Monday, May 02, 2005

END OF THE LINE?

Enjoy the Hynes Convention Center/ICA stop while you can, T riders. It may soon be gone.

Well, the name, anyway.

Uniquely, the stop’s inspirations are on borrowed time: There’s a $62 million Institute of Contemporary Art replacement being built on the waterfront, set to open next year; and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center has long been headed for sale with the opening of the larger, $800 million Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Boston is reputed to be the only U.S. city with two convention centers — not necessarily something to brag about when convention business is down.

It’s true that momentum for shutting down the Hynes has died. Gov. Mitt Romney, who proposed selling it, was a no-show at a hearing last month on its future, and the commonwealth’s other top politicians are citing evidence and anecdote that keeping the Hynes around will ensure tourism dollars for the area. There’s no date for a decision, although a government commission is supposed to make a suggestion by the fall. Even if the suggestion is to sell or lease, the state may be slow to move, and so may buyers or leasees.

If the Hynes and ICA disappear, bet that Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority officials will revive their hopes of selling T stop naming rights. They tried this in 2000, aiming for $22 million over five years for South Station ($2 million), Back Bay and Downtown Crossing ($1 million each) and Sullivan Square ($500,000). Even after the costs and commitments were lowered, no one bid.

So what would the Hynes/ICA stop be called? Without a Dunkin' Donuts or Hooters claiming it, the city would be forced to think of something descriptive of the area — and a good guess would be “Newbury.” Surely the city would be pleased to make it easier for visitors to find Newbury Street, which is all about commerce.

And better that than the only nearby business that would be likely to go for the naming rights this time, since it’s unclear if Boston is ready, or will ever be, for the green line’s “Virgin stop.”

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welp, it used to be called "Auditorium," and before that, "Massachusetts" (as in the Avenue). I'm all for naming it "Prudential", and re-naming the E-Line stop "This is not the way to Fenway Park".

Scape7 said...

"Auditorium," of course, is no longer descriptive, and "Massachusetts" has been co-opted by a stop on the orange line. I'm not opposed to "Prudential," but if you check the T's Web site for Hynes/ICA, it describes only the Massachusetts Avenue and Newbury Street entrance and exit, not the one on Boylston Street — presumably because that side is closed even more than Bowdoin (which should be renamed "Closed," as in "the Closed stop on the blue line").

As to the E trains on the green line, why do some seem to have a diagonal stripe running through the E, making them look like "not E"? That's just confusing.

eric said...

Seattle has two convention centers that are both larger than Hynes. Of course, one is publicly built and run, and one is privately operated but (mostly) publicly built. Thank God we don't have the mass transit infrastructure *snicker* to get in the way of how well that's working.

No, seriously, they both make money. And they are both huge, beautiful facilities.

Scape7 said...

So much for that reputation, I guess. But Boston is still the only U.S. city with two convention centers in which one is called the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. I think.

MG said...

The "Berklee Performance Center" is right near the Auditorium stop, so I think we should use that name which *is* descriptive, not some "branded" name.

Also the E trains have a slash down them because the terminate prior to the old E line, which used to run down to Forest Hills. The old tracks are still there -- they are some of the oldest in the system.

Scape7 said...

I would endorse a "Berklee" stop, although I still have doubts it'll come to that. (Maybe it can be "Hynes/Berklee"?)

Thanks for writing.

Ron Newman said...

The Prudential stop should stay where it is. It has an indoor connection to the shopping mall and the tower.

"Berklee" would lead to confusion with Berkeley Street, which is seven blocks away.

Maybe it should just be "Hynes", one word, regardless of whatever happens to that building.

Scape7 said...

These are all good points, but something in me rebels against having a "Hynes" T stop if there's nothing there to justify the name. If the Hynes remains the Hynes, by all means; if the Hynes becomes something else, I'm still guessing "Newbury."

wrecking_ball said...

Well, we still have the Lechmere stop after what is it, 10, 15 years since the store closed? I wouldn't get too het up about Hynes just yet. I predict it'll be around to confuse tourists for years to come (Tip O'Neill shuttle bus stop, anyone?).

Scape7 said...

It's a little exasperating when everyone has better points to make than I do. Doesn't anyone have anything stupid to say?

I mean, other than me?