Skip directly to content

Sign of the times

Landscape of Southie

The Southie that we grew up with is long gone.  What was once vacant lots and cobblestone streets with overgrown weeds is now the booming Waterfront District.  The lower end of town has million dollar condos, a yoga studio, and the Franklin Southie.  On East and West Broadway, old businesses are quickly being replaced with new and improved ones.  M Street Beach is now a social summertime mecca for people in their twenties and thirties.  This is not our father's South Boston.

Is that a bad thing?  We now live in a gentrified part of the city with better restaurants, valuable property, and clean beaches.  But when it comes to the "overcondo-ization" of our town, how much is too much?  According to a Boston Sunday Globe article by Billy Baker, two iconic landmarks in South Boston are for sale.  The large white house at the corner of P and East Broadway that was built in 1867 and the single family red house surrounded by a large lawn (yes, a lawn in Southie) at 945 East Broadway.  With listing prices in the millions, these houses are doomed to development into condos which could include demolition.  We say, "What a shame!" 

Earlier this year, Congressman Stephen Lynch was adamantly opposed to a single family home on East Eighth Street being developed into an eight unit condo complex.  At a community meeting he said, "When we start knocking down one-family homes around here and start putting up eight unit buildings we can kiss this neighborhood goodbye." But you can't stop a train dead in its tracks.  This real estate movement has been picking up steam to a fast and furious pace for the past ten years -  so what's a town to do?  We'd like to see the city offer some sort of incentive to keep single family homes single family and to encourage developers to build more single family homes for young families.  After all, the heart and soul of South Boston is its families and if families can't afford to stay or find an affordable home large enough for a family, then they have no choice but to leave.  And then what's left? 



Anonymous's picture

Yuppies are what's left.

Anonymous's picture

Why is it the yuppies fault??? How about the home owners who are lifers that have "sold" out the last 15-20 years ???  Please tell me you know that 3 out of the 5 main developers in Southie are from Southie????? So why arent we bashing these people????

Stupid hate for no reason

M Street Park's picture

The Mayor has systematically dismantled this neighborhood both through the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Not only should we look at the single family homes being converted into condos but also think about how many two family homes have been converted into 2 (usually more like 3, or more) seperate condo units. We have gone from owner-occupied multi-family homes where people not only cared about their individual property but the community as a whole to a splintered neighborhood. Now condos are the rule while owner-occupied multi-family homes are the exception and that has made a negative impact on the community as a whole (and would happen anywhere, not just in Southie).

At the end of the day, this administration has run a Machiavellian, behind the scenes campaign to divide and conquer this neighborhood in an attempt to disarm what were once two of the biggest voting wards in the City of Boston.

Jackie Conway's picture

and put in a couple of 300 car garages.

Priced out 's picture

I will be leaving this great neighborhood I have called home for most of my life.  My wife and I wanted to raise our children here and are proud to call Southie home.  Or were proud to call it home.  We are strongly considering leaving the state all together.  I am all for progress but is what happend here really progress.  A revolving door or residents that stay for 4 years and move on someplace else progress.  I will be watching from a far. 

Anonymous's picture

It's amazing so many complain about new people moving in. It's only because the old timers are selling their homes at astronomical prices. Those prices driven up by local neighborhood realtors. So the locals are cashing out to move to the south shore. Blame for change lies in both camps. But those that are ultimately benefiting from the change are the locals leaving town with small fortunes made from the credit supplied by the yuppies working their butts off. I agree the condos are out of control and we can blame the local politicians for allowing so many variances for their developer buddies. Just a thought but perhaps the neighborhood needs to look in the mirror to see why the neighborhood is changing so much.

Emily LeBlanc's picture

I think it great that they are building South Boston back up bring in some more stores so people will shop in South Boston when my kids were little there were a lot or stores to in shop you would see all the mother walking up and down Big Brodway and Little Brodway you would get to meet new people now there is nothing for family to go to. So help bring up South Boston with more new stores and Restarant to eat.


Thank you


Kevin Conroy's picture

The above 'Condos' comment is corrrect.  The BRA and City Hall never seem to say NO to these multi-unit developements.  It's what I like to call: 'Electoral Cleansing.'   As Steve Lynch refered to; we can kiss this neighborhood good-bye.  I really don't have an answer.  We are being steamrolled. 

Rose o'toole's picture

These two houses will be sold to developers who will have the sole interest of making a giant profit and moving on to the next deal. South Boston has become a transitional neighborhood where one does not know their neighbor and why bother because they will be moving out in about 2 years. There are very few families staying in a neighborhood where there is no parking ,sports programs are dwindling and there is no room to grow and raise children in a two bedroom condo. This is what has become of south Boston. There is no investment in a place where you can't grow roots.

milo's picture

I had the privilege  pleasure of growing up in Southie- the old Southiue where most of us were renters, but lovers of the town. My mother, God rest her, while a quiet woman fought against one specific issue over the years.

Many developers wanted to get McNeary's field and build over Columbia stadium land. She fought that tooth and nail. She used to say that the layout of McNeary's and the beaches made rich men out of working families. I came to agree with her as I got older and saw other cities.

The development of , from my view of my old hometown, completing the "condofication" of Southie will lead to the "disappearance" of the open spaces. Such a shame. I guess I should return this summer before the change is complete so I can refresh the memories. Tag football on the grass on Columbia Rd at I street. The beach at I street where we hung out and played padiddle. The Park Leagur football games. Everyday pickup baseball games at M street park during summer break.

Treasures, true golden treasures and memories. In my final days I will try to wrap myself in that gold--Jerry, Macko, Milo, Franner and the rest. 


Today the treasure is in the value of the real estate and althiough I had a successful  career, I could not afford to move back to my old home town. Progress is usually good, but sometimes the character of a town, a city, a neighborhood is not as precious as the  ethos of the people, in spite of the added material value.




NC's picture

Leave the two houses on East Broadway alone. The are Historical and have been there since the 1800. We don't have to much of the old South Boston as they are demolishing them for more condos. Parking is bad enough now. Are the realators that hungry for the money or what? They have taken some our churches,schools, buildings and converted them into Condos. Please no more condos.

Meyer's picture

Yes, I plead guilty to being one of the "two-train" Irish ... the Redline to the Greenbush line who moved south. The Town has changed and IS different. Different is neither bad nor good - just different. Which came first - the Yuppies or we evacuees? Does it matter? The transient 20-somethings didn't ruin Paradise. The Evacuees got out of the real estate bubble before it burst.

After raising a family and a couple of tuitions and weddings paid off, the romantic notion of coming "home" has strong appeal. But we have enough relatives and friends who stayed to know it just not the same. Sometimes we can identify with ancestors who fled the Famine and were cast as traitors for abandoning their native soil. Not totally welcomed on return visits.
Do I miss Southie? Absolutely! The fruit vendor outside St. Monica's selling apples for a nickel that tasted so good after little league practice on a July morning. Coach at the Gavin School giving us little pink passes to ride the bus for free to an away game across town. Trying out for the annual St. Patrick's Day Golden Gloves tournament ...and making the cut! Story time at the Library and forgive but I can't remember the handicapped woman's name who made the time, if not her name, so memorable.
But the vendor and Coach Emo and the librarian are gone. And with them the Southie I knew.

Post new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture.
Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Read this