Posts Tagged ‘charlestown’

A year or so ago the Unitarian Universalist Association sold their historic but drafty headquarters on Beacon Street near the Massachusetts State House and started fixing up a former warehouse in the Fort Point area, also referred to as the Innovation District.

Whether in the long run this will prove to have been a wise move remains to be seen. But having decided to take a peek at the new place recently, I feel I am qualified to opine that the new headquarters is better insulated.

The building at 24 Farnsworth Street, which in addition to the UUA headquarters, houses the Beacon Press and a UU bookstore, was extremely quiet when I went on a weekday afternoon — like a library of yore. There was a receptionist in the reception area, two people working quietly at computers in the bookstore, and low voices from two meeting rooms in the back. I took a few pictures. I really liked the high ceilings and the tall warehouse pillars and windows.

I am crazy about the Fort Point area, but I am also concerned that the plethora of brand new office buildings is not helping the area’s vulnerability to a future Hurricane Sandy. It’s next to Boston Harbor and extremely exposed. Some builders are actually incorporating flood walls.

The Boston Globe had this story: “Boston’s effort to redevelop its waterfront is running into a major obstacle: Water. From downtown to East Boston to Dorchester, rising sea levels are posing an increasingly urgent threat to developers’ plans to build hundreds of homes, offices, stores, and parks along Boston Harbor, with many acknowledging the need to reinforce existing properties and redesign new ones in case of flooding from another Hurricane Sandy-like storm. …

“Several building owners are already preparing for the growing possibility of flood waters. At Fan Pier, developer Joseph Fallon has moved critical electrical systems higher in his buildings. Nearby, developers of a residential tower at Pier 4 are proposing to use special flood barriers for lower entrances. And the newly built Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown is surrounded by protective walls and landscaping buffers, and no patient programs are located on the ground floor.”

The entrance to the new UUA headquarters is up several stairs, so maybe the planners were cognizant of potential floods and hoping never to regret their loss of the hill.












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Asakiyume put me on to this offer from the nautical museum in Mystic, Connecticut. They have just finished restoring a whaling ship, and the public is invited to apply for the role of stowaway on its first trip.

Now, as we all know, stowaways stow themselves away in secret, against the wishes of the boat’s owners, but the museum has decided to put a new spin on an old concept.

Here’s what the Providence Journal reports: “Mystic Seaport is looking for a stowaway for its restored 19th century whaling ship. Whoever is hired will sail with the Charles W. Morgan ship next summer on visits to ports across New England. The stowaway will receive a stipend and will share the experience through videos and blog posts.

“The museum in Mystic has spent four years restoring the ship that was built in 1841. The Morgan’s last voyage ended in 1921 and is the world’s only surviving wooden whaling ship.

“The ship … will sail with a mission to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the oceans and its species.” More here.

Kind of counterintuitive to use a whaling ship to promote preserving the ocean and its creatures, but I guess no one is going to hunt any whales. Good thing, too. I read Moby You-Know-Who finally in 2010, and I wouldn’t recommend the life aboard ship.

Stowaway entries must be submitted via e-mail to stowaway@mysticseaport.org by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 18, 2014. I like the idea that the stowaway is expected to blog about the trip. S/he just better not be prone to seasickness.

Update 5/11/14: Read here how the whaling ship restoration benefited from special timber stored upright in saltwater at Charlestown Navy Yard in Mass. and rediscovered during the construction of Spaulding Rehab.

Photo: Bob Breidenbach/The Providence Journal
Matthew Barnes of Mystic Seaport examines the billet head on the bow of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan.

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