About the Movie Being Shot in Lowell This Week...

PrudMary

Production crews descended on the city this week to film scenes for Screen Gems' action thriller "Proud Mary", starring Taraji P. Henson with Billy Brown, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Neal McDonough, Margaret Avery, Xander Berkeley and Danny Glover. 

If you've spotted several dozen people gathered around equipment on a sidewalk on Central Street and were wondering, the answer is yes, actress Taraji P. Henson is in Lowell. A Golden Globe winner for her role as Cookie Lyon in Fox's "Empire", Henson will play a contract killer whose maternal instinct is awakened when she meets a young boy. Directed by Babak Najafi, the film is set for release in January 2018.

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Filming for the movie, which started yesterday, will continue over the next week at various locations in downtown Lowell and sightings are due to become increasingly common. The most recent one took place Thursday morning while the cast and crew were working smack in the middle of downtown Lowell in front of WCAP studios on Central Street. 

By noontime, a few onlookers were hanging out on site, hoping to get a glimpse of the star, while equipment and police detail officers lined the street.  

Exterior shooting is scheduled for May 16 on Palmer Street between Middle and Merrimack Streets.  This block will be closed to traffic but Middle will remain open as will Palmer from Market to Middle. CASE staff have been coordinating shooting schedules, traffic control, logistical support and street closures with location managers.

Several movie production trailers were setting up on a city lot in the Hamilton Canal District across from 110 Canal Street in preparation for the cast and crew. Lowell's unique sites and neighborhoods make the city a popular place for film production. There has been a number of notable films shot in the city including 'The Fighter', 'The Invention of Lying', and more recently 'Professor Marston & The Wonder Women'.

Hollywood Returns to Lowell

Actress Taraji P. Henson (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Bill Ingalls/NASA, some rights reserved).

Actress Taraji P. Henson (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Bill Ingalls/NASA, some rights reserved).

By Henri Marchand on May 3, 2017 - Hollywood returns to Lowell for five days of feature film production beginning Thursday, May 11.  Screen Gems Productions will be in town at several locations filming scenes for 'Proud Mary', starring Taraji P. Henson, Neal McDonough and Xander Berkeley.

A Golden Globe winner for her role as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s “Empire”, Henson plays a contract killer whose maternal instinct is awakened when she meets a young boy.

The production will shoot scenes May 11-15 in the WCAP studios on Central Street.  The right lane will be blocked during filming but Lowell Police will provide traffic control.

Exterior shooting is scheduled for May 16 on Palmer Street between Middle and Merrimack Streets.  This block will be closed to traffic but Middle will remain open as will Palmer from Market to Middle.  Police will also be on hand to provide support.

Location managers have been working with downtown businesses and the City to coordinate shooting schedules, traffic control, logistical support and street closures.

Release date is scheduled for January 26, 2018 according to IMDb.com.

Other feature films shot in Lowell include 'The Fighter', 'The Invention of Lying', and 'Professor Marston & The Wonder Women'.
 

Where to Catch Scenic Views of Lowell

Lowell is a city with unique historic and contemporary features. Located on the Merrimack River, the city developed as an industrial center in the nineteenth century and many of the mills and canals that were built over the years are still standing today.
                                                                                                      
Lowell's combination of natural and built environments creates dramatic vistas throughout the city.  Sightseers have many vantage points from which to survey the city.  This is a sampler of these vantage points for viewing the city, whether for an Instagram post, personal observation or as part of an activity.

MerrimackRiver

1. Merrimack River Behind LeLacheur Park

LeLacheur Park is home to the Lowell Spinners, the Class-A, short season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the UMass Lowell River Hawks baseball team.  Behind the stadium is a riverwalk extending through UMass Lowell's East Campus.  The trees obscure this particular view slightly until a clearing opens up and a sandy beach is revealed.
 
This beach offers a view of the Merrimack River at its widest point in Lowell.  Looking across is a view of both Pawtucketville (to the west/southwest) and Centralville (to the east/northeast). The river at this beach is a torrent in the spring but calm in the summer.  Also, Beaver Brook empties into the Merrimack directly across the river.  This is a great spot to watch for bald eagles perched in nearby trees!  Lowell has many great views of the Merrimack and this location is a gem.

Canal

2. Canal near UMass Lowell's Fox Hall

Amateur and professional photographers alike appreciate a beautiful sunset, especially when it creates a mesmerizing, peaceful reflection on water.  The view of the northern canal, located between UMass Lowell's East Campus and Father Morissette Boulevard, offers stunning scenes.  The canal extends from Pawtucket Street to Suffolk Street and a walk along the canal-bordering path provides great opportunities for sunrise to sunset pictures.

