh-ground black pepper CRUST Place the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough-hook attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 15 minutes. The dough should be smooth, silky, and sticky and come cleanly off the sides of the bowl. Add a little olive oil to a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add the dough, toss to coat it with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 4 days. Before making the tart, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a well-floured counter. Dust the top with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours. TOPPINGS In
A Taste of Alsace Flaming Cake
Flammekueche, also called tarte flambée, comes from the Alsace region of France and is similar to pizza. A traditional recipe tops a thin crust with crème fraîche, crisp onions and bacon, and bakes it in the expiring coals of a wood-fired bread oven. Eunice Feller, chef/owner of Bread & Chocolate bakery café, gives the recipe a playful New England twist by using Vermont goat cheese and cranberries along with bacon and leeks. Cut into bite-sized squares, the tart’s crisp crust and slightly sweet and savory toppings make a memorable
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
holiday appetizer. “It has big, bold flavors and lots of color,” says Eunice, who owns the café with her husband, Steve. She has served the flammekueche to guests in their home. CRUST
2 3/4 1/4 1 2 1
cups all-purpose flour or bread flour cup water cup olive oil tbsp. sugar tsp. kosher salt tsp. instant yeast Olive oil, as needed
4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into half-inch pieces 1 medium leek, the white and pale green part only, sliced thin
a skillet, sauté the bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove from pan with slotted spoon. Set aside on paper towels. Place the leek and thyme in the skillet and sauté over medium-low heat until soft. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside. Place the cranberries, cider, sugar, nutmeg, and remaining teaspoon of salt into a sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the cranberries burst. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
ASSEMBLY After the dough has rested, place a
pizza stone or tile (see note) onto the bottom of a cold oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle flour on a pizza peel (see note) and place the dough in the middle. Stretch it into a rectangle approximately 12 by 18 inches. Brush the entire surface with olive oil, paying special attention to the edges. Spread the cranberry mixture within 3/4 inch of the edge of the dough. Arrange the reserved leeks and bacon evenly over the top. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Slide the tart onto the stone and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove tart from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with pepper. Cut into bite-sized pieces and enjoy! Note: If you don’t have a pizza stone and a peel, turn a heavy-duty baking sheet upsidedown, sprinkle flour on the surface, and place the dough in the middle. Stretch it into a rectangle, and proceed with the toppings. When ready to bake, slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake as directed.
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Beyond the Whiskey Sour
Move over vodka. Three Newton bartenders offer rye whiskey recipes to lift our holiday spirits. By Vivek Bajaj
For too long, rye whiskey has been left out in the cold. As winter arrives, our palates yearn for warmer, fuller flavors, and rye whiskey cocktails are a great complement to the richer foods of winter. Distilled from a mash of at least 51 percent rye, this whiskey is often lighter and less sweet than bourbon—and spicier, with unusual peppery undertones and complex, mildly bitter ones. For those new to rye, a light and very reasonably priced brand is Old Overholt. Others include Jim Beam, Rittenhouse, Michter’s, Wild Turkey,
Claiborne Avenue from Ethan Armstrong, bar manager at the Deluxe Station Diner, 70 Union St., Newton Centre, 617-244-2550, deluxestationdiner.com.
2 oz. rye / 1/2 oz. Bénédictine / 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Drop a sugar cube in a mixing glass and add a dash of Peychaud’s bitters and a dash of Angostura bitters. Crush the bitters into the sugar with a muddler. Add ingredients. Fill the glass with ice and stir. Strain the drink into a chilled double oldfashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
Gramercy Park From Benjamin Brenner, “bar chef” at 51 Lincoln, 51 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-965-3100, 51lincolnnewton.com.
2 oz. Old Overholt rye whiskey / 1 oz. green Chartreuse / juice from 1/2 orange / 1 tsp. brown sugar
Stir well and serve straight up or on the rocks.
and quite a few artisan options that are more expensive.Local bartenders are using rye in very creative ways, often reinterpreting longforgotten classic cocktails by adding modern touches. Their results are outstanding. Rye is wonderfully versatile and mixes well with a variety of fruit juices and liqueurs. For those new to rye whiskey, they are the perfect introduction to this quintessential American spirit.
Blinker From Leo Neves, bartender at the Met Bar, 1210 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-731-0600, metclubandbar.com.
2 oz. rye / 2 oz. pink-grapefruit juice / 1/2 oz. raspberry syrup (made from equal parts simple syrup and well-smashed raspberries, then strained through fine mesh sieve to eliminate seeds)
Shake well, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with wedge of pink grapefruit.
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nail safe miniluxe at hancock village.
New beauty destinations around town. Skin Innovations
Newton Highlands’ Skin Innovations, now in an airy new space, specializes in lash extensions, waxing, makeup application, and eyebrow threading, as well as ecofriendly products from brands like Pevonia and Jane Iredale. 1149 Walnut St., 617-3327546, skininnovations.com. Kiehl’s since 1851
The obsessed-over retailer brings its nofuss hair, makeup, and skin-care offerings for men and women to a bright new shop at The Mall at Chestnut Hill. 199 Boylston St., 617-244-4158, kiehls.com. MiniLuxe at Hancock Village
The local mini-chain introduces its Dr. Oz–endorsed nail care—ultraclean manicures and pedicures along with a well-stocked apothecary of brands like LaLicious, Hanky Panky, and St. Tropez— to Chestnut Hill’s Hancock Village. 639 VFW Pkwy., 617-327-1777, miniluxe.com. Alyssa Giacobbe
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
A revolutionary semipermanent mascara treatment promises thick, velvety, fuss-free lashes. By Alyssa Giacobbe
Between the cutting, coloring, waxing, plucking, lasering, polishing, tanning, and bleaching, I have, I admit, been suckered into just about every beauty regimen known to womankind. And though I’ve tried, DIY beauty doesn’t suit me: A shortlived experiment in self-shaping my brows taught me that some things are better left to the professionals. So when I first heard about Lash
Dip, a new semipermanent gel-like coating “painted” onto the lashes, eliminating the need to apply mascara for up to six weeks, I wondered: Could I really be that lazy? But, then, Lash Dip’s Chicago-based creators didn’t develop the technology with only convenience in mind. Ten times darker than traditional mascara, Lash Dip is rich and glamorous, yet hypoallergenic, formaldehyde-free,
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simple yet stylish
timeless f l at t e r i n g
the lash life opposite page, lash l’amour owner cynthia tsang applies lash dip to a client. this page, some of the spa’s other lash offerings.
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and safe for contact lens wearers. And it won’t run or flake through water, sweat, tears, or steam, enduring even the most vigorous face washing or hot yoga class. It’s like mascara Valhalla. Cynthia Tsang, owner of Newton Centre lash spa Lash L’Amour, has been offering Lash Dip since the summer. Though most of her clients come for lash extensions, Tsang says that many have begun to opt for Lash Dip, which does not use glue, making the service gentler to lashes and less irritating to sensitive eyes. In Lash L’Amour’s comfortable, airy space, I lie on a cushy massage bed as Tsang cleans my lashes, gently curls them, and paints each lash individually with the pigment. Tsang offers anywhere from one to three coats, depending on your desired effect, on both top and bottom lashes. I opt for two coats (a look that’s somewhere north of natural) and top lashes only. The process is painless— and actually incredibly efficient, as I’m simultaneously given a manicure: Lash
L’Amour offers nail services and foot massage as add-ons to any lash service. An hour later, I’ve got lashes coated in what appear to be two perfectly black, clump-free swipes of mascara. I’m sent away with a tube of clear brush-on shellac meant to help prolong the effect and instructions not to take a steamy-hot shower for two days (warm is fine) or use oil-based makeup remover. At $250 for application to both upper and lower lashes, Lash Dip is certainly pricier than a tube or two of even your fanciest mascara, but with regular touch-ups (which cost extra), Tsang says that your dip can last up to six months. And so, while I can still bring myself to apply mascara for the everyday trip to the post office or dinner date (I suppose), for special events and seaside vacations, my eyes are, well, open to the possibilities. Lash L’Amour, 55 Langley Rd., Newton Centre, 617-9161209, lashlamour.com.
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BRIGHTEN GRAY WINTER DAYS WITH THE LIPCOLOR OF THE SEASON. 1. Rebel by Your Name, $17, Salon Capri, 31 Lincoln St., 617-969-1970, saloncapri.com. 2. NImpulse by Natural Sense, $15, Natural Sense, 326 Walnut St., 617-969-9510. 3. Bali by Glosheer, $18, BeautyWay, 833 Beacon St., 617-527-7172, beautywaycosmetics.com. 4. Flirt by Natural Sense, $15, Natural Sense. 5. Vixen by Glolip, $18, Beauty-Way. 6. Siren by Smashbox, $18, Beauty-Way. 7. Sugar Shag by Sresh, $18, Salon Capri. DANA MOSCARDELLI
NEWTON LIVING DEC 2011/JAN 2012
10/28/11 12:27:04 PM
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10/28/11 7:28:48 PM
Finding order in holiday abundance requires more than a trip to the Container Store. By Marni Elyse Katz Life is chaotic. And then the holidays arrive. While some scrape by grabbing dusty bottles of wine as hostess gifts, paying tweens to use less-than-perfect penmanship addressing envelopes, and marveling that the lights adorning every overgrown bush haven’t blown the neighborhood power grid, others revel in the season. To say the least. Ali Brown, junior interior designer at Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors, is one
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
such gal. She adores every aspect of the holidays, especially the accoutrements: “I love Christmas and the day after, when you can buy all the decorations at 50 percent off.” Brown, who claims she acquired her mother’s predilections, owns three sets of Christmas dishes, red seeded glasses, a cupboard of Christmas mugs, a Christmas apron (“not tacky, from Williams-Sonoma”), vintage ornaments rescued from her grand-
parents’ attic, and more than enough of her own to decorate two full-size trees, plus the mini one in the bedroom. When she and her husband have children, she says the collection will expand along with her family. The explanation is simple: “Christmas totally makes me happy.” Designer and Space to Grace blogger Elizabeth Benedict gets it. With four young children, a dog, and a husband, Christmastime is a whirlwind. But rather than succumb to the swirl, Benedict decorates. In her Chestnut Hill home one will find fingertip towels with holiday motifs, Christmasthemed needlepoint pillows, Byers’
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Choice Carolers, garlands of fresh greens, and a global ornament collection that includes Chinese deities dressed up as Santa. That’s just for Christmas. Benedict has decorations for half a dozen other holidays. When she starts talking holiday clothing (beautiful smocked dresses for the girls), we can’t help but inquire about the iconic ugly Christmas sweater. “We’re not holiday-sweater people. But my father had a tie for every holiday. I think it was the only fun he ever had with clothing.” So, the apple, er, ornament, doesn’t fall far from the tree. Thankfully, when it comes time to sweep up, parents provide more than just baggage. Brown learned from her mother to pack and unpack by room. She says, “I undid everything at once the first year. It was a disaster.” The key is to only bring out boxes for one room at a time and to get everything in place before venturing back for more. Auburndale’s MJ Rosenthal of An Organized Life recommends setting up storage space as though it’s a kindergarten classroom. For instance, store Hanukkah paraphernalia in blue bins, and use clear packing tape to affix an image of a menorah, along with the name of the holiday printed in a large, easy-to-read font. Benedict follows this edict, storing her cache in pretty, holiday-themed paper-covered boxes from the Container Store. Christmas boxes have pictures of Santa, Halloween ones have pumpkins, and so on. To reign in consumption, Newton interior designer Elissa Fenster advises picking a single item to collect. Her client Maura Horton does just this, collecting only Steinbach nutcrackers, though at this point she has over one hundred. Horton might consider following Watertown-based designer Urit Chaimovitz’s ruthless advice: “When you reach capacity, something must go before anything else comes in; no exceptions.”
trading spaces. New lighting fixtures, window treatments, and storage make older spaces more livable.
this old house
dealing with five common design challenges in older homes.
