Rephotography in North End (2)

This photographs from Jules Aarons is known as ‘Royalists’ in the book Into the streets. Not sure what royalist could mean in the very context of the USA, it is a bit strange and sounds to me rather as a joke…

Royalists © Estate of Jules Aarons

At first sight I thought it could be hard to spot this one. Although the place is rather specific, especially with what looks like a stoup behind the woman on left, but actually there is no such a place with an outdoor stoup in North End today. But I found this one thanks to an old woman I met in Hanover street. She was delighted and moved by the pictures in the book. She grew up in North End and lots of what she saw was familiar to her. She gave me precious indications for some spots, including this one. She identified in the Royalists picture what was actually the public baths of North End back then. So instead of a stoup it was rather a stone-made sink, which has been replaced y a simple public water fountain.

The building behind is now the home of the Nazzaro Community Center.

Rephotography in North End (1)

I have been in North End, on the footprints of Jules Aarons for doing some rephotography. I took the book “Into the streets” with me. It includes a selection of street photographs made by Aarons in Boston between 1947 and 1976 mostly in West End and North End. Finding the places he shot in West End is nearly impossible today because the area has been heavily refurbished (“revitalized”) since then. There is very few left of the old buildings and the street plan has changed completely.

But on the contrary North End has evolved very smoothly, and I was able to find 9 corresponding spots.

Some were very easy to spot and I knew them before (such as the playground near North Square). For some I needed to make my brain work a little, and some others I got external help from local people. And by the way that was the nicest part of the job, I will elaborate on that later on.

So to begin with here is one shot I did:

Jules Aarons rephoto (1/9)

… and what I suggest is that you find out the corresponding photograph from Jules Aarons. It is rather easy to look it up using Google.

MIT library photo archive on Flickr

I have just discovered that the MIT has put online through Flickr about 2,000 photographs of Boston shot in the late 50’s by Nishan Bichajian.

This is great documentary resource for people interested in the Boston cityscape and its evolution since 5 decades. There are nice street shots too, especially from North-End (check out the photostream around page 61)

Here it is: