COPP’S HILL MOMENT: Sunday Morning Cadaver 

(You never know what you will encounter on an early morning stroll.)

Ok, Ok – so it turned out not to be a corpse. But, I was only semi-conscious when I turned down Salem Street and found the body. I had awoken at 6:00 a.m. and assumed that I was in store for a quiet Sunday morning with two newspapers and a cup of coffee before my wife stirred. With sleep still in my eyes, I dressed and descended the stairs to the sidewalk only to find the New York Times sheathed in its blue plastic wrapping. But, there was no Sunday Globe – just a telltale white plastic bag left crumpled on the ground. Some jerk had obviously removed the paper from its sack and mockingly discarded the plastic litter on the doorstep as a kind of weird gotcha tag.

Passed out on Tileston Street

My only option was to hoof it over to Hanover Street where I knew that the 7-11 would be open already and stocked with Sunday newspapers. And, as I trudged along Tileston Street, I blinked and focused my eyes on a figure slumped facedown over a granite block at the entrance to the condominiums at the former Columbus High School. From afar I hoped that this was not a murder or accident scene. I drew closer and I prayed that this inert male was still breathing. Then I wondered whether I would have to thump his chest and begin CPR after dialing 911. As I approached I heard a low sound that I initially mistook for moaning, but quickly realized was soft, gentle snoring.

I must admit that I was impressed, given the solidity of the granite and lack of pillow or mattress, how deep this fellow had slid into the oblivion of unconsciousness. I was kind of jealous in a way since I sometimes struggle with insomnia. I did not think it an invasion of his privacy to snap a photo since his facial features were well covered. But, God help him if someone happens to positively ID his rump.

— end —

(North End resident Thomas F. Schiavoni writes about neighborhood life and city living.)

21 Replies to “COPP’S HILL MOMENT: Sunday Morning Cadaver 

  1. If this were another neighborhood, the poor boy would not have been left alone to sleep off his stupor.

  2. What has this neighborhood become? I was walking down Hanover Street around 10ish on Saturday morning with my daughter and sitting next to Umberto’s (which is closed for the month of July) is a woman, who looked better than me, sitting there with her hand out begging for money! This was the first time I’ve ever seen this and I said to my daughter “never did I think I’d ever see this in the North End” and the woman replied “No you never did, did you?” I then told her, “this is when you know the neighborhood has gone down hill”

    Now this guy sleeping on a concrete slab like that in the middle of Tileston Street? Come on! Enough Said

    1. I don’t know how long you have lived in the NE, but if the internet was invented when I grew up here you would be reading comments about the latest body of a murder victim found ,a victim of a beating or someone who overdosed laying in the street. This place is safer now than ever & that’s a fact.

      1. I’ve been here 50 years!!!!! Let me say this, the reason the North End was always safe and considered a safe neighborhood was because of the people that lived in it. Those people are no longer here and it isn’t as safe as it used to be.I will say it’s safer than some sections of Boston but it’s always been that way in big cities. It is NOT safer now than it’s ever been. When I knew all my neighbors and could walk down the street any time, day or night, without worry, that was safe. That’s a fact. How long have you been living in the North End?

        1. All my life.Don’t get me wrong there were wonderful people & families that lived here then and now. But the “safe neighborhood ” of the sixties, 70’s & eighties is a myth.If you lived here for 50 years you surely remember that drugs, violence,crime & MURDERS were a way of life here.I knew 3 people who were killed on Prince St. alone RF, PM AND PC. how about the Slye Park murders? When was the last time that the NE had a recorded murder? I can name dozens of people murdered during that period.

    2. life long north ender – oh yeah, the neighborhood has certainly gone down hill. there is virtually no crime (and without mob rule) and property values are at an all time high. it’s terrible!!

      1. Truth:
        There’s no crime here? Really? What about all the drugs? There’s more drugs here today than any other time! You want to talk high property values? To purchase property anywhere in the City of Boston is very high. You need to be a millionaire to afford property in the City of Boston, never mind the NE
        Hanover Street and Salem Street are a total mess! Between the filth from the restaurant and the trash thrown everywhere and the people, you can’t even walk down the street.

        1. life long – i actually agree with most everything you just said. in regard to crime, i never said the north end was crime free. i just think the statistics show that the north end is a relatively safe place to live.

  3. Thanks Bobby, I’m just trying to be honest & tell it like it is [ or was] Some people are whining about someone panhandling on Hanover St. Both you & I know what we witnessed on Hanover St. .and other streets growing up.If our biggest concerns are panhandling & a guy sleeping it off after one too many were in pretty good shape compared to life in other parts of Boston.

  4. I am also from this neighborhood and have lived here most of my life and I can honestly say over the course of the last five years with all of the students, rooftop parties, people pissing in the streets, homeless people trudging around, drunks and heroin addict’s in the Prado and Christopher Columbus Park, the homeless man pushing a wheelchair with a teddy bear down the street harassing every person that walks by, people flying in cars up and down the streets blasting music, the trash and the construction everywhere – I have just about had enough. There is no longer the respect of the days I remember. Just a bunch of entitled idiots with a few of us normal people left in between picking up the shit these idiots leave behind.

    1. Frank: Sounds like you are ready to leave the NE…..or at least you should think about it if you truly feel most of us are entitled idiots and you and your friends are the ‘normal’ ones.

      1. heather – you are exactly right. the fact is there are people of all types in all neighborhoods that feel entitled. there are four “original” north enders within a block of my apartment who all save handicap spaces with orange cones. that act epitomized a sense of entitlement though i am sure someone will defend them.

    2. Frank,
      I couldn’t have said it better!

      Yes, I agree with you about the 60’s and 70’s and that was our own kids killing each other and most of it, if not all of it, was due to drugs and the drugs today, are worse than back then. Do you see how many people are overdosing on the drugs that they have today? It’s a scary world out there. We all have our own opinion of what the North End was and what it is.

      Yes, I am ready to move out of this hell hole. I find it very disturbing when I’m walking around and all’s I see is filthy streets and bags full of dog crap! Why do the owners bother picking up their dog’s crap and then just leaving the bags on the sidewalks/curb side? And I actually have become friends with lots of my neighbors and I find them very interesting and love their company.

      That is terrible and I do not stand for that at all. When you see that, you should get in touch with the Mayor’s Hotline at 311. There’s also an app available on cellphones. I would also check to see if the person that applied for the handicapped space is still alive and if not, request for it to be removed. I would never defend anyone doing that!

  5. I guess that Frank misses the old days when fear & intimidation ruled & you could break these “idiots” legs or put them in a sleeping bag in the trunk of a car. Yeah those were the days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Wow, face down on a 3×3 concrete slab. Needs to have a picture to believe it. Thanks for checking the body for life. Where I grew up he would have been there until he attracted flies.

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