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“Goodby Columbus”

So, last time, I had us walking eastwards from the Hall and Quincy Market. We were being tourists, and watching other people being tourists, which is more fun than you might think.


Once you get past Quincy Market and North and South Market, you come to yet another small open space, with a lot of push carts, and then beyond a few more buildings (I don’t know if they have names) with more shops in them. And, beyond them, is a large street--specifically I-93. Cross that street (at the light!) and you find yourself in a whole new area--other shops, offices, parks, and eventually the sea.


Straight ahead, you have open spaces -- for example, on the left, you have the Armenian Heritage Park, an “urban oasis” (as I’ve seen it described) that is also a memorial to victims of the Armenian genocide. (1) Or, go to the right, and you’ll find yourself near the Greenway Carousel--which is just exactly what it sounds like, an old fashion merry-go-round with marvelous wooden horses and other beasts. Very popular with children, and with cameras. I’ve got a few pictures of it. I’ll run them below.(2)




About the photos: Three today! The first two are (obviously) of the Merry-Go-Round I mentioned, a.k.a., the Greenway Carousel.



It wasn’t here when our son, David, was young enough to want to ride such things, which is a shame. (Though, he did get to ride the Merry-go-round at Watch Hill in Rhode Island, and in the company of his Aunt Patty. So, not all is lost.)


And who can say. Maybe, some day, I’ll come back with the kids and the grandkids, and they’ll have their turn on the whimsical beasts.


If you are not tempted by the Carousel, and keep going due East, you come to a bigger park, The Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, which (surprise, surprise) is said to honor Christopher Columbus, and at one time had a large statue of the good Captain at its heart. However, things get complicated when you try to write the history of the park. At least according to the various things I’ve seen on the web, it had its origins in a bout of waterfront urban renewal in the late 1960s. Decaying old buildings were removed, and a park seemed a nice idea.(3)




The second has, as per norm, nothing to do with the story but I happen to like it. In fact, I took it today (I am writing this on August 12, 2023), and is of Martha at lunch today. We slipped out to the little town of Salado and had a pleasant Saturday, even though the heat was pretty intense.


Somewhere along the line the park was named after Chris, but exactly when and how isn’t clear. The Knights of Columbus say that they were involved with the original planning for the space, and that they urged it be named after their patron. However, there is also a story that originally it was just going to be named “Waterfront Park” but things got political. A local conservative activist, Arthur Stivaletta (a.k.a., “Mr. Wake Up America”), felt that people weren’t respecting America enough, so he teamed up with the mayor at the time, Kevin White (who needed support from the Italian American community), and pushed for a Columbian Park. After that, Chris was a shoo-in.(4)


Whatever the truth of the matter, Columbus may not keep his park. He’s not too popular at the moment--a good many people hold him responsible for what happened after his arrival--i.e., the 90% of Native Americans who perished of “Guns, Germs, and Steel” in a relatively short period following 1492. So, in recent years, his statue in the Park was repeatedly vandalized. Finally, the city just removed it, and I read that there is a movement to rename the Park. Perhaps by the time you read this, it will have a new moniker, and a new patron. Maybe it’ll be the Mr. Wake Up America Memorial.


Well, I hope not, but it makes a good joke.


More to come.





Footnotes:


1. Armenian Heritage Park: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Heritage_Park

2. The Carousel has its own webpage, here: https://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/carousel. Technically, I gather it is part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Park System, which also has a webpage, here: https://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/

3. For the story of the Park, its origins, and its adventures, I rely on its Wikipedia page, which is here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus_Waterfront_Park

4. Again, my chief source here is the Park’s Wikipedia page cited above. Arthur Strivaletta also has a page, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Stivaletta

Mr. Strivaletta had quite a career. His friends called him a superpatriot. His enemies thought he was a nutcase. Either way, he strongly supported American involvement in Vietnam and considered the antiwar movement an abomination. At one point, he hired an airplane to drop pro-war leaflets on an anti-war rally. He also organized his own pro-war “Wake Up America Rally” on Boston Common, which was hosted by none other than Bob Hope. For more, see his obituary here: https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2002/04/20/founder-wake-up-america-campaign/51291307007/




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Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker

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