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3. Inside Mill No. 5

This view isn't as much of a "view" as it is a historical vista. Mill No. 5 is a collection of distinctive small businesses located in a Jackson Street mill built in 1873.  Once the elevator doors open into the fourth floor, Mill 5 presents a metaphor of the city itself and is just waiting to be photographed.
 
Preserved, nineteenth-century architecture and modern renovations combine with the flair and personality of small businesses to create something truly special.  There are many eye-catching features along the central hall's creaky wood floor.  Visitors are in for a unique shopping experience when they visit the mill.

BikePath

4. Merrimack River Bike Path

The river bike path is located at the southernmost point of the Centralville neighborhood, running just below the VFW Highway.  The path, in addition to being a great place to walk, jog, and observe wildlife such as waterfowl and beavers, offers beautiful views of both the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. The Concord River is no tiny tributary; it flows north from Wayland to Lowell where it empties into the Merrimack.
 
The path is the best location in Lowell to view the confluence of the two rivers, providing plenty of changing water and "Mile of Mill" views.

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5. Concord River at Muldoon Park

Muldoon Park, located in the South Lowell neighborhood near Lawrence Street, features a landing on the Concord River. This is the perfect place to relax, take photos, fish or launch a boat. 

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6. Christian Hill Resrvoir

The Christian Hill Reservoir in Centralville has one of the highest natural points in the city.  The lack of bright lights surrounding the elevated reservoir makes this a great destination for stargazing.
 
Viewing the horizon offers incredible sights across the entire city below.  On clear days, New Hampshire and its mountain ranges can be seen!  This location is not only the top of the city but is also the top of any list for sightseers.

Robinson

7. Robinson Middle School Parking Lot

Like the Christian Hill Reservoir, the Robinson Middle School is located in Centralville and is also a high point in Lowell.  For this reason, the school's parking lot is a convenient and popular destination for viewing the 4th of July fireworks over the river below.
 
Looking out at the horizon, the entire city can be seen in all directions, as well as Dracut, Tewksbury and the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest.

SouthCampus

8. UMass Lowell's South Campus

Behind UMass Lowell's South Campus's Allen House lies a gently-sloping hill leading to a softball field, basketball courts and larger green space. This spot, surrounded by trees and overlooking the softball field with the Merrimack River in the near distance, provides a very peaceful view. 

HoweBridge

9. Merrimack River Rapids from the Howe Bridge

The Merrimack River rapids run between the Pawtucket Dam and Beaver Brook. The Howe Bridge (University Avenue) provides a high observation point both upriver towards the dam and down river towards the brook.
 
Nearby is a small veteran's memorial park with benches and a railing separating the landing from the drop below. It's a great place to view the river and see how the river splits Pawtucketville, directly across the water, and Centralville, further downstream, from the rest of Lowell.  University Avenue and the nearby park are also great spots to watch the spring waters roar over bedrock and to catch sight of ducks, geese, herons and other waterfowl as they fly over the bridge.

Lowell Cemetery Inside View (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Emw, some rights reserved).

Lowell Cemetery Inside View (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Emw, some rights reserved).

10. Lowell Cemetery

Lowell Cemetery is a destination for those seeking natural tranquility and serenity.  The cemetery - established in 1841 - is centered on a parklike setting in the Belvidere neighborhood.  Rolling hills, bright greens and mature trees blend beautifully with ornate, elegant tombstones.
 
The Lowell Cemetery provides many ways to experience and learn about Lowell through the natural setting, rich history and public art unique to those who are remembered here.

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Written by Henry St. Pierre

Let's Talk About our "Sister" and Food!

Like Lowell, There's a Lot ALike about Saint-Dié-des-Vosges

Lowell's sister city since 1989, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges is located in the northeastern corner of France.  Like Lowell the town is bisected by a river, the Meurthe, and has a rich history. Although much older, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has a lot in common with its younger sister.

Image Credit: https://transvosges.com

Image Credit: https://transvosges.com

Created between the 12th and 13th centuries, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has seen its share of challenges including wars, fires and economic decline but has always bounced back and rebuilt itself over the years, indeed centuries.  Saint-Dié, like Lowell, was an industrial center in the 19th century and its economic history includes textile manufacturing along with metalwork, machinery and the manufacture of hosiery.  Today it's a center of services, education and tourism.  The Institut universitaire de techologie provides programs in robotics, electronics, computing and graphic design.
 
