Hey, there! Log in / Register

The ultimate hollow sidewalk downtown: Peering down into the netherworld beneath Devonshire Street

If one were a pessimist, one might think it's not a good thing that there's a crack in the sidewalk on Devonshire Street near Water through which you can peer down into the State Street T stop, or maybe the basement of the building it's next to:

Back in November, 2020, at least, the hole had been patched.


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


Safety is #1 for the MBTA. Well... maybe #1001?


are responsible for the sidewalk


Falling through sidewalk: "Damn you cityahbawstin!"
Then falling through State St. ceiling: "Freakin' T!"

Duct tape it.


I guess that patch last year was just a bandaid.

That a delivery truck doesn't park on the sidewalk or the roof of the subway will collapse.

That is the basement of 85 Devonshire Street.

The Orange Line goes down both sides of Washington Street.

The Devonshire entrance to the T goes under the Winthrop Building and part of Water Street.

No T tunnel goes under Devonshire Street.

Remember, a lot of these buildings were former newspaper buildings. Many of these buildings went down 3 and 4 levels go get printing presses onto bedrock.

That is what you are seeing.


None that lasted into the current era I presume.


By the way, there are lots and lots of buildings in Boston that go two and three stories down and lots that extend under the sidewalks.


Called areaways. Makes the sidewalk actually private and the maintenance the obligation of the property owner. Soooooo that will never get “fixed” fixed.

Took me a minute to figure out where on Devonshire this was Google Maps

Its right in front of the old PSG staffing office on the corner (opposite the Devonshire entrance). You can even see the 'fix' in the street view!

But when it was PSG, I met recruiters there a few times, and it was a busy office. But the recruiter's desk space was downstairs (via the staircase against the wall) and they would come up and meet you at street level (you'd meet on that level).

But it always felt like that staircase led to a clown car because recruiters kept coming up.. (I was one of many in the waiting area so they were busy). The ground level retail space isn't very big (and has a small balcony area) so for the basement to be larger than the ground level retail wouldn't surprise me considering how many recruiters kept coming up.

PSG just out grew the space probably.

But in the video when it pans down into the hole, you see a door to an empty office-like room and an area outside. (hallway). So its probably connected to the PSG space.

Interesting, I truly had no idea, but makes sense now thinking about the clown car recruiters...


PSG moved to smaller but more visible digs at 155 Fed.

The funny thing about a lot of these under sidewalk spaces is that the BRA went after some building owners about 20 years ago looking for money since they had space which were under sidewalks, even though the city greenlighted the buildings, back from the 1890's to the 1930's where this (for coal chute purposes) was an issue.

Sidewalk elevators for shipping/receiving before truck loading docks became more standard. The area under the sidewalk was used for loading and unloading them.

The Back Bay seems a likely location, but I haven't seen any in action around here. I have seen them in other cities.

The info with the video says that this particular model was made in Ware MA.

...but there are similar metal doors embedded in the sidewalks outside the BPL and the CVS on Boylston Street in Copley Square.

There are emergency exits all along the tunnels.

There is one right at the intersection of D and Dorchester Avenue too and one at Welles Ave south of Shawmut. The T used to have signs on some of them.


comment thread is pure gold.


It appears that a certain local agency drilled holes for a sign.

They saw the damage and quietly walked away.

There is metal panel and a caution cone over the hole now and the building manager, obviously frustrated, is working on a solution.