What the future holds

June 10, 2010
By

If media activity in the Boston Globe regarding Don Chiofaro’s dream and the future of the Greenway as expressed in the coming Armenian Memorial is a measure of what is to follow, then we are in for very interesting times along the North End Waterfront.

First, Chiofaro.

During the past three weeks we have heard from the enigmatical Boston developer that he doesn’t understand why the mayor has it in for him; that he doesn’t need giant twin towers where the Harbor Towers Parking garage stands today; and that he’d like to re-make part of the Aquarium complex to better integrate the Greenway with the waterfront with the many tens of thousands of people who use it or who live on it.

Chiofaro’s dance contest with the mayor is so far offering some fancy footwork and a few difficult steps.

The mayor dances with an accomplished troupe. It is quite a group familiar with all the moves.

Chiofaro dances as a virtuoso – like a single ballerina lost in brilliant twirls and orchestrated pirouettes.

Chiofaro can put on a great performance – but he can’t win the dance contest.

He can’t win his fight with the mayor.

Fighting with the mayor, believing he can outdo the mayor on the mayor’s home turf, well, this is problematic to his strategy.

His only strength is that the mayor hasn’t entirely written him off which means under the right circumstances, the mayor might deal with him.

After all, Chiofaro estimates his waterfront development plan is worth more than $1 billion, thousands of new jobs and residences and businesses and millions upon millions in new taxes.

Chiofaro’s greatest hurdle is not the mayor, who understands the benefits but the litigious, moneyed folks living in the units at Harbor Towers whose views would be ruined by the appearance of two new towers. Those people – and there are more than 200 of them – are prepared to sue Chiofaro – or anyone seeking such a development at the drop of a surveyors rod.

The new Aquarium offer made by Chiofaro via the Boston Globe last week is another wonderful bit of developer hubris. However, Aquarium trustees, directors and officials were largely unaware of the particulars of Chiofaro’s offer.

The Globe appears to have taken on Chiofaro in his perceived battle with the mayor.

The Globe, however, is a vastly weakened institution but very capable of causing trouble with Chiofaro and the mayor.

The entire situation could use quiet, unambiguous meetings between connected parties that would lead to the ultimate – everyone getting what they want – the mayor, the city and the developer.

As for the Armenian Memorial on the Greenway … we were in favor of such a place not so much because it suits our Greenway use fantasies but rather, because the Armenian community throughout the world and here in Boston know something about genocide.

What the Armenian people suffered at the hands of the Ottoman Turks at the end of the First World War was a holocaust. And to this day, the Turks are unwilling to wash their hands of the extermination and slaughter of millions of Armenians.

The torture and suffering of the Armenian people is reason enough for this memorial to take shape and form in a place where millions will see it, read its plaques and understand the importance of its presence.

The Armenian Memorial on the Greenway will be a reminder to all who visit it of man’s inhumanity to man.

You don’t have to be Armenian to understand their holocaust and how it has affected the Armenian people ever since.