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“Gary Christenson Interview”

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   He’s the Mayor responsible for fast tracking the demolition of “The Beast That Ate Pleasant Street” (Steve Freker trademarked btw). He’s the Mayor responsible for the number one ranked citizen’s engagement online tool in the whole country (SeeClickFix). Hotly debated if that is even a good thing (I kid!). He’s the Mayor that has leapfrogged Malden into the 21st century. He’s the mayor that can speak to the many diverse citizens of Malden, in their native tongues even!  Heck, he’s even the mayor comfortable tossing a bocce ball in a suit coat! He’s also the mayor – whom some folks say, is the most photographed human, ever! I kid, again. He’s the mayor with a great sense of humor, a keen intellect, and a compassionate heart. Gary is giving it another shot at the corner office. Here are 9 questions to get to know him a little better. Take it away Mr. Mayor!


  1. Favorite restaurant in Malden growing up?After collecting my paper route, I would go with my friends to Town House Pizza and then head to the movies at Granada Theatre or bowling at Granada Lanes. Today, Malden has so many great restaurants to choose from. One of my favorites was Pasta Market Café, one because it was located just down the street from my house and, two they had in my opinion the best Eggplant Parm!
  2. Most inspirational Malden politician growing up?Ed Markey. I worked on his campaign for Congress while attending Malden High School and later interned for him at his Boston office.
  3. Favorite place or park to just hang out in Malden growing up? Granada Lanes. It was such a favorite place of mine that I ended up working there through high school and college.
  4. Who were your favorite musical acts growing up? I was very much into rock and roll. My favorite band was AC/DC and I couldn’t get enough of their songs such as “Shook Me All Night Long” and “For Those About to Rock.” My favorite concert was definitely Queen at the Boston Garden headlined by rock legend Freddie Mercury.
  5. Favorite pizza place growing up in Malden?Town House Pizza. It was so good that I could eat an entire pizza by myself!
  6. Fondest High School memory?Running for Class President and somehow winning! I believe becoming president of my class and my experience serving in that role is what propelled me into a life of public service.
  7. Where do you see yourself in the near future?Let me see if I can get through today! Seriously, right now my heart and soul are in serving the Malden community and it’s truly difficult to think much beyond that.
  8. Most inspirational educator growing up?Mr. Brendan Duffy. He was my Assistant Principal and taught me the importance of respect and leadership.
  9. Fondest childhood memory of Malden Square?Walking with my mother to Malden Square to shop at Jordan Marsh and Sparks Department Store followed by lunch and of course, ice cream at Brigham’s is my fondest memory.

