Subtle Signs: How 290 Drained the Life of a Neighborhood

Months ago, John Anderson, History Professor Emeritus from Holy Cross, sat down and explained in detail what happened to each east side neighborhood impacted when Route 290 was built in the 1960s.  The following photos are taken at the bottom of Harrison Street from the vantage point of the Water Street Municipal Parking Lot.  

The highway now functions as a subtle barrier between the triple-decker housing stock on the hill and the commercial district below. Although sidewalks grace both sides of the highway overlook, the highway still becomes a psychological and even physical divider of the space.

The highway now functions as a subtle barrier between the triple-decker housing stock on the hill and the commercial district below. Although sidewalks grace both sides of the highway overlook, the highway still becomes a psychological and even physical divider of the space.

Now just imagine what it must have been like before Route 290 when this whole hill was graced with sturdy triple-deckers providing a seamless whole promenade to the Water Street commercial district below.  Can you picture how busy the streets were on Saturday night after the end of Shabbat at sunset or on Sunday, when people descended down the hill for their share of bagels and lox, corned beef and pickles?

Now just imagine what it must have been like before Route 290 when this whole hill was graced with sturdy triple-deckers providing a seamless whole promenade to the Water Street commercial district below.  Can you picture how busy the streets were on Saturday night after the end of Shabbat at sunset or on Sunday, when people descended down the hill for their share of bagels and lox, corned beef and pickles?