Blog Archives

Downtown View:Immigrants 1850

July 22, 2015
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Recently I researched and wrote a book about a group of immigrants who came to America in the 1840s and 1850s. Getting to Grand Prairie: One Hundred Londoners and Their Quest for Land in Frontier Illinois will appear this summer. It tells a true story of the farming community I grew up in. I’m...

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Downtown View:Questions You’ve Always Wanted Answered

July 9, 2015
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Recently we’ve noticed small, colored plastic disks embedded in the asphalt on Boston streets, especially in sections that have been repaired. What are those disks doing there? “They signify the utility contractor that did the work” wrote Gabrielle Farrell, associate press secretary in the mayor’s office, in an email. “This gives the Public Works...

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Mass.Eye and Ear Selling Hotel/Garage

July 9, 2015
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Officials from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, now known as the Mass. Eye and Ear, are in talks with several developers about selling their property on Beacon Hill. “The John Jeffries House is historically significant to the Mass. Eye and Ear, but it was not part of our mission,” said hospital spokesperson Jennifer...

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Closing a Church and Its Garden

July 3, 2015
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Church attendance is down all over America, but especially in New England, where only 17 to 22 percent of the residents report weekly attendance. Almost half of all Americans report they rarely or never go to church. One web site lists 27 churches in Massachusetts for sale to developers. The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston...

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The More Things Change

June 23, 2015
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Larry DiCara remembers his first encounter with Mayor Kevin White. It was 1971. DiCara was newly elected to the Boston City Council. The mayor phoned. Would DiCara meet with him? The young DiCara, outfitted in his best suit, entered the mayor’s office at the new city hall. White stood at the window overlooking Faneuil...

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Love in the Lab

June 18, 2015
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Kerfuffle. Brouhaha, contretemps, a wrangle, rumpus, melee, a ruckus, a to-do. It is curious that some of the best words in the English language describe a commotion, a disturbance, a fuss. My big American Heritage dictionary, published in 2000, strangely does not include the word. But the online Oxford English Dictionary traces its origin...

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Downtown View:Embracing the Greenway

June 4, 2015
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It has been six years since the Rose Kennedy Greenway’s first spring. It has been even longer since the Greenway was established, since the non-profits that hoped to cover the ramps abandoned their plans, and since frustrated horticultural volunteers fled the park leaders as too annoying to deal with. Things are looking up though....

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Downtown View:Recycle City

May 28, 2015
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We can get pretty depressed at the precarious state of the environment and the steps public officials are not taking to remedy the problem. Even more depressing are the climate change deniers, the clean coal boosters, the natural gas pipeline aficionados and the people who lack concern about fossil fuels damaging our air and...

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Downtown View:City Life Is a Sharing Life

May 21, 2015
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So many people decide to move into the city—what might they be expecting? Convenient trips to the movies, the opera, the symphony, the theater. Walk-to restaurants, bars, parks and libraries. Shops and supermarkets that make deliveries. All these benefits exist. The most frequent activity, though, may be a surprise to a former suburbanite shedding...

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Old,White and Rich?

May 14, 2015
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The reporting is breathless: Millennium Tower penthouse goes on sale for $37.5 million. A condo in a 19th-century Commonwealth Avenue townhouse sells for $7 million. Luxury apartments, rentable or buyable, going up in the Fenway and in the Seaport. These new projects add expensive housing to the already-pricey neighborhoods in downtown Boston. The buyers...

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