The 35-foot Madonna statue atop Orient Heights rises over a residential street of brick houses that appear frozen in time, untouched by the wave of development sweeping Boston.
By some measures, it’s an accurate portrait. The historically Italian neighborhood on the city’s northern edge is still tightly packed with single- and two-family homes that look out onto the Boston skyline and Logan International Airport.
But this part of East Boston is beginning to feel the effects of the city’s building boom, residents say. Developers are seeking to build hundreds of housing units on the outskirts of the neighborhood, and plans are taking shape to replace the nearby Suffolk Downs race track with a massive, mixed-use development, where the city would like Amazon to open its second headquarters.