Chelsea Night Market

After dark, fire breathers performed at the Chelsea Night Market.
Butterflies and Fire?: You bet. Performers entertained the crowd on stilts in butterfly costumes through the day, and at night with fire spinning tricks during the first-ever Chelsea Night Market on Luther Place last Saturday, June 8. The Market was a hit locally with large, but manageable crowds, a circus-like atmosphere and food and retail vendors throughout. The next market will take place on July 13.

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First ‘Night Market’ Draws Manageable, Excited Crowd

The first Chelsea Night Market is being deemed a success, bringing a good crowd to Luther Place for the music, vendors and excitement in the downtown.

“It was great,” said Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney. “We had a decent, manageable crowd. The attendees and vendors were all really pleased. We had lots of neighbors attend, which was great. There were no major technical snags and the fire performance was a hit.”

The Night Market blocked off the City parking lot behind the main business district, using the refurbished Chelsea Walk as an entry point. On the lot were vendors with all kinds of wares, food servers and a stage. Musical acts were popular, but the hit of the night was the Boston Circus Guild’s fire-breathing and juggling performance.

The next Night Market will be on July 13, and coordinators said to look for some new and different things to be on the docket.

The next event for the downtown, however, is the Fiesta Verano – a great Latin music themed event that was cancelled last year three times due to rain. This year they hope to find some better luck.

They will have the Fiesta on Second Street and in collaboration with the Chelsea Cooperative.

Look for a cowboy them, Graney said.

“We’re embracing a rodeo theme this year with pony rides and a bounce house for little ones,” said Graney. “A ‘bike rodeo,’ presented by the Chelsea Bike and Ped Committee and MassBike, is an obstacle course and games for all ages so bring your bike or trike. Over on the big lawn a mechanical bull will be bucking and kicking all riders for your merriment.”

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Chelsea Night Market Inaugural Event Planned for June 8

How much awesomeness can be contained within Luther Place?

The people of Chelsea will soon find out as the first of a series of five monthly events takes place downtown on Saturday, June 8, with the launch of the Chelsea Night Market.

Presented by the City of Chelsea through its downtown initiative called Chelsea Prospers and local events production company Jukebox, the Chelsea Night Market is an ambitious undertaking for a hidden corner of the downtown that’s beginning to awaken.

Last year, GreenRoots took the lead in the block’s transformation by creating a colorful mural with Chelsea artist and one of the state’s top muralists Silvia López Chavez on the Chelsea Walk.

That pedestrian walkway provides the entrance to the next phase of the effort with activation of the space through the Chelsea Night Market.

Edwardo Chacon of Jukebox said, “Vendors are still being accepted for future markets and there’s always room for more artists and performers to join in. Our priority is to engage as much local talent as possible. We’re excited by all the energy growing around the market and the new connections we’re making. This is going to be epic.”

Here, in the large parking lot on Cherry Street behind the businesses on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets, event visitors every month will find the area transformed with activity and something new to discover on each visit.

More than a dozen booths will feature local businesses, artists, merchants and community groups. Merchandise includes both new, vintage, thrift and handcrafted items.

Jack’s Men’s Shop will highlight emerging brands for men’s fashion, while Allen’s Cut Rate features a selection of high-quality fragrances. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry by Beaded Inspiration and Sacred Soul Fire. Over at the booths for Dandelion District and High Energy Vintage there’s a variety of vintage items including old school video games, nicnacks and clothing.

At Jukebox’s booth, show off your local pride with swag that shouts your love of all things 02150. Among the offerings are T-shirts and totes emblazoned with Chelsea. All proceeds are dedicated to supporting the next projects to improve Luther Place.

A variety of other tents will feature community groups and artists.

Test your aim with Archery Games Boston, show off what you’re proud of with the Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, and play around with the team from the Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea.

Several local restaurants are on board with menus of street food as well.

