Saturday, May 15, 2010

Terrorists, Interrupted? on Waverley Avenue

The big news in Boston this week was the dawn Thursday arrest of two Pakistani immigrants and the interrogation of a third in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing two weeks ago by Pakistani native Faisal Shahzad. (Technically he is an alleged terrorist, but he is reported to have confessed.)

The men arrested lived at 39 Waverley Avenue in Watertown, which is about 4 miles from where I live in Cambridge. Or, to put it in terms my Iowa father will understand, about the distance from the red barn to the lower eighty on Honey Creek.

I considered getting out to Waverley Avenue in Watertown to shoot some video, but the blogger Da Tech Guy beat me to it, and a job done well doesn't need to be done twice.

Here is his interview with Marilyn Petitto Devaney, who lives around the corner on the parallel street Westminster Avenue:

Marilyn is on the Massachusetts Governor's Council, an eight member elected body that meets weekly to approve payments from the state treasury, criminal pardons and commutations, and gubernatorial appointments of judges, notaries, and justices of the peace. You can guess what they'll be talking about at next Wednesday's meeting.

Here are some quotes from Marilyn:

"I don't know what is being done by the government to safeguard us."
"This is my own amateur look at it."
"What is the government doing to protect us from illegal aliens?"
"I don't have any solutions, I'm not an expert on this subject."

That is refreshing honesty from an elected government official. But I will remind Marilyn that she is up for reelection in November and I am one of her constituents. Marilyn, you are the government, so get going on this.

Da Tech Guy has more video of the neighborhood.

I know this area of Watertown very well. There are a lot of multi-family homes such as the one where the arrests occurred mixed with apartment buildings. In the old days, the owner would live on the first floor of these multi-family homes and rent the upper floors. That contributed to a strong neighborhood.

These days many of the multi-family homes are owned by absentee landlords who rent all the units. Or in some cases the building have been converted to condos, some of which are owner-occupied and some rented by a necessarily absentee owner.

Renters in this section of Watertown used to include a lot of young professionals, especially young singles just out of college getting their first apartment for a job in the city. With the breakdown of the yuppie economy, landlords increasingly rent to immigrants. With either the American yuppies or the foreign immigrants, there is a lot of turnover. That can give these neighborhoods a more transient feel.

Still Watertown is a great place to live, with lots of parks, restaurants, and other small businesses. I know several people who've gone to Watertown High School, and attended a wedding in Watertown last summer. One of my favorite bike paths along the Charles River runs through Watertown. And it's a patriotic place where they know how to fly the U.S. Flag.

Waverley Avenue connects Watertown Square and Waverley Square in Belmont. Nearby McLean Hospital was the inspiration for the 1999 movie Girl, Interrupted with Wynona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.

No comments: