Arts & Culture Photos & Videos

Things Change: Atlantic and Commercial on the North End Waterfront

When we recently posted the street signs where Atlantic Avenue meets Commercial Street, it reminded us of a series of “before” and “after” photographs in a new book called Things Change by father / daughter team, Alanna and Gerald Reilly. The father, Gerald, took a series of 35mm black and white photographs back in the 1970’s and his daughter, Alanna, used her iPhone to contrast those places as they appear today. There are over 230 images in the book, published by The Raleigh Press, and available on With permission of the authors, here is how things have changed at the Atlantic / Commercial merge.

Photographs courtesy of Things Change by Ayanna and Gerald Reilly.

10 Replies to “Things Change: Atlantic and Commercial on the North End Waterfront

  1. Oh Yeah~~I remember the Quincy Cold Storage Building !!! I lived right across the street when I was first married ! Thanks Ayanna and her Dad ! Where could I purchase the book?

  2. When was the date of the top photo?
    I remember the big parking lot that I could see clearly from my LR at the top of Fleet St. in early 1991…and one day I saw new girders being installed, and I thought to myself: “Oh, oh!”…and sure enough, away soon sadly went almost all of my view of the harbor.

  3. I also remember Dunkies on the wharf where the Fairmont is now. Is that what you’re calling the “Burnt Wharf”? Who did it? Whatever, it worked to keep Dunkin Donuts out of the North End to this day!

  4. Mismanagement and now Bay State Lobster is gone, none of the new locations made it. Dunks went on to open thousands of new shops everywhere. It’s safe to say Dunks is doing a great job. The only reason to ban Dunks in the North End is to help the local pastry shops stay in business.

    1. I’m all for not having a single DD in the North End. First, the pastry shops are local people who do their best to keep afloat during a difficult economy. DD is a behemoth that has muscled its way into nearly every community and smaller bakeries have died because of it. Second, with a DD, we have even MORE opportunity for disrespectful Suffolk and other students to dump their styrofoam coffee cups and bags along the street. Did I happen to say that college students don’t own a thing in the North End and continually treat it as their party palace? And, I’m a young guy saying that!

      1. What concerns me about DDs is they seem to be the store of choice for armed robbers & holdups. There have been many robberies throughout the city & state the latest being a violent & vicious assault on two DD employees in Quincy over the weekend.

  5. Must add not only Bay State, but the Butcher Block and Fleet Fruit along with Dunkin where they actually made the donuts on site. I could always walk to Battery Wharf to get something to make for dinner that night. Plus a liquor store!

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