Get a sandwich hot off the grill from the chefs of Broadway House of Pizza, nibble savory Chinese food from Chung Wah, or sink your teeth into an empanada from Pan y Café.

On the main stage a variety of performers will entertain the crowd.

MC for the night is comedian and actor Chase Abel. Host of the podcast “Ready Set Blow” with Randy V, he’s a regular at Boston’s top clubs.

Among them is a band headed by Bengisu and Tuzcu.

It’s impossible to describe their mix of Turkish-funk-rock, but it will definitely get a groove going.

DJ Tempo Sauve’s upbeat house electronica is gathering a strong following, and he’ll keep the energy going throughout the night. There’s a rumor some comedians from the recent show at Tu Casa may stop by too.

The performance highlight, however, undoubtedly will be the crew from the Boston Circus Guild. They’ll be roaming among the crowd to show off their amazing skills and costumes and then at 9:30 p.m., will take the stage for a 20-minute fire performance that will top off the night.

Serving as a backdrop to the main stage and to provide a tangible reminder of the market through the summer, the wall of 456 Broadway will serve as space for temporary mini murals with new designs appearing each month by local artists.

The Chelsea Night Market team is grateful for the support of the Chelsea Record as a media sponsor helping them to spread the word about the upcoming event and to highlight the new happenings of downtown Chelsea.

For additional information check out the Chelsea Night Market’s website at www.chelseanightmarket.com, the facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/529915294079626/ or contact at Mimi Graney, at mgraney@chelseama.gov

Future dates include:

•July 13 (raindate 7/20)

•August 10 (raindate 8/17)

•September 21 (raindate 9/28)

•October 5 (raindate 10/12)

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 301 · Chelsea, MA 02150

Phone: 617.555.1708 · Fax: 617.658.6725 · Email: deptemail@chelseama.gov

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

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Night Market Plans are on Fire…Quite Literally

The Chelsea Night Market plans is smoking, and that’s because the first installment on June 8 will have fire jugglers, amongst musicians, comedians and a full slate of food and craft vendors.

Unveiled earlier this year, the Night Market is part of the City’s Chelsea Prospers campaign and looks to add activity to the downtown area on summer evenings with a creative and exciting market in the Luther Place municipal parking lot once a month.

As the plans come together for the first Market, Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney said she couldn’t be happier with the way things have come together.

“It’s going amazingly,” she said. “We’ve got this really cool Turkish band that’s playing on the first day. We will also have the Boston Circus Guild coming and they will have two performances. There will be folks on stilts, jugglers, people juggling fire and close interactive magicians. They will have a 20-minute fire performance during the evening. Think juggling things on fire with incredible music behind it.”

Graney said she couldn’t yet reveal the vendors, but they have 13 signed up so far that will be a great mix of exciting items and food.

“I’m really excited so many local businesses and food businesses are looking to take part,” she said. “We’re not doing food trucks because we want an intimate atmosphere with open BBQs and food service.”

All of that will be flanked with creative lighting that is meant to ‘wow’ visitors as they come via the newly-refurbished Chelsea Walk.

“Our plan is to encourage people to come into the Market using the Chelsea Walk and it will be like ‘kapow,’” she said. “They’ll be hit with the lights and music and circus acts and vendors.”

There will also be community entries into the Market, with a group of comedians participating and the Chelsea Pride Committee having a booth.

“The Pride Committee will be having their flag raising the day afterward, but they will have a booth at the Market too,” she said. “They plan to use grease body paint to have people write things on themselves that they are proud of. I love a lot of the community vendors are trying to do new and different things instead of just standing behind a table.”

The first Night Market will be on June 8 from 7-10 p.m. with a rain date of June 15.

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New Broadway Sign and Design Guidelines Head to City Council for Review

New Broadway Sign and Design Guidelines Head to City Council for Review

Dr. Deborah Wayne’s optometry shop has been on Broadway in one way or another since 1936, but in 2019 she’s hoping that new City guidelines and a store improvement program will help her shop – and others around it – catapult into the new century.

