Community Featured

Thank You and Farewell

The time has come after twelve terrific years of community news to say goodbye to NorthEndWaterfront.com.

For the reasons noted in my initial announcement, I have put off this day many times driven by the enthusiasm of our passionate readership. Yet, the realities of our internal limits and the drastic changes in how people source and react to news have brought us to this closing.

The NorthEndWaterfront.com website will continue to exist here as an archive for the foreseeable future, but without any new posts. Our archives are searchable and also sorted by category and tag.

Reflecting on the site’s coverage since it launched in 2009, we had our share of ‘scoops’ but I am most proud of the consistency that our everyday content brought forward to foster a sense of community.

Most recently, of course, our coverage largely related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic when Boston became one of the first cities to experience a coronavirus ‘surge‘ in the Spring 2020. The North End benefited from the opening of a local testing site, yet saw the cancellation of its feast season, the shuttering of its restaurants and dramatically transforming its streets and plazas to accommodate outdoor dining. At the same time, caught up in the reckoning of colonial figures was the waterfront’s Christopher Columbus statue which was beheaded and ultimately removed by city officials.

Real estate development was a high profile subject on NorthEndWaterfront.com. We covered hundreds of zoning requests, including a recent new affordable senior housing development at the Knights of Columbus building on N. Margin Street. One highly controversial development stopped in its tracks was the proposed Charter Realty project with a Starbucks at Hanover & Cross Streets after facing significant opposition. Most of the larger projects were proposed on the periphery of the North End, toward the waterfront, West End or Downtown. One of the tallest and still on the drawing board, as of this writing, is Chiofaro Company’s Pinnacle Tower at Harbor Garage following the much debated change in zoning as part of the Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan allowing a height up to 600 feet. Several developments can be described as nothing other than transformative, such as the Government Center Garage redevelopment called Bulfinch Crossing. Or, those in the West End including the Hub on Causeway at North Station and TD Garden that brought a full-scale Star Market supermarket. Also changing the surrounding landscape is the Haymarket Hotel, a Hilton flag, at Parcel 9 and the Dock Square Garage housing project along the Greenway which is ready to break ground in 2021. On the waterfront at Commercial Wharf, the Tavistock development appears stalled with the abutting condo association having won its latest round of lawsuits. Will it follow in the footsteps of the Lewis Wharf Hotel that was blocked after significant opposition and a ruling by the state regulator? Impacting much of the area’s housing was the fight over AirBnb and short-term rentals that took many residential units off the market. The lingering effects of AirBnb on the neighborhood remain to be seen.

Parks and open spaces saw many renovations and changes over the past decade. Ready for a 2021 opening are the ball fields and bocce courts at Langone and Puopolo Parks on Commercial Street. North Square was completely reconstructed and came with a award-winning public art. The Prado / Paul Revere Mall also benefited from a fresh upgrade with new drainage and improvements. A long-awaited dog park was constructed at Prince Street Park, also known as the Gassy / DeFilipo Playground transforming dark flights area. Commercial Street saw the installation of Boston’s first cycle track. Nearly a decade ago, we actively covered the governance reform of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the non-profit Greenway Conservancy that has grown out of that effort.

The website became a main source of information on key neighborhood issues such as when Partners decided to close the North End Nursing Home in 2016 and ultimately, when a new operator came in. Similarly, the site lit up in 2018 over what should happen to the aging Nazzaro Center and the location plan for a new community center. The Eliot K-8 Innovation School and Boston Public Schools made a dramatic transformation in the North End through two major expansions: (1) into the former North Bennet Street School and then (2) at the Upper Eliot School at 585 Commercial Street. For its part, NBSS reopened its new campus on North Street in the city’s old printing plant. Another major renovation took place at the center of Hanover Street with the multi-year work to restore and reopen Saint Leonard Church. The Paul Revere House at North Square also saw a significant expansion to its campus, adding a visitor center at Lathrop Place. We followed all the design meetings for the North Washington Street Bridge (Charlestown Bridge), as well as the redesign for the old Northern Avenue Bridge.

We enjoyed celebrating our local businesses and tried mightily to cover as many grand openings as possible. In the North End, the restaurant scene continued to grow and prosper, at least until the pandemic hit. Over the years, the community has also witnessed the closing of many treasured businesses. A few of the losses include Green Cross Pharmacy, Maria’s Pastry, The Living Room, Boschetto’s Bakery, Piccola Venezia, I AM Books, Loft & Vine, injeanius, Maurizio’s and Ida’s.

