Where’s Boston?


A longtime friend of the firm bought a house in Cambridge today. He is from a foreign country and is quite fascinated by the American Colonial style of his new home. The house was built about 200 years ago with the usual additions and renovations. It is quite stately and is part of the National Register of Historic Places and just exudes a New England charm. Since he is from another country I thought it appropriate to get him a housewarming gift that had local flavor.

Um, a regular and a crueller from Dunkin’ Donuts? Oh, yea, right, no more cruellers. They don’t even get up to make the donuts anymore. Well I could go to Paine’s and get a nice ottoman. Nope. Or Jordan’s (not the furniture store) for some blueberry muffins. A nice toaster oven from Lechmere? Gone. This is going to be harder than I thought. A colonial house would do well to have a Paul Revere bowl. Got me where to buy one that isn’t shipped from the other side of the planet. Then it hit me like a big wet fish – a gurgling cod!

For those of you that don’t know about the gurgling cod, they are a longstanding Boston tradition sold exclusively by the venerable Boston jeweler, Shreve, Crump & Low. So I called S, C, & L: "I’m sorry but we have recently been in bankruptcy and have just been purchased by a new company. We expect to be open shortly. Try our store in Chestnut Hill." At long last I spoke to a real Bostonian (in Chestnut Hill, but close enough), who could ship my client a gurgling cod pitcher..

The brand failure in Boston is quite depressing. Dunkin’ Donuts is owned by some galactic conglomerate, Gillette bows to Cincinnati and P&G, all the banks have now merged so it’s like a Fisher Price play set – "Bank" is now the official shortened name (with plans to reduct staff and save signage costs by become Bnk). I miss those light blue cans of Friend’s beans too. Jordan’s Furniture owned by Warren Buffet. And all those quaint Bostonian shops in Fanuel Hall marketplace? The Gap, Williams Sonoma, The Sharper Image….At least Legal Seafoods hasn’t lost it’s Boston roots like 99, Friday’s and Bertucci’s. As a seventh generation Bostonian (the first born outside city limits), I wish we could preserve some of our business institutions, otherwise I guess we should all just move to Florida.

At least I can go to downtown crossing and have a frappe at Woolworth & Co. and stop by Filene’s Basement…

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