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With new parcel purchase, Ink Block developers set to add more to project

Our own John Keith reports that National Development, which developed the Ink Block project atop the spectral remains of the Boston Herald printing press, has purchased a small parcel on Albany Street - a small parcel that is now pretty much surrounded by the Ink Block.

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1. It's interesting and depressing that the history of that area (Google for "New York Streets") is residential -> factories -> dilapidation -> residential. I hope the city learned its lesson.

2. What I always notice when I'm over there is, yes, that Harrison Ave near Berkeley is pretty run down, and that Ink Block promises to make it less so. But I also notice how ripe for redevelopment the area around Washington and Berkeley is. There are much better uses for that space than a lot of surface parking lots that are empty on the weekends.

3. While we're talking about it: my big dream in life is that the cluster of disguisting highways separating South Boston from the South End will come down, Big Dig-style. I wonder if that will happen in my lifetime, or the Big Dig spent the city's fund of patience for highway burials.

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But then there would be no MassPike connection to the TWT and most train service would have to end at Back Bay. Nobody wanted to put the highway that high up but we would have to have the greatest, most fun rotary the world has ever seen if the Pike, 93, and train tracks had to intersect.

The highway is a part of the region's economic infrastructure and benefits the entire region.

As far as the New York Streets go, yes it is romantic to think about what used to be there but it was also very, very run down and the city also in my opinion, like the West End, got rid as much housing near the core of the city to keep the neighborhoods from being African American to protect the Vault's interests, while also enriching developers (Re: Jerome Rappaport and his "fiscal watchdog" son) on the state and city's dime. It was a silly plan from a long term urban planning sense to knock the area and National Development is restoring the residences, albeit with a much different socio-economic class to the area.

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The NYC Streets were full of Eastern European (mostly Baltic), Syrian, and Lebanese people when bulldozed. It was about as run down as the West and North Ends were mid century.

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And the wave of immigration into Boston into the 1950's was African American from the south.

Like the rest of the city the next generation of immigrants tends to leave the core and move outward.

Example - Jewish - North End and West End to Roxbury / Mattapan to Newton / Randolph or Lynn to Swampscott.

Syrian / Lebanese - South End to Roslindale / West Roxbury to Westwood.

Italian - North End to East Boston to Saugus / Melrose.

African American - South End to Roxbury / Dorchester / Mattapan to Randolph / Milton.

Chinese - Chinatown to Quincy / Malden.

Irish - Fort Hill / North End / Bay Village to South Boston to Dorchester to Quincy / Milton / Weymouth.

The South End was heavily African American in the 1950's and 1960's. The West End was seeing flight to the inner suburbs by all ethnic groups there. You had a high vacancy of housing in these areas. The most likely group to fill these areas would have been African American. It is my belief that by removing the housing in the West End and the NY Streets the white city fathers forced African American living areas away from the urban core and threatening the power elite of Beacon Hill and the Back Bay. African American living areas of the city then turned southward towards the available housing in vacating Jewish areas of the city in Roxbury / Mattapan.

The city of Boston had 70,000 Jews within the political limits of the city in 1950, nearly 25 years later, a blip of time in the city's history, that number dwindled to only a few thousand or less. One group left. Another came in.

The New York Streets were in a period of immigrant transition when it was bulldozed. Neighborhoods change. The real estate interests help move it along.

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The Jews left Boston because red lining related violence forced them out. It's an awful and neglected part of Boston's mid century upheaval and decline. Politicians and money men turned demographics they didn't like against each other and burned the city in the process.

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BS

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Are you calling BS on redlining and block busting? Or the violence/vandalism/burning of religious institutions in these areas during that time? 'Cause if so, you got a bit of history to read up on. Here are a few starting points:

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/gamm-exodus.html

http://www.wgbh.org/articles/Blue-Hill-Avenue-In-Truth-And-Memory-736

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As anon said, you seem to be leaving out redlining and blockbusting and if the NY streets/West End hadn't been in that, the African America population wouldn't have been able to move into those parts of the city. The main driver was this grand new design of cities that were highway oriented, and tearing down those neighborhoods (along with the southwest corridor, mcgrath, etc) were driven by this - and happened in many other cities around the country - I think it was more of the get the poor the hell out of here so we can build highways and office towers because future.

BTW, you have some of your migration paths off a bit from my experiance (Irish definitely went to West Roxbury for instance)

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John, you'd agree that "heavily" African American doesn't mean "majority", right? It was a mix of races and ethnicities but more than 50 percent white all the time, if my research is correct.

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The African American population in Boston jumped from 23,000 before WWII up to 40,0000 by 1950. Just after this plans went into place to demolish the NYS, the West End, and the Inner Belt (and most of Cambridge's black areas). It seems awfully coincidental that this wasn't a means of racial control.

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.

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Overpriced luxury condos right next to a major highway and several access lanes to the highway, with 24 hour traffic. Even with their windows that probably don't open, the exhaust fumes must be entering the ventilation systems and the lungs of the residents. And the noise never goes away. Good industrial location, horrible residential location. At least these new buildings provide a wall between the rest of the South End and the traffic. But I cant understand why anyone would buy, or live there.

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Yet, oh so many do. Different people like different things.

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Went to look at apartments there this weekend. Despite the rather depressing location, the prices are way higher and the amenities are not much better than similar high-end rental complexes in Downtown Crossing or Chinatown.

My hypothesis is that this is only appealing for some -because- it's so close to I-93 and the pike. You can live "downtown" and still drive out to Quincy or Burlington to a job or to see the grandkids.

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As my wife and I gear up to move back into the city as the kids move out we are excited with the new development. The Ink Block is really not a great location. Hopefully over time that neighborhood will improve but the highway isn't going anywhere. Maybe some younger people don't realize that the skyway there was part of the Big Dig. That WAS the improved solution.

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