December 30, 2010

City of Boston New Year’s Eve

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We’ve been invited to serve at the First Night celebration tomorrow night in Boston. We’re really excited. If everything goes smoothly we’ll be on the Boston City Hall Plaza. Come by to warm up and say hi.

As you can imagine there’s a bit of a process. It’s been up in the air until yesterday. But we filled out an application for a fire special permit, we got an insurance certificate for the City, we wrote a check for $25 to the City. We pulled the truck up this morning at 9am for a fire inspection on site. And it appears there is an issue: our truck has a gasoline generator. Uhgg.

Some background: (this is the short version, really, it is. you don’t want the whole story.)

A long time ago we wanted to bring the MIT truck to Boston for a weekend event. 1010 Mass Ave (inspectional services, fire inspection) told us no. You need a full ansul system for your hood ($10k).

So I went out and got one installed. And went back to 1010. They said: no. You need a built-in generator. Sorry we didn’t tell you that last time. $10,000.

I’m very patient. But I saw a pattern. I waited 1 year, re-grouped, and then, ready to make a NEW truck, went to the City and asked “how would you like it built?” I brought sketches, equipment specification sheets, etc. I got signatures from Fire, ISD, etc. Permits were issued and I was really really excited.

Then we started operating at Dewey Square on the Greenway. And we found that our awnings were not OK. We need to install screens for the openings. We ordered some and have been waiting forever. I think I’m going to do it myself this week just to make it happen.

Then today we went to get our fire permit for this event and are told that we can’t operate in the city because gasoline generators are not allowed in the city. That’s right. The gasoline generator I installed because the city asked me to, the one I spec’d out and had reviewed.

To be honest I’m not sure where this is going to go from here. I have the feeling most of these things are dealt with by just staying quiet and hoping they blow over. I’m a little frustrated. But still patient.

And I’m going to drive a long way to rent a diesel generator from the only place in the area that has one (1 hour away), hoping (but no promises) that the fire inspector will be OK with it tomorrow.

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