Dear Stacy Boulevard:
Like us, you had your heyday. Like us, you were once the “it” girl in town. For years, your name evoked the best that Island life had to offer. Specifically: cruising in a Camaro T-Top on balmy summer evenings, the stereo pumping Whitesnake over the clang of the Cut Bridge signal, and—with the stick shift quivering in neutral—Joey D working his fingertips into a fraying rip in our stonewashed jeans. There was a synergy between us, Stacy, and it was an honor to share your name.
But no longer. Despite the worthy efforts of noble volunteers, you have fallen on hard times. No quantity of tulips or fluttering American flags can hide a roadbed that is pockmarked or a sidewalk that crumbles underfoot. Where once there was grass, now storm-tossed gravel mingles with brittle doggie shitcakes. A scabrous light post stands with its glass globe slumped against its shoulder, like an octogenarian nodding off. Lengths of your metal railing are missing, perhaps having been yanked from their moorings and wielded in the heinous crime that one section of flapping yellow caution tape seems to demarcate.
The crowds still come, thanks to force of habit and the stark beauty of the seascape. They shuffle past, saluting the Man at the Wheel, even lingering on a bench to scan the horizon. But, honestly, prudence dictates that your broad seaward esplanade be negotiated only by those with steel-toed boots and up-to-date tetanus shots.
Here’s the deal, Stacy. It’s hard enough being a 44-year-old divorced mother of two. We shouldn’t also be saddled with a name that reminds everyone that, like you, we’re a little worse for wear. Time is fickle. We may have stuck with our feathered bangs and side ponytails long enough to see them come back into style. But we harbor no illusions. We know our waistlines are gone, and our prospects are diminished. We know Joey D will never again hold us in his loving arms or croon our name in menthol-laced exhalations. Stacy. Oh, Stacy.
Our circumstances are direr for the absence of a new generation of Stacys, fresh-faced girls who might charge the name with a bit of glamour. Today it’s all Olivias and Sophias—or else Audrey or Evelyn or some other anachronism, names of great-grandmothers long past saving.
So: we’re asking you not to make a bad situation any worse. Like most Massachusetts byways, you have several alternate designations: Western Ave, Route 127, and the road to Manchester-Go-Fuck-Itself. Aren’t these good enough? If you insist on a name with feminine allure, may we suggest Lisa Boulevard? You know, as a lesson to that bony little home-wrecker? Let us have ‘Stacy’ to ourselves, along with the world’s remaining pints of Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk.
Maybe this will be temporary. We’ve heard that Gloucester has won a grant to give you quite the makeover. There’s talk of cosmetic improvements—new lighting, new sod—but also real structural enhancements, and even public restrooms to replace the city’s two most fetid port-a-johns. In a way, we’re jealous. $5.6 million in state cash could buy us all tits and asses worthy of a Katy or Selena.
Yet we also know that public works projects in Gloucester have a penchant for delay. Phase two of the 128 Bridge repair is slated to wrap up in 2017, almost ten years after the project’s launch—and just in time for the latest round of Nor’easters to prompt phase 3 repairs. So we’re not holding our breaths as the engineers dither and our ankles thicken.
Come Memorial Day, we’ll be cruising down your pavement once again—this time, in a kid-laden fleet of Grand Caravans. And when that drawbridge goes up, we’ll be all-too-happy to idle in the bottom of a pothole, just as long as we can call you by any other name.