This column week to week features private discussions about everything Everett between the Blue Suit and Josh Resnek. The Blue Suit is owned and worn quite often by the chief ranking elected public official in this city. I will admit, communicating with a cloth blue suit, that is the Blue Suit, is a rather amazing thing to do. I don’t know anyone who talks with a cloth blue suit, let alone talks to the Blue Suit but me. Science doesn’t allow for a cloth blue suit to talk, let alone to eat and to sleep, or to live and to love. That being said, over time, I’ve found the Blue Suit to be a good guy. He is, as I like so often to write, one of us. The Blue Suit is salt of the earth. He gets it when it comes to life and its trials and tribulations. Mind you, there are a great many things the Blue Suit reveals to me. There are just as many secrets he holds which he keeps to himself – and with good reason. The Blue Suit and I get along. We understand one another. We put up with one another. We get pissed off at one another. Sometimes we stop talking for a few days only to break the silence and kick-start our friendship. Again and again, we are amazed at what people think of us, although we are unsure exactly who knows us and who pays close attention to us, and who care at all about we have to say to one another. Anyway, the Blue Suit traveled to Chelsea this week. He told me he wanted to take a look around. In other words, an Everett guy at the top of his form, in a way at the top of the Everett world, the Blue Suit, went to Chelsea. He told me he wanted to see what was going on and how it compared to Everett – if it compares at all to Everett- to check out the Chelsea of today. Here’s what he had to say to me about what it looked like to him.
“I hate to say it, Josh. I think Everett has a better look to it than Chelsea,” the Blue Suit said to me.
‘What do you mean – a better look?” I asked the Blue Suit.
We were parked in my car by the Whidden Hospital in the small parking lot that has inspirational views of Boston. He was eating a large Italian sub with everything I bought him at DiBlasi’s. In fact, I bought him two large Italians. He devoured the first of the two as we spoke.
“I mean, like, Chelsea looks more third world to me than Everett. I know. I know. We have many residents from all over the world living here. I just mean to say that Chelsea looks more third world to me than Everett. That’s just how I see the place after walking all around the city earlier today,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“Did you see any similarities to Everett and Chelsea?” I asked him.
“Yes. Indeed. Both Chelsea and Everett are crowded. There is precious little open space in Chelsea and in Everett. If I don’t say so myself, I believe parking is more difficult in Chelsea than in Everett. Also, the folks who give out tickets look to be on a time schedule. They hustle about handing out expensive parking tickets like they were going out of style,” the Blue Suit answered.
“I tended to like Chelsea’s public squares more than Everett Square,” he said to me.
“I know what you mean,” I responded. I lived in Chelsea for 25 years. My family came there from Russia in 1885. My sons still live there. We have a long history in the city. However the city has changed as all cities change. Most cities seem to change around almost entirely with the passing of five years. Many many new folks move in. Many many residents move out. English is a second language in Chelsea, has been for decades and in fact, English was a second language when my great grandparents got there from Russia in 1885!
“Can you imagine being in Everett in 1885?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Not really,” he answered.
“The other thing I noticed about Chelsea is that many new apartment houses and units have been built all over the city. But it doesn’t compare with the development going on in Everett. Again, no comparison,” the Blue Suit added.
“Another thing I noticed is that Everett’s parks are better than Chelsea’s. They are larger and they are done up with more things for kids and with places to sit,” the Blue Suit added.
“I will say Chelsea two major squares, Bellingham and Chelsea Square are true squares. In other words, pedestrians are more plentiful than automobiles in the squares. The squares are meeting places, they have public art, nicer older buildings, and the look and feel of personalized urban living. I mean Everett Square isn’t really even a square. It does draw people the way Chelsea’s squares serve as central meeting places for a great deal of the population,” the Blue Suit told me.
“The really big difference between Chelsea and Everett are city hall. Chelsea City Hall is modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It holds a central position in Bellingham Square and represents the epicenter of the city. The golden spire, the red brick and granite, the huge windows and dormers, the slate roofing…compare that to Everett City Hall. Actually, it doesn’t compare. Chelsea City Hall wins all around for its architecture and its look of importance. Everett City Hall is boring and plain with no architectural appointments worthy of notice. About the best thing done to city hall since I started hanging around there about 15 years ago was when it was painted about a year ago. That dressed the place up. But it cannot get away from its origins in the 1960’s. It is a box, an undifferentiated box with no architecture to speak of. It sits there on Broadway like a lump whereas Chelsea City Hall stands majestically at the center of Bellingham Square. All the cities traffic goes around it in a constant parade. Chelsea City Hall is more impressive than the city itself at this point – but then – what the hell do I know?” the Blue Suit asked me.
‘What do you know? That’s a good question. Maybe we’ll start there next week, my friend. In the meantime, finish that second large Italian,” I said.