It’s that time of the year again. The transitional season – not quite summer, not quite fall – known as moving-in-and-out-days throughout Boston’s neighborhoods. North Enders, in particular, get to witness this annual migratory ritual at close range when building entrances and sidewalks are festooned with oversized mattresses, broken couch frames, desk lamps, laundry baskets, plastic bins, desiccated house plants and the detritus of city living. Like wandering herds of tundra elk trailed by marauding wolf packs, the renters and their movements are closely observed by trash pickers, self-described as urban recyclers.
My neighbor Coreen stopped to chat one morning and recalled the convergence of moving days with St. Anthony’s feast in past years. Marching bands, closed-off streets and hapless UHAUL drivers provided a perfect storm of frustration and less-than-saintly verbal exchanges. It truly was a miracle to find a single vacant parking space.
Coreen described the scene outside one building on Hull Street which she passed along her way to the market. Some apartment occupants had precariously stacked their precious belongings higher and higher as they desperately awaited a van trapped in snarled traffic. Later on her return from shopping, she had to step into the street to circumnavigate the mound which by then had widened and risen to an unbelievable height. And, upon this pile – like a glowing star atop a Christmas tree – was a coffee maker brewing a steaming pot of java with the help of an electric extension cord dangling from a third-floor window.
Thomas F. Schiavoni, a North End resident writes about neighborhood life and city living.
Editor’s Note: The City of Boston Public Works is asking residents to call and report large piles of trash on the streets. They have trucks driving around Labor Day weekend and on-call to respond to specific locations. Call the Mayor’s hotline at 617-635-4500 or online through Citizens Connect.