Saturday, May 31, 2014

Assembly Row Assembled

If you are a frequent commuter into and out of the city, then you have likely noticed the painted brick mural of Assembly Square in Somerville. Long in development, Assembly Row – the retail/living area modeled on a downtown – is now officially open for business.

Though this weekend plays host to the Grand Opening duties, the square was fully operational last weekend - and not only was Assembly Row open, there was plenty of public for it to be open to. I have never seen a J.P. Licks so packed, and, even more impressively, the line outside of the LEGO creation station (Store? Attraction? It is so many things all in one) would have made Legoland itself blush. But why not? What are LEGOs if not our ability to personally create our own world brick by brick? Certainly that makes Assembly Row a fitting location for such a place.

Fret not, however, there is more to the area than retail opportunity. There are numerous delicious-looking restaurants. Better yet, there’s a bandstand, movie theater, and river view park, all of which are certain to continue the push for the arts that the rest of Somerville has been making lately. It would be great to see a homespun gallery or two pop up in some of those retail fronts that are still being finished.

Architecturally, Assembly Row is more dynamic than expected, too. From materials to patterns, the faces of each building stand out from one another. Planned downtowns like this often run the danger of blending into a forgettable vanilla (nothing planned all at once could meet the eclectic nature of, say, Government Center here in Boston or the French Quarter in New Orleans), but Assembly Row avoids just such a pitfall. It has personality. Particularly the Legal Sea Foods.

All in all, Assembly Row is proving to live up to its promise. It is a fun, inviting place to eat and play, and – I would assume – to live, especially once that T-stop gets finished up.

Til next time!

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't thought about the architectural distinctiveness of this area before, but you're right, it is a big improvement over what we're seeing elsewhere in the city. Where they still miss the mark is pedestrian access - the moonscape parking lots are better suited to a suburban shopping mall than a true city.