3/31/2015: Intel on Judith’s Kitchen

Was gonna post an April Fools day blog about how Judith’s Kitchen was opening tomorrow.  Then I came across some real intel that I needed to share with you guys. Check it out.

Judith Kalish is a West Newton resident and plans to open Judith’s Kitchen this spring. Judith is a graduate from Swathmore College and The New England Culinary Institute. Been working at restaurants like Hamersley’s Bistro and Orleans since the 90s.  Most recently, she was the manger for prepared foods at both Newton Whole Foods locations. Also Foodie’s Urban Market in the South End.

Judith’s Kitchen will be dining in and take out.  Soups, salads, meat, fish, pastas and most importantly — coffee, tea and breakfast pastries for morning commuters.  Hopefully there will be a grand opening in our near future.  For more info, check out http://www.judiths-kitchen.com.






3/30/2015: Wellington Park Wake-Up

Consider volunteering to clean up Wellington Park you guys!  More info below from event coordinators.
Greetings Neighbors!

I promise you, the snow WILL be gone by the time of the Wellington Park Wake-up!!

The NewtonServes volunteer scheduling website is up and running! We are seeking volunteers to help with the “Wellington Park Wake-up” on Sunday, April 26 from 12:30 – 3:30. Please sign up today: http://www.newtoncommunitypride.org/NewtonSERVES-volunteer.php

Our goal this year is to have 20 families from the neighborhood join us in waking up our park. This is YOUR park and we depend on neighbors to put in just 2-3 hours in the beginning of the year to wake up the park and get it ready for a full year of use. In prior years many indicated competing commitment to help at Franklin school and other projects, please consider helping at school in the morning and at the park in the afternoon, even for just an hour or two, we really need your help.

If you’d like to help but can not come on April 26, let us know. There is always additional work that still needs to be done and we’d love your help the following weekend.

Volunteers will rake, mulch, weed, plant, fertilize, prune, pick up litter, pull invasive plants and more. There’s lots to get done and we really need your help to do it all. If you do not have tools don’t worry, we will provide them, just come in your gardening clothes.

Donations are also needed. The city provide zero funds and very little support for maintaining the park, we generally spend about $300 each year to care for the park. Please consider sending your donation for $5 – $20 to Bonnie Bender, 52 Southgate Park, West Newton, MA 02465. Make check payable to Bonnie Bender. Donations cover the cost for plants, fertilizers, watering cans, hoses and other tools and equipment.

Please sign up today! http://www.newtoncommunitypride.org/NewtonSERVES-volunteer.php

Thanks, and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the 26th,

RAIN DATE: the following Sunday.

Ann Dorfman and Bonnie Bender
9 Henshaw St and 52 Southgate Park
dorfmanann@comcast.net and lunall2@verizon.net

3/30/2015: 88 Adena just listed for $710k — price does not include house

Most of the time when you buy real estate for $710k in W. Newton you get a house.  In this case you don’t.  You get a hole in the ground.  So if you need like a kitchen and bedrooms and bathrooms — stop reading — this place is not for you… guys.

If you want to get your build on, 88 Adena might be for you.  8,000 sq/ft lot that’s permitted for a 5 bed/4.5 bath home with 4,000 sq/ft.  Walking distance to Franklin School and West Newton’s crown jewel, Randlett Park.

88 Adena

88 Adena1

3/26/2015: W. Newton home values see big gains over past 5 years

Take a look at the numbers below you guys.  Home values within 1/2 mile radius of Randlett Park are up big time since 2010.

2010 — 39 home sales with avg. price of $545k

2011 — 29 home sales with avg. price of $563k

2012 — 39 home sales with avg. price of $628k

2013 — 27 home sales with avg. price of $653k

2014 — 40 home sales with avg price of $688k

Values really started to spike in 2012 as we crawled out of the financial crisis.  Banks started lending money to homebuyers again too.  Values continue to rise as inventory remains historically tight — driving prices upwards.

Wanna know how the market looks in 2015?  Covered in snow.  1 sale so far this year for $575k.  Wanna know who sold it?  Our very own Myrna Guterman.  Thanks Myrna!!