Historical landmarks include a Gothic cloister and medieval and Renaissance cathedrals including one built of pink sandstone.  Other landmarks are the Claude and Duval factory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by famed architect, Le Corbusier; and the Tower of Liberty, originally built to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution that now serves as an exhibition hall and museum.  Other museums, cultural events and public markets, including a Christmas Market and parade of St. Nicholas, beckon residents and visitors alike.
 
Like Lowell, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has a diverse menu of restaurants-Asian, Indian, Italian, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian and, of course, French.

Click here for more information on Lowell's older "sister".


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The World On Your Tastebuds.
 

When it comes to international cuisine, Lowell is also home to a whole variety of restaurants and eateries. The city has local favorites, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, sophisticated dining and so much more. Each neighborhood features eateries with flavors that reflect the city's diverse culture.

Here you can find Asian, Mexican, Latin, Mediterranean, Egyptian, Greek, Italian, African, Portuguese, Caribbean and classic American food. This is in addition to many food trucks, diners, donut shops and bakeries. Lowell is a city with a growing coffee culture and our coffee shops and cafés are definitely places to go for a delicious roast. 

Our new dining directory allows for easy exploration of Lowell's food culture. Search either by food type or by neighborhood. A restaurant's phone number, address, website and a brief summary of their menu is included. 

Please keep in mind that the directory is continuously updated. If there is an eatery not included in our directory, please let us know! You can discover Lowell's restaurants here.

The Lowell Ultimate Neighborhood Guide

Lowell's neighborhoods are a diverse reflection of the city's many populations, each with its own character and history. The eight distinct neighborhoods include: Pawtucketville, Centralville, Highlands, The Acre, Downtown, Back Central, South Lowell and Belvidere.

Some maps also break the neighborhoods down even further to include Lower Belvidere, the upper and lower Highlands and Ayres City, but this guide will focus on the distinct eight.


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#Pawtucketville

Pawtucketville is the largest of Lowell's neighborhoods. Occupying the city's northwest area north of the Merrimack River, the neighborhood is mainly residential with lots of open space, parks and other green places for leisure and recreation.

Pawtucketville is an attractive summer destination in the city because of its location along the Merrimack River. Visitors can swim, kayak, fish and even take boat tours along the river. Parks such as the Vandenberg Esplanade and Lowell Heritage State Park are perfect places for summer activities. The Lowell Tyngsboro Dracut State Forest provides an environment for quiet hikes, birdwatching and crosscountry skiing. Other parks in the neighborhood include the Gannon Family Memorial Park, Father Maguire Playground, Fels Park and the Flaggy Meadows Playground.

Also located in Pawtucketville is the historic Hawk Valley Farm on Varnum Avenue. Hawk Valley Farm has been connected to the Varnum family since the 1660s. Today, the grounds still feature the old Varnum House from the 1700s along with various ruins and foundations from centuries past. Hawk Valley Farm is part of an urban land trust that preserves green space in the city to educate visitors of the now urban area's agricultural past.

Other attractions include UMass Lowell's North Campus with its Lydon Library, Costello Center and the Cushing Field Complex.


#Centralville

In Lowell's northeastern corner is the Centralville neighborhood. Separated from Pawtucketville to the west by Beaver Brook and with the Merrimack River along its southern border, Centralville is also a highly residential neighborhood with acres of green space.
The McPherson Playground, with basketball and tennis courts, baseball diamonds and pool is the perfect play area for recreational sports. Another large park, Gage Field, is located across the street behind the Robinson Middle School.

The Robinson Middle School parking lot and the Christian Hill Reservoir are two high points with great vistas of the city and are ideal for stargazing, appreciating city vistas and enjoying Lowell's 4th of July fireworks. Riverfront Park runs along the neighborhood's southern border. The park features the Merrimack River Bike Path, a river level, paved path from Beaver Brook to Duck Island. The park is a great area for summer picnics, jogging, fishing, and spotting hawks, herons, eagles and other wildlife.


#Highlands

Lowell's Highlands neighborhood is situated in the southwest section of the city. At the neighborhood's northern point is UMass Lowell's South Campus. The neighborhood's central section is mainly residential, and the diversity of the neighborhood is indicative of the city's overall culture. Much like Pawtucketville and Centralville, the Highlands features green spaces
and parks. Two active parks are Hadley and Callery Parks.

The Merrimack River serves as the neighborhood's northern border. Its riverfront, directly across the street from UMass Lowell's South Campus, is a scenic area for UMass Lowell students, locals and tourists and is a great place for fishing, picnics and relaxation.


