School Boy Cadets
For over 100 years, military training was a required class for young men in Boston's public school system, and was celebrated every year with a grand parade through the Hub. Published by History Magazine in the November/December 2018 edition.
The trial of William Shakespeare
The true story about a man who proved in a Chicago court that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare - and it's amazing connection to Pearl Harbor and the Cold War. Published by History Magazine in the September/October 2017 edition.
Modern day "Charlie" may return, Boston Herald August 9, 2017
Commuter rail company Keolis' plan to check for fares at the end of the line harkens back to a unique Boston saga, as I write here...
City Hall area stuck in old tune, Boston Herald, June 28, 2015
What started as a response to a Facebook post from a friend turned into this column, which is posted on line here.
Bravery didn't miss a beat,
Boston Herald, September 19, 2009
I was so pleased that the Boston Herald published my tribute to my dad and his service to our country in World War Two.
Underfoot at Last, Boston Herald July 18, 2009
To "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of Boston most reviled road, the Central Artery.
Most Important House in the World, Boston Globe, January
As the nation prepared to welcome a new resident to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a reflection in the home into which Barack Obama and his family will live. Read it here
a neighborhood to save a city, Boston Globe, May 10,
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the destruction of the West End neighborhood, this column explained the rationale behind the disastrous urban renewal project, but also explained how it changed the way we do public works in Boston. The column is posted on the Boston Globe web site here.
Playing with Fire, Boston Herald, March 8, 2008
When it was revealed that many clubs and restaurants were not being held to new, stricter sprinkler laws (put in effect after the disastrous Station Nightclub fire that killed 100) I wrote this column to, well, basically berate the city for ignoring its history. (This column was originally written to time with the 65th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire, but made it into print after the 5th anniversary of the Station nightclub.). Archived by the Herald here.
Vendome Test, Boston Globe, June 16, 2007
On June 17, 1972, nine Boston firefighters died fighting a fire at Boston's Hotel Vendome. This piece was part history, part tribute to the nine who died and the men and women who continue to fight our fires. Posted on the Globe website here.
Boston still matters, Boston Herald, December 27, 2006
A history of Boston's City Hall, which lead to my support of Mayor Thomas Menino's plan to move City government to the South Boston waterfront. Archived by the Herald here.
Main Street, Boston Globe, September 27, 2006
A response to the suggestion that a portion of Hanover Street in the North End be turned into a pedestrian mall. As someone who loathes the automobile, I was surprised at which side if the discussion found myself on, but pleased at the eventual abandonment of the idea. On the Globe website here.
Mr. Victory, Where are you?, Boston Globe, July 25, 2005
While researching my VJ Day column, which was published in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of that day, I ran across an intriguing item about a baby that was abandoned on the Boston Common in the middle of the celebration. This column explains the mystery and what is known about the fate of that baby, whom the press had named "Little Mr. Victory." Read it here
and Fretting at the Gaiety, Boston Globe, February 19,
A comparison of the fates of two beloved theaters, the Old Howard and the Gaiety.
should embrace a Boston City Museum, Boston Business
Journal, August 13, 2004
A piece written after Moshe Safdie's plan for a city museum over the depressed Central Artery was presented to the public. A version of this column appeared in the BBJ.
in foresight from the "big dig" of 1800s, Boston Globe,
June 30, 2003
David's second look back at the Back Bay project, and the lessons the Big Dig needs to learn from its success. Archived by the Globe here.
challenge Bush in 2004? Look at history, Boston
Globe, August 24, 2002
A look backwards - and forward - at presidential elections throughout American history, and the long odds of beating and incumbent.
casino gambling in state is losing proposition, Boston
Herald, April 21, 2002
An opinion piece on why casino gambling should not be allowed in Massachusetts.Archived by the Herald here.
known history behind Old Howard, Boston Globe, February
I titled it Boston's Rosa Parks, and it is the story of abolitionist Sarah Remond and the Old Howard. Archived on the Globe website here.
favorite sports, Boston Globe, January 7, 2002
An all-too-familiar story of politics, revenge, and the Boston Red Sox.
original Big Dig, Boston Globe, August 12, 2001
How the Back Bay was filled in, and what today's Central Artery could learn from that massive construction job. Archived by the Globe here.
cruelest month indeed, Boston Globe, April 1, 2001
The litany of the horrible and strange events events in April, through history. See the archived post here.