Most households in Newton are in buildings more than 50 years old—76% of housing units, says census data—meaning many of us live in spaces designed for lifestyles of a different era. Two local designers, Jill Litner Kaplan of Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors and Vicki Baker of Su Casa Designs, offer some simple solutions to make older living spaces fit today’s needs. By tiffany smith 1. Lack of storage. Seek creative storage options with small footprints, or find unused square footage. Add shelves to knee walls in upper floors or attics, hide storage in window seats, or tuck cabinets in unused corners. 2. Drafty air. New energyefficient windows too expensive? Work with what you have. Use blinds or shades with a thick lining, or bring in floor-length curtains with
an insulated interlining layer to help block out drafts. 3. Low lights. Many people inherit old light fixtures that are original to a house. They may be charming, but they often offer little light. Replace them with larger, higher-wattage fixtures to add drama and personality. 4. Out-of-place fireplace. Older homes frequently have fireplaces in odd corners or at unusual angles. To maximize
Karen Kramer of Newton professional-organizer firm Space to Breathe reminds us to bring our own bags to the mall, cancel catalogs at CatalogChoice.org, and consider presents that don’t make waste, like sports tickets, museum memberships, and iTunes gift cards. As for the stack of holiday cards waiting to be addressed, Sharon Gavani Reilly offers an alternative
the room’s usable space, either ignore the fireplace or make two seating areas, one in front of the hearth with smaller chairs or a bench. 5. Barren bookcases. With the advent of digital books, some homeowners are paring down or even tossing book collections. Fill those empty shelves with accessories that tell a story, such as a child’s artwork or colorful corals from a vacation.
that saves time and resources. Her company Cool Dog Productions produces video “cards” that families can share via email, or on Facebook or YouTube. She came up with the idea after sending out traditional birth announcements for her first child, realizing they would just be thrown away. For her second and third she sent a video announcement. No paper, no ink, no gas; nothing but a click. Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
10/28/11 12:28:05 PM
lions, and tigers, and art, oh my roberta paul in her newtonville studio.
Local artist Roberta Paul captures the urban jungle. By Tiffany smith The cheetah looks down at you with a quirky Mona Lisa smirk, like he knows a secret. Or maybe he just wants to eat you for lunch. The presiding image in Newton artist Roberta Paul’s new collection is eight feet high, created with black gouache and colored pencil on stark white paper. But Paul promises he won’t eat you . . . probably. In 2007, Paul went on an African safari and the animals there mesmerized her. So, in typical artist fashion, she began to sketch. “Other people were snapping photos and there I was making small, quick line drawings,” she laughs. Once, watching a cheetah sprint across the border from Tanzania into Kenya, a country off-limits to her group, Paul started to think about borders and boundaries, and what they mean for animals and people.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
The result of these musings and spontaneous sketches is Move Me, a collection of large-scale paintings of the creatures Paul encountered, from elephants to wildebeests. The menagerie will be exhibited at the Cambridge Arts Council in April. But she intends her work, like the cheetah, to cross borders. Because she remained fixated on ideas of borders and migration, Paul developed a pop art performance piece to transcend the canvases. In conjunction with the exhibit, vehicles will be shrink-wrapped with images of her paintings and sent out on a twoto-three week literal animal migration around Greater Boston. “The idea is to have the animals actually roaming through the streets and let people think about what migration really
means,” says Paul. The exhibition will be complemented by academic panels on concepts of migration and records of people’s migration stories. Paul’s own migration tale is no less dynamic. Originally from South Fallsburg, New York, she attended Skidmore College and received her M.B.A. from the University of North Dakota, before settling in Newton. She and her husband live in the Claflin School Studios, a former Newtonville elementary school remodeled into dream homes for artists, where Paul boasts an airy studio and a loftlike apartment. She began her career showing at such local venues as the Allston Skirt Gallery, DeCordova Museum, and Brandeis University. She also teaches art classes at West Newton’s Clearway School and Newtonville’s New Art Center. Paul credits the latter with truly introducing her work to the public. “They gave me my very first
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New Art Center in Newton the listings
not-to-be-missed december and january events.
Art ClAsses for
Adults, Teens & Children
New Art Center Faculty Show & Sale.
Works include paintings, ceramics, fused glass, and jewelry. The event runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 3, at the New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville, 617-9643424, newartcenter.org. Free.
Over 100 Art Classes per Week! Summer & Vacation Art Programs
Christmas on the Heights. Boston College chorale and symphony groups perform traditional carols, with excerpts from Messiah and Nutcracker. Performances at 8 p.m., Dec. 2 and 3, and at 2 p.m., Dec. 4, at Trinity Chapel, 885 Centre St., Newton Centre. Tickets $10, 617-552-4800, bc.edu/offices/robsham. Winter Concert. Newton’s Highland Glee Club performs its annual winter concert and sing-along at 3 p.m., Dec. 4, at First Baptist Church, 858 Great Plain Ave., Needham. Tickets $15, highlandgleeclub.com. Open Sing. Zamir Chorale of Boston hosts its sixth annual singing of choruses from Handel’s dramatic oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus. Performing 4–6 pm, Dec. 4, at Congregation Mishkan Tefila, 300 Hammond Pond Parkway, Chestnut Hill. Tickets $8–10 at the door, 617-244-6333, zamir.org.
Art Exhibitions & Events Special Event Rentals Art Birthday Parties 61 Washington Park, Newtonville, MA 02460
Gloria: a Renaissance Christmas Pagaent.
Boston’s Cappella Clausura performs its annual Christmas pageant: music, dance, costumes, and giant puppets. Performances at 7 p.m., Dec. 17, Parish of the Messiah, 1900 Commonwealth Ave., Auburndale; and at 5 p.m., Dec. 18, First Unitarian Church, 1326 Washington St., West Newton. Tickets $15–25, 617-964-6609, clausura.tix.com.
show and helped launch my career,” she says. “It has been a very important place for me and for the community.” As a conceptual artist, Paul’s evocative portfolio has examined and consistently returned to themes like time, beauty, loss, and grief. She has worked with varied ideas and mediums, but, as she says, “I started my career doing line drawings of people that were 20 inches by 30 inches and I find myself 30 years later doing line drawings that are eight feet tall.” Even migrations have a way of moving full circle. robertapaul.com, watch-me-move.com.
ROCK OUT Really. We want you to. During Open Studio Time in our brand new Music/Recording Studio. Monday-Friday 3-6pm For more information or to schedule private music lessons, please call Zan LaMothe at 617-244-6050 x3006.
WEST SUBURBAN YMCA
276 Church Street, Newton, MA 02458, 617-244-6050 www.westsuburbanymca.org l ZanL@westsuburbanymca.org
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28 NLDJ12_VSports.indd 28
10/28/11 12:30:21 PM
That’s a Stretch
Tai chi class keeps seniors reaching out. By Robin Regensburg
Every Tuesday and Thursday, men and women meet at the Newton Senior Center to stretch. At this hour-long, drop-in tai chi class, they gently move through forms with names like Wave Hands in Clouds and White Crane Spreads Its Wings. Most of the 20 to 30 seniors in the spacious room are there because a doctor recommended tai chi to improve balance, which helps reduce falls, or for another health condition. “It’s beneficial for seniors because they need the flexibility and the focus,” says instructor, Aaron Crawford, who’s taught tai chi for more than 15 years. “I love hearing that an ailment has improved or that they’re feeling happier.” Sally Goodman, age 72, started taking tai chi at the Senior Center two years ago to improve her balance. Bob DeSimone, a 74-year-old Newton resident, became a regular when his physical therapist told him tai chi would be good exercise for his sore chest-wall muscles. Martha Hoffheimer, age 72, who used to live in Newton, returns each week to help manage a chronic condition that’s weakened her legs. Program director Joanne Fisher said that in addition to a grant from Newton–Wellesley Hospital, the suggested donation of $3 per class for those who can pay it has, along with another grant, has kept classes running for three years. Many enjoy the exercise and the ambiance. Tai chi can be beneficial and fun. Like other forms of exercise, the more people like it, the more they stick with it—and the greater the benefits. Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut St., 617-796-1660, newtonseniors.org.
Inspiration from Italy. Hospitality from the Heart.
617-969-9990 187 North Street Newtonville MA 02460 fiorellasnewton.com Please visit our Fiorella’s Express locations BELMONT 263 Belmont St. 617-489-1361 BRIGHTON 2 Tremont St. 617-783-0999
seniors rule! Oletta S. Atkins, Ben Caira, Aaron Crawford, Robert A. DeSimone, and Katija Shah.
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port authority this page, left to right, tug boats in portsmouth harbor; Popovers on the square; cava tapas and wine bar; and the friendly toast.
An Afternoon in Portsmouth
Just an hour north of Newton, this coastal town offers history, great eats, and plenty of fun. By Alyssa Giacobbe
Portsmouth’s Market Square might be as modern as it gets—yes, there’s a Starbucks—but reminders of the city’s rich seafaring history remain. Take in lunch at Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café (150 Congress St., 603-766-3474, jumpin jays.com), which serves up some of the freshest catch in town. Or put your name in for a seat at popular ’50s-style diner The Friendly Toast (113 Congress St., 610-430-2154, thefriendlytoast. net), where pancakes, burgers, and the occasional salad are served up morning till evening (and 24 hours a day on the weekends) in a retrofitted junk collector’s dream house.
