Category Archives: boston


In the early 1970s Chelsea, Massachusetts on the north bank of the Mystic River was a good example of a failed post-industrial city. Thousands of residents had moved out of the working-class community throughout the 50s and 60s. The Expressway split the city and sped up the decline, then on October 14, 1973 the coffin […]

House On Fire

One night back in 1971 my friend and I were returning from a Sha-Na-Na concert in Boston. Mark was driving along the Jamaica Way and after rounding the circle at the entrance to Arnold’s Arboretum he sped up toward Forest Hills. His Nova had a lot of pull for a V-6. Both of us were […]


Back in the late 50s my Irish grandmother took my older brother and me for a monthly visit to downtown Boston. We left from her house in Jamaica Plains and rode the trolley into Boylston Street. The El from Forest Hills to Washington Street was quicker, but Nana preferred the trolley. My late grandfather had […]

A Not Very August Afternoon – The Beacon Street Union

Back in 1968 the two best Boston bands were Ultimate Spinach and Beacon Street Union. My best friend and I attended several of their psychedelic Saturday concerts on Cambridge Commons near Harvard. The longhaired coeds dressed like peasants. None of the hippie girls were fat and few wore bras. Chuckie and I hadn’t been to […]

MOSES’ BEST FRIEND by Peter Nolan Smith

New York City showed its teeth the winter of 1980. The police were racketeering our after-hours nightclub. One of the Continental’s backers was a gangster from Odessa, Russia. Vadim was going out with my old girlfriend from Buffalo. The tough zek smuggled stolen icons and passed bad paper. Lisa looked good in his furs. Only […]