Roslindale, East Boston getting murals celebrating the immigrant experience

Immigrant-themed mural in Roslindale

Roslindale mural under way. Photo by Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement.

The Mayor's Mural Crew and the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement are teaming up to paint murals under the theme of "To Immigrants with Love."

Atlas Liquors on Hyde Park Avenue in Roslindale and Dr. Dental on Meridian Street in East Boston have donated their wall space for the murals, being painted this month.

The Roslindale mural is an homage in part to Louis White, a Russian immigrant in the early 1900s who started a market that eventual became a liquor store, now run by White's grandson, Louis Fine. The mural also features Alex Castillo, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1996 and who now runs Digitech Electronic Solutions in Roslindale.

The East Boston mural will feature will feature immigrants Carmello Scire and Veronica Robles.

Scire immigrated from Sicily in the early 1930s and founded his own catering business. Currently run by Scire's grandson Steve Scire, Sammy Carlo's Delicatessen and Catering continues Scire's dedication to community service and has been located in East Boston for over 75 years. Beside the portrait of Scire will be one of Veronica Robles. Robles is a cultural ambassador, educator and longtime community activist, who immigrated from Mexico in 2000.

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    Are you saying

    By on

    You want someone to create a website full of graffiti tags?

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    Include them on maps too

    By on

    Chicago includes artistic points of interest on their maps. Boston should do the same!

    Northeastern has great murals, Caleb Neelons in Lower Allston, Mehdi Ghadyanloo at Dewey, Roxbury has great murals, I know there are a ton I dont know about. Someone should compile a comprehensive list and lay them out on a map.

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    This might not have

    By on

    This might not have everything (I'm not sure how frequently it's updated), but it's a good starting point. I especially like the list of all the painted utility boxes - there are so many I've never noticed before.

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    Louis White & Company

    By on

    Louis White was an interesting fellow. I knew him as a child as a local business owner. A gray-haired man when I knew him as a child and respected local business man and property owner.

    White's Market started across the street from Atlas at the corner of Hyde Park Ave and Cummins Highway next to where the sandwich shop is. There have been numerous occupants over the years. It started there as a grocery store.

    When the building came into being where Atlas is now, White's Market moved there and expanded. The corner store where the original White's Market started became White's Liquor Store and was the first location for that business.

    The block now occupied by Atlas was a multi-business block which included White's Market, the Highway Tavern, Highway Pharmacy on the corner point, and on the Cummings Highway size Sal's Barber Shop (his first location) and Izzy the Tailor. Izzy's sons eventually founded Cummins Men's Store, also now gone to history

    White's Market was essentially the local grocer and he had fresh meats, produce, deli, and the rest. It was much like the Village Market.

    On the next corner at Hyde Park Ave and Canterbury, now the location of the Park Ave Market was the T&T Grocery store operated by the Tallanian Brothers. It was a friendly rivalry.

    Over time businesses closed and moved, and eventually "Atlas" was the name applied to the liquor store which then moved into the current location, and over time eventually broke through the walls of the sub-divided building taking it over completely, and surviving as we see it today.

    Across the street White's Liquor Store on the corner was complimented by a dry cleaner shop (now the sandwich shop). The vacant land now in place included additional shops including a hair dresser, Sal's Barber Shop (2nd location), an optometrist (Nick Donato), and the L&N Spa operated by Nick and Ruth Donato. The Spa was a coffee shop with soda fountain that included a deli counter, a few canned goods, penny candy, and comic books for the kids. It had a couple of tables to sit at as well. It would be called a convenience store these days.

    Many city and state reps now have local offices but in those days Nick's Spa was the meeting place for State Rep. Kate Craven where she would hold court on and off with the people. When Nick and Kate disagreed on something you were usually in for a great show.

    The Cummins Highway Bridge is named after Joe Donato, Nick's oldest son, whom I also knew. Joe was lost in Vietnam. His body was never recovered. It was later revealed in advance of the dedication of the bridge that he was lost on a secret air mission which had remained classified even 30+ years after the war. Donato's grandson would later play for the Boston Bruins Hockey Team.

    It was at Nick's L&N Spa that I met Mr. Harrison who was a local known to all of us. A kindly old gent who I learned much later was the second banana (comedian) in his younger years at the Old Howard burlesque show in Old Scollay Square. As a child I received Mr. Harrison's generosity of a coin now and then, and with mom's permission, I'd accept and purchase penny candy or a comic book. Spider Man had not as yet been invented. Mr. Harrison often shared an old song, and on a few occasions I was asked to sing a song I learned in Grammar School. Not a cabaret by any means.

    Then came the day when Mr. Harrison took me aside and told me that singers get paid for singing and I should ask for a nickel. It seemed wise advise from an entertainer. He also taught me a song he knew and used to sing "at work."

    So the next time I was asked to sing I asked for a nickel, and obtained it and then belted out the song Mr. Harrison taught me. It was his version of the Ice Man song from the Old Howard.

    "Any ice today lady? It's nice today lady! How about a little piece today?" Double entendre, all of it.

    Mouths gaped open. Mr. Harrison was cleverly entertained.

    Thus ended my singing career at the store, and Mr. Harrison was asked not to come back for a while.

    It was a different time, but one of fond memories of where I grew up.

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    Thanks...

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    ....for the story and history lesson. You told it so well that I could picture it all, complete with streetcars running up and down on the Ave.

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    Great story ...told with all

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    Great story ...told with all the details that make memories come alive. My Nana told stories just like this and you felt like you were there. ;)

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