Fires and accidents were among the saddest posts to write. And, there were plenty including deadly North End building fires, a hammock/chimney collapse, the railing falling on a woman at Commercial Wharf, and the structurally unsafe building evacuation on Hanover Street.

The North End / Waterfront and Downtown has generally been a safe area in Boston, but there have still been some serious crime and public safety incidents including a FBI raid, multiple missing persons, assaults, stabbings, drug trafficking stings and robberies. Back in 2018, hundreds of teens swarmed the streets and parks during the weekend feasts resulting in mass arrests by Boston Police. We even reported on remnants of mob activity with the closing of Fresh Cheese and arrests at the former Gemini Social Club. And, perhaps the best police blotter headline was “Take the Knife, Leave the Cannoli.

Flooding, storm surges and the impact of climate change was on display many times over the site’s tenure. In 2018, the waterfront and downtown saw record flooding similar to a 2014 New Year’s Nor’Easter. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy was a near miss for Boston, but an uncomfortable reminder of the area’s pesky sea level rise.

The North End’s summer feasts dominated much of the late Summer news, with four remaining “full-scale” Italian festivals such as last year’s 100th Anniversary celebration of the St. Anthony’s Feast, the oldest running Fisherman’s Feast, honoring Madonna Della Cava and for Saint Agrippina. But there are other traditions worth mentioning such as the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground by Prince Hall Freemasons and the Tall Ships visits to Boston Harbor,

We started our polls to generate some fun reader interaction having no idea how seriously people would take them. They were often forwarded far and wide on social media, generating more comments than most articles. Perhaps the peak example was the Love It or Leave It Feast Poll.

And now, there are so many people to thank …

Amanda Stoll has been a core part of NorthEndWaterfront.com since 2017, eventually becoming managing editor of the site and running much of the behind the scenes operation from the North End. If you have submitted a post and wondered why it looks so good, gets in the newsletter, or how the calendar gets updated, etc., you can thank Amanda. Our first reporter, besides myself, was Conor Finley who joined in 2013. Conor was a prolific contributor through 2017, helping establish many of the recurring features that became stables of the site. Katie Babb has tirelessly put together the Daily Briefs, often in the wee hours of the morning to keep readers up on the latest news for the morning newsletter. She also took on the 311 roundups, among other features. More recently, Alyssa Nations and Steve Vilkas, took on covering weekly meetings and scoops in the community, key to our core coverage. David Marx covered the North End’s public safety meetings for several years. We also benefited from the work of Christopher Romano, Kerry Akashain and Lauren Milione, among others along the way. Thank you all!

Onto our columnists, with their thought provoking and deeply researched articles that brought a special sense of community to NorthEndWaterfront.com. Here we call out Nicholas Dello Russo. a lifelong North Ender, who often used vintage photographs to tell the stories of growing up in the North End along with its culture and traditions in his “Life on the Corner” columns. His daughter, Jessica Dello Russo, has also brought her own writing and research talents to the site. “Downtown View” was a long running, weekly city life column by newspaperwoman Karen Cord Taylor who previously founded The Beacon Hill Times, the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge and the Back Bay Sun weeklies. Back in the North End, Thomas F. Schiavoni, brought us stories about neighborhood life and urban epiphanies with his “Copp’s Hill Moment.” On the waterfront, Monica Collins, previously of the Boston Herald and other publications, shared her views on urban living through “Downtown Journal.” We also thank her husband, Ben Alper, for his jokes that we often used to spice up our daily newsletters. And there were other regulars, including Nicole Romano Cinneli, Jay Gillespee, Iolanda Volpe, Phil Bellone, plus those who sent in occasional pieces and op-eds on various community issues.

We actively covered the activities of our local elected officials and none more so than State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, now Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, whose tenure coincided with the launch of NorthEndWaterfront.com and the 2009 special election for the 3rd Suffolk District. We also followed State Senator Joe Boncore from the 2016 election when he replaced Anthony Pettruccelli. In the next year, District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards won the 2017 seat vacated by Sal LaMattina during a time of significant activity at the Boston City Council. And, of course, no elected official has more of an impact on Boston neighborhoods than the Mayor. The late Thomas Menino was a very familiar face in the community as is current Mayor Marty Walsh.

