The Past and Future of Boston and the Bay State

History of Boston

Boston with bud light banner in the background.
Courtesy of Ron Gilbert’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

The city of Boston is also known as the Hub City. The city is known as the Hub because it is considered to be the hub of the Universe. There Re three major downtown areas of the city, Downtown, the Back Bay, and the Seaport District. Prior to the completion of the Central Artery Project (The Big Dig) the hub was a quaint little college city. The Big Dig began in 1991. However, it was finished in 2006. Newberry Street was aligned with boutiques and Hanover Street was aligned with cozy little Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Moreover, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the city was gridlock with traffic. Moreover, it was impossible to leave one part of the city and come to another. The reason for was the Big Dig. Additionally, the Big Dig was not supposed to last as long as it did in the city. Additionally, it was not suppose to cost as much as it finally cost the Commonwealth.

More so, because Boston was not nearly a fraction of the size of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas, the market for the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots was not there. Hence, the Yankees dominated the Major Leagues, the Celtics and Lakers dominated the NBA, and the Dallas Cowboys dominated the NFL. The Boston and New England teams were nowhere near any championship anywhere between 1997 and 2000. Growing up in the Greater Boston area I remember there being a downtown that was inaccessible. Also, there was a sports scene that was unmentionable. The was during the Big Dig era. This was during the Post Seaport District Boston. Boston was merely a tiny college town before urban sprawl and gentrification expanded across the city. In addition, the Boston and New England sports scene would shortly open up.

Boston was once run by a strong mayor, vice mayor, city council president, city clerk, city District Attorney, City Sheriff, etc. In the 19th century the city was ran by a two-house city legislator. Also, the Commonwealth and the nation is ran by an elected executive branch and a Bi-Carmel legislator. It was in t h e top ten largest cities in the U.S., by population and size. The Port of Boston was one of the largest seaports in the Eastern seaboard.

Changing tides in Boston

A Statue in the snow in Boston.
Courtesy of MK Feeney’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

The Great Boston fire hit in the late 19th century. Then a lot of the factories began to move to t by the suburban city of Chelsea. Then the maritime industries began to move to the Port of New York and New Jersey in the post-war years. The city and state then began to combat the urban decay with urban redevelopment. Many inner-city neighborhoods were cleared to make way for gentrification. The process starting in 1957, under the Mayor John Hines administration.

Some of the neighborhoods that were cleared were the West End and Sully Square (District 8), the South End (Districts 2 and 7), East Boston (District 1 ), and the North End and the Waterfront neighborhood (Districts 1,2, and 8). However, it was not until 1970 that the state government began to replace and Rethinking their urban renewal design. They decided to not build a highway that would connect the city to the counties to the south. Instead, they decided to reroute the Red and Orange lines of the Massachusetts transportation system. The transportation system is governed by the Massachusetts Busses and Trains Authority (MBTA).

However, the Boston School Integration program, and its violent backlash, broke out in 1974. Suddenly, South Boston, Charlestown, East Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester became violent hotbeds. In addition, Boston would enter a very bleak period of its local city, county, and state history. It would not be until the Bicentennial celebration of U.S. history occurred in 1976. At that moment the city and its suburbs would emerge on the rebound. More so, the Massachusetts Miracle would hit in 1979. Simultaneously, then Governor Ed King’s administration cut taxes in the Bay state and businesses began to move to the region. The Boston Miracle would then emerge in the following decade of the 1990s.

Statewide crimewave in Massachusetts

Brick wall with chalk art on it of a house with child in the window.
Image Courtesy of Chris Devers’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was moving towards the far left politically. Un the Governor Michael Dukakis administration, U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, and U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil (all from Massachusetts respectively) the commonwealth began to move to the radical and progressive left because of the anti-nuclear power movement. A nuclear power plant in Plymouth County (South Shore of Massachusetts) was discontinued. Another nuclear power plant that was being constructed in Seabrook, New Hampshire (right near Massachusetts) constructed was suddenly halted.

At the same time, a statewide crime wave was triggered by an Irish American street gang from the Lower End of South Boston. The area of Massachusetts is dubbed America’s Dublin. The head of the street gang (Whitey Bulger) was the older brother of the Massachusetts Senate President Billy Bulger. In Boston, all roads connected and led to the highest ivy-covered towers of Beacon Hil. However, the lowest alleyways of South Boston, or Southie to locals.

History of corruption in Massachusetts

Government officials at the podium in Boston, Massachusetts
Image Courtesy of Boston City Archives’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Regardless, the 1970s and 80s were a very dark time for the Bay State. However, the corruption, crime, and urban blight did not just remain in the inner city. Generally, it traveled to the suburbs after urban sprawl. Growing up in Revere I constantly heard stories of the city during the post-Great Blizzard of 1978 era. Once the blizzard took down 85 percent of the city, such as Revere Beach (Ward 5), Shirley Ave (Ward 2), Beach Mont and the Winthrop Shores (Ward 1), Lower Revere Street or St. Anthony’ of Padua Parish neighborhood (the lower end of Ward 3). Essentially, most of the city was underwater. The city was then drained. Hence, the area would become a national disaster zone. It would remain so for most of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The city’s east side, or the beach and surrounding wards, precincts, and neighborhoods, were then rebuilt. The amusements were replaced with high-rise condominiums and apartment buildings. They were opened by 1989. However, the local economy collapsed in the late 1980s. Therefore only a few condos were sold. Other units were converted to section 8 housing. Moreover, the rest remained vacant for the rest of the 1980s and 90s.