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
Grab a coffee to go at Popovers on the Square (8 Congress St., 603-431-1119, popoversonthesquare.com) and stroll Market Street. For cooks and oenophiles, gourmet shop Attrezzi (78 Market St., 603-427-1667, attrezzinh. com) features creative glassware, kitchen accessories, and rare and local vintages; City and Country (50 Daniel St., 603-433-5353) deals in the well-stocked bathroom. The upscale women’s clothing at Bliss (85 Market St., 603-431-8285, blissboutiques. com) includes Chan Luu, Steven Alan, and J Brand and is conven-iently next door to Macro Polo, Macroscopic,
and Macro Unleashed (83–89 Market St., 603-436-8338, macropolo.com), where cheeky gifts, home goods, and pet accessories (respectively) will keep the men and children entertained. A few blocks over, the indie River Run Bookstore (20 Congress St., 603-431-2100, riverrunbookstore. com) has a vast selection of new releases, a worthy $2 bargain bin, and a stellar Signed First Edition club (find Lorrie Moore and Stephen King), while Bull Moose hosts regular livemusic events alongside its impressive collection of new and used CDs and DVDs (82 Congress St., 603-4229525, bullmoose.com).
10/28/11 4:33:01 PM
PETER SACHS ARCHITECT A.I.A. Recipient of the 2010 Newton Historic Preservation Award
20 Hunter Street, Newton 617-527-5777 email@example.com www.petersachsarchitect.com bright lights, small city this page, clockwise from top left, the red door; portsmouth brewery; bliss; market street at night; macro polo; and river run bookstore.
Visit the state’s first brewpub, the Portsmouth Brewery (56 Market St., 603431-1115, portsmouthbrewery.com), for seasonal brews handcrafted in-house and afternoon bar snacks aplenty. For art lovers, Art ’Round Town hosts wine, cheese, and new exhibits at area galleries on the first Friday evening of every month (artroundtown.org).
Having too much fun? Check yourself into the airy Ale House Inn (121 Bow St., 603-431-7760, alehouseinn.com), a former brewery in the heart of Market Square, and keep the party going.
Stop in to Cava Tapas and Wine Bar (10 Commercial Alley, 603-319-1575, cavatapasandwinebar.com) before dinner at 106 Kitchen (106 Penhallow St., 603-319-8178, 106kitchen.com), a New Orleans–inspired bistro serving up mussel and lobster gumbo, crispy oysters, and an already-legendary burger. Cap off the evening with live jazz, Latin, and blues at the always-hopping Press Room (77 Daniel St., 603-431-5186, pressroomnh.com) or unmarked speakeasy The Red Door (107 State St., 603373-6827, reddoorportsmouth.com). You may never think of Portsmouth as just a pit stop between Massachusetts and Maine again.
Award Winning Interior Design
29 Ellis Rd, West Newton, MA
Phone: 617. 527.3433 www.shulmaninteriors.com
10/28/11 4:33:20 PM
by the numbers
Households in the world that own a Swiffer
1,243 550 Followers @_Continuum
Number of clinicians, hospital administrators, architects, and designers interviewed for research in designing Compass, the hospital room of the future, with Herman Miller
Continuum offices worldwide
Full-time employees in West Newton, including ethnographers, designers, professors, researchers, strategists, anthropologists and engineers
Years since Continuum was founded
Awards given to Continuum in 2011 for design excellence
The only place where you can find an office with a wet lab, hospital room, tricked out model shop, and hotel lobby
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
creative thinker President and chief design officer Gianfranco Zaccai stands in his West Newton office.
Design consultancy Continuum calls West Newton home. By Stephanie Horst West Newton–based design consultancy Continuum, whose product innovations include the Swiffer cleaning system for Procter & Gamble and the Reebok Pump basketball shoe, established its corporate headquarters along Washington Street in a three-story brick warehouse—formerly Mayflower Furniture—15 years ago. Now, with offices in Seoul, Shanghai, Milan, and Los Angeles, the awardwinning firm has clients around the globe and is one of the leading design and innovation consultancies in the world. On a recent afternoon, Continuum’s lobby, an open loft space with clean architectural angles, stainless steel fixtures, and crisp white walls, is buzzing with midday activity. Casually clad employees stride into a nearby conference room or pass through on their way to the
company lunchroom, an area adjacent to the first-floor workstations and desks. There are no cubicles or corner offices here, just long communal tables. Sitting in a minimalist armchair in the midst of the lobby’s bustle, president and chief design officer Gianfranco Zaccai, who founded Continuum out of his Boston waterfront apartment in 1983, says he wanted to create a company that integrated a variety of people with different skill sets—engineers, physicists, sculptors, designers—on a level playing field. “We named it Continuum because we had this notion of design being a continuum between different disciplines, and that what we needed was to create an office that wasn’t about us, but that was about this integration of different skills,” says Zaccai.
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The decision to base the company in West Newton also stems from the concept of wanting to create continuity through design, the design of the town in this case. “We started looking for a place that would be convenient for people outside Boston, or outside the 128 area, as well as people that live in the city,” says Zaccai. “And this was a great choice because in the morning, traffic coming in gets really heavy from here going forward, but you can get to this point very easily.” For Zaccai, considering a situation from the perspective of others is second nature, a skill exercised on a daily basis when determining stakeholders’ needs. “I think the way you develop empathy is by being in someone else’s shoes,” says Zaccai. “And the best way to be in someone else’s shoes is to enter the domain of what their life is really like.” Researchers at the company often become part of the experience, as was the case with Compass, a modular wallmounted furniture system designed for hospital rooms. Zaccai says the team members working on the project spent a lot of time in hospitals, some as patients, some as observers, and asked questions: What’s going on here? Why are things being done this way? When conducting research for the OmniPod, a wireless insulin pump that attaches to the body, Zaccai and his team realized that Type 1 diabetics are often children who, it was discovered, don’t want to wear a bulky insulin pump because other kids will make fun of them. “The best design there, from an aesthetic standpoint, is no design,” he says of the OmniPod. “And by no design I don’t mean something that’s crude, but something that disappears as opposed to something that makes a statement.” Although the company increasingly works on technology-based projects, Zaccai is quick to point out that the same rigorous research methods apply. “It’s really still about human-centered design,” he says.
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10/31/11 7:19:50 PM
Hot Chocolate Although it sells confections galore, this local firm is not a neighborhood candy store. BY CLARA SILVERSTEIN
When Andrew Miller purchased the domain name chocolate.com, he knew what he would be selling but needed time to figure out the details. In 2009, he and co-founder Mark McInnis began contacting independent chocolatiers to market and ship their products through the site. The business has since grown into one of the largest online chocolate marketplaces in the United States, with more than 9,500 products for sale. That’s a lot of truffles, brownies, and chocolate-covered popcorn. From his desk in the company’s Needham Street headquarters, Miller estimates that business grows by approximately 50 percent per year. “Our goal is to be the FTD of chocolate,” says McInnis. The web site helps customers find suppliers near their delivery destination. The faster chocolate can be delivered, the less chance there is for it to melt. Miller says the popularity of chocolate is “exploding” as discerning customers want more than a candy bar from their corner convenience store. Chocolate.com puts artisanal products within easy reach of anyone with an internet connection. Whether you search by candy type (such as truffles) or zip code, results show an array of products worthy of Willy Wonka. “The chocolatiers we work with are like artists,” says McInnis. “Some of them don’t have time to get to the computer. Some have chocolate on their hands as they type. We try to make it as easy as we can for them to ship their products.” The December holidays bring a
NEWTON LIVING DEC 2011/JAN 2012
CHOCOLATE KING CHOCOLATE.COM CO-FOUNDER ANDREW MILLER.
flurry of orders for cake pops, the “hot item right now,” says McInnis, as well as advent calendars and the perennially popular chocolate assortments. Novelties, such as a white chocolate snowman or candy cane truffles, also sell well. Last December, Chocolate.com shipped approximately 8,000 orders to U.S. destinations. In the future, the network may expand internationally. Since most orders go straight from chocolate shop to customer, the Chocolate.com office looks more business than food-oriented. McInnis does order samples that will be sold through the site, but admits, “Most get consumed very quickly.” Chocolate.com also shares office space with other ventures. Miller is
the founder and managing partner of several digital businesses through ATM Holdings, Inc., including Football Nation, a multi-media platform for football fans; Emotions.com, an anonymous “Twitter-esque” self-help platform; SimpleDomains.com; and InternetRealEstate.com. Though Miller’s work frequently takes him out of the office, he maintains strong ties to Newton, where he lives with his wife and two children, ages 6 and 10. He has coached and served on the board of Newton Central Little League, and also coaches basketball in Newton. Between appointments and games, Miller sneaks in a piece or two of fudge or a chocolate mint – all in the name of business. Chocolate.com, 800-396-8137, chocolate.com.
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NEW LOCATION! 64 Needham Street, Newton, MA
Stephen Lazarou, MD www.drlazarou.com
Mini Major & Carol Ann Shea 617-877-4083 | 617-571-2942 CarolAnn.Shea@commonmoves.com Mini.Major@commonmoves.com
Specializing in the treatment of men with low testosterone, sexual dysfunction, and infertility. Dr. Stephen Lazarou is a board-certified urologist affiliated with:
GAMING THE SYSTEM
> Newton-Wellesley Hospital > Beth Israel Deaconess > Harvard Vanguard
IN A WORLD OF DIGITAL GAMES, BOARD GAME AND PUZZLE MAKER CEACO/GAMEWRIGHT QUIETLY PROSPERS IN NONANTUM.
