“Tourist Season” is the second is a series of 1990 skits from “My Corner of Boston” performed at the North End Union, produced by resident Rosaria DiFinzio. See all the scenes here.
Rosaria called this next skit “Tourist Season” because back when we were kids tourists came to the North End mainly during the summer months and then only to see either the Old North Church or Paul Revere’s house. They wouldn’t dare go into one of the local shops where Italian was spoken and the locals seemed intimidating.
Navigating through the North End at that time could be challenging; the Freedom Trail wasn’t well marked and our streets were convoluted and were filled with street kids. Tourists would inevitably get lost and be forced to ask one of us for directions. If asked where Paul Revere’s house was we would say something like, “You don’t want to go there, he ain’t home. Come look at my apartment instead.” That would send them running back to the tour bus.
The thing that bothered us more than anything else, and Rosaria portrays this nicely, is when the tourists started taking pictures of us like we were strange creatures from another planet.
Sometimes members of our own family who lived out of town did this as well. I remember once on a Sunday morning my cousin Diane came to visit with a couple of her Medford friends who wanted to see what living in a tenement was like. My mother was cooking Sunday dinner and there was a pot of tomato gravy bubbling on the stove. She had also made a tray of stuffed mushrooms, my favorite, and offered some to Diane and her friends. I looked on in dismay as they finished off the entire tray. Thanks a lot, Diane.
If you missed the introduction and first video, Haymarket Hagglers, see this earlier post.
Nicholas Dello Russo is a lifelong North Ender and columnist. Often using vintage photographs, Nick tells the stories of growing up in the North End along with its culture and traditions. It was a time when the apartments were so small that residents were always on the streets enjoying “Life on the Corner.” Read more of Nick’s columns.