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The Old Corner Bookstore is Now a Chipotle
January 4, 2013 8:21 PM   Subscribe

"'Personally, I think it’s slightly sad how easy it was to get,' Jessica says, referring to the building. She brightens. 'But everyone at Chipotle was really excited to get this spot because of the history, the chance to be a part of Boston’s history. This is the oldest retail location in Boston.'" (via)
posted by Rustic Etruscan (52 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The whole "oldest retail location" thing is kind of immaterial, but I guess it is sad to see any bookstore turn over to a chain burrito place. Like, the Boloco literally five seconds away wasn't sufficiently serving the block's needs?
posted by threeants at 8:29 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


You've got to admit, there's something special about eating at the same Chipotle that Benjamin Franklin ate at.
posted by box at 8:34 PM on January 4, 2013 [106 favorites]


Until some college dropout figures out how to sell burritos online.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:35 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's right, twenty year olds can't do anything even remotely creative without being labeled a hipster. That word, roar. The death of bookstores, UGH. Hopefully she can continue to help make Boston more than just a place that serves historical fast food.
posted by pwally at 8:40 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The old Boston is being slowly subsumed by financial types and chain stores. The working waterfront is a distant memory, City Hall is an angry-crowd-proof fortress on stilts, and the financial types are slowly munching away and redeveloping the core of the city with 'luxury apartments'. It's no longer a city for intellectuals, it's a city of disparity, waste and overconsumption.

I'm certain the whole state of Massachusetts used to be nice, once.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:44 PM on January 4, 2013


That massive 4-story space across the way? Also a former bookstore.

Unfortunately, the OCBS hasn't been one for at least a decade:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Corner_Bookstore
posted by charlemangy at 8:53 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I'll bet it's no longer filled with people who, after a pause in the conversation and apropos of nothing, start up a new topic prefaced with:

"Fackiiiinnnn...."
posted by armoir from antproof case at 8:55 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least Harvard bookstore is still around? Bookstores are close to obsolete. Let's create a modern version of the salon to replace them.
posted by MillMan at 8:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


That we no longer need access to revered Boston institutions to be considered part of the education elite is a good thing. Internet retail and electronic books have imploded book stores, what it will do to MIT and Harvard in 10 years once the distance learning initiatives really take hold.
posted by stbalbach at 9:02 PM on January 4, 2013


I think I saw that building in Assassin's Creed 3...
posted by Huck500 at 9:05 PM on January 4, 2013


...the kind of eco-platitudes now necessary to convince office employees to buy fast food. Vats of lettuce sit next to vats of salsa stand next to vats of sour cream...

...

On the wall behind her, a sign informs me that this is “food with integrity.” A dozen meat strips sizzle on the open stove; Chipotle’s chicken, boasts another sign, “is raised without antibiotics and fed a diet free of animal by-products.” But I cannot tell what animal is being cooked.


Wow, that's some elitist bullshit right there.

She's right, twenty year olds can't do anything even remotely creative without being labeled a hipster. That word, roar.

I wouldn't call this lazy bit of writing all that creative, really.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:07 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


, he commented on the internet.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:12 PM on January 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


The old Boston is being slowly subsumed by financial types and chain stores. The working waterfront is a distant memory, City Hall is an angry-crowd-proof fortress on stilts, and the financial types are slowly munching away and redeveloping the core of the city with 'luxury apartments'. It's no longer a city for intellectuals, it's a city of disparity, waste and overconsumption.

Are you just visiting us from 1958? The "new" City Hall is 45 years old. In lieu of luxury apartments in the downtown area, what we had for the prior half a goddamn decade was not an noveau-Athenian stroller's salon but a fucking hole in the ground in the middle of Downtown Crossing. Prior to that --- after 8 o'clock at night, anyway --- downtown was best known for its hookers and junkies. The Combat Zone, remember? The Fort Point Channel hasn't been a useful part of the working waterfront since the Great Depression, and they started putting up luxury condos on the docks in Charlestown 30 years ago.

As for the financial types, Fidelity moved the bulk of what little staff it has left to Rhode Island and New Hampshire about five years ago. Most of the other fin services firms are renting offices in the Back Bay. I mean, sure you've got State Street and the Fed downtown, but the people buying all the new condos in the Seaport aren't finance guys, they're biotech and software people being pushed out of Kendell Sq. and wanting to be closer to Vertex, whose offices are the biggest construction project in the whole country for a while there.

Some of them do aerobics classes on the greenway on summer evenings --- you know, that narrow strip of park running through the heart of downtown which used to be I-93? You should check it out sometime --- personally everytime i walk past the fountain it's been packed with kids running around in their underoos.

