Watching the New Year’s 2014 Fireworks at Christopher Columbus Park (Photo by Matt Conti)

New Year’s is a time of reflection. Let’s take a look at what happened on NorthEndWaterfront.com during 2014.

NorthEndWaterfront.com was viewed 2.4 million times in 2014, according to Google Analytics. Wow! Within those views were over 350,000 users (unique visitors) putting in more than 660,000 sessions (visits to the site). All those numbers are noticeably higher than the previous year. I am most pleased to see that our bounce rate has dropped dramatically this year. That means when folks visit a page or article on the site, they stick around to read more. Hopefully, that’s because you are finding our content more compelling and worthy of your time.

In the past year, we added 1,389 posts growing the total archive on NorthEndWaterfront.com to 7,191 posts in our six year history. We consider building our archive to be the “store of value” as we are documenting the neighborhood’s history. We frequently hear of readers searching through old posts from years ago.

Despite the neighborhood’s reputation as one of the safest in Boston, crime reports are the most viewed category on the site. A Valentine’s Day sexual assault investigation recounted the arrest and subsequent dropping of charges against a North End man. This incident and a similar assault on St. Patrick’s Day eve remain unsolved. Later in October, a suspect was found and charged in a separate sexual assault by Boston Police.

The case of missing resident, Eric Munsell, was followed closely and ultimately ended up with his body discovered in Boston Harbor at Long Wharf. Also topping the public safety hits, we counted two car chases that ended in the neighborhood.

In the summer, the North End turns to its annual ritual of Italian Feasts. As the next generation of these religious societies takes over, this year’s feasts brought a mix of tradition and new twists. One thing is for sure, our feast coverage is extraordinarily popular.

No neighborhood has more restaurant comings and goings than Boston’s North End. We try to keep on top of it all because we know folks love to read about it. One of the smallest places generated the most buzz on the site when “Parla,” the Italian Speakeasy opened on Hanover Street.

Real estate is always popular and the latest surge in condo prices brought more clicks on the Real Estate Sales posts. Weather and the rising tides have a strong following from Nor’easter flooding, snowstorms and of course, rainbows.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the growing list of prolific commentators for their thoughtful opinion, history and lifestyle articles this year. In no particular order, take another read of the posts by Karen Cord Taylor (Downtown View),  Jim Ring (Necessary Assets), Nick Dello Russo (Life on the Corner), Tom Schiavoni (Copp’s Hill Moment) and Bob Skole (Nothing New). Even some of the more sporadic opinion pieces garner attention, such as the controversy about the Homeless at Haymarket. I also will take this opportunity to thank John Romano for an endless stream of information and Ralph Martignetti for NEAA baseball write-ups.

The North End / Waterfront has a multitude of non-profit and community organizations. I am grateful for the work they do on behalf of the neighborhood and for sharing their activities with us here on the site. A few of the more visible ones this year included the ABCD Center, BCCFOCCPFONEBLEliot K-8 School, Nazzaro Center, NEADNBSS, NEMPAC, NEWNC, NEWRA,  NEW Health, Old North, Paul Revere House, ROC Teen SaturdayRUFF, St. John School and the West End Museum.

Many thanks also to Gabor Korodi, Jacqueline Gray, Victor Passacantilli and Phil Orlandella for their informative coverage. If I have forgotten you, my apologies and please let me know!

Oh, and one last word on Conor Finley, who I have come to respect as a partner on the site. Every so often, something happens and I wonder how I am going to keep the site going. This year, it was Conor that came to the rescue with his diligent work and patience in responding to my ever growing list of “things to do.”

Speaking of keeping the site going, I am humbled by the response of voluntary contributions made via our new Patron system. With nearly 100 patrons offering over $650/month (plus many, many one-time contributors too), this helps cover our expenses and is truly a vote of confidence by our most loyal readers. I will have more of a thank you and update as we look to grow this effort in the year ahead. If you care to make a small contribution now, you can sign up online here.

Our newsletter emails were opened an astonishing 409,000 times in the past year. We love it when readers say NorthEndWaterfront.com is their favorite read in the morning. The email newsletter continues to be a primary source for folks to read the site. (Not subscribed yet? Go here.) After that, people find our posts on Facebook and Twitter with a little help from kind folks at citywide sites, such as Universal Hub, BostInno, Eater Boston, Boston.com and our local directory at NorthEndBoston.com. For those who ask me about the technicals, traffic is now 55% desktop and 45% mobiles to the site.

So, what’s in store for 2015 on NorthEndWaterfront.com? Look forward to new features, more contributors and even a new commenting system. Photos and videos will continue to be a focus and we have some nifty graphics ready to rollout. As always, I have more ideas than time. History articles are always on my list as are more people profiles. Remember that 1970’s documentary I mentioned last year? Well, maybe I will actually get to editing it this year (sorry, Janet!). At the core, we’ll stick to our knitting and focus on the reliable community “news & views” that you’ve come to love on NorthEndWaterfront.com.

I am always looking for constructive feedback on the site. If you have ideas or interest in contributing content, please leave a comment below or  contact me.

Thank you to all the contributors and readers of NorthEndWaterfront.com for a great year. Sincere best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015. 

Matt Conti, Editor

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