"Dirty Old Boston"

BeyondRevenue

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Whatever. You have an agenda. I'm just talking cold, hard (yes, heartless) economics. Boston was a backwater and going downhill in 1950 - BEFORE the "attempted murder". No amount of lipstick will turn 1950 Boston into something that looks better than it is now. You are romantacizing a fantasy. Urban Renewal was meatball surgery, but that's what they had in those days. The long-term effects saved Boston as an ecosystem that exists and thrives today with a far more diverse, equitable city than it was in the "paradise" of 1950.

I'll take the Mayor Walsh-Janey-Wu Boston of this era over the Mayor Curley-Hines era Boston. Today is a day the death Jerome Rappaport has been reported - a man who was responsible for some of the most eggregious acts of killing the West End and putting up a stupid and anti-urban mid-tower residential park. It WAS a horrific way to do urban planning, and hopefully, we will never see such ham-handed and insensitive bulldozing of peoples' lives ever again. But Boston could not survive by just preserving its past.

1970 to 2020 is the far more realistic measuring stick. 1950 was an entirely different urban planet.
My agenda is your agenda. I like today’s Boston much better as well. I want a bigger, stronger, more progressive city. I see that picture and I smell leaded gas, crappy air, and a scared, backward populace. Screw nostalgia.
I just wish we knew how to tax and spend like we used to. The last 50 years of fiscal conservative crap is so over. We have a lot of work to do and we need to get on it post haste! We’re not going to do that with old tools.
I was with Wu when she declared two years ago and I’m looking forward to her challenging all the naysayers.
If I have an agenda, it’s to mention the past travesties so we don’t kill our cities again. Most cities in 1950 were backwaters. Instead of fixing them, we paved our farmland and bled out the urban power/tax base and that was not a good thing.
 
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The EGE

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Pre- Bid Dig, the parcel that's now Boston Public Market was a parking lot. That photo is looking across the lot, with the Haymarket entrance roughly where is now (just surrounded by the building). The cars hide Congress Street and several hundred feet of space between the entrance and City Hall.
 

BeyondRevenue

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I see it now. I'm so glad we built there instead of keeping the sprawling parking lots.
 

Blackbird

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The question I'll always have is: could Boston have pulled through the doldrums of the post-war (WW II) years without the original elevated Central Artery being built and the subsequent massive urban renewal projects providing a jumpstart?
I’d argue that it would’ve. I’d even go further and say that Boston’s recovery would’ve been MORE dramatic if a 4th of the old city hadn’t been destroyed considering how the North End, Fenway, Charlestown, and South End all became such big tourism and real estate magnets after being rundown in the middle of the century.

The rejection of white flight and the romanticism of old-style urbanism happened independent of Boston on a much larger, national and international scale. There’s no reason the West End wouldn’t have become just as desirable as the North.
 
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Charlie_mta

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I’d argue that it would’ve. I’d even go further and say that Boston’s recovery would’ve been MORE dramatic if a 4th of the old city hadn’t been destroyed considering how the North End, Fenway, Charlestown, and South End all became such big tourism and real estate magnets after being rundown in the middle of the century.

The rejection of white flight and the romanticism of old-style urbanism happened independent of Boston on a much larger, national and international scale. There’s no reason the West End wouldn’t have become just as desirable as the North.
I tend to agree. The old elevated Central Artery didn't have to be built, especially if the 1945 MTA proposal to build extensions out to the suburbs had been implemented instead:
 

bigpicture7

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Charlie_mta

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There are some great photos of old school Boston Combat Zone by a photographer/ teacher, Jerry Berndt. This might be more art than architecture but I thought it would be interesting. To many to post, here's a link to a general search. Link

View attachment 20539
Whew, the photos on the link.... so glad the Combat Zone is gone. What a human train wreck that place was.
 

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