Boston has a lot of problems, and there's huge areas of income disparity in the city and pretty ingrained divisions. But the city you're alluding to is unrecognizable to me --- though I only remember the past 30 years or so, give or take. I'm sorry about the globe corner. It was just a few weeks ago that i was googling it, to see if it might have a map I wanted to buy as a Christmas present, and that's when i found out about its sad end. But you know what? Turned out there was a whole store just for custom maps between Porter and Harvard on Mass Ave. Plenty of demand for that sort of nerdy niche in Boston....
posted by Diablevert at 9:40 PM on January 4, 2013 [32 favorites]


Like, the Boloco literally five seconds away wasn't sufficiently serving the block's needs?

Well, it also comes down to the blocks patronage, right?
posted by asra at 10:01 PM on January 4, 2013


Turned out there was a whole store just for custom maps between Porter and Harvard on Mass Ave. Plenty of demand for that sort of nerdy niche in Boston....

For a second I was all, "yeah, wow, a whole store devoted to custom maps of the area between Porter and Harvard would be a really nerdy niche..."
posted by en forme de poire at 10:46 PM on January 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I mean the subway maps would all be so small.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:59 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the wall behind her, a sign informs me that this is “food with integrity.” A dozen meat strips sizzle on the open stove; Chipotle’s chicken, boasts another sign, “is raised without antibiotics and fed a diet free of animal by-products.” But I cannot tell what animal is being cooked.

Make way. It's duckling.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:00 PM on January 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


Make way. It's duckling.

Oh god, I wish. I haven't had a good duck burrito since leaving Berkeley.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:18 PM on January 4, 2013


This sounds awful but all of a sudden I really have a craving for a Chipotle burrito bowl...
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Turned out there was a whole store just for custom maps between Porter and Harvard on Mass Ave.

And decommissioned MBTA (and other transit) signage! I have a "NO SMOKING" platform sign on my wall. My girlfriend got a 1905 Boston Terminal Company diagram of tracks and signals, some of which still exist today at South Station. If I'd had an extra 80 bucks kicking around I would have bought a Coney Island F train rollsign.

...yeah, it's a really nerdy niche.
posted by Spatch at 12:30 AM on January 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


At least a Chipotle's sells things that are useful instead of symbols of conspicuous consumption like the previous tenant.

It also means that a historic location is actually being a part of the life of the city instead of a museum. Museums are well and nice as well, but most old buildings don't need to be museums.
posted by Authorized User at 12:31 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


SPATCH WHERE IS THAT STORE I AM 4000% SERIOUS
posted by en forme de poire at 1:10 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like, the Boloco literally five seconds away wasn't sufficiently serving the block's needs?

Don't forget the Qdoba around the corner and the burrito stand that sets up nearby. I work in the area (seriously, I can leap out my window and roll down the hill to land at that Chipotle's doorstep) and we've definitely reached Peak Burrito.

The Chipotle in question is okay for what it is, especially on days it's way too cold to make the trek to Villa Mexico. One time they screwed up a lunch order for my staff so bad that we ended up getting enough gift cards that we were swimming in beans and cheese for a month.

What I really miss is Characero, which moved a few years back. Those sandwiches were so good, you were mad when they were done, even if you were full. Like punch someone in the face mad.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:22 AM on January 5, 2013


I'm certain the whole state of Massachusetts used to be nice, once.

Roger Williams might beg to differ.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:32 AM on January 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


One part of me gets the historic angst. Another part of me once had a pretty good breakfast in a building that was 500 years old when that building now housing the Boston Chipotle was built and may have been used to store dead Saxons.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:42 AM on January 5, 2013


robocop, Chacarero is on Arch Street, minutes away from that Chipotle.
posted by Majorita at 4:16 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


and may have been used to store dead Saxons.

You... didn't order the sausage, did you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:17 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...In 1960, civic leaders raised money and established Historical Boston Incorporated to acquire and preserve this site.”
So, does the article eventually tell us what happened to that? I stopped reading after a while, because.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:21 AM on January 5, 2013


robocop, Chacarero is on Arch Street, minutes away from that Chipotle.

Yeah, which puts it just outside of my I'm-hungry-and-have-limited-time walking range. I can make a special trip once or twice a year (like Villa Mexico), but usually just bring my lunch from home. Working early means I'm hungry for lunch when most people are thinking coffee break.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:43 AM on January 5, 2013


Ward Maps is the cool map store on Mass Ave. I just picked up a Harvard Station coffee mug.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:36 AM on January 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


2bucksplus: "Until some college dropout figures out how to sell burritos online."

First we need a a tunnel.
posted by mkb at 5:45 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paging Jonathan Richman...
posted by drowsy at 5:48 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This feels like when I went to London for the first time and discovered that 84 Charing Cross Road is now occupied by a Pizza Hut.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:50 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone go to Chipotle's when Herrera's is less than an eighth of a mile away? Horchatas, I wish I could quit you.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:51 AM on January 5, 2013


R. Schlock:
Make way. It's duckling.


That quip was Homer Priceless.
posted by dr_dank at 5:52 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am sure that there is a good story behind this, but this article is certainly not it. The writer learns that the bookstore is closed, gets some background that is found easily on wikipedia and a sign on the building, speaks to one person at the Chipotle and then frets about how to write about the subject without sounding cliche and hipstery. How about doing some more research beyond the cliche, superficial facts and maybe you'll have a better story to write? And that's not a slam on "hipsters" or millenials, there is a lot of great writing out there, but I don't think this is it.

