Commentary: What’s with over-development in East Boston?

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by SAL GIARRATANI

SPECIAL TO EASTBOSTON.COM

If you are like me or many East Boston residents, you are getting pretty overwhelmed and fed up with all this construction going on. Lately, Jeffries’ Point is looking like Ukraine. Holes in the ground everywhere across the neighborhood and don’t forget the noise, lots of it.

They just brought in a huge pile-driver onto Bremen Street site where they are getting to create yet more and more unaffordable residential units of one sort or another. Oh,the pile driver? They better pile real deep because the area was all part of Boston Harbor once. The last thing anyone wants is an unintended basement pool, right?

Who is coming to rent or buy all these new residential units? We all know the good times for developers can’t last forever. Many housing experts are already warning about a housing depression on the horizon.

East Boston Bremen Street
Photo credit: EastBoston.com

What happens to all the old timers and newcomers from Central America. Working class blue collar families. Are they slanted to be pushed out? East Boston is a unique diverse community shared by many folks from everywhere and soon there may be no place for them but outside the neighborhood’s borders.

Also, don’t get me started on the massive housing development slated for Suffolk Downs. It will be massive. We could be talking about a 20 percent increase in population overall. I am thinking that even a casino there would have been easier to take but that idea went to Everett after getting show down here. Remember that old adage about getting what you wished for? Just saying.

I will keep standing up for Eastie but sometimes I do fear for my neighborhood’s future. As we push piles further down into the ground and see buildings going up higher and higher, is the East Boston community going up or down? It could be very well a revolting development as actor William Bendix always bellowed on the 1950s TV sitcom, “Life of Riley.”

Bottom line, I am not anti-growth or anti-development but the eagerness and rush to build on every vacant parcel of land across East Boston has become mind-blowing. All this new housing is really a negative for the community because instead of being a multicultural and quite diverse communal mix, we are seeing gentrification doing a number on ordinary folk who just want a nice place to live . A neighborhood of the very rich and very poor will only hurt everyone who can afford to stay. However, for the rest, they will be forced out to somewhere else to call home.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we slowed things down a bit to see what we have and where we want to go further. Our politicians stay too quiet. They need to speak up and join this housing debate and soon before it’s too late.

August 18, 2022

Sal Giarratani is a contributing columnist to the Post-Gazette and several other Boston publications. You can read his work at the Post-Gazette here.

Stand Up For Eastie East Boston
Graphic: Courtesy of Stand Up for Eastie