To the Editor:
Reports of culture’s demise in Watertown are greatly exaggerated. Is there a way for Watertown to avoid losing a gem like Russo’s, some have asked?
(https://www.watertownmanews.com/2021/08/16/letter-is-there-a-way-for-watertown-to-avoid-losing-a-gem-like-russos/) The simple answer is no. There isn’t any one shop that can replace Russo’s in Watertown. That’s gone; like so many of gentrified Boston’s mainstays such as No Names, Durgin-Park, soon-to-be closed Kowloon, Circle Pizza, Jimmy’s Harborside, Anthony’s, and so many more.
Nothing we can do about gentrification, any more than we can stop laissez faire capitalism or the oncoming tide. However, there is definitely something we can do in our own community: we can go forth and explore the rest of our town!
Watertown is virtually teeming with other amazing family-owned markets, deli’s, bakeries, and many other specialty stores. You want produce, go to Arax; and while you’re there, check out the fabulous southern Mediterranean specialty foods and sweets, and baked goods and so much more. You want pastries, go to Massis or Sevan, for freshly made pastries and breads. Did you know you can buy the most amazing Persian ice-cream and frozen yogurt at Frutti-Berri on Mount Auburn? Did you know Art Specialties across from Studio Cinema on Trapelo has dozens of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinaigrette varieties and cheeses and spices from around the world, along with many other specialty foods and goods and wines and beers? Try Tabrizi Pastry on Mount Auburn for arguably the best Napoleon Cake, cream puffs, and French Roulette in Boston, and quite possibly North America!
Nothing we can do about the ones that got away, but we CAN support the ones that are still here. Get out there Watertown!
This is awesome but Arax got a lot of their produce from Russo’s, as do many small stores in the area. And restaurants.
It’s a huge loss, but yes they are lots of great places in town still!
Yes, support local markets, but who has time to visit four different places to find what I found with one stop at Russo’s? And nothing can replicate the sheer international scope of the produce and the high quality of the prepared foods. I sincerely wish Mr. Russo well, and thank the family for their years of contribution to the fabric of our community. A big loss.
I agree these are all great places, many of which I enjoy shopping at. The Tabrizi Pasty is amazing! Meanwhile I continue to keep a look out for other small family businesses: grocers, farmers’ market, restaurants, and other businesses to shop at. Let’s keep our community alive. People who shopped at Russo’s are grieving. Many shopped there for decades, & know the employees too. When my favorite non-generic, friendly & affordable hamburger restaurant closed in Cambridge, I felt sad. I missed and still miss the employees, the quality & affordability of food & convenient location. People will move on in due time, no other choice.
Two days ago when I visited Russo’s, I wondered why I saw a woman w/a clipboard handing a Russo’s employee her business card from “Star Market.” Recently hearing that Russo’s was closing, this really angered me. Why was this “big box” representative seemingly poaching employees (I think?). I’m so sad about Russo’s. Such a fine establishment. Someone please take over!! Wishing all the best to the Russo family.
If Russo cared about his employees and community, he would’ve handed management over, kept it running, and just keep accepting the revenue it generated. It was profitable, yes?
If Russo had cared about his employees he would have paid them enough to avoid applying for foodstamps or would have at the very least accepted food stamps as a form of payment. Neither was the case at Russo’s.
For the record, laissez faire capitalism is an economic model that can be altered. Berlin, for example, put a cap on rent increases and made landlords to retroactively reimburse the tenants if their increases had passed the threshold (this has been over ruled by the Federal court on bureaucratic nuance, but the recently elected government in Germany is planning to address the issue). So, please let’s not equate forces of nature (tides) with social orders we choose to commit to. There is plenty Watertown could and can do to stop the tide of gentrification, starting with building regulations, taxation system that encourages long-term residency and not speculative buys etc. etc. etc.
Good luck Watertown