East Boston

October 2014, East Boston


madonna queen of the universe shrine, east boston (mattybonez69)

madonna queen of the universe shrine, east boston (mattybonez69)

Today's photo comes from Matt, a nursing student living in Cambridge. Matt has this to say about Boston: 

"These are a few of my favorite things: When the celts win, when the pats win. when the snow melts, and the marathon is around the corner. Pride. Loyalty. Attitude. Accents. Italian Subs. Fenway. Dunkies. Paul Pierce in the wheelchair. The Mass Pike. Sox hats. The common without an s. Threes up. Boston."

The Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine on 150 Orient Avenue in East Boston, has one of the best views of Boston. After almost 12 years of construction, the Shrine was completed on October 7, 1977 and contains a 35 foot copper and bronze Madonna statue that used to stand in front of the Don Orione Home, a home for the elderly. The Don Orione Home still exists today and is part of the Sons of the Divine Providence-Don Orione Fathers.

The Madonna statue is a full size replica of the original La Madonna di Monte Mario in Rome, Italy. La Madonna di Monte Mario was created by Jewish-Italian sculptor, Arrigo Minerbi, who escaped the Nazis during WWII by dressing up as a priest for the Don Orione Order. Biagio Farese, a popular Italian American radio announcer from Boston, and John Volpe (later Governor of Massachusetts), visited Rome and asked Minerbi if he would create a replica for the Don Orione Home. Minerbi enthusiastically agreed and even offered his services for free.

The Shrine is open Tuesday to Sunday and masses are held in English, Spanish, and Portuguese that reflect the influx of immigrants from Latin America into East Boston - once a predominately Italian American community.

See the archived photo of the Madonna statue being transported to Boston in 1954

East Boston, October 2014


central park lanes, east boston (emmaobie)

central park lanes, east boston (emmaobie)

Today's photo comes from Emma who lives in Jamaica Plain and works in sports marketing and event management. Her favorite thing about Boston:

"Summer. Boston comes alive in the summer. With the college kids back home, and the city's population cut in half, you have more space to explore with less crowds! You can go to outdoor movie nights on Boston Harbor or in Jamaica Plain, purchase cool vintage finds and hit up the food trucks at SOWA, dance outside at ICA First Fridays or simply enjoy the city's green space at Jamaica Pond, the Public Garden or Boston Common."

Candlepin bowling, a popular form of bowling in New England, was invented in Worcester (40 miles from Boston) in the late 1800's by two men, Justin "Pop" White, and John J. "Jack" Monsey. White owned a pool and bowling business where many different types of pins were used depending on the  customer's preferences. He found the "ten-pin" (regular bowling) to be too easy and boring so he started experimenting with taller and thinner pins, and smaller balls (without holes) that became very popular. Monsey was responsible for standardizing the game and changing the size of the ball to the current size of 4 1/2 inches. Currently, the pins are 15 3/4 inches in length. Candlepin differs from ten-pin bowling not only in the size of the ball and pins, but also in scoring; each round has three balls instead of two, and the pins are only cleared after each round.

At the time, pinboys and pingirls would reset the pins but they could never reset the pins exactly the same way each time. In the late 1940's, two attorneys from Massachusetts, Howard Dowd and Lionel Barrow, helped change that when they created automatic pinsetters for candlepin.

Want to bowl outside? Langone Park, in the North End/Waterfront, has three Bocce (Italian form of lawn bowling) regulation sized courts. Be prepared to wait in line though, as it is a popular place for locals.

East Boston, September 2014

east boston

across the water (sonya kovacic)

across the water (sonya kovacic)

For centuries, East Boston has been the city's entry point for Boston's immigrants.

In fact, even the Kennedys got their start across the inner harbor. JFK's great grandfather – Patrick Kennedy – escaped the Ireland Famine in 1848 and settled in East Boston. The family stayed in the neighborhood for two generations, until the upwardly-mobile Joseph and Rose Kennedy (JFK's parents) moved to Brookline in 1914.

Six years later, East Boston Immigration Station opened and began processing new immigrants on a larger scale. In its 34 years of operation, the station welcomed 23,000 immigrants to the city — and became nicknamed "Boston's Ellis Island".

Based in an old Eastie firehouse, Zumix is a nonprofit organization that provides a space for kids to create music and art. Check them out this weekend at the annual Harvest Festival. (It's free).