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Boston's Lost Landmarks: New York Streets In The South End

BOSTON (CBS) - "We're an old school, original Boston Irish Bar," Mike Foley told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

His family has operated J.J. Foley's Cafe on East Berkeley Street in the South End since 1909.

Read-Listen: Boston's Lost Landmarks Series

J.J. Foley's, as one might expect, has seen its share of history.

J.J.Foley's Cafe
J.J.Foley's Cafe on East Berkeley Street. (Photo credit: Mary Blake - WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

"The Boston Police strike of 1919 was signed on the second floor. We were a very famous shoe store for the ten years of prohibition," Mike joked.

The Foley family and their customers also watched the New York streets disappear.

Photos: New York Streets - City Of Boston Archives

"The New York streets were actually a small, three square block area in the northeast corner of the South End," Jim Botticelli, a retired Boston school teacher, told WBZ.  He's now an author with a Facebook page called "Dirty Old Boston."

Jim Botticelli
Jim Botticelli. (Photo credit: Mary Blake - WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Botticelli discovered it was Boston's first attempt at urban renewal, which like the West End, was leveled in the 50's.

"This was a rough and tumble, down on its luck place, and it didn't start to regain any footing until the mid-60's," he said.

New York Streets - Boston Herald
The original Boston Herald Traveler site from corner of Broadway and Albany Street, May 23, 1958. (Photo credit: City of Boston archives)

By that time, seven streets and the tenements that lined them were gone. The seven streets were named after communities along the Erie Canal in upstate New York.

"Places like Troy, Oswego, Rochester, Genesee, Seneca and Oneida. The one remaining street that everybody knows and never thought of as a New York street, is Albany Street, so Albany Street is all that remains of the New York streets," said Botticelli.

New York Streets Boston
51-53 Troy Street circa 1952-1958. (Photo credit: City of Boston archives)

Industrial businesses sprouted as the neighborhood, near and under the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 93 overpasses, languished for decades.

But now, a residential resurgence is underway.

The old Boston Herald building on Harrison Avenue, which housed the daily's newspaper operations for more than 50 years, was torn down three years ago and replaced by the Ink Block apartment development.

today's #tbt goes out to Whole Foods South End for preserving the Boston Herald sign from the paper's former HQ on our...

Posted by Ink Block Boston on Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Whole Foods Market opened on the property a year ago.

Coming up in part nine - a landmark in Boston's music scene that is still lost.

Listen to Part 8

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