Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday

YazThis week the Boston Red Sox started the 2013 Major League Baseball season playing the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Monday so I figured I’d use the start of baseball season as an excuse to post this image of Carl Yastrzemski, better known to fans as Yaz.  Carl Yastrzemski played for the Red Sox for 23 seasons and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.

Flashback Friday

old corner bookstore bostonHere are three photographs of one of Boston’s oldest commercial buildings taken at different times in the last century. This building was built in the early 1700s and eventually became the headquarters of Ticknor & Fields, the publisher of the first editions of The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Walden. But most Bostonians know and refer to this building as The Old Corner Bookstore or the Globe Corner Bookstore even though it is currently a Chipotle.

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Flashback Friday

Jimmy's HarborsideIn recent years, much of Boston’s development has happened in what is now referred to as Boston’s Seaport District – located between the financial district and Southie.  This area had long been under utilized, which is hard to imagine considering its prime location, but the image of of Northern Ave with Jimmy’s Harborside (shown above) has been replaced by Liberty Wharf, which opened in 2012 with several new restaurants, meeting space and fantastic views of Boston harbor.  Across the street, a 2-story building and parking lot has been replaced with apartments, office space and a hotel (as shown in the photo below).Liberty Wharf

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday

Flashback FridayDo you remember this advertising campaign from Prince?

Prince is one of those companies that I have much sentimentality for. It was started in Boston in the early part of the last century when three Sicilian immigrants started this pasta company at 92 Prince Street in the North End. One of those three founders was my great grandfather, Gaetano LaMarca.

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Flashback Friday

LechmereIf you are of a certain age and grew up in New England, chances are this retailer brings back a lot of fond memories.  Pronounced Leach-mere with a hard “e” on the first syllable; I purchased my first 10-speed bike, stereo and practically everything else at Lechmere.  

According to Wikipedia, the chain which started in Cambridge in 1913 finally closed in the late 1990s.

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday

Photo by Ginger Gillette Kent

Overlooking Boston University’s West Campus was “Ellis The Rim Man”.  And nobody thought that was the least bit funny (well some of us did).

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday

Flashback FridaySince bringing this weekly post back to my blog, I’ve featured a lot of architectural changes including Boston’s waterfront, The Big Dig, and the building of the John Hancock Tower in the Back Bay.  I thought I’d mix things up a bit and share this image of two college buddies from 1980.  Like many of my photos for this weekly post, I pulled this from Dirty Old Boston on Facebook.

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Flashback Friday

Flashback FridayThe John Hancock Tower which was designed by I.M. Pei & Partners in the early 1970s transformed Boston’s skyline and is often photographed by tourists and residents alike.  The soaring glass structure literally reflects the Back Bay neighborhood.  When the structure was being built, architects had an issue with the large reflective glass windows popping out and crashing below.  Many of those patched windows in the photo from 1973 are from those falling windows. Pedestrians must’ve cast a weary eye toward the sky when walking by. The more recent photograph is of the same building but from a different angle to afford you a better appreciation for the minimalist design the building is noted for.

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday

Flashback FridayIn the late 1980s Boston embarked on its largest construction project in the city’s history. It became known as “The Big Dig”. Critics have pointed to this public works projects as an example of excess and waste, but looking back at the scope of the project and the final result, I am so happy with how it turned out.

Above on the left you see what was referred to as “The Artery”. Initially constructed in the 1950s it was the main highway that ran north to south through the city.  The expressway was also approximately 30-40′ above ground casting huge shadows, creating awful pollution and cleaving the city in two. The Big Dig submerged the expressway and expanded the number of lanes to help move traffic through downtown.  After the green iron girders that supported The Artery were torn down a large park called the Rose Kennedy Greenway (a.k.a The Greenway) took its place. You can see traffic driving into one of the entrance ramps to the submerged highway in the present day photo.  Both images depict the same exact spot along the expressway.

The old image of Boston is courtesy of Dirty Old Boston.  The newer image is from Google Maps.

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday

Boston waterfrontThe Boston Custom House was the only “sky scraper” in Boston in 194o.  The tower had been added in 1910 and stands just under 500′ tall. However, you can barely find the Boston Custom House from my photograph taken in the summer of 2012, but you’ll see it off to the right if you look carefully.

In 2009 I had a regular post called “Flashback Friday”, which I would share past images and memories of life in and around Boston.  After perusing Dirty Old Boston on Facebook I was inspired to revive this regular post.  For those not familiar with Boston, thank you for the indulgence.  For those who may have grown up in and around Boston, I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I like putting them together.  Apologies for the older posts which were done in 2009.  When I moved my blog to WordPress the formatting from my Blogspot address left a lot to be desired.

