Only a matter of time

Old Anthony's Pier 4

Chris Rich photographed a forlorn Anthony's Pier 4, now just sitting there, awaiting its demolition to make way for a park to go with the towers planned for the pier.

Already, the old locomotive that used to be parked out front is gone. Somewhere, no doubt, Anthony is escorting Liz to her table overlooking the water.

Elizabeth Taylor

Top photo copyright Chris Rich. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Thanks Adam.

Glad you liked it.

One of my ongoing content projects is to cover Harborwalk.

It is a great amenity but there isn't much inventory on you tube.

That old place is unusual. I never went there as I've always been poor, (despite surname), but I remember how it was a benchmark of the good life in its day.

up
16

Not to go off on a tangent,

Not to go off on a tangent, but you said, "...if you made a time there."

I've only heard the expression "a time" as in an event or a party used in the Boston area. Is that a regional expression, or just a coincidence that I haven't heard it anywhere else?

a "time"

By on

Having a time, throwing a time, going to a time for..............I've done all three and anyone from out of town hadn't a clue. I'm guessing it is one of the last of our dying regionalisms left.

having a "time"

By on

Growing up in East Boston, my parents said someone was having "a time" if they were going to an event like a party or anniversary, and it was usually one that was held at a function hall or restaurant as opposed to one in somebody's house.

I loved going there. It was

By on

I loved going there. It was such a unique spot then with Jimmy's right next to it. I loved looking at all the photo's of the celebs that dined there.

The location was kind of desolate then and I really liked it.

The end of another era...

Woohoo

Thanks for the info. They mention in the railroad.net thread that they pressure tested the boiler in 2011, but last time I saw the train it looked like it was in pretty rough shape. I'm just glad it didn't get scrapped.

Seems like yesterday...

By on

Mr. Athanas personally bringing sandwiches out to the cab and limo drivers as a thank you for bringing and waiting for his diners. A class act we'll likely never see again.

up
11

class act?

By on

worst job I ever had, but the money was good. Once I saw him berate as a trouble maker a buxom waitress because the chef was sexually harassing her and she complained to Anthony.

Let's not forget how his greed foiled the family legacy at Fan Pier, while enriching the Pritzkers.

up
25

I have to second this...when

By on

I have to second this...when I brought up the subject of Anthony's Pier 4 to my uncle, he told me of the time when he was waiting for a table, being momentarily distracted, and having Athanas shout out to him 'Hey dummy! Your table's ready!"

Despite that unpleasantness, it was still the best place for Lobster Newburg with a Cutty on ice. Saw Billy Bulger come in once, surrounded by his coat-holders. Indeed the end of an era.

up
10

Good thing

By on

Indeed the end of an era.

...and that is a good thing. The new Boston is much better than the old.

How do you keep from dry-heaving every time you say "SoBo"?

By on

Gotta love it when you hear "new is better than old!" from a semi-anonymous self-avowed yuppie using a hideous nickname made up by interloping realtors to make a neighborhood sound trendy (Seriously, do you guys get a commission for saying "SoBo" and "SoWa" and "OhMaGa" all the time, or do you just like baby talk?).

Good thing

By on

Once it cost you and your date less than $300 for dinner then it's time for the restaurant to close down.

Pier 4

By on

I was a popover girl at Pier 4 back in the day. We were young (15), wore short skirts and funny little hats. We brought hot popovers, marinated mushrooms and other little treats to the tables. There was nothing better than when the baker would take a giant pan of popovers from the oven and hand us a golden roll that had to be tossed from hand to hand. We would stick a hole in the side of the popover and put a pat of sweet butter inside, then shake the steaming bun til the butter melted.

That fond memory aside, Anthony was a real prick to his employees. He micromanaged both the front and the back of the house. He was a sort of Mr. Burnsian (Simpsons nuke owner) character. He had an acid tongue and a parsimonious nature (he determined how to divide our tips.)

up
18

Ouch!

By on

I did not know he was a prick to work for! Glad I enjoyed those free sandwiches then!

Pier 4

By on

I was a "popover" girl there back in the day. We were young (16) and wore short skirts and funny little hats. We brought hot popovers as well as marinated mushrooms to each table. There was nothing more wonderful than having the baker hand us a popover as he took them from the oven, stick a hole big enough to put a pat of sweet butter inside the steaming center and shake it til the butter melted.

But, he was tyrannical to his help. Yelling loudly at the cooks during dinner and being a "Mr.

Anthony's Pier 4: a fly in amber

From a cover feature I did for Stuff Magazine in Feb 2009 called "Leftovers", about former It Places that were still coasting on their laurels. (The piece also covered Olives Charlestown and Locke-Ober):

"ANTHONY’S PIER 4
Peak of It-Ness: 30 Years Ago

I moved on to Anthony’s Pier 4, which my dad, back when he was a high-flying salesman, favored for celebrating his big business deals. Anthony’s was the reigning king of Boston fine-dining in the 1970s, an oversized temple to Americanized Continental cuisine and fancy New England seafood whose football-field-sized parking lot was always full. Pretty harbor views, one of the city’s biggest and best wine lists, the bustle of a cavernous dining room, and an always-throbbing bar scene made it the preferred haunt of the city’s movers and shakers. For a long while, it was the It Place for the thousands of Bostonians who would never (or could never) set foot in the stuffy French restaurants and Yankee private clubs that otherwise dominated fine dining at the time.

Thirty years later, Anthony’s remains pretty much a fly in amber, exactly what it was in its heyday. Formally-clad waiters still wheel out trolleys laden with lobster bisque ($12), New England clam chowder ($7), and bouillabaisse ($13). The deluxe raw bar platter ($50) is a showy pile of local raw oysters, cherrystones, littlenecks, shrimp, mussels and lobster on a mountain of crushed ice. Popular entrees include scrod ($25), baked stuffed shrimp ($28), grilled swordfish ($28), a pound-and-a-quarter boiled lobster ($33), and prime rib ($32). The a la carte menu boasts old-school sides like char-broiled onions and ratatouille Provençale (both $8). You can even order a proper Grand Marnier soufflé ($10).