“You want to see quality businesses and you want them to look like quality businesses,” she said. “I think it’s a fabulous idea. It’s an old storefront. I have a storefront that doesn’t have any grates. We’ve been operating in one location or another on Broadway since 1936 and we’ve never had a grate. I’d do anything to get the grates off the businesses on Broadway. I think they’re ugly. I’m hoping that these regulations go through so I can take advantage of the program. I don’t want to take action and build something that isn’t in compliance. I’m ready to rip the front off my store. I can’t wait.”

She shares the enthusiasm of most of the business community on Broadway, who wholeheartedly support a set of design guidelines for the corridor, as well as a storefront improvement assistance program.

Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney has proposed the regulations this spring to the Planning Board, and had a hearing on April 1. They will have a stop at the City Council again with a ruling promised in May.

“The goal is to be attractive and be maintained and lit well,” she said. “It’s also transparency of the windows. We’re telling folks not to have the big frosted glass and we would like the business to take down the big metal grates. In a lot of cases, they aren’t necessary because it can done other ways. We can meet the goal of safety and meet the goal of feeling safe and having an attractive façade.”

One of the problems, she said, is that the regulations for signage and façade improvements are woefully outdated – in some cases not allowing simple things like a blade sign. A blade sign is a suspended sign that faces those walking on the sidewalk. Because of the outdated regulations, she said, many store owners are hesitant to make upgrades that could be a code violation.

“The downtown has always been a bunch of things, but the rules never changed so it means the businesses can’t update or maintain their facades,” she added.

Alberto Calvo of Stop & Compare Supermarket said they improved their façade and sign a few years ago, and it made a huge difference. He’s excited to see that happen throughout the business district.

“We’re absolutely excited to see movement toward the revamping of sign ordinances,” offered Calvo, also executive vice president of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. “A few years ago, we at Stop & Compare in Chelsea invested significantly to improve our building’s façade and to install updated, modern signage. It has made a marked, positive difference in our foot traffic and sales at that location, and I very much want to see other businesses in the Downtown corridor benefit from these kinds of improvements.”

Chelsea Chamber President Joseph W. Mahoney added, “We do get member businesses, and non-members, too, asking whether there are programs to assist business owners to fund signage and façade improvements. For façades, we know that there is a small program to be made available, but the roll-out of the façade program has been at least a couple of years in the making. Our understanding is that there may also be a cost-sharing program for signage as well. The new signage ordinances still need to be passed by the City Council, so we’ve been telling businesses to sit tight, but be ready. We’ve been saying the same thing to our member and non-member businesses in the signage business. We suggested to Craig Murphy, owner of our member Cambridge Reprographics, start talking to people now.”

“I think businesses are most excited about the potential return of blade signs,” Mahoney elaborated, “those that are perpendicular to the building.” Newburyport’s shopping district is full of those signs.

When one drives down its streets, one can see the businesses’ signs before accidentally passing them. Pedestrians also can spot their destination from a half-block away.

•Another piece of the regulations addresses outdoor or sidewalk dining – which was pioneered by the Ciao! Market on Broadway two summers ago. It was a success, by most accounts, and Graney said they would like to encourage others to try it.

First, however, they wanted to put some standards in place.

The regulations would only allow such dining on sidewalks and they would have to be immediately in front of the business. The furniture would have to be matching and of a high quality. There would have to be a safety plan, and businesses would be responsible for the area. No alcohol service would be allowed for the time being.

Seasonal heaters for outdoor dining are also being considered.

“Realistically, there’s not a lot of space,” she said. “Downtown, where this works, it’s two or three tables or six people. It’s similar to what Ciao! Did on their pilot.”

Addressing the proposed sidewalk dining ordinance, Chamber Executive Director Rich Cuthie was slightly more cautious.