3/26/2015: Guest blog from Tamara — Little Free Library(s) coming to Randlett Park

Randlett Park has a lot to offer these days. Luau theme parties. Backyard sledding hills. Scotch clubs. Babysitting swaps. Fancy pizza ovens. Potholes. But you know what it doesn’t have? A Little Free Library.

But fret not, Randlett Parkers, because that’s about to change.

(Okay, so most of you weren’t fretting because you’ve never heard of a Little Free Library. That’s about to change, too.)

According to the Little Free Library website, a Little Free Library — hereinafter referred to as an LFL so my hands don’t get tired from typing — is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

Considering what a neighborly street this is, and given that some of you actually have time to read (what can I say — I like my reality TV), a Randlett Park LFL makes perfect sense.* So a few weeks ago, Jim Wieder — a fellow Newton resident who enjoys building stuff and happens to be my father — began work on what will soon be Newton’s third LFL (the others are in Newton Upper Falls and Chestnut Hill).

But before you guys get all excited about unloading all those piles of books you have sitting around, let’s establish some ground rules for our LFL, mmkay?

  • Nothing with Fabio on the cover.
  • If it’s been sitting in your bathroom for more than day or two, best dispose of it in a more suitable receptacle (preferably in a biohazard bag).
  • Safe to say anyone with young children already owns “Goodnight Moon.”
  • Don’t blame us if no one takes your copy of “Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny’s Child.”
  • You can just drop off “Go the F**k to Sleep” directly at #135.
  • People don’t use traditional dictionaries anymore. You can look words up online. Save the LFL shelf space for “Harry Potter.”
  • Children’s books encouraged. Anything to keep Randlett Park progeny from watching another episode of “Caillou.”
  • No one wants your copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” For serious.

*So perfect, in fact, that there’s a second Randlett Park LFL in the works down at #37.


3/24/2015: I need bald eagle pics

And I needed them yesterday. If someone sends me a clear shot of the eagle(s) on/over Randlett, I’ll buy the whole street a round at the Cherry Tree. Probably more than 1 round. If you send me a pic of the eagle(s) perched on the Randlett Park sign, I will make sure you never have to buy a beer in W Newton again.

Word is the eagles have been staying close to the tall pine on Warwick, leaving only to go to bathroom over Eliot.

Ok that last part is not exactly true but a lot of you guys were thinking it made total sense.

3/24/2015: 62 Cherry Place — the saga continues to continue

Major news out of 62 Cherry Place today.  After just 264 days in what many realtors are calling the most favorable sellers market in the history of the universe, the price of 62 Cherry Price has been slashed from $1.529M to $1.499M.  In case you guys don’t speak real estate, that’s 30,000 USDs.

Bill Murray

Unless you want to wind up like this guy, you should run (not walk) to 62 Cherry Place. As a licensed real estate professional, I recommend you bring your checkbook.


62 Cherry Place

3/24/2015: Newton offering separate outdoor water meters for limited time

This is big news you guys.  The city is temporarily allowing residents to order a 2nd water meter just for outdoor use.  Those of you with irrigation systems know that you’re charged for water & sewer usage each time the sprinklers run.  Adding the 2nd water meter will not incur the sewer rate — just water.  This is gonna save you $$$.  Registration ends April 1st.  Find more details on the link below:


sprinkler of automatic watering

3/23/2015: Horace Mann playground needs your help!

Actually, they need your money.  The playground at Albermarle Field is in need of replacement.  The kids at Horace Mann are just plain sick of it. The City of Newton has changed their playground funding policies and has made a $75,000 commitment to the playground.  This is enough to cover one of the two structures they’d like to install.  The 2nd structure costs $90k — which is where you come in.

Many Horace Mann families have already donated but they still need more USDs.  In order to have the playground ready for the 1st day of school in Fall 2015, they need to order both structures by April 15th.  Every donation over $100 comes with a brick paver.  And the donations are tax deductible.  So you guys really have no excuse.  Think of the children!

Horace Mann playground

3/21/2015: Bald eagles on Warwick

Word is there’s a pair of bald eagles on Warwick Road. They’ve been sighted several times in a large pine tree on the Fessenden side of the street. Someone said they’re nesting. Not gonna pretend to know crap about that. 

Gotta love W. Newton. Cherry Tree, Scotch Club, bald eagles all over the place you guys.  Straight up America.  