If all this sounds like a short step up from the dinner buffet on a mid-market cruise ship, you’re not far off. Anthony’s crowds might be the oldest in town; its tables are spaced widely enough to accommodate walkers. Every other party seems to be celebrating some golden anniversary or diamond birthday. Boston’s dining scene has become a UN of global influences, but you’d never know it here, aside from a lonely sashimi platter ($20). We recently took my now-wheelchair-bound dad there, and you could see him reliving his glory days, when his expense account would let him order fine French wines and that giant raw-bar platter for his clients, then grandly commandeer the check. At Anthony’s, it’s still 1979 in the kitchen, and that’s exactly how its nostalgic, snowy-haired customers like it."

up
22

That's about as excellent

..an encapsulation as any such place deserves to get.

I've long had a 'rippled time theory that you go back in time with physical distance from presumed cosmopolitan centers. It might be today in London but it may well be 1979 in Millinocket and so on.

And it doesn't need to be far away. Places in urban backwaters can be like wormholes to some frozen past.

There was a gin mill in Waltham in the 80s run by some ancient women that still had Absinthe as no one ever learned it was illegal. That bottle sat there for years.

This makes me miss Locke-Ober

This makes me miss Locke-Ober so much. Used to take dad there on Father's Day for years. Everytime I walk by Winter Place I look to see if they're ever going to reopen it. There always seems to be some sort of work going on but I've heard nothing.

Locke-Ober is not coming back, alas

The building was bought by a group of developers that include Jay Hajj, owner of Mike's City Diner. The upper floors are going to be converted into luxury condos. The first floor will become some kind of restaurant and bar (concept not yet revealed), and they hope to preserve some of the look of the old dining room, but I'd be wary of hoping for too much.

Aww

That makes me sad. My granddad took me to Locke Ober to celebrate after my first day at my first real job post-college. I felt like such an adult sitting there next to him at the bar, ordering a martini.

A proper soufflé is

cooked to order, giving it the height and airiness that comes from baking a batter that includes meringue, a structured foam of air whipped into egg whites that expands with heat. A real soufflé deflates as it cools.

Judging from the soufflé I ordered for this review, the "bag mix" (if it existed) was probably a premixed combination of dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, flavorings) that was combined with milk and egg yolks first, then mixed with a fresh egg-white meringue before baking.

The Chris Rich photograph is

By on

The Chris Rich photograph is lovely. It's like his camera was possessed by the ghost of Edward Hopper.

It's the camera, I assure you.

The Canon t3 teaches you how to see.

I'm really your basic pudgy dunce, one eye is blurry crap but the other is sorta sharp.

I mainly use stills as flow sequences in video clips because they convey a sense of place better than stand alone video. They break up my yapping blats into digestible units.

And it supports layered content roll out over at G plus where I mainly work it.

.

Just when you thought the

By on

Just when you thought the waterfront couldn't get any more boring, along comes this plan to replace an old favorite fish restaurant with some luxury towers...

I agree that most of the Seaport restaurants are lame

but it's hard for me to miss Anthony's Pier 4 or Jimmy's: they were stale and tired, long past their prime. Now, the decent places to eat and drink are clustered around Congress Street. Seaport and Northern Aves largely cater to middlebrow conventioneers, tourists and suburbanites. If you still crave that 70s-vintage fish shack thing, there's still the No Name.

I think that No-Name's is overrated,

By on

but I remember both Anthony's Pier 4 and Jimmy's Harborside. Even though I grew up in an idyllic suburb roughly 20 miles northwest of Boston, my family and I would go out to eat at either Jimmy's Harborside or Anthony's Pier 4. They were neat places to go out to eat at, in their prime time, especially Jimmy's Harborside, but I guess both of those places had their day in the sun, so to speak, and it was time for them to go.

I, too was unaware that Anthony, the owner of Anthony's Pier 4, was such a prick towards his employees, but I wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that they ultimately closed their doors for good and went out of business forever. I wonder how the owner of Jimmy's Harborside was to his employees.

I went by there too.

It is funny how nearly every surviving authentic thing around here has to wear the strange booster pig lipstick of hype.

I remember going there in the late 70s when I worked at Erewhon and the routine was to do two cups and a bowl of chowder in the party just so you hear the ancient waiter yell "Two cups and a bowl of C ..Manoli!!!" in his cool accent.

It was borderline Monty Python.

No Name

I could have sworn this was at a somewhat different location than it is now (I was gone for 24 years, after all). I seem to remember a much more ramshackle place.

Oh yeah, I didn't want to bother that project.

My main aim was to get a sense of Harbor Walk and finding this restaurant ghost was a strange surprise.

I wasn't even sure if it was the place as signage was removed and I never went there when it was open.

I did two walks this month to cover Fan Pier and the other set down coast.

Harbor Walk ends at that odd concert pavilion tent, in that section, and comes back to life down around Castle Island.

The integration of the new building work with the waterfront is a bit more advanced than the haphazard past, so when it's all done, that urban trail will be a valuable open space feature.

I took a bunch of photos and a bit more than an hour of video I'll mix down.

Tip for content makers: That area is great to work on at the crack of dawn of a Sunday.

My usual visual ethic is to leave out potentially sensitive things and/or avoid putting people into shots as I want to respect their privacy and steer clear of permissions tangles.

I have a few shots of the jack shaft over there in a frame with the old Pier 4 lot attendant booth and another of that project as of 6/8 before the exterior skin was fully on.