“Edson and Marvin from Ciao Pizza definitely have been the market movers on this and need to be applauded,” he said. “They put in the work and time with the City to test it out. But let’s say it’s a nice summer evening and you and I wanted to have a beer and split a plate of nachos al fresco at a local restaurant on Broadway; maybe an after work meeting or just something social. We sit down at the table and chairs on the sidewalk and then are told, ‘No, sorry. No alcohol is allowed outside.’ Like many people, we’re just going to get up, apologize, and either go to the inside of that restaurant, or another restaurant, or worse, decide to move our meeting or dinner to another town.”

Cuthie said there is no compelling argument for a business owner to make the investment in tables, chairs, and staffing while also having to insure against additional outdoor liabilities if the potential revenues to offset those costs are not there.

“No mistake,” Cuthie continued, “we’re happy and appreciative that the City is moving to try to formally create a path to outdoor dining, but without beer, wine, and cocktails—which by the way are a restaurant’s highest margin offerings and offset food costs, we’re missing the mark and I have to reserve judgment on the initiative’s ultimate success. I don’t want Chelsea to always be 10 years behind other communities. We need proper updating now so that people will say, ‘It’s a beautiful evening, let’s have some margaritas and good Latin food in Chelsea tonight. We’ll decide where we want to eat when we get there, because there are so many outdoor dining choices.’”

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Pupusa Fiesta Highlights Latino Cuisine; Ready to Roll Out on April 7

Pupusa Fiesta Highlights  Latino Cuisine; Ready to Roll  Out on April 7

Several local restaurants and the City’s Chelsea Prospers program is stepping up to celebrate all things about the pupusa this Sunday, April 7, at Emiliana Fiesta as part of the first annual Pupusa Fiesta.

As a precursor to the coming Night Market events, and a nod to the City’s Latino and Central American heritage, the City and local business owners have combined efforts to put on a free festival to highlight the stuffed corn tortilla delicacy – as well as all the trimmings that go with it.

Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney said that five businesses have signed up to participate in the free event, where they will have pupusa samples, forchata drinks, pupusa-making demos, curtido and mariachi music.

“It’s kind of flexing our muscles to see how well we get people together and I also wanted to have a celebration of a particular food that we have in Chelsea,” said Graney.

Julio Flores of El Santaneco Restaurant said they are very excited to participate and feel it is very important that a dish like the pupusa is being highlighted.

“We’re very excited because we opened the restaurant in 2000, and since then we’ve participated in different events like Taste of Chelsea and others,” he said. “However, this is the first time it’s going to be just about the Latino cuisine – particularly the pupusa. That’s a very huge thing.”

A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese and beans – sometimes meats as well. Curtido is a common side dish with the pupusa and it is a vinegar-based slaw made of cabbage and carrots – and a touch of spiciness.

“I think the city manager and Mimi and Chelsea Prospers are doing a great job because I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think it’s the first time there is an event just about Latino food. It also opens up the opportunity for this to happen again. I would love to see this as an opportunity to start a tradition and that it won’t be a one-time event.”

He also said it gives homage to the culture in Chelsea, but a culture that is changing.

“The City is changing,” he said. “The Latino community has been in Chelsea many years.”

The Pupusa Fiesta will take place on Sunday, April 7, from 2-5 p.m. at Emiliana Fiesta, 35 Fourth St. It is a free event.

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Enliven Downtown Chelsea Prospers Unveils Plans For ‘Chelsea Night Market’ This Summer

Enliven Downtown Chelsea Prospers Unveils Plans For  ‘Chelsea Night Market’ This Summer

The City’s Chelsea Prospers initiative has been working behind the scenes for months – often hinting that something fun is coming – and last week they unveiled the Chelsea Night Market, the newest, biggest plan yet to enliven the downtown district.

Director Mimi Graney has been working with Chelsea native Edwardo Chacon, of Jukebox Events, to come up with a summer gathering in the parking lot behind the Chelsea Walk – a ‘Night Market’ that would take place five times on Saturdays in the summer.

