Monday, December 29, 2003

A little news from Boston: with most of the Big Dig finally open, the old Central Artery, the elevated highway that slashed through downtown Boston, is dead. Now comes the dirty business of carving up and carting away the corpse. Which is being pursued with vigor -- the Democratic convention is coming into town, and mayor-for-life Tom Menino wants it all down by then.

So, as late as 7:00 Saturday evening, there was a tag team of heavy construction equipment on the old highway by the North End, looking vaguely like the legs on the spider from the Return of the King as they swung around to get the best angle on the debris, tearing it to pieces. Over by Quincy Market, there are already a few short segments of the highway that are completely down -- the heavy metal support beams cut to pieces with welding torches, and carted away. There's a kind of forlorn grandeur to watching this kind of work, like in Sebastiao Salgado's pictures of shipbreakers in India. But the highway was a mistake from the start, and it won't be missed.


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