Thursday, October 12, 2017

#Write31Days 12 • North End

Boston • Massachusetts

North End Boston leaving Bethel frescoBoston proper is a "small geography"; wikipedia reports it "covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 673,184 in 2016; the greater Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area branches out and around to include close to 5,000,000 people. Boston contains many large neighborhoods with their own designations people often use when they address snail mail {Roslindale, Dorchester(s), Roxbury, South Boston…} as well sections of town typically addressed simply as Boston + ZIP + 4. The North End is one of the latter.

Long ago in the 1630s, English Puritans first settled the North End. After several demographic shifts, by the early twentieth century the community housed a predominantly Jewish population, and later became primarily Italian, mostly from Southern Italy and Sicily. To cite the infinitely reliable wikipedia, "approximately one-third of the North End's current residents are Italians or Italian Americans. The remainder are young professionals {yuppies}, college students, empty-nesters, business owners, and other families. The politics of the neighborhood are still dominated by Italian Americans."

Not as long ago as the 17th century, but back in the 20th, I lived in the North End. Memories include walking downtown to work; going over to the now defunct Boston Garden for Celtics home games; driving a short piece up the north shore to the beach. Time spent tanning and listening to music {remember boom boxes, ghetto blasters, ghetto boxes, or whatever your vernacular may have been?} "Up On The Roof" of my apartment building makes me too nostalgic! Christ Church in the City of Boston or Old North Church of Paul Revere Fame is at the end of the Prado where a sculpture of Revere on his horse remains a tourist attraction.

What else about the North End? I mentioned Italian and that meant enticing smells of savory Mediterranean cuisine wafting by as you simply strolled down the streets. And then, Italian pastries. Cannoli, of course; and my favorite, vanilla- and citrus-seasoned ricotta pizza dolce – sweet pie – an Easter dinner essential.

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