Working with What We Have
In the North End
by Pamela Donnaruma
There is much discussion lately on the revamping of Hanover Street in Boston’s North End. As editor of the Post-Gazette, which is located in the North End since 1896, I spend a lot of time here. The North End has always been a great place to live and work. The North End has changed along with other neighborhoods. Historically it was an Italian residential neighborhood with many shops that catered to the locals. Clothing stores, grocery stores and fish markets to name just a few were in abundance.
Fast forward. Decades later restaurants line the streets, along with cafés and specialty shops. With the tourists that visit each year, the North End has become a major attraction in Boston.
Decades ago you would find old-timers greeting each other, today you will still find old-timers greeting each other. That hasn’t changed. What’s changed is the influx of new people moving in. It happens. Call it gentrification, call it the sign of the times, whatever it is, it’s reality. This reality in the North End today is not a bad thing. In fact it’s great that the North End hasn’t lost its charm. It has become a wonderful tourist attraction and it always welcomes back those who grew up here.
The business community has become an integral part of the already established residential community. I agree with Councilor Sal LaMattina that a traffic study has to be done in order to assess the traffic congestion along the streets of the North End at the present time. However, I feel that what is already in place should be adhered to. For example, the laws that have been established, including: trash removal, noise pollution, traffic, parking etc., should be strongly enforced.
Let’s try this to see if this could minimize the problems that the North End faces today. Basic city services that keep the neighborhood clean and vibrant should be enforced. The Freedom Trail, one of Boston’s biggest tourist attractions is in disrepair. The sidewalks in general need to be rehabbed. The trash issue needs to be addressed. The parking and valet services needs to be worked out. Is it necessary to have multiple valet drop offs in close proximity of each other? The valet service on many occasions does not drop off or pick up at curbside, which causes more congestion. Taxi cabs that idle and drive on Hanover Street looking for passengers and dropping them off in the middle of the street is not acceptable. All of these issues are adding to the mounting congestion problem. Before we start making major changes to the North End, let’s work with what we have. Businesses and residents need to work together to ensure that the North End continues to grow in a positive way. We can all agree on one thing, we all want what is best for the North End, let’s try to work as a community to make this happen.