Features


Destination: Somerville

There’s a small park, colorful three-decker homes, community restaurants, and local and franchise stores on Somerville Avenue, near Central Street. It’s a sparse and quiet area. And in a couple of years, a six-story luxury hotel is expected to squeeze into this environment. The city of Somerville currently has three hotels: La Quinta, Holiday Inn, […]


The Maker’s Mark

As skyrocketing real estate prices cause rents to soar, maintaining space for the arts in Somerville is increasingly difficult. Still, arts and recreation thrive in a recently developed non-industrial complex—located in a historically industrial space.  Along the abandoned B&M railroad line and within one of Somerville’s oldest industrial neighborhoods lies the Somernova business complex. It […]


Everything’s The Same, Everything’s Different

There are some 81,000 people living in Somerville’s 4.2 square miles of real estate, but there’s really just one you’re going to blame if our trash isn’t picked up or the roads aren’t plowed: the mayor.   Since 1872, 35 people have held that office. The current occupant, Mayor Joe Curtatone, is the city’s longest-serving […]


Demystifying Death at the Somerville Public Library

There was an air of lightness in the Central Library auditorium as a group of about twenty strangers—varying in age and occupation, from young grad students to older, retired residents—sat in a circle, coffee and tea in hand, ready to discuss the theme of death on the evening of Jan. 23. No, this wasn’t a […]


City Upon Prospect Hill

On a wintry New Year’s day in 1776, Somerville became the site of the first flag raising in the country. Back then, it was called the Grand Union flag—featuring a British Union Jack in the upper left corner where the 50 stars now reside, and thirteen red and white stripes.  One day later, the words […]


Defending Davis Square

By Abbie Gruskin and Lilly Milman When British developing firm Scape announced a plan last summer to construct a six-story residential building along Grove Street—from The Burren to the intersection with Elm Street—around the same time the city released a draft of a zoning overhaul, locals weren’t pleased. Davis Square was changing, and they wanted […]


Redefining ‘The Holidays’

At some point, people started referring to the nebulous stretch of time between the end of November and early January as “the holidays.” Dwelling in the spacious interior of that period is a number of celebrations that get top billing in the United States: Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, and the king of them all: Christmas. […]


Something Ventured: Union Press

In an otherwise ordinary building on Somerville Avenue, a spiral staircase brings you to a small room filled with letters. There are cases of them—wide, flat drawers of them stacked in what could almost be dressers. Others are assembled and at the ready, negative spaces carefully tucked around them. Eli Epstein was told it was […]


Afruza Akther Fights to Keep Somerville Affordable

Afruza Akther didn’t want to get involved in politics when she immigrated to Union Square from Bangladesh in 2004. And for about a decade, she didn’t—until 2014, when she was almost forced to leave Somerville because her family couldn’t afford the increasing rent of her Putnam Street apartment. Luckily, they were able get a housing […]


Bringing Fresh Food Home

An expansive, deserted building sits on Broadway in Winter Hill. Even though the property has been vacant for 11 years, the sign’s imprint still points out to passersby that this was once a Star Market. The vacant grocery store looms heavily for the people of Winter Hill. The empty building and the lack of in-neighborhood […]


Industrial Design

As Somerville’s economy shifts away from manufacturing, former meatpacking and brick-making plants are becoming artist spaces and luxury lofts.