|19th Century Map of Boston 1838 |
(Bradford, T. G., Norman B. Leventhal
Map Center at the Boston Public Library,
In 1922, East Boston had such a large number of immigrants that quotas were put in place. Italians lived in the area bounded by Maverick Square and Maverick Street, the docks to Central Square, Boarder Street, Porter Street to Boston & Maine tracks; Italians intermingled with Jews and Portuguese between havre, Chelsea, Porter and Paris Streets; Irish, British, Americans, and Jewish in area bounded by Porter Street to railroad to Prescott Street to Day Square to Chelsea Creek; Irish and second-generation Italians settled in the more affluent area east of Prescott Street. In the 70's, immigrants from Dominican Republic, Columbia and Central America added to the diversity and were followed in the 80's and 90's by Vietnamese, Blacks, and Asians (BostonFamilyHistory.com).
Today this neighborhood, by some thought of as less affluent, is rich, yes, rich, with unpretentious restaurants and the availability of good, ethnic food is endless, be it Vietnamese, Mexican, or Cuban. The food is what matters as the atmosphere differs little from one place to another: cafeteria style metal chairs padded with red patent leather, paper cloths (which raises a question: Can you refer to "paper" as "cloth"?) protected by a sheet of clear glass, illuminated by bright, white, unforgiving fluorescent light. The obligatory TV's show soccer, or in lieu thereof, soap operas from the 70's. This is exactly what we came for: Scrambled eggs with sausage, alongside pupusas, refried beans, queso fresco, plantains, avocado and "crema" - that delicious and light non-cream, non crème fraîche, non sourcream cream often encountered in the vicinity of beans and rice. (I'll save you the image of brown refried beans.) The Irish ought to rethink their claim to fame.