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Vanishing Boston

A field guide to Boston's 'lasting' treasures — to be enjoyed before they're razed in favor of chain stores

Chapel of Our Lady of Good Voyage

The working Waterfront
Boston wouldn't be the economic power it is were it not for the centuries of grimy commercial transactions — the selling of fish, the unloading of cargo — that have transpired on its waterfront. But more and more, the city's shoreline is trading its hardscrabble roots for spruced-up, yuppie-pleasing newness. For five decades, the wives of Boston's fishermen would kneel at the tiny Chapel of Our Lady of Good Voyage, with its nautical stained-glass windows, and pray for the safe return of their husbands. You can barely see the water from the church any more: the view is obstructed by the massive skeleton of One Marina Park Drive, a $125 million office building that's under construction across Northern Avenue. It's even been proposed that the chapel be moved to a nearby parking lot as the Fan Pier development continues all around it. In the meantime, the rest of Boston's waterfront keeps evolving. Some changes have been triumphant: the brash and bold ICA, with its cantilevered gallery. Some have been tragic: the fire that destroyed 83-year-old James Hook & Co., which now sells lobsters from a modular trailer nearby, its architectural legacy just a cluster of rotting wooden pilings rising from brine. Residents of the swanky Battery Wharf condos ("Utopia Engineered") with valet parking for shiny BMWs now breathe in the same salt air as do patrons of the Fish Pier, home to Great Eastern Seafood and rusty trawlers like Captain Sam II. Not far from the no-frills No Name Restaurant (established 1917), the many-frills Morton's Steakhouse (established 2008) stands tall. It's clear, at least, which the seagulls prefer.

— Mike Miliard

CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF GOOD VOYAGE | 65 Northern Avenue, Boston | 617.268.8100 | JAMES HOOK & CO | 15 Northern Avenue, Boston | 617.423.5501 | NO NAME RESTAURANT | 15 Fish Pier Street West, Boston | 617.338.7539

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