The Boston Globe features the ongoing plight of Freedom Trail tourists looking for a public restroom in the North End.
Tour guide James Miele knows the history of all the North End landmarks on the Freedom Trail: the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. But if Miele’s flock is overhydrated, sometimes what’s more important is that he can find the restrooms.
The article points out that two bathrooms recently opened at Old North Church Gift Shop. Vicar Steve Ayres says its a start, but for the neighborhood at large, it doesn’t make much of a dent when 100 people get off a tour bus. Businesses are constantly hassled with bathroom requests, such as at Cafe Lil Italy, mentioned in the Globe article.
The bathroom situation turned into a crisis when the Hull St. visitor was closed a few years ago due to State budget cuts.
There have been repeated pleas to re-open the Hull Street facility or find other facilities that could bear the burden. A recent one published here on NorthEndWaterfront.com:
- Friends of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground Issue Plea for North End Public Restrooms and Visitor Facility
Also on the Freedom Trail, the Paul Revere House in North Square has plans for restrooms in its ongoing renovation. Visitors pay an entry fee to visit the museum. Councilor Sal LaMattina has also floated the idea of installing a coin-operated, self-cleaning restroom on the Paul Revere Mall (Prado).
The situation does not look to have a near-term solution. And, the Globe article is not the first Boston newspaper to cover the story.
Carrying the torch on behalf of those that visit, live and work in the North End is Freedom Trail abutter, Thomas Schiavoni, who is quoted in the Globe article:
“It’s a profound embarrassment,” said Thomas Schiavoni, a lawyer who is chairman of the Friends of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. “My wife and I live two doors in from the Freedom Trail, and we’ve had families come in and use our first-floor bathroom.” People who need to relieve themselves also use stone walls beside Snow Hill Street, said Schiavoni, as well as dark recesses inside parking garages. “They’ll put in a merry-go-round in the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, but they won’t put in some place to go” in the North End, Schiavoni complained.