Once upon a time, before the magic box fixed/ruined everything, people shopped in large stores full of all different kinds of merchandise. The goods were helpfully organized into departments, hence the name “department stores”.
Historically, department store were good for exactly three things: 1) for women to get their makeup done for free before a fancy party; 2) for taking a poo in foreign neighborhoods where there wasn’t a hotel (fancy hotels obviously have the best public toilets); and 3) for paying $150 for a Mr. Coffee machine that cost $30 at Target.
One of the greatest of the classic department stores was Filene’s. The flagship store was located on the corner of Summer & Washington Streets in the Downtown Crossing section of Boston. Tourists from all over would come to shop at Filene’s Basement. (The real Filene’s Basement, not the crappy place at the loser mall that sells dated football jerseys, stale candy and executive desk toys.)
Ultimately Macy’s bought Filene’s and shut down the store. Some jerk from New York bought the building, tore it down and ran out of money before putting up a new building. And now we’re left with a giant, ugly hole in the middle of a giant, ugly part of Boston. Thanks a lot, jerk.
But I am not here to point fingers. My mission in life is to offer solutions. Poorly thought-out, ridiculous solutions. So let’s go!
9 Great Ideas for Filling the Filene’s Hole in Boston
1) DINOLAND BOSTON: Two things I’m certain of is that kids like dinosaurs and kids are stupid. Let’s turn the hole into the largest urban archaeological dig site in the world. Take down the fence, bury some fake dinosaur bones and charge kids and their parents $60 to excavate.
2) SEXHOLE BOSTON: Downtown Crossing used to be famous for two things: shopping and porn. The old combat zone was zoned out of existence years ago and half of the (non-porn) stores are now closed. Let’s get back to our roots and put all of the strip clubs, porn shops and whatnot in the hole with a retractable latex roof. Think of how many more free agents we’ll be able to sign if there was more porn in town! No more tipsy drives to Providence!!
3) HALF-PIPE BOSTON: I’m never quite sure whether to be intimidated by skateboarder kids or not. On the one hand, they wear all that scary clothing and make-up. On the other hand, they’re all skinny and weak from the drugs and the ennui. Either way, let’s clear those kids out of Copley by giving them a huge half-pipe to play on.
4) SPOOKYWORLD/ENCHANTED VILLAGE: Admittedly this is only a good idea for like 3 months a year, but it seems like Spookyworld and the Enchanted Christmas Village are always moving from venue to venue. Why not give them a permanent home?
5) FOODTRUCK DEMOLITION DERBY: I love this idea. We combine the super-hot trend of food trucks with the eternal appeal of demolition derbys. First, we eat. Then, we smash.
6) KEEP DIGGING: Okay, this is a radical idea. How about instead of putting up a new building we just keep digging and see what happens. Will we find the morlocks? Maybe Al Capone’s vault? Monsters at the center of the earth? China?!? Now I kind of want to know for real.
7) GIVE IT TO HARVARD: easy answer: we give the hole to Harvard. Then they can move Allston in to the hole, accomplishing their evil master plan decades ahead of schedule.
8) PAINT CAN “STORAGE”: If you’re like me, you have a lot of empty paint cans in the garage that you can’t get rid of. The trash men won’t take them, the recycling guys won’t take them, and the trash pickers don’t want them. But seriously, does anyone care if I just throwing my old paint cans in the fucking hole? I really want to get rid of them.
9) “PHANTOM” GOURMET: Okay, here’s the plan. First, we tell all of the Andelman brothers that there’s free food and potential advertisers in the hole. Then we murder* them when they’re not looking.
(*Please note that I am merely joking when I suggest that we murder the Andelman brothers. I greatly prefer Phantom Gourmet over TV Diner and I like that they take seriously reviewing regular food. I always liked Eddie on the radio and think he’s a real mensch. In fact, if you are an Andelman brother, I would very much like to be best friends and/or do some voice-over work for you.)
Well, there you have it. 9 great ideas for filling the hole. And to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t really spend a lot of time or effort thinking them up. Imagine what I could come up with if I actually tried!