I have so appreciated the work by our terrific community groups, schools, businesses, cultural and health 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. NorthEndWaterfront.com has origins as a place to share meeting minutes of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) and North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA). That eventually resulted in video recordings along with many other public community meetings. For their contributions, special thanks to NEW Health, North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), Eliot K-8 Innovation School, St. John School, Nazzaro Center, North End Against Drugs (NEAD), Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP), Wharf District Council, North End Athletic Association (NEAA), Friends of the North End Branch Library, ABCD Center, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Boston Harbor Now, St. Leonard’s Church, Boston Community Collective, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Armenian Heritage Park Foundation, North Bennet Street School, North End Historical Society, Friends of the North End, RUFF, the various feast societies, and others that we may have forgotten to list here. A special call out to BPD Officer Teddy Boyle who consistently sent in the weekly police blotter for many years. Lastly, we are grateful to our friends at our newspaper counterparts, Pam Donnaruma and staff of the longstanding Post-Gazette as well as Phil Orlandella of the North End Regional Review, both who generously shared their content. Thanks also to Adam Gaffin for his numerous leads and his work at the best citywide ‘breaking news’ site, Universal Hub.

As we expanded through the years, the positive response to our call for patrons was heartening with hundreds of residents and businesses making monthly contributions. We also had a steady set of sponsors and advertisers on NorthEndWaterfront.com. We are thankful to all who supported us, especially those who dis so year after year including Antonia Monarski (Coldwell Banker), Toni Gilardi (The Gilardi Group/Gibson Sothebys), Carmela Laurella (CL Properties), Lucia Ristorante and Tresca. Our daily newsletter also had multi-year sponsors including Artu Rosticceria & Trattoria, The Burton Family, Cider Doughnuts by Allan Doherty, CL Properties, Eva Kalawski & John Sutton and North End Boston Food Tour.

Finally, thank you to all our longtime readers. I have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of thoughtful sentiments you have sent over the past few months. I will still be around the neighborhood working on other projects and posting occasional photos at mattconti.com, for those interested.

Be well.
Matt Conti
Editor / Founder
NorthEndWaterfront.com

55 Replies to “Thank You and Farewell

  1. This website was a gem for the neighborhood. Thanks for your efforts, Matt. Enjoy the extra time in your day.

  2. I haven’t been a reader (or North End resident) very long but I was amazed at what a positive impact this site and newsletter made in my life. I’ll miss it and thank you so much for making the North End feel like home.

  3. Matt
    Truly have appreciated all you have done for our community. Hope that you will keep on posting some of your beautiful photos.
    Hope that the new year will bring you lots of joy and good health
    Stay safe

    1. Thank you for your replys Michael D off and on me and you were great readers of this site and to respond about our neighborhood is real.

      Charles M aka to you CM

      1. CM, I’ll miss reading your posts and exchanging viewpoints on a neighborhood like no other. So to you and T Mobile Sprint along with all the “regulars” who posted Buona fortuna and best of luck. Stay safe.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful newsletter. I’ve enjoyed it so much. As a former North Ender, it kept me happily linked to the North End. I will miss it. You deserve so much credit for all your hard work.

  5. Dear Matt Conti,
    As an elderly woman & long time South End resident, I moved into a waterfront apartment last year, just 1 block from Hanover St. Although at 1st I learned the neighborhood through walks, reading your daily newsletter was my savior.”. It helped not only to grasp the history of this century’s old community but informed about what I neede to know about daily living.
    Today’s fairwell saddened. I shall miss my connection to the North End. So thank you from an old lady whom you helped adjust. to a new home during a sad time in our history. Onward with Luck, Health, Peace.

  6. Matt,
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your YEARS of dedication to the community and the neighborhood!! NorthEndWaterfront.com will be forever missed! Meghan & Neil

  7. As I have shared before, Thank you Matt for all you have done to make the North End and Waterfront come alive each day. With all the email stuff I receive the North End Waterfront news was the one I consistently read. Your ability to make the neighborhood better and be the source for news has been outstanding. I will miss your newsletter!

  8. Thank you so much. We just moved back to the North End and loved receiving all the news. We are so sad to see you leave.

  9. Matt –

    Thank you so much for all you and the team have done for the community. You will be greatly missed in my inbox. I look forward to following you on your journey at MattConti.com.

    Best,
    Kelsey

  10. My jaw is still on the floor. I always talked about the North End Newsletter and the information it provided. It provided so much information relative to its residents and neighborhood that you could not find many other places. Maybe buried somewhere deep on Boston.com, but without the NEWF newsletter, one would have to search instead of being pointed directly. I remember when my landlord told me about the site, I believe very close to its inception, and I joined immediately. You were even kind enough to post one of my pictures of the Copp’s Hill Cemetery during the winter of 100+ inches. The pride I felt was not about being on the site, but being a part of the neighborhood. As of then end of January this year, I will have lived in Boston for 20 years. 18 of them in the North End. My wife and I purchased a condo here and do not plan on ever leaving. Thank you so much for keeping this site going for as long as you have and providing all of the stories and information I feel I would have missed out on otherwise. You will be greatly missed. Thank you again. -Chris

  11. Dear Matt
    It is hard to say goodbye. You have stepped up to provide us with unreplaceaple social capital as our neighborhood changes. Your website has been both a source of valuable news and a platform for us to speak with each other. Godspeed, thank you, keep in touch!