Jason Schneider is looking for games that bring families together. As director of product development for Nonantum-based game and puzzle company Ceaco and its subsidiary, Gamewright, Schneider sees as many as five hundred proposals for new board and card games every year. A lot of them are of the rolla-die, move-a-piece variety. “They’re the games that put the word ‘bored’ in board games,” he said. But every year 8 to 10 get picked up to join the ranks of the 70-odd games the company now produces, including “Rory’s Story Cubes,” the number-one selling game on Amazon.com this past fall. Schneider says he looks for games that engage players of all ages, but in which “a parent doesn’t have to cheat to lose.” The company’s Newton roots go back to 1994, when four Garden City parents started Gamewright, which was bought in 1999 by Ceaco, then a Watertown-based puzzle company. Five years ago, the whole 25-employee business moved into offices on Bridge Street. In addition to games, Ceaco makes about three hundred puzzles, ranging from 35 to 1,500 pieces, with products sold in stores across the country. As they plan to celebrate their 25th anniversary next year, Schneider says they’re “a quiet giant, but we’ve got one of the biggest market shares in the country.” Schneider says that people often tell him he must be a masochist for working in a board game company in a digital age. Computer games have taken most of the market share in games, he admits, but Ceaco still creates games that bring people and families together in ways that computer games can’t. “Despite all the hurdles of being in a nondigital world... families still come to us for games that can get them to face each other and laugh,” he said. “You can’t get that the same way with computer games.” DON SEIFFERT
One Washington Street, Suite 206 Wellesley Hills, MA 02481 For Appointments: 781–237–9000
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10/28/11 3:29:02 PM
STANDING TALL THE NEWTON PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR SUSAN LINN PHOTOGRAPHED OUTSIDE ITS NEW OFFICES.
BY THE NUMBERS
2008 YEAR THE CITY GOT THE SAFE SCHOOL/HEALTHY CHILDREN GRANT
PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WHO MEET CRITERIA FOR LOWINCOME STATUS
PERCENTAGE OF NPS STUDENTS WHO GET A FREE OR SUBSIDIZED LUNCH
At-Risk in the Garden City?
As funding to prevent violence and substance abuse declines, partnership works to become self-sustaining. BY DON SEIFFERT
The Newton Partnership isn’t just another group on the long list of the city’s nonprofits, says director Susan Linn: “Our goal is not to take another slice of an ever-shrinking pie, but to help grow the pie.” Established in 2008 with $6 million federal Safe School/Healthy Children grant, the 12-employee organization is now in the process downsizing and incorporating—aiming to become fully self-sufficient. Known for sponsoring the popular Toucha-Truck Day each September, the partnership helps coordinate fundraising between 16 nonprofits and government agencies, ranging from the Newton Public Schools to the West Suburban YMCA. The goal: to help “at-risk” kids—though Linn admits she doesn’t much
NEWTON LIVING DEC 2011/JAN 2012
like that term. “In my definition, pretty much all kids are at-risk,” she says. “It’s the ones who are disconnected from adults and others that are truly in need of intervention.” Despite the city’s affluent reputation, Linn says, there’s a significant amount of need in Newton. Drugs and alcohol are just part of it. “These kids are not immune to problems. You look at communities like Columbine, South Hadley, Wayland… those communities are not even low-income centers. They are just like us.” The partnership recently received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education and is moving into fundraising mode as its employees get settled in new office space on Dudley Road.
PERCENTAGE OF NEWTON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO SAY THEIR LIVES ARE STRESSFUL
250 5,000 94
KIDS THAT HAVE BEEN MENTORED SINCE 2008
VISITORS AT THE RECENT TOUCH-A-TRUCK EVENT
PERCENTAGE OF PARENTS RECEIVING PARENT EDUCATION THROUGH THE NEWTON PARTNERSHIP WHO REPORT AN INCREASED ABILITY TO SUPPORT THEIR SCHOOLCHILDREN WITH REGARD TO ANGER MANAGEMENT, AGGRESSION, OR VIOLENCE
PEOPLE WHO “LIKE” THE NEWTON PARTNERSHIP ON FACEBOOK
10/28/11 2:04:43 PM
Events DECEMBER Museum Shop Holiday Sale. Throughout the entire month. 3-4
Newton Community Weekend. Newton residents enjoy free admission. Noon-5pm.
Newton Salutes! Exhibit Opening: League of Women Voters Newton: 1936-2011: 75 Years of Making Democracy Work. 4pm-6pm.
Map Night with GIS Mapping. 7:30pm.
25-26 Museum Closed for the Holiday. 27
Stories in the Snow: A Vacation Week Family Program. 2pm (registration required).
Candles Are Wick-ed Cool: A Vacation Week Family Program. 2pm (registration required).
Jackson Homestead and Museum | 527 Washington Street | (617) 796-1450 | historicnewton.org
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Preservation efforts ensure the future of Newton’s community spaces and resources. The state’s Community Preservation Act (CPA), adopted locally 10 years ago, has enabled Newton to open new parks, renovate historic sites, create digital access to centuries of informatoin, build affordable homes, and even grow some local produce. The effort to bring the CPA to Newton began with the Newton Conservators, according to Alderman-at-large Deborah Crossley, who campaigned for it. The group was soon joined by other civic organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the Newton Historical Commission, and Uniting Citizen’s for Affordable Housing in Newton.
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By using funds raised through the act’s 1% surcharge on local property tax, combined with matching state funds and private donations, the city has been able to seize opportunities that might have otherwise been lost, such as purchasing and refurbishing Angino Farm in South Newton, which operates today as Newton Community Farm. However, the state’s CPA match funds have diminished in recent years. Ten years ago, the state matched 100% of funds raised in Newton, but today the state match is around 25%. Today, the local fund contains about $4 million this year. With the changing times, Newton’s Community Preservation Committee has altered its approach to funding and is looking to hold some funds in reserve, according to Chairwoman Leslie Burg. “If there’s an opportunity for the city to acquire open space or affordable housing,” two of the most expensive propositions, “we would like to be able to fund that,” she said. The city’s next large preservation project will likely be the 1732 Durant-Kenrick house on Waverly Street, which Historic Newton plans to open as its second house museum. According to director Cindy Stone, around $1.8 million in matching private funds have already been raised toward the estimated $2.7million investment. Specific CPA projects have benefited individual neighborhoods, while others have a larger reach, such as the digitization of city archives. Still, some CPA projects have met with criticism. After CPA funds were used in several park refurbishment projects, a group of Newton citizens sued to prevent another, arguing that the fund was not intended to be used to make up for the city’s neglect of park and playground maintenance. They won. Now Newton’s fund—and all CPA funds in the state—cannot be used for maintenance or restoration of parks, open spaces, or housing, unless they were acquired with CPA money. Each request for community preservation funds is vetted by a local committee of community members from interest groups advocating parks, open space, historic preservation and housing. Says Crossley: Their discussion about city priorities has been one of the best results of the fund’s creation.
preservation society local community preservation committee chair leslie burg.
The citizens of Newton voted to adopt the state Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2001, enabling a 1% local surcharge on property tax. Funds raised can only be used to acquire, create, and preserve community housing, historical resources, open space, and recreational land. In Newton, the most visible projects are probably Angino Farm, the Durant-Kenrick House, and the expanded park land near Crystal Lake’s bath house. But the CPA has funded many important projects all over Newton, including: 1. Affordable housing on Linden Green in Upper Falls and Parkview Homes in Auburndale. 2. Historic preservation projects such as burying grounds restorations in Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, and restoration and digitization of the city archives, and 3. Land for open space and recreation at Dolan Pond in West Newton and Kesseler Woods at the southeast edge of the city. See the complete list online: ci.newton.ma.us/ cpa/projects.htm.
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Down by the Riverside
Conversations on BH Normandy Riverside LLC’s proposed development of the MBTA property continue to hinge on what kind of development is appropriate there—and who gets to make that determination. Responding to neighborhood feeedback, the developer’s latest plans reduce the wide open spaces: retail and public space is proposed near a mbta parking structure. square footage of the proposal to 794,100 square feet of mixed-use space (office, residential, and retail), not counting parking structures. Traffic remains the neighborhood’s primary concern, while the developer argues that further reductions to the project’s size will not reduce traffic appreciably. The planned use of roundabouts to improve traffic flow remains a question to neighbors. In public discussions to date, no one has invoked Chapter 40B, the state statute which enables affordable housing developments to bypass some restrictive aspects of local zoning requirements. If BH Normandy’s mixed-use proposal fails to obtain city approvals, it’s possible the developer could pursue a large-scale housing project, which could bring more than 500 housing units to the site. john sisson
Illustration by ADD Inc.
After coyotes attacked and killed two dogs in separate incidents this fall, city officials and residents gathered in October to discuss how to react. Some city residents called for eliminating the coyote population, but state officials say that is impossible. Coyote numbers have increased statewide in recent decades as the animals have become more habituated to urban and suburban environments. An adult coyote’s territory can range up to 30 square miles, while the city limits clock in just under 18. Coyotes are opportunistic eaters, and officials urge residents and businesses to secure or clean up potential
food sources—pet food outdoors, garbage cans, bird feeders, and fruit trees—and to keep a close eye on household pets. Coyotes do not hibernate and may be more aggressive during their breeding season, which runs through February.
Zoning Recommendations Issued The Zoning Reform Group, created by the board of aldermen last winter, issued a draft of its final report in October. The group found that the city’s zoning ordinance had grown over 90 years from 16 pages to approximately 125, reflecting both the
growth of the city and the complexities of modern development. The group identified 11 major themes to guide future zoning reform efforts, among them: 1. Streamlining the permitting and review processes. 2. Recognizing the individuality of each village center and commercial corridor. 3. Encouraging a mix of retail, office, and residential uses in village centers. 4. Creating more rational parking regulations. 5. Protecting neighborhood character. 6. Improving natural resource conservation. The group’s report also outlines recommendations for processes to reform city zoning, in-
cluding a comprehensive rewrite of the ordinance. This task is estimated to cost $200,000k300,000 and would take several years. However, simplified zoning would arguably allow for more efficient use of city staff and resources, and the group estimates the payback time to be around four years.
Two library branches celebrate
The Auburndale Community Library (auburn dalelibrary.org) and the Waban Library Center (wabanlibrarycenter.org) each celebrated a second anniversary of operation this fall. City funding cuts
led to the closure of these branch libraries in 2009. Today, both libraries run solely on donations and are staffed by volunteers.
Ghosts of Newton North Past
In the exhibit “It’s gone but you can still see it here,” Newton photographer Sharon Schindler’s works capture images of the old Newton North High School and the transformation of the space into the new facility. The exhibit runs Dec. 7-14 at the New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday. Free. Opening reception: 6-8:30 pm on Dec. 7.
