Rephotography in North End – Salem street

Here is one easy to spot.

© Estate of Jules Aarons

The building behind is an old power plant, unexpectedly found in that rather busy neighborhood. Here is the place today…

… which has few changed actually, except that they removed the street signs which are now on the opposite corner of the crossing. The curb has been leveled down also, and one mail box has been removed (there are two mail boxes today but both on Prince street).

The re-photo is rather boring, but it is a good spot for street photography. Here are two shots I did, before the re-photo project:


One of the most known photograph from Jules Aarons could be this one:

© Estate of Jules Aarons

It has a strong 50’s vibe and looks like it was captured on a film shooting. By the way it is amazing how the guy on right looks like Marlon Brando whereas the other guy could be James Dean…

I spotted the place by chance. One clue was the “Freedom Trail” sign on right. The freedom trail is a touristic pathway that goes through Boston historical places. In North-End it reaches Paul Revere’s House, then goes through the Prado up to the Old North Church before heading North towards Charlestown leading to Bunker Hill. But I did not even need that since right after doing the Salem/Prince re-photo I stumbled upon the spot little upper in Salem Street, close to the old church. That was the specific wall design which is similar to that of the power plant that gave me hint.

This is now the main entrance of North Bennet Street School.

Rephotography in North End (3)

Here is the ‘solution’ for re-photo #1

Napoli Square © Estate of Jules Aarons

Napoli Square, 2010

Note that the “Gus P. Napoli sq.” sign is likely to be the very same old plaque, but has been moved a little on right, possibly when they changed the pavement.


When I did the re-royalist shoot there was a man behind me, sat on a bench and smoking a cigar. We said ‘hello’ and I told him a little about what I was doing. He got interested in the Jules Aarons book I had with me. I told him I was able to spot many locations of the North-End pictures in it, at least most of those I was looking for, except that of the cover. Actually I was not sure the cover image was shot in North-End because unlike those inside the book there is no caption. But it looks like North-End and thought myself it was probably shot there. I have tried to figure it out in the Paul Revere Mall before but failed. Very surprisingly that man was able to spot it at first sight, with quite an accurate information about the vantage point, which is quite amazing when you look at the photo and know what the place has become since then (that man was not that old, about 50 or so)

© Estate of Jules Aarons

The background part of the playground in the Aarons photo is now the private playground of Eliot Elementary School, which is located in between the Revere Mall and Charter street behind where it has its main entrance. The very background behind the fence is the Revere Mall indeed (“The Prado”). Across to the ground there is now a fence that separates the school playground from a parking lot, which is always completely filled with cars (parking is a nightmare inside North-End, and nearly impossible without resident permit).

Here is an approximation shot at 17mm focal lens on a cropped sensor (i.e. 26mm equiv 35mm film). Not sure what lens Aarons had on its TLR camera, but I assume it could have been around 35mm instead (in equiv 35mm film).

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.