  12. Dear Matt Conti, I will miss this publication greatly. It was a wonderful way to stay connected to people and my childhood, now summertime neighborhood. Northend/waterfront contained the perfect mix of news, history, and images. Thank you.

  13. Matt, a wonderful publication that kept us up to date on our local happenings. Best of luck to you & thank you so much.

  14. What a wonderful body of work you folks have created and nurtured. Best of luck in your new endeavors!

  15. I will surely miss your Newsletter, and the RESPECT you ALWAYS gave me–EVERY MONTH when I would submit my Recipients of the GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARD–I was ALWAYS so Proud to give this Award, and Very Happy to announce each and every person’s WELL DESERVED Certificate to them !!!! (Award given to people who always kept their property and surrounding areas clean and void of debris on a continuous basis )
    This Newsletter and The Regional Review published this event for a Number of Years !!
    I TRULY APPRECIATE THIS COVERAGE!!! THANK YOU—Janet Gilardi

  16. Best wishes Matt! Your legacy of devotedness to our neighborhood community has been exemplary and appreciated beyond words.
    Always with a smile as we crossed paths many times over the years, each holding a camera. I wish you health and happiness; looking forward to seeing your pictures as you continue your travels around the globe.

    Bob Somerville

  17. Matt, you came late to the North End but you embraced the neighborhood and the neighborhood embraced you.
    You are one of the all time great North End personalities.
    All of us, old and new North Enders, owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.
    Thank you very much.
    Nick

  18. Matt,
    Thank you for all of you hard work and devotion to Northendwaterfront.com and the neighborhood over the years! Best of luck with everything!
    Ryan

  19. Thank you, Matt! Your work here over the years has been much appreciated. As a “new” North Ender (now here 12 years), this site helped me to connect to our community and learn more about the place I’ve been so happy to call home! Good luck to you!

  20. Oh Matt please reconsider! (Just kidding, I know this is the end, but it’s hard to accept.) I agree with Nick Dello Russo that you are one of the all time great North End personalities.
    Elizabeth Deane

  21. Thank you Matt for all your hard work which was greatly appreciated each day.
    Wishing you all the best as you will be missed.

  22. MATT
    IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE WORKING WITH YOU ALL THESE YEARS, YOU WILL SURELY BE MISSED, ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT,

  23. Dear Matt,
    Your newsletter has been such a tremendous asset to the North End! It’s been a ready reference to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood and given us a quick and reliable snapshot of activities + events on a daily basis. Your work on behalf of the North End has been above + beyond. I hate to see you go. Thank you VERY, VERY much for all you’ve done for this neighborhood we love.

  24. Matt,
    You captured the spirit of the neighborhood with your wonderful photos and informed articles. I will cherish forever the images you captured of the fun events we put on in Columbus Park. The pictures told our story as you told the story of other nonprofits and restaurants, businesses, civic engagements and so much more. Northendwaterfront.com is truly a time capsule of life in our unique neighborhood at the beginning of the 21st century.
    And you always made it look easy! 😊
    Thank you, my friend!

  25. I’m going to miss this newsletter. After moving out of the North End, it continued to keep me connected to the neighborhood. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

  26. Matt, this is sad news for so many reasons. I enjoyed reading all the articles, the news and the commentary. Even though I now live in Las Vegas, it was my way of keeping up with the happenings in my childhood neighborhood. I also was happy to share my memories of growing up in the North End as an occasional columnist. Once a North Ender, always a North Ender!
    Thank you for mentioning me in your remarks. However, I must respectfully advise you that my name is Natalie Romano Cinelli

  27. Dear Matt, Where to begin, when we moved to the North End a neighbor recommended I subscribe and read your newsletter. She said it was a must…and it was. North End Waterfront.com has been the heartbeat of the North End. What will we do without it. Thank you for introducing us to the greatest community in Boston, Ann

  28. Dear Matt,
    Despite not being a Boston resident, I loved reading your newsletter. Thank you for years of brilliant writing.
    Stay well.

  29. Matt I grew up in the North End and have faithfully read the column every day. You embraced the neighborhood and it embraced you. Thank you for all you did. I will surely miss the daily read. Much success and happiness in your endeavors.

  30. Matt, what an outstanding neighbor you have been and a model of media integrity. Thank you so much for all you have done for this neighborhood and the City. This website will be sorely missed!