If a high school student turned this in for an assignment I would call it thin.
posted by roquetuen at 6:11 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If everything interesting in Boston is inevitably going to get replaced by chain stores, could we at least get a Nordstrom? I miss Nordstrom.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:53 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chipotle is unnecessary in a city that has Anna's Taqueria, vendor of the Platonic ideal of the burrito.
posted by killdevil at 6:55 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If everything interesting in Boston is inevitably going to get replaced by chain stores, could we at least get a Nordstrom? I miss Nordstrom.

Well, a Nordstrom Rack, at least.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:17 AM on January 5, 2013


Chipotle is unnecessary in a city that has Anna's Taqueria, vendor of the Platonic ideal of the burrito.
I like Anna's myself, but it gets regularly pooh-poohed by those who claim to know from burritos. I don't think I've ever eaten a burrito west of the Mississippi, so I wouldn't know.
posted by dfan at 7:41 AM on January 5, 2013


That quip was Homer Priceless.

Pinkberry for Sal?
posted by R. Schlock at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


If a high school student turned this in for an assignment I would call it thin.

If a high school teacher gave me this comment I would think s/he had missed the point.
posted by dersins at 9:11 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a high school student turned this in for an assignment I would call it thin.


Aw, leave the recent college graduate/intern alone already. Cut her some slack, for Chrissakes.

(You remind me of the English professor/father character William Hurt played in "One True Thing," when he tells his daughter that her latest article isn't good enough: "You have to reach, dammit! Reach!")
posted by discopolo at 9:27 AM on January 5, 2013


... what it will do to MIT and Harvard in 10 years once the distance learning initiatives really take hold.

Harvard and MIT bring you their free massive online course platform, edX.
posted by ericb at 9:34 AM on January 5, 2013


Maybe one of you can explain this to me, since it's been bugging me for a while now: why do people who live in San Francisco, even people born and raised here, voluntarily choose to eat at Chipotle? There are at least a couple in the city and every time I see people inside one I feel like asking them "umm, you know this is San Francisco, right?" Hell, I'd eat at a Gordo's before I went to Chipotle again (yes, I tried it once, just to see what it was like). And believe me, I'm no snob or anything; I certainly don't consider myself above eating at chain restaurants. It's just that the existence of Chipotle here feels so very redundant and strange.
posted by MattMangels at 2:01 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, I haven't had Chacarero since I stopped working in downtown Boston almost 9 years ago. I MISS those damn sandwiches like whoa.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:03 PM on January 5, 2013


> I like Anna's myself, but it gets regularly pooh-poohed by those who claim to know from burritos. I don't think I've ever eaten a burrito west of the Mississippi, so I wouldn't know.

Anna's is damn good, as is Bueno y Sano in Northampton, but they aren't the same as a mission style burrito that you find in San Francisco. As someone who grew up in New England and now lives in the PacNW with a year in LA and frequently commuting to SF, I can say that there is a lot of different and interesting approaches to making burritos.

And for a period of time when I was in college in central PA, I craved for something as simple as Chipotle (which I could find in DC easily when there on a school project), as there were no good burritos to be had in Lewisburg.

But back to the topic on hand: I feel Anna's are great burritos if all you know of are burritos are from Boston. Chipotle however has mobile and online ordering, which makes for the lunch rush to be more manageable than a lot of those other places. They are the Starbucks of Burritos.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:07 PM on January 5, 2013


mrzarquon: "And for a period of time when I was in college in central PA, I craved for something as simple as Chipotle (which I could find in DC easily when there on a school project), as there were no good burritos to be had in Lewisburg."

Looks like the closest Chipotle is in Harrisburg.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2013


dr_dank: "R. Schlock:
Make way. It's duckling.

That quip was Homer Priceless.
"

Fun fact: About ten years ago, some twits from away bought the hill depicted in Blueberries for Sal and built a full-on McMansion with a three-car garage. Imagine if someone showed up in the blueberry field now and tried picking berries with their kid.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:58 PM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Article: that was painful to read. At the beginning I, too, felt sad that there was a Chipotle there rather than a bookstore and by the end I loathed the author so much that I wanted them to put a second one in.

Anna's: Sadly, their rice is not vegetarian. It's made with chicken broth. It is not possible to get a vegetarian burrito there. Which is why people would choose Chipotle over Anna's. (It's why I chose Chipotle the last time I was in Davis.)
posted by rednikki at 5:01 PM on January 5, 2013


Except that Anna's does have vegetarian rice upon request.

"Our rice is made with chicken stock, but you can request vegetarian rice."
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:10 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Imagine if someone showed up in the blueberry field now and tried picking berries with their kid.

If that were my house, I'd have two bearskin rugs--a big one and a little tiny one--in the den.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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