The old Revere Theater in Downtown Revere, a few cities blocks down from the Beach, was demolished and replaced with The Broadway Towers (250 Broadway). 250 Broadway would become a source of section 8 housing units. Moreover, it opened up in the city under the second Mayor George V. Colella administration and the second Governor Dukakis administration.

Childhood in Revere

Boston
Image Courtesy of Daniel Mennerich’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Growing up in the late 1990s, which was ten years after the 1989 crash, I remember the cities of Revere, Malden, Somerville, and else where economically dyeing. It was a very somber time for the intermediate suburbs of the Boston. The two shopping centers in Chelsea, North Gate Shopping Center in Revere, the Assembly Square Mall in Somerville, and the Square One Mall in Saugus were becoming rapidly abandoned if they had not been abandoned for many years by then. The intermediate suburbs of Boston needed a miracle and they needed one fast, much like New York City in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was hard to know if the bleak 1970s and 80s ever ended in the Greater Boston area judging by the first ring suburbs of the city in the late 1990s. Downtown was gridlocked with traffic because of the Big Dig. Also, the Post-war suburbs of the city were dying, and all four professional sports teams in the city were practically irrelevant to the rest of the county. The only sports venue in the city that was still flourishing at the time was Suffolk Down in East Boston that was hosting concerts again for the first time in decades during the summer of 1999.

History of political corruption in Massachusetts

However, the Greater Boston area was never a stranger to corruption and shady business deals. Wikipedia reported that in the 1970s Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader Joseph DiCarlo from Revere was indicted for extorting the construction contractor. The contractor built UMASS Boston in Columbia Point. DiCarlo was the head of a special committee that was investigating the contractor. The firm was allegedly connected to kickbacks and bribes. Also, that was sent to the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Wikipedia then reported that roughly at the same time, the Mayor Bill Reinstein administration from Revere was accepting bribes and kickbacks from the construction of the second Revere High School project. However, Reinstein was acquitted of all charges. Regardless, DiCarlo was then convicted and imprisoned.

In the early 1990s, Revere Mayor Colella was indicted for accepting graft. However, his charges were acquitted. Also, Wikipedia reported that U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts Nicholas J. Mavroules was convicted. In return, he pleaded guilty to 15 out of 17 counts of extortion, bribery, and racketeering in 1993 and received a 15-month prison sentence.

Corruption, crime, extortion, and racketeering were age-old traditions in the Greater Boston area that were passed down from father to son. Moreover, it was passed down through the generations. The labor unions were very powerful in the Commonwealth, and so were the politicians that were their handlers. The Massachusetts Democratic political machine had a lot of power. Additionally, the Senate president and House speaker controlled the machine. The governor and lieutenant governor were usually Republicans and content. The question that remained did the machine run the gritty and crime-ridden streets or did the streets run the machine.

Hence, I remember a two class Bay State. One for the elite, and the other for every one else. Our side saw the grid locked traffic, and a un accessible Downtown. The elite saw a world class city that was the envy of the eastern sea board. It was clear that there were two cities of Boston, and there were two states of Massachusetts. Then the Big Dig finally ended, long after schedule.

The Seaport District was created after the Big Dig was completed in 2006,. The city then began to expand. Assembly Row was created in Sommerville, Station Landing was created in Medford, and Encore Boston Harbor was a resort and casino built in Evert. The casino was built after casino gambling was finally legalized in Massachusetts in 2011.

Future of Suffolk Downs, or the Beach Mont Innovation Center

Suffolk Down was purchased by the Hymn real estate group in 2017. It then ceased to exist as a race track after it was declared that Wynn Casino would be awarded the casino license. Suffolk Downs would not receive the license. The new development will be turned into an area that will be anchored by an innovation center in the Beach Mont/Revere side of the former track. On contrary, the property was anchored by the race track that was on the East Boston/Boston side of the property from 1935-2017, in a former life of the site. Also, major development is moving into the Haverhill, Lawrence, and Methuen area in the form of the River Walk Properties under the helm of the Lupoli brothers, which are two local entrepreneurs in the area.

Socialism and an unpredictable future

However, all is not well. Due to the rise of socialism and inflation in the state, the Greater Boston, MA, Worcester, MA, Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH area of Southern New England, and the rest of the North East and the U.S. at hand, the future of the nation and capitalism itself is looking very unpredictable. If socialism and inflation is to continue to rise in the free world what will the future look like. Not just in terms of freedom and peace in the middle east, but for capitalism and the free market society. In terms of the local area, what will become of the downtown s of Boston, the major developments moving into Revere, Chelsea, and Lawrence, the casinos in Evert, Plain Ridge, and the Greater Springfield area, and the high-tech corridor that was built from M.I.T. on Mass Ave in Cambridge to Assembly Row in Sommerville, via the Orange line.

What will become of the peace, wealth, and prosperity that has been moving into the Greater Boston area since the late 1970s and early 1980s, starting after the Anti-Boston Busing Crisis. Will the city and Commonwealth be plunged into the dark 1970s, with the long gas lines and inflation or will it survive like it has done in the past many times. The future is very unpredictable and judging from the current angle no one knows what will happen. If the Commonwealth will see a crime wave like in the 1980s un the Dukakis administration or if it will some how survive and see another Massachusetts, or Boston, Miracle like it saw in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. In the end, the Bay State is not just unpredictable, but the entire future is always going to be uncertain

 

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