  31. Like I said on the initial column back in late September I enjoyed this site every day I will miss the Social Highlights a lot, I will miss just seeing what is going on in the neighborhood just right down the street. What will I do without it, your a great guy again always a pleasure seeing you down the feasts, saying hi, even ofc being in some. You will be missed on here and soon hopefully you’ll have the camera there again! Keep up your great work and travel.

  32. Matt
    Although I live and teach in Melbourne, Australia, I have enjoyed your newsletter for quite a while, and draw on it for my urban history research. Well done, and best wishes on your next adventure. Auguri! Auguri!
    Rob

  33. I will miss North End/Waterfront a lot but I’m happy to hear that you are not going anywhere Matt. Look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood. Thanks for all the years of local informative news…and for the puzzles. I always loved the puzzles. I go into the archives occasionally and pull one up.

    Thanks again.

    -Janine

  34. For many years, I too have enjoyed northendwaterfront.com. The news, stories, photos – and the comments!! Your commitment, kindness to neighborhood and graciousness is unsurpassed. A sincere thank you, to you and your team.

  35. Great job Matt!
    Always best to go out while on top.
    So many summits out there to challenge you.
    Grateful to call you a close friend. See you soon.

  36. Matt — You have created a model of what a neighborhood blog should be. Even 10 years after moving from the North End, I still get so much of my news from NorthEndWaterfront.com and wish that we had something similar where I’m living now. Thanks for all that you’ve done. I and so many others will miss you and your team of reporters. Best wishes for whatever you decide to do next.

  37. I also have enjoyed reading the newsletter each day. You have been a great asset to the North End. Best of luck in the future.

  38. I lived in the North End for 8 years and moved away. I loved reading everyday and especially loved the stories of people growing up in the North End. I will miss this but thank you for everything you have done!

  39. It’s going to be hard for me to describe how valuable a contribution you made this neighborhood to this place, to the world, but I’ll try.

    Iconographer with a camera of everything and everywhere, Cuba United States North End of Boston, anything that could be captured through a lens. The service northendwaterfront.com provided to the neighborhood is of immeasurable value, your legacy will continue. As an arbiter of the social traffic on the site you did an extraordinary job. You had a difficult job indeed, but managed it with finesse.

    The site disseminated information that everybody needed to know it was became the glue that held a lot of the neighborhood together, and made its members feel like they were important parts of something bigger. You guided that traffic with a very gentle and fair hand, always watchful of people’s posts and ensuring that people were civil to each other.

    As a visual artist, I think you are second to none. I’ve said that before about your photography and your discerning and perceptive eye. Maybe that’s why we got along, we share an irrepressible desire to record that which could be visually apprehended, you with your camera and I with my pen.

    Matt, I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1960 and thought I saw it all. You came along and helped me, and everybody here, see so much more.

  40. Matt, Many thanks for the years of top-notch local coverage. You could now very well be an expert on the newly-authorized state committee that will study ways to promote and suppoort local journalism. There’s an old expression, “Thank God we’re a two-paper town.” I can add, “Thank God we had Matt’s newsletter covering the North End.”

  41. Matt,
    Thank you so very much for so many years of North End news. I have been a faithful reader since moving to the neighborhood in 2004. The site was so informative for coverage of neighborhood news as well as the strong and interesting history of North Enders! I will really miss reading it! Many thanks and appreciation!
    Best wishes to you!

  42. Dear Matt,
    Thank you! We are all forever grateful for your leadership, commitment and dedication to the community.
    Over the years, your photos have captured the community’s heart and soul – including Armenian Heritage Park.
    Each year, we cherish your “official photograph” of the Park’s Reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture – creating an extraordinary series that we cherish.
    Because of your encouragement, we have reached so many in the community..
    We are forever grateful for your thoughtfulness and kindness.
    To you and your NorthEndWaterfront.com Team, our heartfelt appreciation.
    So many thanks!
    Barbara Tellalian
    on behalf of the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway

  43. A sad, but completely understandable, day has finally come.
    So, so many thanks to Matt and his staff for all the years of this invaluable resource.
    Be well, be safe!

  44. BRAVO to you Matt you made the “I” of the North End Mentality become “US” and “WE” not an easy task but you achieved it with such GRACE and HUMILITY. And I a former North Ender, still connected to the neighborhood through my Band “NORTH END MARCHING BAND” Can not find the words……so I say Thank You
    Proud to call you MY FRIEND
    Mano

  45. Thank you for all your support of the ABCD North End/West End NSC. We will truly miss your publication and you and your great team.

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