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Whole Foods Market Newtonville
647 Washington Street * Newtonville MA 02458
(617) 965-2070 * http://wholefoods.com/newtonville Ad_Layouts.indd 80
10/28/11 3:54:21 PM
under the influence
“It’s one of my greater joys in life. Women who have come up the ropes need to hand down stuff that helps others cope and navigate the tough world out there.” julie kahn, Senior vice president, New England market, Entercom
42 / Cover Story: The Most Influential Women 52 / The Host: Tom Ashbrook 56 / Winter Fashion: The Politics of Style 66 / Welcome to the Banking Mecca of America
REV_NLDJ12_FeatureOpener 1.indd 41
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We honor ten extraordinary women who change the world and call Newton home. Though their passions are diverse— politics and philanthropy, social justice and science, law and literature—these women have common ground. Superstars all, they couple energy with insight, and use their influence to accomplish powerful things. They shared with us their stories of how they’ve gotten where they are, what drives them further, and what they love about the city where they live. “When I moved here in 2000, I had this idealized version of what New England life could be,” says Entercom senior vice president Julie Kahn, a Detroit native who is one of the few female general managers of a radio station in the U.S. She has donated $20 million worth of airtime to local causes. “Because Newton has been everything I hoped for, it motivates me to give back.” By Katherine Bowers Photographs by Mark Ostow
Additional reporting by Tiffany Smith and Stephanie Horst Illustrations by Joe McKendry
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Senior executive producer, NOVA and NOVA ScienceNow; director, WGBH Science Unit Newton resident since: 1979 Hometown haunts: Bakers’ Best, Dunkin’ Donuts, Temple Emanuel
She gets to travel the world and interview brilliant thinkers, but Paula Apsell says her favorite “job perk” is hearing from young people that NOVA inspired them to become scientists. “I hear it quite a bit and I never get tired of it,” she says. “I think kids interested in science can be somewhat isolated. Watching a show like NOVA, they see beyond the stereotype of ‘geek’ or ‘nerd.’ They can see scientists and engineers thriving, doing what they’re passionate about.” Michael Ambrosino, also a Newton resident, founded NOVA in 1974. Apsell took the reins in 1985 and built it into a PBS powerhouse. She’s spun off a newsmagazine show, NOVA ScienceNow, and crafted a web-only series, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, that gives science a hipster bent. Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, produced on her watch, is the most critically and financially successful IMAX feature to date. But the gem is NOVA itself, the mostwatched science series on television. In an age of fluff TV, Apsell’s team continues to engage audiences with, ahem, actual reality. Seven million people tuned in for NOVA’s analysis of Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami. (Way more folks, incidentally, than for any Kardashians or Real Housewives.) Apsell’s work has racked up Emmys, Peabodys, and just about every other television trophy by telling the big story— the rise of computers, biology’s gene revolution, physics’s discovery of dark matter—in extraordinary ways. She’s curious, energetic and has a fantastic memory. She has no problem, for example, calling up a concise explanation of lab work in high-energy physics she did in college. (The grad student supervising her turned out to be her future husband, Sheldon Apsell, founder of MicroLogic.) A woman who loved chemistry as a girl but got zero encouragement to pursue it, Apsell never loses sight of her power to inspire the next generation. “For the innovation economy of the future, our country needs kids prepared to be scientists and engineers,” she says. Next up? NOVA Labs, a pioneering effort to give teens access to raw scientific data from NASA and other major institutions. It may be teens who clue scientists in on the next solar storm. Kids are “natural scientists who should be encouraged,” says Apsell. “Treat life in your community and home as a laboratory.”
Philanthropist Newton resident since: 1989 Hometown haunts: Albemarle Fields, Brimmer and May, Bloomingdale’s, The Fessenden School, Winston Flowers, the Chestnut Hill Reservoir
Years ago, Simone Winston had a shortlived fling with Weston. She soon found herself pining for “home.” “After two years,” she jokes, “I said to my husband, ‘I’m moving back to Newton. You can come if you want.’” And many Boston charities breathed a sigh of relief. Winston lives in an 1886 manse a few houses from the Boston line, which is convenient because she’s up to her elbows in the city’s high-profile causes. She is, yes, of those Winstons—her husband, Ted, and his brother, David, run Winston Flowers, a third-generation florist known for breathtaking arrangements. “There are so many people in Boston and Newton who are philanthropic in the truest sense of the word. They don’t just write a check; they give their time and expertise,” she says. “It inspires us to do more.” Here’s what she’s already doing. A highly abbreviated list, and it’s a lot. She’s on the leadership council of the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center, one of
the team that courts donors, broadens the outreach, and plans the One Hundred Dinner. Each year, the event honors 100 individuals who work in cancer care—not just marquee docs, but nurses, attendants, and parking valets, too. “There’s no hoopla,” she says. “People share their stories and we raise a lot of money in a focused way.” It’s quietly become one of the hottest tickets in town. She’s on the board of overseers at the Citi Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the Wang and Shubert Theaters. And she and her husband are also deeply involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. As mom to four children, aged 9 to 19, Simone keeps the mission of helping kids achieve their potential close to her heart. It’s good for the soul, and smart for the brand. Winston flowers are impeccable— and so is Winston herself. She’s a pro who understands the business of philanthropy (as in selling a boatload of tables as a gala chair) as well as the glamour. Sometimes it means strapping on Louboutins when you’d rather be in yoga pants, but she’s not complaining. “I feel very fortunate to be able to do this.”
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Senior vice president, New England market, Entercom Newton resident since: 2000 Hometown haunts: Kenneth Wildes Salon, Newton Nails, Johnny’s, Coconut Café
In this sports-obsessed town, Julie Kahn’s got her finger on the dial. Quite literally. She presides over seven radio stations including WAAF, WRKO, and the WEEI sports empire. In other words, she’s the person who brings the Pats, Sox, and Celts to the masses—when you factor in syndication deals, it’s an audience spanning Maine to Florida. After racking up a literature degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Northwestern, Kahn decided to try radio sales. Turns out, she had a knack for it. She outsold the other guys in ad time for the Chicago Bears and Cubs. Then she went to San Francisco and did the same for the Giants, the Oakland Raiders, and the Oakland A’s. (For the record, the Detroit native was ecstatic when the Tigers knocked the Yankees out of the American League playoffs in the first round.) In a field that’s still male-dominated, Kahn is one versatile chick: she can scream from sidelines like any rabid fan and then sashay into a glitzy charity event in Manolo Blahniks. She’s adept at figuring out what customers want, and delivering. WEEI, for instance, was the first radio station to have an app for streaming Red Sox games on wireless devices. With power comes responsibility, or so Kahn sees it. Over the last eight years, the WEEI Radio Network has raised $27 million for the Jimmy Fund. WAAF’s Walk and Rock for Change is the Greater Boston Food Bank’s biggest fundraiser. “We’re not forced to do this,” she says. “We believe in giving back and being a good citizen.” Amid the numerous board and trustee roles she holds, she particularly prizes mentoring young women and helping them break into the world of sports. “It’s one of my greater joys in life,” she says. “Women who have come up the ropes need to hand down stuff that helps others cope and navigate the tough world out there.” Kahn has energy—lots. Given a three-month sabbatical earlier this year, she knocked out executive-education programs at MIT and Harvard. On her Saturdays, she did five-hour sessions at culinary school. (Wield a knife properly? Whip up a soufflé? Get a promotion your first week back? Check, check, and check.)
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Judy Garber, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Program at the Gillette Center for Women’s Cancer, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute; president of the American Association for Cancer Research Newton resident since: 1993 Hometown haunts: New England Mobile Book Fair, Sweet Tomatoes, Rosenfeld’s Bagels, Betsey Jenney, Kouzina, The Shoe Horn
Judy Garber was in fifth grade when her mother, at age 43, battled and survived breast cancer—a disease that had stricken other family members. After that, Garber resolved she wanted to help unravel the mysteries of hereditary cancers. Decades later, she’s become one of the country’s premier researchers. Her clinic at Dana–Farber was one of the nation’s first to help women understand and address their genetic risks, and to study these women long term. She’s won awards for developing chemotherapies for triple-negative breast cancer, a relatively rare and notoriously aggressive form of the disease. Her team is now studying the role of mutations in the Fanconi anemia genes in breast cancers in the youngest women. It’s urgent. Although the rates of breast cancer are dropping among older women, women with certain gene mutations are getting their cancers, on average, a decade younger than their grandmothers did. To help women prevent the disease and detect it early, Garber regularly speaks at community events. And, as president of the American Association for Cancer Research, she lobbies Washington to fund research—a significant number of those dollars, every year, return to Massachusetts. “We want to make sure that when young people go into the field with new ideas we can support them with dollars for their research,” she says. “It’s something we can’t afford to overlook.”
Political activist, writer, professor, blogger Newton resident since: 1986 Hometown haunts: Auburndale Cove Playground, Dunkin’ Donuts, Whole Foods, The Knotty Pine Lunch
Think global, act local? Sara Whitman’s got it down. The writer, social activist, and mom of three sons can spend an entire weekend puttering around her Auburndale neighborhood (haircuts for the boys at Larry’s Barbershop, lunch at The Knotty Pine, maybe sledding behind the Williams School) but then sit down at her computer and zing out a commentary for the Huffington Post that’s read globally. Her writing, for instance, sparked shipping giant FedEx to expand nondiscrimination policies to include transgendered workers. She’s unflinchingly tackled school bullying, oil politics, battles over same-sex marriage, religion—all hot-button topics. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate and can say many of my posts have had a big effect on people,” she says, but at the end of the day, what she’s after is honest dialogue. “I hope to make people laugh, cry, nod in agreement, or tell me I’m going to hell. I want to engage a discussion.” She brings the same scrutiny to her personal life on her blog, Suburban Lesbian Housewife (suburblezmom.blogspot.com), where she has discussed divorce, raising sons, and her mother’s fried-chicken recipe.
She also sits on the board of MassEquality, the group that spearheaded the drive to legalize same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and now tackles other discrimination against LGBT citizens. A professor at Berklee College of Music, Whitman teaches students how to frame issues in the most powerful words they can muster. “One of the first things I assign at the beginning of the year is a policy piece on something they care about,” she says. “I learn as much as they do. We’ve dealt with issues such as the suicide rate in Japan, corruption in Nigeria, and lots of other topics.” It’s clear Whitman feels the weight of the world, but she responds with wit. Her words are edgy, yet they dance. Here she is writing on the widening gap between haves and have-nots during the fall’s “Occupy Wall Street” protests. “And dear God, young, fashionable vampires don’t exist. Our youth aren’t out sucking blood in Armani; they are trying to find jobs that don’t exist,” she wrote. Why Newton? She fell in love long ago with the city that’s minutes away from Boston yet is full of dialogue of its own. “We could be a bedroom community,” she says. “We’re not.” She chose Newton because it speaks to her most important identity. “I knew someday I wanted to have kids,” she says. “And the best place I’ve ever experienced to raise kids is Newton.”