“This is going to be a reflection of the City in its first year,” said Graney. “As it grows more popular, you’re going to see the abutting cities like East Boston, Everett and Revere coming. We want vendors here to be Chelsea residents. We want artists and performers to be Chelsea residents. We do want to mix it up too. The Night Market is for the City of Chelsea and for residents.”

The idea was also championed during a Chelsea Prospers meeting on Feb. 6 by Edwardo Chacon. Chacon grew up in Chelsea and graduated from Chelsea High School. After that, he went to college in Florida and then lived in Los Angeles for many years, doing corporate marketing events with big budgets.

And every time he returned to Chelsea, he said he could picture some sort of hip, fun market taking place in his hometown.

Now, having returned to Chelsea a year ago, he decided to try to help make it happen.

“I always came back and felt like something like I was doing elsewhere could really happen in Chelsea,” he said. “I would look at the city and just feel that Chelsea had the right atmosphere to do these things too and one year ago I moved back and felt like I had to try. My goal is to do the same things I was doing elsewhere in Chelsea. I feel Chelsea is a city that’s perfectly located for this and the people deserve it. They would love it and be filled with a sense of excitement.”

The layout of the event would be in the City parking lot behind the Chelsea Walk. There would be a stage for performances, vendor booths in the middle, places for food and an art installation in the back end. In the future, next year hopefully, the initiative hopes of have a beer garden in the back end. However, Graney said they discovered that the laws against public drinking are too strict and couldn’t be changed in time to accommodate this year’s market.

Many in the audience, however, were very excited about the idea of a beer garden and talked for some time about how to make it happen. However, Graney said it is out for this year, but she did say the enthusiasm in the room for a beer garden would help for changing the ordinances so next year one could be put in the mix.

Graney said they hope to have fire jugglers, creative lighting and artists of all kinds. The entertainment would vary, with the times for the market being from 7-10 p.m.

The tentative dates are June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, and Oct. 5.

The first one on June 8, Graney said, would have a graduation theme since the next day is graduation.

“It’s going to be a pre-celebration for the high school senior class,” she said. “We have baby pictures of all of the kids and an artist is creating a collage . There will be performers from the class and they are really going to be our ambassadors.”

Vendors would be selling new and used items, and it would be highly curated and very unique. There would also be service oriented vendors like henna tattoo and chair massage. The food would be hot and ready to eat street food using BBQ grills and such instead of food trucks.

“It would be scaled for an intimate, community oriented atmosphere,” read the literature.

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Pupusa Fiesta to Come to Chelsea on April 7

Pupusa Fiesta to Come to Chelsea on April 7

The pupusa is a curious delicacy – part tortilla, part cheese – and full of ‘yum.’

In Chelsea, it is an art form and nearly a dozen restaurants in the city have their own brand and take on the pupusa, and this spring, the Chelsea Prospers initiative will hold a community party dedicated for the art of the pupusa.

Come hungry.

Mimi Graney and Edwardo Chacon unveiled the idea on Feb. 6 during a meeting of the Chelsea Prospers committee, and said it will be the opening salvo in a season that will include the recently-announced Chelsea Night Market.

“We have been reaching out to all the local restaurants, and we have seven on board so far,” said Chacon. “A lot were surprised at first. They were very surprised the City was doing this. The reaction was pretty positive though and we will have a lot of participation.”

The idea will be to bring together the best pupusa makers in the city to vie for the 2019 Pupusa Champion of Chelsea. The event will take place a Emiliano’s Fiesta and will be an inside event.

There will be judges and audience voting on who makes the best pupusa, and the City would take hints from El Santaneco Restaurant, which has a pupusa-eating contest every November.

There would also be awards for the best salsa and the most creative vendor display at the event.

Graney said they would also have a booth dedicated to the history and the culture of the pupusa, and the center of the room would feature a demonstration on how to make homemade pupusas.

An idea has been floated out to have the Police Department and Fire Department engage in a pupusa-eating contest at the fiesta, but that is still up in the air.