Past Flashback Friday Posts

Flashback Friday: September 11, 2001

Not all flashbacks are pleasant, but I would be remiss not to mention how September 11, 2001 impacted the more than 170 families in Massachusetts who lost loved ones.  I recall that back on September 9, 2001 I had said good night to my good friend Graham (pictured above) who was leaving for L.A. in two days. We were to connect the following weekend. 

Realizing the personal nature of the tragedy on the afternoon of September 11th as friends called me to find out if Graham had made his flight is etched in my memory, and I imagine will stay with me for the rest of my life.  Taken too soon and still missed today, my flashback is in memory of all those people who lost someone they loved on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 but for me mostly about my friend Graham Berkeley.  Listed below is a quick video of Boston’s humble but very serene memorial to that tragedy. 

Flashback Friday: Boston South Station

Boston’s South Station is located at the edge of the financial district (also straddling the leather district, chinatown and fort point channel) on Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street in Dewey Square.  In addition to servicing buses and the local subway (MBTA system), regional bus and train service leaves from this busy station 24/7.  I regularly hop on the Acela for business trips to NYC and always enjoy walking through this beautiful building which has been renovated many, many times (most recently in 2001 and 2005) without compromising its architectural charm.

The train station first opened at the start of 1899 and the exterior still looks much as it did back at the end of the 19th century.

Boston South Station through the years:

Flashback Friday: The Kennedy’s

Looking back at my past few posts the balance that I usually try to maintain with regards to subject matter and interests seems to be quite lopsided. The debate about healthcare and politics in general account for several of my most recent entries. This week’s flashback is no exception. In light of the recent death of Ted Kennedy, I wanted to post this photograph of Ted, Jack and Robert.

I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to shake Senator Kennedy’s hand and thank him for his work in the U.S. Senate. In 2008 I was also able to hear him speak when I attended the Fenway Health Community “Men’s Event” and Senator Kennedy accepted the Gerry Studds Award. His speech that night to the sold-out crowd of 1,300 (mostly gay men) was inspiring because of the passion he showed for a cause which he did not need to champion but did so with gusto because of his conviction that GLBT rights were worth fighting for.

Sen. Kennedy was a political giant, but he was also part of the political landscape here in New England and in particular in Massachusetts. For as long as I’ve been alive (longer actually) he has been the state’s senator. It is strange to miss someone whom I did not know and who has such an incredible legacy. Unlike his three older brothers, his life saw tragedy but was not tragic – anything but actually.

Sorry for all the recent melancholy. I do promise to inject more humor and diversity into my future posts.

Flashback Friday: Tip O’Neill

For 10 years starting in the late 70s and running through the late 80s Speaker Tip O’Neill an Irish-Catholic from the streets of Cambridge, MA dominated the U.S. House of Representatives. He became extremely powerful because he was able to break (or cause gridlock) in the House. However, his ability to work with anyone and get legislation passed was what helped build his legacy.

Nancy Pelosi has earned her place as Speaker and she certainly is fluent in partisan-speak (as was Tip). However, she has yet to learn the nuanced voice of restraint and bi-partisan dialog, that made men like the former Speaker O’Neill giants in Washington, D.C.

With healthcare reform and the President seemingly under seige, it makes me yearn for the deft political ear and approach this political giant brought to bear while working with three Presidents (two of them Republicans).

Tip O’Neill happened to live and serve in a state transfixed by the Kennedy aura (I am one of them), but he deserves his own place in history as one of the longest serving Speakers (1977-1987), an effective legislator and a champion of social causes and justice.

Flashback Friday: Concerts on the Commons

Do you recall the summer concert series that use to take place on the Boston Commons?

My very first concert was at the Concert on the Commons. It was Friday, June 29, 1984 and the headliner that night was the Go Go’s with a relatively new band from Australia named, INXS, as the opening act. The Go Go’s were promoting their new album, Talk Show, and INXS was promoting their album, “The Swing”. I was in 8th grade at the time and was accompanied by two of my closest friends, Brian Northridge and Tom Kane. We were driven into the city by Tom’s super cool aunt and her boyfriend at the time who were in college.

The concert would be the first of many live shows I would go see and indicative of the ‘new wave’ movement which I would be swept up in through the remainder of the 80s.

I’ve looked all over for images of and references to the Concerts on the Commons, and I wish I could find archived photographs that I could share but sadly I’ve not. Do you recall this summer concert series in the heart of the city? Did you go and see any shows on the Commons?