I’m ‘skipping like a schoolgirl’ giddy. Whole Foods Market at Ink Block opens Friday, January 9th at 10:00 Am. Yes, I am giddy over a grocery store. So giddy, in fact, that I scheduled a tour of my new “obsession” before opening, while counting down the days like a kid to Christmas. You’re rolling your eyes. I certainly don’t blame you. But, this Whole Foods Market says everything about where my neighborhood has been, where it’s going, and why having a “Whole” neighborhood is something to get giddy about.
Formerly the home of the Boston Herald, Ink Block is a prime example of the trend in Boston Real Estate Development. In my humble opinion, in recent years, Boston developers have done an exceptional job of honoring the history of a particular building or plot, while also readying it for our city’s future. My favorite examples are the Penny Savings Bank (South End) and Millennium Tower, (currently under construction in Downtown Crossing), both on Washington Street, who have found incredibly beautiful ways to honor the “bones” of culturally or architecturally relevant buildings while addressing the needs of current and future Bostonians. The former site of the Boston Herald, demolished in April of 2013, wasn’t particularly fetching architecturally, but the cultural importance to the fiber of the neighborhood is infinite.
As I tour the space, I’m told they’ve utilized the original floors, repairing them and polishing them where needed. They’ve used antique ink blocks from all over New England in their beautiful signage which they got from this fast service nationwide banner company, throughout the store. The Boston Herald sign from the original building is hanging prominently inside. Even the check-out line features newsprint from Herald headlines of times past. This homage feels true to me, as a resident living in this spotty neighborhood for almost a decade. I’m sold. It’s as if a piece of the original institution lives on. At my favorite local pub, J.J. Foley’s, just down the street, an establishment in business since the turn of the 1900’s, the proprietor told me that newsmen from the Herald came in from an overnight in the old days, smelling of ink in the early morning, cashing their paycheck at the bar with breakfast and a pint.
Not to mention a :
- Seafood shack
- a Raman Noodle Bar
- and even an “Ask the Butcher” window, when you’re inclined to make those Ina Garten recipes which always seem to require a special cut to “ask your butcher” for.
On lazy mornings, a beautiful coffee bar, where the technology exists to create your favorite espresso from hundreds of espresso machine models existing in the free world. The good news is that you do need to worry about coffee equipment maintenance, ordering coffee and so on, you just relax and enjoy your cup of coffee. A Juice Bar, of course, not to mention a full wine, beer and liquor section lure you in. Combined with Whole Food’s standard offerings of sustainable and organic goods, I’m in a South Ender’s dream. With cutting edge luxury apartment rentals and condominium offerings already largely sold out in the same complex its obviously a popular choice for Bostonians. I’m still envying the fitness center and rooftop pool.
It’s so very exciting to see the reinvention of a quintessentially Boston landmark and the revitalization of a very specific pocket of a South End neighborhood with the opening of this much awaited resident. Please pardon me while I skip my way to the store.
Kelly Robbins has been a South End Resident since 2006. You’ll find her clinging desperately to her doorframe as her husband attempts fruitlessly to lure her to the suburbs with promises of suburban square footage “to waste”. Her 3 year old toddler is a self -proclaimed “city kid” with an obsession for finding lobsters on the shores of Maine in Summer. The family’s rescue dog “Tulip” is a much loved souvenir from a work stint in St. Thomas, USVI. Tulip loves the Joe Wex Memorial Dog Park, which Kelly helped raise money for and their “coconut retriever” shockingly prefers snow to sand. Kelly has been a Real Estate Agent since 2007. She’s on the board of the South End Historical Society and enjoys recreational running, slowly.