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novelist Newton resident since: 1988 Hometown haunts: Blacker’s Bakery, L’Aroma Café, Second Appearance, Bread and Chocolate Bakery, Lumière, Newton Free Library, Newtonville Books
CEO, board member, strategy consultant Newton resident since: 1977 Hometown haunts: Aquitaine Bis, New England Mobile Book Fair, Anthony Andrew Jewelers, Crystal Lake
Linda Whitlock’s radio selections are indicative of her personality: the dial constantly alternates between NPR and sports talk radio. She may come off as serious, but she isn’t afraid to kick back for a little Pats tailgating on a breezy weekend afternoon. On the one hand, this Newton Highlands resident is a finance and strategy consultant with her own company, the Whitlock Group, the past president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, and a member of numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including those of the Cambridge Trust Company, the Princeton Review, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brandeis University, and AesRx, a local biopharmaceutical company. On the other hand, this mother of two and grandmother of two more is very relaxed and isn’t afraid to let out an infectious laugh that crinkles her freckled nose. Whitlock loves soccer and also has season tickets to both the Patriots and the Red Sox. Whitlock characterizes her life in two
words: “following whimsy.” Her career has travelled a circuitous path from teaching urban planning at Tufts and MIT and volunteering on the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council to helping run the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City nonprofit and assisting with both the Dukakis and Obama presidential campaigns. Her resume is so varied that she jokes that she can’t keep a job. “I have sought out opportunities that I think will teach me something. Places where I can serve and make a difference.” So what landed this all-star in Newton? After living in cities across the nation, Whitlock and her husband decided that they wanted to be in Boston, in a community that coupled diversity, liberal political and social values, and economic variety. And Newton was it. After their children moved out, they debated moving into Boston, but couldn’t bear to leave. Whitlock’s Maryland-based daughter is currently searching for a new home and she admitted to mother that “I want to find a house like our house, on a street like our street, in a neighborhood like Newton.” Can there be a greater compliment to our city?
Eighty bazillion copies in print? Yes, that equals clout. Longtime Newton resident Anita Diamant became a star with The Red Tent, her reimagining of the Old Testament’s Joseph and his famous brood of sons, as told by a sister whose rape is detailed in Genesis. Retelling history through the eyes of the marginalized—women, Jews, slaves, the rural poor—has become a trademark for Diamant, who has explored Cape Ann in the 1800s in The Last Days of Dogtown and postwar Britain in Day after Night. “As a woman and feminist, I see many chapters yet to be written, many stories yet to be unearthed and imagined,” she says. “Adding a different perspective—one that’s been left out of the official history books—adds context and complicates our view of life; to me, that’s all to the good.” Diamant has created more than exquisite fiction. Before she began writing novels, she penned guides to Jewish life. While researching one about converting to Judaism, Diamant saw the need for a mikveh, a facility that would offer the traditional bathing pool, but also space for education, family celebrations, and community gatherings. In 2004, she founded Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center on Washington Street. Thousands of people visit each year to mark life moments: pregnancies, adoptions, conversions, illness, weddings, and losses. The guest book pages are scrawled with joy, gratitude, and even quiet words of closure following grief. “We had this dream of opening the door to the broadest iteration possible of people who are Jewish and becoming Jewish,” Diamant says, praising the city for embracing Mayyim Hayyim’s “experiment in contemporary Jewish life.” Because writing can be solitary, Diamant cherishes community life. There are coffee dates with friends (Blacker’s Bakery has the best challah, she says), work sessions in the library, and, when she’s got writer’s block, long rambles along the Charles River with her miniature schnauzer, Buddy. From her home at night, she can hear sounds coming from the Albemarle fields—cheers for rugby and soccer, the occasional crack of a cricket bat, people calling to one another. “You hear people laughing and all sorts of languages spoken,” she says. “It’s all lit up and has this ‘field of dreams’ quality that I love.”
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Janice Bourque Entrepreneur, leader, board member Newton resident since: 1984 Hometown haunts: Lincoln Street Coffee, O’Hara’s, Just Next Door, the Barn Family Shoe Store, Diva, National Lumber
Janice Bourque’s life has been characterized by a series of communities—and the individuals, businesses, and causes that represent them. Growing up with four brothers, a sister, and an endless supply of cousins, Bourque’s family was a community in its own right. But living with so many people taught her how to share, while still being tough and getting what you need. And these lessons prepared her for a lifetime of achieving results. She started off studying to be a vet, moved to get her M.B.A. in finance and accounting, and advised small start-up companies through one of the Big 8 firms, before finding her niche in the emerging biotech industry. She married her science and business backgrounds and helped the cutting-edge science community grow and thrive, even becoming president/CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council for many years. She now acts as the Managing Director of Life Sciences for Hercules Technology Growth Capital, a finance company. Bourque quickly discovered that “I like working within communities that have a mission and a focus.” And she has been a driving force behind many such missions. She is on the boards of groups such as the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, the Boston Museum, and the Village Bank. More locally, she is the long-time president of the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council and helped start the Crystal Lake Conservancy, which acts as a steward for the local landmark. When Bourque first moved to Newton from New Hampshire, she would drive around, learning the area. “I like to see my neighbors, talk to them, yell out the window at them. When I drove through Newton Highlands, people were out in their yards, engaging with each other,” she remembers. She knew that she had found her new home. If living within all of these communities has taught Bourque anything, it’s that “a community doesn’t happen by itself.” She encourages others to contribute to whatever communities make up their lives: “If you love it, you have to find a way to help sustain it,” she says.
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Barbara Wallace Grossman, M.F.A., Ph.D.
Professor of theater history, dramatic literature, and criticism, Tufts University; vice chair, Massachusetts Cultural Council Newton resident since: 1991 (also 1956–1969) Hometown haunts: Edmands Park, West Newton Cinema, Lumière, the farmer’s market at the American Legion Post, J.P. Licks
Attorney, Massachusetts State Senator Newton resident since: 1976 Hometown haunts: Taste Coffee House, The Cottage, O’Hara’s Food & Spirits, Legal Sea foods
Growing up in a family of lawyers, Cynthia Creem learned early on how to make her voice heard—an important faculty when pushing for reform on Beacon Hill where the former Newton Board of Aldermen president represents Newton, Brookline, and Wellesley. In her 12 years as a state senator, she has taken on a variety of issues: expanding stem cell research in Massachusetts, promoting food-allergy awareness in restaurants, updating alimony laws, and reforming criminal-record and sentencing laws. She chairs two committees, including the Judiciary Committee. Creem first became involved in politics when she moved to Newton 35 years ago with her husband—a Newton native—and became president of the Oak Hill Park Neighborhood Association. For Creem, being a state senator is not much different. Except now she gets to vote on the issues. “I thought I would have more of an opportunity to be effective regarding policy than I had in other positions that I did,” says Creem. “And it’s nice to advocate for issues, but it’s nice to be able to vote on the issues.” With a demanding schedule, Creem, who has two grown children (both lawyers), eats out with her husband most nights, often at the Legal Sea Foods in Chestnut Hill or O’Hara’s pub. The Brookline native says she is always open to hearing from her constituents, whether it’s in her office at the State House or at the Newtonville Whole Foods where she often shops for groceries. And when she’s not busy talking policy, Creem likes to spend time with her family (although she may still talk policy). Her sister, with whom she shares a law practice, is also a Newton resident, and Creem’s son lives around the corner, making it easy for her to see her grandchildren. Creem knows it takes patience and perseverance to get results, but says seeing a bill through is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. “When you work on something that becomes law, it’s very exciting,” she explains. “You feel like it has an effect on so many people and you forget that you were frustrated along the way.”
Barbara Grossman can still remember sitting around a Washington conference table in the mid 1990s when the National Endowment for the Arts was under attack by the late Senator Jesse Helms and in danger of being eliminated completely. Serving at the time as a President Clinton appointee to the National Council on the Arts, which advises the NEA, Grossman recalls, “As council members, we urged [then–NEA chairman] Jane Alexander to hold firm that a reduced NEA was better than no NEA.” The agency survived and remains the largest federal source of arts funding. Not just nationally, but in Massachusetts too, Grossman’s done big things. Name a state cultural
organization and she’s helped out: she’s sat on the board, been a consultant, chaired a gala, hosted a dinner, or made an introduction. She hosted the first fundraiser for a New England Holocaust Memorial. She was on the search committee that hired Diane Paulus, the American Repertory Theater director whose recent restaging of Porgy and Bess was a critical hit. This winter, she’s directing the New England premiere of Our Class, playwright Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s new work on the Holocaust and Polish history, at Tufts University, where she’s a professor. The woman who won Newton High School’s top honor her senior year cherishes a dream that her beloved city will eventually have its own performing arts center. It may have to wait, she concedes, until the economy is better. Until then, Grossman is determined to protect and serve. “Arts are a powerful economic engine for community revitalization,” she says. “They’re also a way to help people become more engaged, compassionate citizens of whatever community they live in. They should not be the first place we cut.”
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NEWTON’S TOM ASHBROOK CHARTS A DIFFERENT COURSE FOR TALK RADIO. BY DOUG HARDY PORTRAITS BY DANA SMITH
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10:06 a.m., Thursday, WBUR Studios in Brighton, Massachusetts
“From WBUR Boston, I’m Tom Ashbrook and this is On Point. What are all of us going to do for a living… where are the jobs. Going to. Come from in this country?” Tom’s staccato question fills the control room, which is separated from his studio booth by a soundproof glass wall. Director Eileen Imada checks in with the guests. “Thanks for being with us today,” she repeats to economist Tyler Cowan calling from Falls Church, Virginia; Cornell Professor Robert Hockett, from New York City; American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin Hassett, from Washington, D.C. Engineer James Keisling manipulates the audio to balance voices on the disparate phone connections. Tom sits alone in the studio before a large gray microphone, surrounded by reference notes, scripts, and quotations. He gestures open-handed, palm up, to his right. Urgently, he lists grim economic crosscurrents: “We say manufacturing, but even if it comes back from China there’s automation! We say infrastructure but once the bridge is built, what are you going to do on it? We say services, high tech . . . well, maybe!” Still looking at his papers, still gesturing, he earnestly questions the first guest, hundreds of miles away but somehow also in the booth with Tom, “Where’s that big wave of jobs that’s just missing, Tyler?” Tyler answers, succinct and thoughtful. Tom digs in, curious, skeptical, wanting to know more. He gestures now to the left. “Kevin Has-
sett, is our answer that the education system turns out more high-tech workers? What’s the big sector that we might look to?” Kevin answers. Tom writes, checks his LCD monitor, scribbles, highlights a fact with yellow pen. Alone in his 12'-by-15' soundproof room, he carries the conversation forward. I think: This guy’s holding a virtual dinner party, with some of the world’s best thinkers at his table. 10:20 a.m., Saturday, Newton, Massachusetts
Newton resident Tom Ashbrook scoops a spoonful of chicken soup and considers the Saturday scene at Johnny’s Luncheonette. He is a tall man, legs stretching under the outdoor table well into the sidewalk. Saturday is his day of rest, the one day he doesn’t have to pore over bulging folders of preshow briefings. We talk about the making and stagecraft of On Point, his nationally syndicated radio show. Tom and On Point are poised to pass a milestone: ten years on the air. Born in the aftermath of 9/11, the daily radio talk show brings economics, politics, news analysis, poetry, history, culture, science, sports, business, and a hundred other topics to 1.2 million listeners for two hours, five times a week. There seems to be
dog-eatdog world ashbrook was photographed on october 7, at weeks field—just blocks from his house.
no limit to Tom’s curiosity, and he indulges it publicly in roughly five hundred shows a year. Curiosity alone isn’t sufficient to fill two hours of airtime a day, and those preshow briefings prepared by On Point producers and researchers are homework a first-year law student would dread. Books, book reviews, guest biographies, white papers, newspaper clips, web downloads—Tom immerses himself in the next day’s topic through the evening, then rises at 5 a.m. for the drive into Boston. The show runs live from 10 to 12, and he reaches the noon hour feeling “like I’ve just played two hours of basketball.”
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The sports analogy continues: On Point is an in-the-zone experience. “It’s 10 a.m. and we’re off to the races! Whatever is going to happen is live, it’s right in that moment, and I have come to adore that. Live radio has this kind of Buddhist, ‘be here now, the moment is everything!’” Part of On Point’s attraction is its eclectic, even whimsical, mix of topics. In the first hour, Tom and guests are talking about the politics of Predator-drone strikes; in the second, the history and culture of bananas. A deeper attraction of On Point is the tone he sets for the show: urgent, earnest, a captivating conversation driven by a need to know the truth.
“Conversation” is On Point’s catchword, its mantra, its reason for being, and is the critical, countercultural difference between Tom’s show and the squawk fests that crowd talk radio. “You can join the conversation at 1-800-423-8255, that’s 800-423TALK.” He repeats the familiar phrase several times each show. Other hosts manufacture conflict to titillate their audience. Tom sparks conversation (sometimes genteel, sometimes provocative) to make his listeners think. 10:18 a.m., WBUR Studios
Producer Pien Huang sits in a high chair in the control room, screening call after call.
Pien chooses callers efficiently, and then types a short description of each call she selects: “Cathy from Omaha: Wants to talk about consumer demand, debt, and the pressure on two-career families to keep both jobs.”) Her notes appear on Tom’s LCD and a larger monitor near director Eileen. Selection and arrangement are ongoing—caller notes move up and down the screen as the conversation changes course. Both women are orchestrating the critical component of On Point: the listeners. Standing next to Pien, producer Dean Russell monitors On Point’s Facebook page and email for listener comments and | continued on page 70 Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
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the politics of style In the historic Newton City Hall, cooler weather brings hotter fashion— chic boots, cozy knits, and luxe outerwear in leather, fur, and wool. Red tape has never looked so good. Photographs by Bob Packert
Styling by Dana Moscardelli
Tahari dress, $368, Bloomingdale’s. Jennifer George necklace “Bolo,” $790, Portobello Road. Furla red patent bag, $398; Jimmy Choo printed pony, $1,375, Bloomingdale’s. Tobey Grey Cape, $230, National Jean Company. Chelsey II wool scarf, $39.99, Filene’s Basement.
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this Page On him: Elie Tahari navy button jacket, $188, Bloomingdale’s. Calvin Klein trousers, $99.90, Simon & Sons. James Tattersall shirt, $24.99; Aquascutum tie, $24.99; Rockport shoes, $55.95, Filene’s Basement. On her: Zero & Maria Cornejo cashmere snap coat, $2,165, Alan Bilzerian. Elie Tahari gray sheath with leather collar, $498; Jimmy Choo Calf leather boots, $1,250, Bloomingdale’s. Nicole Marciano scarf, $14.99, Filene’s Basement. Opposite Page Rudsak Parka with fur trim, $595, Sumi Seo.
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On him: Bloomingdale’s label blue plaid hat, $85, Bloomingdale’s. Corneliani coat, $1,650; Hiltl plaid trousers, $295, Mr. Sid. Bostonian shoes “Ballard” with silver bit, $99.90, Simon & Sons. On her: Tory Burch navy coat with leather trim, $995; Michael Kors bag, $795; Miu Miu booties, $950; Kate Spade tights, $28, Bloomingdale’s. Pony gloves, $295, Alan Bilzerian.
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On him: Burberry navy peacoat, $995, Bloomingdales. On her: Parka with fur trim, $595, Sumi Seo. Donald Pliner boots, $395, Sharon Samuels. Opposite Page Michael Kors garnet check shirt, $125; Hugo Boss leather jacket, $695; Michael Kors corduroys, $125, Bloomingdales. Calvin Klein reversible belt, $16.99, Fileneâ€™s Basement. this Page
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Calvin Klein navy stripe navy suit, $450, Simon & Sons. Ben Sherman gingham shirt, $29.99; Hart Schaffner Marx tie, $16.99, Filene’s Basement. Plaid cashmere scarf, $98, Bloomingdale’s. retail locations Alan Bilzerian, 1217 Centre St., 617-6309988, alanbilzerian.com. Bloomingdale’s, The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 225 Boylston St., 617-630-6000, bloomingdales.com. Filene’s Basement, 215 Needham St., 617-630-9161, filenesbasement.com. Kiki D. Design, 214 Sumner St., 617-467-4153, kikiddesign.com. LuxCouture, 21 Lincoln St., 617-969-5600, luxcouture.com. Mr. Sid, 1211 Centre St., 617-969-4540, mrsid.com. National Jean Company, 34 Langley Rd., 617-969-2888, nationaljeancompany.com. Portobello Road, 23 Boylston St., 617-264-2020, portobello roadusa.com. Sharon Samuels, 32 Lincoln St., 617-630-0664, sharonsamuels.com. Simon & Sons, 210 Needham St., 617-969-8844, simonandsons.com. Sumi Seo, 1207 Centre St., 617-964-7864. the credits Hair by Michael Albor for Ennis Inc. and The Loft Salon. Makeup by Hilary Warner. Photo assistant: Michael Cevoli. Models: Lauren Fitzgerald and Gibran for Maggie Inc.
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Welcome to the Banking Mecca of America Eleven banks call Newton Centre home. Does that spell trouble for the future of the village center? By Amy Wyeth Illustration by Steve Brodner
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What is it about Newton Centre? No fewer than 11 bank branches have put down roots in this village center and commuter hub. And that inventory does not include the discount stock brokerage Scottrade, which moved across the street to a more prominent Beacon Street corner location last year. All these banks currently own or lease space near the triangle formed by Beacon and Centre Streets and Langley Road—a circuit of approximately half a mile. A twelfth bank, Capital One, may be moving in, too, at the Beacon Street storefront vacated by Zoots. No doubt about it: banks want to be in the Garden City. There’s the high-income factor—“no accident,” according to Wellesley-based banking consultant Jim Jones, president and CEO of First Wellesley Consulting. The local market for financial services seems to support this many banks, since landlords are still getting requests to lease space. And with many of their income-generating options regulated out of existence in the post-financial-crisis world, banks are revisiting an older income-generating strategy, Jones says: commercial loans. They want to open new bran ches in key areas that will help them generate these customers. But the influx of banks, and other businesses that provide services rather than goods and/or aren’t open in the evenings, is making some city officials worry the Centre won’t remain viable as a shopping district unless something is done. “Nonretail will do much better if the retail sector can survive and thrive,” says Ward 6 alderman-atlarge Vicki Danberg, explaining why she’s cosponsoring a proposal to
revise the city zoning ordinance, with a goal of helping retail (goods-provi ding) businesses that generate lots of foot traffic to thrive. The proposed change would not be so helpful to banks. For them and other types of businesses seen as producing little pedestrian traffic, the change would limit new locations in Newton Centre—and possibly in select other villages—to second or higher floors, except by special permit. Banks, beauty salons, and professional offices are singled out in the preliminary language. Existing business locations would not be affected. The proposed change (see sidebar for details) has generated a small amount of controversy, causing aldermen such as Danberg, cosponsor Ted Hess-Mahan (Ward 3 alderman-atlarge), and city Planning Department director Candace Havens to discuss it with caution and caveats. Zoning and Planning Committee chairman Marcia Johnson (at-large, Ward 2) and alderman Susan Albright (at-large, Ward 2) are also cosponsors. “We have nothing against banks,” Hess-Mahan insists. “What we are looking to do is diversify the kinds of businesses that people will be interested in, at the street level. This is really aimed at revitalizing the village centers.” Danberg says these discussions date back nearly ten years. “We did not,” she emphasizes, “create this idea.” Instead, local residents have approached her and other aldermen with their hopes for the area. “I have never had a constituent tell me that they needed another bank in Newton Cen-
tre, but [there are] many who would love to buy a tomato,” Danberg says. A March 2006 report, “Initial Findings of the Newton Centre Task Force,” generated ideas for the proposed changes, Hess-Mahan says. The report, which covered property use, parking and traffic, and zoning, found in part that “Newton lacks a diversity of stores . . . providing essential needs for [the] local population such as general food stores or hardware stores.” Hess-Mahan doesn’t think relega ting banks to second-story status will harm their business opportunities, but Tony Nuzzo, CEO of First Commons Bank, which opened its inaugural branch in Newton Centre in 2009, begs to differ. “In Newton, the market share is currently held by the big banks,” he points out, referring to Bank of America, Sovereign, Citizens Bank, Citi, and TD Bank. Smaller banks such as First Commons are gaining ground, he adds; in his opinion it’s because they have more consumer-friendly policies such as no, or limited, fees and longer hours. Nuzzo, who has considered adding a second Newton branch, says any new rule affecting banks’ ability to expand locally would have the effect of “protecting the status quo” in favor of big banks, at the expense of consumers. Asked whether 11 banks is too many for Newton Centre to sustain, local banks say there’s enough business to go around. Approximately $3.2 billion is on deposit in regulated institutions in the city. “[The number of banks] didn’t scare us off, because there is plenty of wealth, and people, and businesses to serve,” said Linda Sloane Kay, executive vice president of Century Bank, which in June moved into renovated space formerly occupied by a Bank of America on Langley Road. Newton Centre is Century’s second branch in the city.
