Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

When I was a kid, 40 plus years ago, my grandfather would take me to Regina’s Pizzeria in Boston’s North End neighborhood on Saturday afternoons. It’s been in the same location since 1926, and I think it probably looks pretty much the same as it looked in 1926. We went there fairly often, so this is a favorite spot of mine, I suppose partly since it is a reminder of my childhood. We live about an hour away now, so we don’t get a chance to go here very often. Yesterday was the first beautiful Spring day, so we took a trip down to my old hometown, about 40 miles south of where we are in New Hampshire, for a day of exploring with Mr. C.

In a former life, I worked in an office building in this neighborhood, and a few years later I worked in neighboring Charlestown. On nice Spring days like this, the tourists were easily spotted. Standing on street corners with a map in hand, suddenly lost in the narrow streets of one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. I would sometimes ask some of them if they needed help. More often than not they were looking for some well known place. Were they looking for the Paul Revere house, or the famous Paul Revere statue, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument ? All of which are in the North End or Charlestown. No, those monuments were always clearly marked on the tourist maps. Most Revolutionary War era monuments like these are easily found on the Freedom Trail, which is a thin red stripe marked on the pavement through Boston. No, they were looking for a good place to eat and would ask me where some of the famous Boston restaurants were, like the Warren Tavern, Durgin Park, Union Oyster House, or one of the many well known old places in the North End, like this old pizza place. I suppose I could be wrong about those tourists, they may have just been looking for restaurants since I was usually out of the office only around lunchtime!

 

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Yesterday we arrived early, just as they opened at 11:00am. Later in the day there is usually a line of people waiting to get in. Here’s the interior. The walls are covered with pictures of old Boston, shots of the restaurant staff from years ago, as well as a few photos of celebrities who have dined there. Unfortunately, we had to eat with Leonardo DiCaprio glaring down from us on the wall!

Maybe the only major change is the addition of the TV on the wall. Yesterday it was playing a horse race. Seeing the horse race was another reminder of going here with my grandfather sine he would sometimes take me to the track once we were done with the pizza. ‘Now don’t tell your mother we went to the track’, he would say.

The booths are very narrow, high backed wooden benches. I suppose people in 1926 were quite a bit thinner than they are now! I think these are the same tables I remember from when I was a kid too. 20140413-092651.jpg

Here’s the pizza. Sausage and mushroom. Does our 4 year old eat pizza crust ? He actually eats everything, so there was nothing left of the pizza when we left. Looks like the love of food is a family trait!

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From there we went on to Polcari’s Coffee. Another Boston institution, founded in 1932. I don’t have an exterior shot of this one, just an interior shot of the wall of coffee bins, with the bins of various flours and nuts below. I got a pound of their Italian Roast coffee. My grandfather would get coffee here as well.

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From there we went to Mike’s Pastry. Another institution! There is a rival pastry shop down the street, Modern Pastry, which has a great old neon sign that I now wish I had a picture of! Mr. C had a gelato at Mike’s, and I bought a pound of almond biscotti cookies. Yes, it’s all about the food with me !

OK, so here’s some actual monuments in the area.

Paul Revere statue:

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Old North Church, which is where Revere set out his lanterns to raise the alarm during the American Revolution.20140413-102115.jpg

Bunker Hill Monument in nearby Charlestown. Commemorating the battle of Bunker Hill.

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All of these historic places are worthwhile to visit, and I’m sure we’ll take Mr. C to them when he’s a little older, though I think I’ll always like the old places listed at the start of this post a bit more than the famous historic sites in the area. Could be just the food, or it could be that my grandfather liked food as much as I do now.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

    • Oh yeah, all the time. Though most people usually had a specific place in mind that they just could not find. There’s so many places to eat in that neighborhood, and this was before the age of the smart phone so there was a lot of wandering around aimlessly by a lot of tourists back then. And it seemed as though some gudie books would be vague about where things were. I remember that Durgin Park was on place that no one seemed able to find.

    • Hi Karen!, thanks! As I’ve travelled around the country, I’ve noticed the lack of good pizza places. The northeast has a lot, and each area has a distinctive type of pizza too, Boston, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, even the northern New England states of Vermont and Maine have some good places, but each area is different. . I’m not going to say that Boston pizza is the best, my wife will disagree and say New York would win any competition there, but it’s good.

  1. Nice take on the Monument theme! Monuments to good food and monuments to old Boston. I’m not a famous-monument sort of a guy either. I prefer just the way you did it here. Thanks.

    • I just sometimes think, unless it’s an unusual composition, I’m not going to take a photo of a well known monument, I already know what it looks like. But I do like the way you did it too, taking a look at a lesser known monument that a lot of people don’t know about.

      • Thanks. I agree with you about the well-known monuments. That’s kind of how I feel when visiting cities. I’d just as soon go to the zoo as visit their well-known monuments. Actually, I prefer it. 🙂

  2. Nice interpretation. Gotta love Regina’s…I haven’t been there in years either. You made me want to go.
    And yes…the pizza in other parts of the country doesn’t compare. When I lived in the south for a bit, the first thing I did when I got back to NE was to get pizza! The second thing I got was Chinese food!

    • Chinese food, I didn’t think of that as being bad in other parts of the country, that’s interesting.
      We visited Phoenix a few years ago and tried a pizza place there – not very good!

  3. I used to make frequent trips to Boston as my corporate headquarters was nearby and have been to most of the eateries you mention. What a wonderful reminder of some of the institutions that have been there forever! Thanks for the memory 🙂

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