Connecting Cambridge & Somerville to create a vibrant community.

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Close your eyes. You are sitting at your desk at work. Now imagine climbing a large cliff side…or Prospect Hill…are you seeing it? Good. Because soon you will be able to do just that at the new Brooklyn Boulders – Somerville.

Preview of the new climbing wall

Preview of the new climbing wall

Brooklyn Boulders- Somerville straddles the line of Somerville and Cambridge, based in the old Ames Envelope building on Tyler Street, nestled within the cool and growing community of Artisan’s Asylum, Hemlock Ink, Groundwork Somerville, and Somerville Local First, to name a few. The building will house a 140-foot long, 22-foot tall, free rope bouldering wall (the largest in the country) to a 50-foot tall rock climbing wall that extends to the ceiling. Novice climbers don’t worry – there will be training rooms, in addition to a yoga studio, saunas, cardio equipment and pop ups offering the latest rock climbing gear. (Brooklyn Boulders – Somerville made a conscious decision to include traditional cardio equipment in order for you to use your health insurance credit.)

In addition to rock climbing and workout areas, the space will also have six pop up retail spaces, an espresso bar, rooms for special events (for adults and kids), spaces especially for parents with young children, and co-working space – so you can literally go rock climbing steps from your seat. Brooklyn Boulders – Somerville will have ample car parking and indoor bike parking. Yes – that’s right – we said indoor bike parking! The entrance will be a graffiti-ed hallway filled with space for your bike. The facility also differs from other indoor rock climbing venues by offering day, monthly, quarterly and annual passes, which differences from traditional fitness venues.

Co-Founders Jeremy & Lance

Co-Founders Jeremy & Lance

This innovative approach and spirit can be seen in the founders of Brooklyn Boulders. At Babson, Jeremy Balboni and Lance Pinn created a business plan for a rock gym in Boston out of their passion for the sport and quickly went about moving the plan into reality. In the process, they took a break, gained some professional momentum and found an opportunity in 2008 to open a gym in New York; where it thrived and has grown to be one of the most lauded rock gyms in the country. Now with years of experience at their backs, they have to come back to Somerville to build the one of the biggest rock gyms in the country.

The owners are interested in being a part of the larger Cambriville community and have roots here, too. Jeremy grew up in Greater Boston, and Lance lives in Cambridge – they are truly interested in giving back to their community. They will offer local organizations opportunities to host climb-a-thons, incorporate local businesses in the pop up spaces, host a CSA pickup and more.

Brooklyn Boulders – Somerville plans to open this summer at 12A Tyler Street. Stop by and say hello, climb the wall, innovate with neighbors, and get a workout in. Sounds like a win-win-win-win… (we could keep adding wins, but you get the picture).



This month we visit Ball Square in Somerville. The neighborhood is at the intersections of Boston Ave and Broadway, right up the street from Powderhouse Square and Tufts. Back in the day, Ball Square was home to the Willow Jazz Club that started the career of some contemporary jazz musicians. Today, Ball Square is home to a lot of classic Somerville institutions like Sound Bites, the original Lyndell’s, Pescatore, Blue Cloud Gallery  and Victor’s Deli. Ball Square is also a planned stop on the MBTA Green Line extension.  For our photo gallery of Ball Square, click here.

735 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Angeltronics is a great little find in the center of the square where you can get your PC or mac fixed right up! He moves quickly and with extreme agility to get you back on track. AND he can oft times retrieve those darned files you forgot to backup when your good ‘ole computer crashed.  Stop in and say hello after you grab a cup of coffee from True Grounds.

Ball Square Fine Wines and Liquor
716 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Winner of “Best Wine Shop” by Boston Magazine in 2011, Ball Square Fine Wines & Liquor is a staple in Ball Square. The shop offers a wide variety of craft beer, wine array of wines and tons of fromage. Ball Square Fine Wines and Liquor also has a tasting room and offers free weekly beer and wine tastings on Fridays.  As you walk in the store, look to your right to see the great wine ideas they have for you at an extra affordable price.  Each crate has an index card with wine and pairing details.  An extra bonus of service – if you join their free club, they provide you with an in-store tracker that allows them to look up your past purchases – something that always comes in handy after drinking a bottle of wine over the Voice.

The Book Shop
694 Broadway, Somerville, MA

The Book Shop is a new welcomed addition to Ball Square. The store is a family owned and operated business that offers a variety of used  and new release books, CDs and children’s puzzles. This is a great place to stop by if the library is out of your favorite book, or to grab a series of gifts.  The store also has a calendar of author readings, including Dennis Lehane on Wednesday, May 15th at 7:00pm. Stop by and check it out!

Eat at Jumbo’s
668 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Since 2009, Eat at Jumbo’s has been a community asset in Ball Square – not just for providing delicious snacks, but for its support of local community groups and displaying local artists in the cafe’s walls. Eat at Jumbo’s provides free delivery for its affordable and delicious pizzas, wings, sandwiches and much more! Next time you have the boys over to watch the game, make sure to order from Jumbo’s. And an added bonus – the owner is on the Board of Somerville Local First, one of our fav organizations!

Lyndell’s Bakery
720 Broadway, Somerville, MA

A Ball Square staple, the original Lyndell’s has been making Somerville residents happy since 1887 and is on it’s 5th generation of ownership. Lyndell’s offers cakes, bread, cookies, pastries, muffins – you name it! A favorite – their famous black and white icing cookies.

Blue Cloud Gallery
713 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Blue Cloud Gallery is local gift shop that sells local artisan ware. The store has been in the Square for over 12 years and has a great array of woodblock prints, jewelry, pottery and photographs all made right in the area. We think their video says it best!

Blue Cloud Gallery (Commercial) from Benjamin C. Zidel on Vimeo.

Sound Bites
704 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Can you really say you have lived or even visited Somerville without going to Sound Bites? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Sound Bites is a destination diner that has been serving Ball Square for over 20 years. Whether you are waiting in line for Sunday brunch or grabbing a drink at their new bar, Sound Bites has something for everyone. And remember, if you can’t get in on Sunday, Sound Bites is actually open at 6:30 a.m. Monday – Saturday.

True Grounds
717 Broadway, Somerville, MA
True Grounds is a coffee shop with a mission. They believe that ‘community is at the heart of a good coffee shop,’ and foster that sentiment every day! They host weekly musical events (including one of our favorite kids’ musicians, Jeff Jam), special tastings, art by and for locals, locally-produced products such as Taza Chocolate, and their food is to die for.  They are also certified as a Sustainable Business with SBN, are a member of Somerville Local First, and are just truly awesome people.  Beware, the wi-fi is shut off on Saturday and Sunday mornings!  Stop by and enjoy this comfy, great spot.

158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA

With an overflowing menu of traditional Italian, and not so traditional dishes, it’s no surprise Pescatore is the 2008 winner of Best of Boston  Best Seafood, Affordable. Just go in for one meal, and it will be easy to taste why.  We were lucky enough to taste the Caprese antipasti – the buffalo mozzerella is delicious!  We followed that up with a huge portion of Chicken Piccata.  Let’s just say that it was a great night. Pescatore is open Tuesday-Saturday from 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sundays 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and closed Mondays. 

Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too
110 Bristol Rd, Somerville, MA

Now we can’t forget our four-footed friends?!  Stinky’s has a cute name, yes, but also a wide variety of organic, natural and local foods and treats for your pets.  In addition to treats and toys, they also provide several services for our best friends, including grooming of cats and dogs and pet sitting.  AND they deliver – it doesn’t get much better than that!  Finally, they are community-minded and a proud member of Somerville Local First.