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The bank was particularly interested in it because of the “unwritten rule that most people who live in Newton tend to bank in Newton Centre,” says Kay, a city resident and local Chamber of Commerce board member. Ruth Barnett, regional vice president of sales for Cambridge Savings Bank, which has maintained a branch on Beacon Street since 2003, said Newton Centre’s array of banks is a good thing: “It affords the consumer and the businessman the opportunity to find the bank that best serves their needs.” One zoning-ordinance change won’t make up entirely for larger shifts in consumer behavior, notes Tara Gallen, a Boston-area urban planner and cochair of the Bostonbased trade association Planners’ Network. Gallen sympathizes with those wanting to limit the numbers of banks, and likes the Newton ordinance design. But, she says, the simple truth is that more and more people are shopping online, or at chain stores, and fewer at small local businesses. An ordinance affecting banks won’t change that, Gallen says, though efforts in general to reduce “a string of banks in a major community-center area” could help storefront retailers by making their neighborhoods more “dynamic and interesting.”
“Nobody’s particularly excited about having a bank,” says one commercial real estate broker familiar with Newton, who would only speak off the record. “They don’t have a lot of personality. Banks are not sexy. They don’t add much to the village feel.” But the broker admits banks are good real estate clients: “Landlords love banks because they’re long-term deals and they pay high rents.” Joel Kadis, a property owner and landlord in Newton Centre, concurs. Kadis, who leased space on Centre Street to Panera Bread in early 2011, said he was approached by a bank, but went with the upscale bakery and sandwich chain instead. “I left a lot of money on the table,” he said. Many of his colleagues would not have made the same decision—food establishments are “painful” to permit in Newton Centre, whereas banks are known as good, stable tenants, easy to permit and easy on landlords all around. So why did he do it? “I grew up in Newton. My dad owned a drugstore here, and I wanted to give back,” said Kadis, who lives less than a mile away. “I also take a long-term outlook for Newton Centre. Panera was better for the other building we own,” the 344 clothing shop next door.
Kadis, a partner at Linear Retail Properties, LLC, said he knows other landlords don’t think like him—and he gets it. The Panera deal “was a unique situation for me,” he explains. Kadis is not a fan of the proposed ordinance, which he feels will effectively reduce property values and prospective tenant pools for landlords, making them angry. “The solution to ‘the bank problem’ is to find uses where landlords make money and the city wins,” he says. And the best way to do this is to make the retail businesses the city wants easier to permit. Adjusting city parking ordinances to allow restaurants to come in without needing to come up with more spaces would be one way to do this, he suggests. And not everyone agrees there’s a “bank problem” to be fixed. “I don’t see it,” says Bob Halpin— the relatively new executive director of the Newton–Needham Chamber of Commerce (he started in May). Halpin is intrigued by what forces might have led to the concentration of banks in Newton Centre, but isn’t convinced they’re a detriment to the village’s vibrancy. “I suspect there is a very diverse financial-services market in Newton,” Halpin says. “People like options.”
Encouraging Retail on the Ground Floor As this article went to press, the proposed “retail overlay district” amendment to Newton’s zoning ordinance had not yet been made public. According to language in recently posted agendas, the ordinance would create “certain Retail Overlay Districts around selected village centers in order to encourage vibrant pedestrian-oriented
streetscapes which would allow certain uses at street level, including but not limited to financial institutions, professional offices, and salons, by special permit only and require minimum transparency standards for street-level windows for all commercial uses within the proposed overlay districts.” Existing businesses would be grandfathered
in, unless they vacate the space for two years or more. Overlay districts that limit the number of “formula businesses” (i.e., those with recognizable logos, uniforms, and/or large numbers of locations) that can open in a town or city were adop ted in Concord in 2011, and Chatham in 2010, meaning it’s too soon to tell their effect.
Concord planning director Marcia Rasmussen said there wasn’t much opposition to the Concord ordinance after the town limited it to the West Concord Business District only. A proposed change that would have limited ground-floor uses in the district to retail and other pedestrian oriented uses, but did not define these uses, was
considered but did not make it onto the Town Meeting floor. Newton’s Zoning and Planning Committee, made up of city aldermen, was planning to discuss overlay districts and solicit public comment in November. The committee’s recommendation could be forwarded to the full Board of Aldermen as early as January.
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continued from page 55
questions. These two young produ cers create a moment-by-moment stream of personalities, questions and crowd-sourced commentary for Tom to weave into the conversational arc. Saturday, Newton
“That’s the beauty of our audience,” says Tom. “I do my homework but we have callers who are much better versed than I. Take the show we did recently on neutrinos maybe traveling faster than the speed of light. People who were physicists, who had thought about physics, who were fascinated with physics, called in like crazy. They had questions I hadn’t even thought of for our expert guests. “Every single time, we get cal lers with more direct, personal, deep experience than my own, no mat ter how much homework I’ve done. They don’t just change my mind; they expand my mind. “With politics, we’re very focused on putting up a big tent every day. We want everybody to feel welcome from right across the political spectrum. And they come. We’ve got Harvard dons calling in right next to truck drivers from Tuscaloosa. And some times their politics line up and some times they don’t, but people speak. We try to create an environment where they feel absolutely comfortable to say what they honestly feel.” 10:42 a.m., WBUR Studios
“Please hang in there, he’ll get your call,” Eileen tells a caller. She signals to Tom, high open hand, then fist. Engineer James patches the call into the studio. Tom rereads Pien’s note on his LCD. Cathy from Omaha has been waiting for 30 minutes because the issue she wants to talk about hasn’t
been mentioned yet. Tom signals an imaginary person in his room to ap proach. “Cathy is calling from Omaha, Nebraska. Cathy, you’re on.” “Hi Tom, I just want your panel to think of the family perspective,” Cathy begins. “For four decades we’ve moved from single-earner families to dual-earner families . . . Can we move back to more single-earner house holds and give families more time to do the productive work families do?” Tom has been looking directly across the table as if attending to a guest three feet away. He gestures to his left, choosing one of three experts for a response. “Kevin Hassett, how about it? Do we move back to single-earner house holds and if we do does that mean stepping off the consumer treadmill? Families did that for a reason . . . it was partly women wanting to get out of the house, absolutely that, but also fami lies felt they needed the extra money.” Hassett answers. Tom follows up, directing questions to him, to Cathy, to the other guests. In the virtual dinner party, the conversation shifts and flows, guided by the combined intelligence of Tom, his producers, and his guests. No gaps, no silence, no dead air. The hour could be fractured and diffuse, but Tom’s preparation and his staff’s choreography channels the conversation into a rich and infor mative colloquy. A young man calls in from Bloomington, Indiana. “Go Bloomington!” says Tom. Producers laugh. Ashbrook will take any oppor tunity to tout his heartland roots. Saturday, Newton
How does an Illinois farm boy end up an NPR icon living in Newton, I ask, and once again the answer is curiosity. Tom’s journalist past brought him here.
“We first came to Boston in the early ’80s from Hong Kong. Danielle, my wife, my high school sweetheart, had spent five years in Asia with me, and it was her turn: she came for grad school at Harvard. I went to work for the Boston Globe; we bought a tripledecker in Somerville. Couple of years later the Globe sent us back out to Tokyo. We spent five years based in Ja pan. I was traveling all over Asia. From Hokkaido to the Khyber Pass was the beat. It was fantastic! “When we came back from Tokyo in mid–late 1988, we had kids and we asked, ‘Where are the best schools?’ And people said Newton and Lexing ton, and we settled here. “I didn’t know much about Newton except that it was in a sweet place on the map. Easy commute to the Globe. But we moved in and found layer upon layer of amazing people here doing amazing things. Everywhere you put your fork in . . . people at the top of aca demia, medicine; people who are doing all kinds of social-entrepreneur work. You’ve got creative people just through the roof, whether they’re writing or doing visual arts.” “It’s more than that. Even though we’re right on the edge of a great city, Newton has this great feeling of com munity and neighborhood that we just adore. It’s full of plain good people and good friends to me and my family.” 11:00 a.m., WBUR Studios
Tom stands and stretches as his prerecorded voice fills the control room, headlining the second hour’s topic, a well-received new novel. In six minutes, after the news, Tom will switch from impassioned searcher for economic answers to passionate reader of current fiction: the second dinner party of the morning.
Tom Ashbrook’s Local Favorites On the common: Johnny’s Luncheonette (great place for an interview!). Architecture: First Baptist. Late-Victorian post-and-beam architecture, gorgeous stained glass . . . it’s astonishing! Take out: Comella’s—gotta love that. Big night on the town: Lumière in West Newton. Stomping Ground: Crystal Lake has been our stomping ground forever. Whenever I pick up my coffee, that’s where I sit.
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What happened to the walnut street grocers?*
1936: Economy Grocery Stores. Now: Newtonville Camera.
1936: The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. now: Taste Coffee.
1936: The Old Town Bake Shoppe. now: CoBella Hair Salon.
1936: dorothy muriel’s food shop. now: Great Harvest Bread Co.
317-319 1936: Paramount Market (provisions). now: Shoe Horn.
1936: Faneuil Fruit Exchange. now: European Hair & Nails Spa, and Newtonville Pizza.
Newtonville, circa 1936 Star Market first appears at 304 Walnut Street in the city directory of 1936. This Newtonville location was reportedly the company’s second store. What would become one of New England’s predominant supermarket chains began in Watertown 20 years earlier as a neighborhood grocery run by an Armenian immigrant family. Stephen P. Mugar, son of the company’s founder, would go on to open the company’s first supermarket in Newtonville in 1948 and, in the early 1960s, would oversee construction of the Austin Street building that straddles I-90 today. But when this photograph was taken, grocery shopping was a much different affair. Neighborhood grocers operated out of small storefronts, offering a limited selection of goods. Some were fruit stands. Some sold only butter and eggs. In 1936, more than a hundred retail grocers operated in the collection of villages known then as “The Newtons.” This fall, workers renovating the storefront for Cambridge Savings Bank’s new branch at 308 Walnut Street uncovered a remnant of First National Stores: blue and white wall tiles spelling out the words FISH and FRUIT. john sisson
Newton Living dec 2011/jan 2012
1936: S.K. Ames, Inc. (butter and eggs). now: Galina’s European Skin Care and Day Spa.
1936: Thornton Market. now: Newtonville Coin Laundry.
1936: r-peak-o-fruit exchange. now: The Rox Diner (opening).
*Businesses listed by street number.
about the photo This image was found in the archives of Historic Newton. Acting curator Sara Goldberg said the name of the photographer and date of the image have been lost. If you have information about this photograph, please contact Historic Newton, 617-7961450, historicnewton.org.
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