Story and Photos By Sal Giarratani
REAL HOUSING FOR REAL PEOPLE
When I was a little boy living on Salutation Street in Boston’s North End, my parents paid $25 per month for a two bedroom apartment. It was a small apartment but big enough for the four of us. Back in 1955, rents were reasonable and created housing stability for working families. That is now history. Check out apartment rates in Boston neighborhoods today. While politicians talk about all the new housing springing up that is only half the story. When apartments are renting for $3,000 a month and developers are buying up three families and paying $900,000 for them, this can only mean bad news for those not part of the economic boom that gets touted on the pages of our newspapers.
East Boston has been going crazy lately, as more and more we see high-rise, high-priced apartments along its waterfront area. If you see an empty lot today, you can be sure next week it will be a housing start site.
East Boston today is Charlestown of 1987. Charlestown 2017 has become and continues to become a neighborhood of extremes. There is little room in this mix for working-class and middle-class folks trying to stay in their homes and long-time or life-long neighborhoods.
When you build 23 new units and have three that are called affordable, that means little to folks who are not the lucky three.
Boston is prospering for many but not all, and I am concerned about those who keep falling through the housing crack who can’t seem to keep ahead, live payday to payday and hope their landlord doesn’t sell out to a developer whose pockets are full of money.
“SEE THE BOAT TOMMY! SEE THE SHIP, TOMMY!”
I was over at the Revere Sand Sculpture festival a few weeks back and enjoyed all the great imaginative sand sculptures lining Revere Beach. As I was passing by the one showing the USS Constitution creation, I heard a young mother tell her child, “Look at the boat.” I heard that and replied, that’s the USS Constitution. She then turned to her little boy and said,
“Look at the ship, Tommy.”