If you have pics of these freedom protectors – please send. 


3/19/2015: The Backroom wine bar on Moody opens April 8th


Check out this place!  Joshua Smith, former Four Season chef, is opening The Backroom on Moody Street in early April.  This is the same guy from Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions.  The Backroom is a 50 seat wine bar offering Italian food that’s “focused on sophisticated simplicity.” Whatever that means.  Wood fired pizza, pastas, 32 oz steaks and pork chops.  Lots of wine for Management.  I’m a beer guy — but they only have 2 taps because they don’t want to compete with The Gaff across the street.  Smart.  They’re also going to have a ton of bourbon. Very smart. Like this place already. 

. Backroom1   

3/19/2015: Management guest blog on Nathaniel Allen House 

Management here. Forced to write my first guest post because I can no longer sit idly by while Dave says things like, “the Nathaniel Allen house looks like it was built in 1593.”  I mean, that predates the Mayflower, the Plymouth colony, and John Winthrop, you guys.  I have a reputation as a wanna-be historian to uphold here. More importantly, it turns out that the Nathaniel Allen house is an awesome piece of local and national history. 
Shout out to blog reader EH for alerting us to Allen’s reputed involvement with the Underground Railroad.  No, Dave, there were no actual trains on that railroad – but there were “conductors,” and Allen was an active one. Writings by his wife, Caroline, and their daughter, Lucy, confirm that the house was a stop on the Railroad.  The Allens rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in the abolitionist movement during the nineteenth century. We’re taking about radical badasses like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Charles Sumner!
If that doesn’t impress you, it’s also worth knowing that this was Allen’s main residence while he established the West Newton English & Classical school – a pioneer in co-education, racially-mixed classes, physical education, and the first school to establish a pure kindergarten in the country!  The awesome team over at Historic Newton has some great info on their website about Allen, his family, the house, the school, and their significance to the education and abolitionist movements.  If you’re interested in a little more background, check out the writeup on their files:  http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/historic/research/collections/papers/allen.asp.

3/14/2015: Store at Shell Gas Station complete 

4 blogs in 24 hours – are you kidding me?  I feel like a pitcher in the late innings of a no hitter. You know when nobody talks to him or sits near him in the dugout. Just in such a zone you guys.

The store at the Shell Gas Station was just finished and it’s pretty awesome. Wine, beer, big coffee selection.  Is just what W Newton was missing.

The owner has a large mural of W Newton in the coffee section and is trying to figure out what street it is. It’s a beautiful street so you know it’s not Eliot.

3/13/2015: Update on Knights of Columbus

I’m a blogging fool today.  Thanks to Homeowner T for sending over some good neighborhood intel.

The buyer of the Knights of Columbus has decided to restore the original structure and convert the building to housing.  No word on how many units — gotta see what’s economically feasible.  If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.

North Gate

Here’s what the Knights of Columbus used to look like in the 1920s, back when it was the North Gate Club.  You guys.



3/13/2015: What’s up with the Nathaniel Allen House on Webster St?

You guys know this place.  On Webster Street.  Looks like it was built in 1593 and may just say F it and fall over backwards.

Allen house

Belonged to Nathaniel Allen, a West Newton educator and abolitionist from back in the day. Like way back in the day.  For those of you who aren’t history buffs like myself, abolitionists study and promote the health of trees.  The Nathaniel Allen House was one of the first co-ed, racially integrated schools.  Didn’t matter if you were a boy or girl, black or white, Nathaniel Allen dropped knowledge about trees on kids from all backgrounds.  Guy was also boys with Horace Mann & Cyrus Pierce.

Fast forward 700 years and the Board of Alderman has just approved $300k of Community Preservation Funds to stabilize the building and make it accessible as part of the 1st phase of restoring this old beaut.  Renovations are already under way.

3/13/2015: Update on Constantine Place

Foundation is well under way and the construction team expects to start framing above ground in the next few weeks.  How they dug that foundation this winter I’ll never know. Construction team is hoping for a fall completion.  3 retail spaces on the street level and 4 apartments above.  Wish they would stop teasing me and just tell me who the 3 retailers are gonna be.  Please be Keltic Krust you guys.


Constantine Place2