#The Acre

The Acre is a neighborhood west of Downtown Lowell. It is a small neighborhood but is full of vibrancy and activity. The neighborhood is densely populated with a blend of small businesses.
North Common, the Acre's largest park located in the middle of the neighborhood, is an oasis from the urban landscape. North Common includes a public pool as well as basketball courts, making the park a summer destination that is relatively close to downtown.

Western Avenue Studios and Lofts anchor the southwest corner of the neighborhood with over 300 working artists at the studios. Decatur Way is a public, outdoor art space where local art is featured and runs between Merrimack and Salem Street from University Crossing to the LHA's Mercier Center.


#Downtown

Downtown Lowell is full of activity and nightlife as well as unique small businesses and restaurants, each lending its individual flair and personality to Lowell's downtown scene.
Downtown includes: The Tsongas Center, Lowell National Historical Park, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, New England Quilt Museum, Pollard Memorial Library and Lowell City Hall as well as historic canals, such as the Eastern Canal and Upper Pawtucket Canal, and numerous businesses, restaurants and cafés. Check out Lowell's downtown restaurants and cafes here.

Another fun feature of Downtown Lowell is its extensive trolley system. Trolleys are operated by the Lowell National Historical Park and run from spring through fall.


#Back Central

Back Central is located south of Downtown Lowell. It holds the distinction of being the smallest of Lowell's neighborhoods however Back Central has an exciting mix of businesses and residences. A noteworthy feature of Back Central is South Common, a large park located
at the corner of Highland and Thorndike Streets. 


#South Lowell

South Lowell, an area also known as Ayres City, is a residential neighborhood that features three large cemeteries at its center. The cemeteries are Westlawn Cemetery, Edson Cemetery and St. Patrick's Cemetery. Surrounding these three cemeteries are many residential roads.

The Concord River flows through the neighborhood and provides a scenic location for nature lovers and relaxation seekers. Muldoon Park features a boat launching spot on the Concord River. 


#Belvidere

The Belvidere neighborhood, along with Lower Belvidere, is situated in the southeast corner of the city. The neighborhood is the secondlargest of Lowell's distinct eight. Belvidere is separated from the rest of Lowell by the Merrimack and Concord Rivers.

In Lower Belvidere is the historic Lowell Cemetery, known for its green space and natural serenity. The cemetery features ornate headstones in a parklike landscape, making it a beautiful destination that functions as a public art display surrounded by nature. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Belvidere also features more green space and parks. Rogers Fort Hill Park and Shedd Park are perfect relaxation spots. The Wyman Bird Sanctuary.

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Written by Henry St. Pierre


To find a more comprehensive list of Lowell's restaurants and other businesses from each neighborhood, please visit www.likelowell.com

Even More Reasons Why Lowell is Heaven for Creatives

Art entrepreneurs create opportunities, jobs, culture, products and services that help drive our economy. With over 600 artists and makers residing in Lowell, the city has a great infrastructure that provides invaluable support to the creative community. (Read the first part of the article here).
 

1. Creative Resources

Over the last 10 years the Lowell Cultural Council Program (LCC) has supported hundreds of community-based projects in the arts, humanities and sciences annually allocating funding within the Lowell community on behalf of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. These funds provide economic support for community events that reach residents of all ages. This year alone the LCC funded 42 projects for a total of $61,645.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

2. DIY Community

The spirit of do-it-yourself is alive and well in the city. Organizations like DIY Lowell, a citizen-led initiative that connects and empowers Lowellians, are essential to creating positive change. Residents can submit ideas and implement small-scale community projects to enhance the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

3. Cultural Partnerships

The Cultural Organization of Lowell provides information, advocacy and services to individuals, organizations, institutions and agencies involved with the local creative economy. Commonly known by the acronym "COOL" this nonprofit plays a key role in the city helping to strengthen the vitality and economic growth of arts and culture in Lowell. 

4. Makers Culture

As the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Lowell continues to attract makers and innovators. Organizations like Lowell Makes are succeeding in efforts to bring together local artists, engineers, makers and thinkers to provide the tools and learning resources where individuals can gain and practice modern skills with a community of creative-minded people making all kinds of things.

5. Inspired Innovation

The first of its kind in Massachusetts, New Vestures is a fashion and textiles co-working makerspace. Founded in 2012 by artist, designer & educator, Diana Coluntino, New Vestures aims to support a community of fashion designers, entrepreneurs and innovators who believe that creative, sustainable apparel, textile design and manufacturing practices will improve lives and better the world. 


For more information on these organizations and more public arts attractions in Lowell, please visit likelowell.com.