'hack' who grew into office, Boston Globe, October 2,
My favorite President is the obscure Chester A. Arthur, a man I don't believe has gotten the credit he deserves. I tried to make amends with this piece. Posted here by the Globe.
Cons, Boston Magazine, August, 2000
Boston’s infamous swindler, who made millions in 1920 running a glorified pyramid scheme, fooling everyone, until an enterprising reporter asked a single, devastating question.
of the world as we know it..., Boston Globe, December
With survivalists digging bunkers in preparation for the Y2K-inspired collapse of the world, this column described a survivalist who made his name in Boston, and the burlesque theater that resulted. Archived by the Globe here.
a touch of Scollay Square, October 11, 1999
An opinion piece on what should be done with Boston's City Hall plaza, which the Globe has archived here.
birthday Charlie, we're all still rootin' for ya, Boston
Herald, August 15, 1999
The one thing everyone seems to know about Boston is Charlie on the MTA. This is the story of the hit song. Archived by the Herald here.
old story about ballplayers in pursuit of money, Boston
Globe, November 28, 1998
When Mo Vaughn left Boston for more money in Anaheim the fans were outraged. But in 1918 they actually struck before a World Series game over money. Archived by the Globe here.
Boston turned into one huge block party, Boston Globe,
August 14, 1995
My favorite column (so far) about VJ Day in Boston.
unassuming Coolidge, Boston Globe, July 13, 1993
For the 70th anniversary of Coolidge's swearing in as President, by his father.
dog with 'one all around' at Joe and Nemo's, Boston
Globe, March 26, 1992
Written to celebrate the anniversary of the closing of the store's Scollay Square location.
colorful town seals are genuine Yankee relics, Reading
Chronicle, August 13, 1991
Rum ships, tunnels and waterwheels - what towns in Massachusetts consider worthy of commemorating.
temple of Burlesque, Boston Globe, June 17, 1991
My first published work for which I was paid.
marks its 346th birthday, Reading Chronicle, May 23,
My first published work. Evah.
POSTED (On Line)
the World's Fair Dead? (July 2019)
It was 1900 when Henry Adams, historian and scion of a family which produced two American presidents, walked the Gallery of Machines at Paris' Great Exposition and stopped to brood before a working exhibit of a dynamo....
Road to Nowhere (June 2019)
Every workday over 250,000 vehicles jam Route 128 here in Eastern Massachusetts. That is way beyond its designed capacity, with the resulting traffic jams raising the tempers of commuters along with the temperatures of their engines....
The Slave who Saved a City (April 2019)
His name was Onesimus. At least, that was the name by which he became known to the people of Boston. We don’t know the name his parents gave him because when he was just eleven years old he was taken by force from his West African village...
The Speed of Communication (April 2019)
Five billion people sent almost 10 trillion texts last year. Even more remarkable is most of those texts got to their intended recipient within seconds. It is hard to explain to people born after Bill Clinton was President how it wasn’t always this easy...
The World's First Disc Jockey? (February 2019)
His name was Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, and some say that what he did in December 1906 led to Wolfman Jack, Martin Block, Murray the K and anyone else (including yours truly) who made a living playing records on the radio...
The Big Dig heals a fifty year-old wound in the North End, but did anybody notice?
Order and the Boston Police Strike
As Boston was dealing with its police union in 2004, this was a look back on the 85th anniversary of the Boston Police Strike of 1919.
tear down this hall!
A suggestion by two city councilors that City Hall be razed led to this 2004 column.
ribbon, closing the loop
When the new, underground central artery opens in 2003, there is only one choice to cut the ribbon.
who made us who we are - and can be
Another Artery-related column, this one presented my humble idea for what to do with one of the parcels of land that was to be created by the Big Dig.
last chance to make good with West Enders
Why West Enders should get first crack at housing being built as part of the re-development of Boston's Saltonstall building.
An opinion piece on the problems of multiple ownership in radio. I signed the piece with a pseudonym that will amuse radio-philes.