“The idea is to bring the community around this special food item, whether it’s a contest or an event,” said Chacon. “We want them to come out with their family and enjoy their city.”

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Tax Rate Set:Nominal Tax Bill Increases for Most,Decreases for Condos

Tax Rate Set:Nominal Tax Bill Increases for Most,Decreases for Condos

The Chelsea Council voted in the recommended tax rate and a residential exemption of 30 percent on Monday night, sealing the deal for nominal increases to most residential owner-occupants and decreases for condo owner-occupants.

The lone increase that was notable over last year was for three-family homeowners, who will see a 9 percent increase – or $449 over last year’s bills.

Notably, condo owners are the only property owners that will see a decrease in their tax bills. Condo owners’ tax bills will go down 13.3 percent from last year, a different of $279 on the tax bill.

“This (tax rate) will result in a reduction of the average tax bill for owner-occupant condominiums, but an average tax increase of varying amounts to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “By selecting the 30 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over future fiscal years.”

The new residential tax rate, passed with the annual maximum 175 percent shift to commercial properties, came in at $14.26 per $1,000 of value. The commercial/industrial rate will be $29.15.

The values for industrial properties actually did not increase as greatly as residential values, a trend that has carried on for some time.

That, however, could change as industrial/commercial properties in the inner urban communities has become more desirable over the last 18 months. Ambrosino said the property values are from one year behind the market, so there could be some extra relief for residential owners if those industrial property values begin to climb – as some in the industry believe.

“An increase in industrial/commercial property values would be good for residential properties,” he said. “The values now are behind the market, and if values do increase going forward, it would offset some of the tax burden. We’ve made a concerted effort to maintain our industrial areas. We want to keep industrial uses in our industrial areas because there isn’t a lot of space available for these businesses and they are good taxpayers. We don’t want to lose them.”

The average tax bills for this coming year would be:

  • Single-family – $2,690 (1.4 percent increase)
  • Condominiums – $1,821 (13.3 percent decrease)
  • Two-families – $4,024 (6.4 percent increase)
  • Three-families – $5,563 (8.8 percent increase)
  • Four-units – $6,660 (7.3 percent increase)

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Back to School: Beware of the JUUL

Back to School: Beware of the JUUL

If last year’s fidget spinners were all fun and games, this year, the national attraction is rather different: JUUL, an e-cigarette device that has become so synonymous with vaping and accepted by the masses, that the term “juul-ing” has been coined.

Unlike the past forms of bulky e-cigarettes, JUUL proposes a completely different design: a small, USB-like device that comes in a variety of colors, skins and flavors. Its convenience has won over the e-cigarette industry, now claiming about 70-percent of the market share, according to a study by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Juul Labs says that the device is designed to help adult smokers transition out of their cigarette addiction, but if you think that JUUL devices won’t reach the hands of the youth, that’s a grave mistake.

An estimated 11.7-percent of high school students and 3.3-percent of middle school students were e-cigarette users in 2017, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

That’s more than 2.1 million youth.

The stats are seemingly increasing over time. According to a 2018 study by the Truth Initiative, nearly one-fifth of youth, ranging from 12- to 17-year-old, reported that they had seen the use of JUUL in their schools.

There are several concerns: For one, while JUUL pods contain nicotine. The greater issue, perhaps, is the lack of awareness on the issue. A study from Truth Initivative found that 63-percent of 15-to-24-year-old JUUL users did not know that JUUL always contains nicotine.

Nicotine, according to the Surgeon General’s report, “poses dangers to youth, pregnant women, and fetuses. The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including in e-cigarettes, is unsafe.”

JUUL has been a particular subject within Massachusetts, where the State Attorney General Maura Healey launched investigations into Juul Labs for failing to prevent minors form purchasing its products.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Massachusetts Attorney General because, we too, are committed to preventing underage use of JUUL,” said Juul spokesman Matt David in a past statement. “… Furthermore, we have never marketed to anyone underage.”

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