   It is said in Malden Musings…

  • Hard to believe it is the third anniversary of the passing of one, John Lincoln Coughlin, aka Preacher Jack. Covid-19 did what booze, smokes, and a bad diet could not. Jack was the barroom preacher with the gift of gab and a killer left hand introducing many of us to a strange new sound in music, boogie-woogie. His musical influences – Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Hank Williams Sr., Papa Jimmy Yancy, Jerry Lee Lewis – opening musical doors for us we never knew existed. His barroom sermons were often insane but mostly the best musical theater that you ever chanced upon. Just ask Peter Wolf, Willie Alexander, Gary Cherone, Sue Tedeschi, Henry Horenstein, Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Morse, Dale Hawkins, Barrence Whitfield, Ken Irwin, Sal Baglio, AJ Wachtel, George Thorogood, Bill Nowlin, Kay Hanley, Al Vega, David Maxwell, or Henry Ferrini. All witnessed the gospel according to Jack and became loyal disciples. Rest in peace Jack.
  • Here is a classic quote from late Malden funnyman John “Show Me the Buffet” Pinette. John’s family is really what ‘All About Malden’ is all about! The 1982 Malden Catholic graduate appeared in the final episode of Seinfeld as the hapless carjacking victim and was said to be a favorite of ‘The Chairman of the Board,’ Frank Sinatra. Take it away, John:  “I grew up in Malden. Genetically, I was born to be as close to Kelly’s Roast Beef as possible.” Thanks for the memories, and the laughs, John!
  • Dedicated to making the highways and byways safe and accessible for the men, women, and children of Malden I am declaring May “Be Kind to Your Friendly Neighborhood Parking Control Officer Month” as a tribute to these hard-working City of Malden employees. This week’s spotlight, the man whose smile lights up an entire room, veteran PCO, Daryl Smith. Keep up the great work Big D!
  • Maldonian spotted on the Encore Western TV channel! Watching my recommended daily dose of westerns one late evening I spotted yet ANOTHER Malden guy on late night TV. Maverick – starring James Garner, the 1957 episode titled “Ghost Rider” featured Malden boy Richard “Sonny” Collier (listed in the credits only as a “barfly”). Sonny had a long and storied career as a character actor in Tinseltown. Roles in Blazing Saddles, Snow White and the 3 Stooges, Imitation of Life (with Lana Turner), and as Otto Puffendorfer in the 1960’s Batman series places Sonny in the legendary Maldonian category!
  • ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is touring on the 50th anniversary of the film’s release with the indomitable Ted Neeley back in the saddle. JCS came roaring into Boston on a VERY cold Jan 13th of 1996 with original “Jesus” Ted Neeley doing what he was put on earth to do, play lord and savior. Name drop alert: after the performance a group of us went out with Ted to dine. “The Soul of Saugus” – Kowloon – was our destination. I had a plate of beef fried rice and chicken fingers. But I digress. There were about nine of us, we were trying to arrange seating. Ted came up with the most logical suggestion, and I quote: “boy, girl, boy, girl, Jesus, boy, girl, boy girl”. Long Live Ted Neeley!
  • Gary Hennessey, 1957-2023. Malden High School 1975. US Air Force veteran. Malden Police, 30 years. Good kid. Rest in peace, my friend.
  • If anybody is looking for me tonight (Thursday, May 18th) I’ll be at Anthony’s on Canal St. from 6-8 for Mayor Gary’s campaign kickoff shindig. Pop in and wish hizzoner luck all the while enjoying Albert (Spadafora’s) hospitality. We call Albert America’s Host (well, I called him that once).

   As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character ‘Columbo’ would say “Just one more thing sir” – Who says all news is bad!? Here is some good news brought to you by City of Malden employee Joanne Settemio: Longtime Maldonian (1976 MHS graduate) Linda Porter (Edgeworth girl from Medford St) moved to NH upon retirement from the MBTA about a year or so ago. That’s not the good news – usually it is, but I have better news. Anyway, she played the NH Lottery – a second chance drawing – and she won the grand prize! Linda and Joanne have been good friends since the ’70’s, so naturally she asked her to accompany her to Nashville!  But wait here is the really cool part, they are going on tour with country star, Lee Brice!  A very popular country performer with tons of hits and awards. They are being flown to Nashville, putting them up in a hotel, touring Nashville, then going with the band and crew on a luxury motor coach to 2 concerts in Texas as well.  Front row seats and backstage passes, hanging with the band and crew and they will get to tour two different locations in Texas as well as attend both concerts. One of the concerts is in Fort Worth at Billy Bob’s, one of the largest honky tonks in the country. Great news Joanne, I want a full report when you get home. Have fun, stay safe, and behave yourself!

   Postscript 1: Mayor Gary is a whirling dervish! He’s here, he’s there; at times it seems like he is in multiple places all at once. Here’s a special shout out to a very special person; keeping up with “The Boss” (usually all night, every night) is his “heart-stopping, pants-dropping, earth shocking, hard rocking, booty-shaking, earth-quaking, lovemaking, Motrin-taking, history making, legendary” Special Assistant to the Mayor, Maria Luise. Thank you for all you do for the city of Malden, Maria! For the uninitiated, this is a famous catch line used to describe Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (I knew you would get this Chic).

   Postscript 2: In this ever-changing world that we live in (sounds like a Paul McCartney lyric!) one constant remains, kindness. “Join the fearless in being kind” and at the very next opportunity, make somebody happy. Which reminds me of the Jule Styne 1960 composition, ‘Make Someone Happy’ – stylized as only Jimmy Durante can: “Make someone happy, make just one, someone happy, and you will be happy too.”

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