Bunker Hill Park

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Court Street .

There was a place, a street which lead along the crest of a hill. The street was lined with fine homes which overlooked the old parts of downtown. At the end of the street was a small parking lot and an apartment building which had stories running down the hill to Broadway down below. A small funny funicular ran up and down the hill next to the apartments. It was called Court Flight and from its top one could look out at city hall which, still, rose above your head beyond the buildings in the intervening block. If you looked left you would see where Broadway ran into a tunnel under another part of the hill just beyond the Hall of Justice. To your right were the enormous retaining walls built by Beaudry a generation before in the first round of hill removal.

Court Street now runs like a ghost high above the park and property we are contemplating. It represents a terrible mistake in city planning. A real place, grown from infancy in response to its situation was erased in favor of a fantasy of efficiency and worldliness.

The hill was razed, completely removed. A neighborhood became a cypher and downtown entered into a dark ages which it is only now emerging from. I don't mean to suggest cause and effect, only that removing the hill was symptomatic of a lack of faith in downtown. We have come to disagree in the meantime.


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