Remember the post I wrote earlier today about people getting down to the Seaport District by way of spaceship? Read on for another example. Different neighborhood, same pipe dream:
For decades the green and pink Italian cookies and shimmering marzipan fruit in the window of Maria’s Pastry Shop could do little to brighten the dank underpinnings of city’s the old elevated Central Artery just across the street.
Now when Enza Merola looks out of her family’s shop in the city’s North End neighborhood she has to shade her eyes. When the highway was demolished as part of the Big Dig project, Merola was most shocked by the brilliant afternoon sunlight streaming in through the windows.
She’s certain the future is even brighter.
Near the shop’s counter, Merola has taped a drawing of the new Rose Kennedy Greenway — a series of parks and cultural spots that will dot the land that used to run beneath the dark overhead highway that cut a swath through the city.
For half a century, the Central Artery cut off the North End and the harbor from the rest of the city; but the $14.6 billion Big Dig project buried the highway underground, and city planners hope the parks and greenery will be the crowning jewel.
"I can close my eyes and I’m able to see it," said Merola. "It’s the thing that keeps me going. It’s going to be beautiful."
The hulking elevated highway — a relic of 1950s urban renewal that bulldozed its way through the heart of Boston — is already a memory, replaced by rubble-strewn lots cordoned off by chain link fences and concrete jersey barriers.
But close your eyes, urban planners urge, and imagine something very different: a graceful curving canyon of interlocking parks and cultural centers designed to knit the city’s downtown financial district to its waterfront neighborhoods.
City hoping to cap trouble-plagued Big Dig with emerald jewel – The Boston Globe
Originally posted 2005-06-25 22:23:00.