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Reflections Of The Way It Used To Be

Posted by Jim Botticelli  September 3, 2013 11:50 AM

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Faneuil Flea74Manos.jpg
Photo by Constantine Manos

A bargain hunter unwittingly reflects the Faneuil Hall Flea Market surroundings in 1974.

Before it's upscale renewal by Ben Thompson's Architects and Jim Rouse's developers into what is called a "festival marketplace", Quincy Market was Joe Average's one stop where he could grab his produce, dairy products, bread and meat. Bones uncovered during the renewal suggested that butchers practiced their trade there as well. While the haggling went on inside the walls, street vendors set up shop in the shadows of the exterior selling cultural debris from all walks of life in a flea market atmosphere.

The market was a major player in the business world of the 1800's and early 20th century, but by the 1950's and 60's had begun to suffer from neglect. Many of the bustling old shops now stood vacant. It was penciled in for a tear down but the aforementioned architect and developer fought for it's salvation, found an advocate in then mayor Kevin White, and rebuilt it, changing the look of downtown Boston. The 1976 architectural recycling project was the first of its kind, and was imitated and duplicated far and wide. Although it is a very popular tourist destination to this day, locals are not the refurbished market's most enthusiastic visitors. Perhaps Yogi Berra said it best. "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."

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Ciao for now ... Jim Botticelli DJJimmyBee@comcast.net

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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