Roslindale Rant

Missing From Globe Take Out

The Boston Globe chose to focus on Roslindale as a prism through which to view the economic downturn. It’s a bit of an unusual choice, considering Roslindale’s not being particularly hard hit by mortgage foreclosures as are some communities on the 495 ring or in Southern New Hampshire, where I spent much time last fall. But the neighborhood is a vital, but often unnoticed, part of city life. I suppose the choice to center on Roslindale makes more sense with the recognition that several major executives at The Boston Globe, including Al Larkin and Brian McGrory, grew up in Roslindale.

Stephanie Ebbert, who’s been reporting on Boston since she came to the Globe from Pennsylvania some eight years ago, certainly nailed one major attribute of Roslindale Square, the food.

“The village is a food lover’s paradise, with ethnic markets, inviting restaurants, and a belt-straining six bakeries. Here, you can find burritos, baklava, bibimbop, pizza, paella, and pho. Casually chic restaurants mingle with unadorned postwar markets whose owners seem to see no need for upgrades.

“The storefronts of Greek markets dangle candles ribboned and bedecked with toys for Orthodox Easter, while the broad window at Fornax Bread Co., maker of artisanal breads, is draped with artfully mismatched aprons.

“Unlike most urban centers, Roslindale Village still feels completely real, dominated by locally owned businesses and traversed by people and a wide array of races and incomes.”

But overall I felt this take out had an arbitrary feel. For example, she makes a big deal out of the fact that Bob’s Pita Bakery has admittedly disappointedly stopped baking its own bread. (In fact, with the departure of the Near East Bakery on Washington Street in West Roxbury, there’s no place to get freshly baked pita, where previously there were two bakeries nearby.) But she neglects one of the most welcome recent additions to Roslindale Village, the Boston Cheese Cellar. Of course, a write-up of such a high end, sophisticated food shop, which has experienced an uptick of growth this year in the face of tough economic times, would have directly contradicted the “neighborhood in crisis” notion being promulgated in  Ebbert’s piece. 

When I drove through the Village last night, the neighborhood was buzzing with couples and families walking to dine at one of the many fine local restaurants.

Perhaps I’m too sensitive on this. I’m a neighborhood property owner as well as a new member of the Main Streets board. It’s great that the world has finally noticed what we have here. It’s too bad it’s taken a downturn to get them to take note.

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