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Green Line trains at the newly renovated Government Center Subway Station, Boston, MA
Green Line trains at the newly renovated Government Center Subway Station, Boston, MA
Published: 2016/03/26
Channel: TransitUSA
Boston: Boylston St. & Government Center
Boston: Boylston St. & Government Center
Published: 2011/05/28
Channel: mpacula
Government Center Station – Where the T Stands for Transformation
Government Center Station – Where the T Stands for Transformation
Published: 2015/09/30
Channel: ElectricTV
BRAND NEW MBTA Government Center Station
BRAND NEW MBTA Government Center Station
Published: 2016/03/22
Channel: William Cooper
Boston
Boston's remodeled Government Center T Station
Published: 2016/04/15
Channel: avatarsound
Government Center Boston Timelapse
Government Center Boston Timelapse
Published: 2014/11/15
Channel: Brendan Gallagher
Emerging from Government Center subway in Boston
Emerging from Government Center subway in Boston
Published: 2016/04/15
Channel: avatarsound
One Medical Boston: Government Center
One Medical Boston: Government Center
Published: 2015/10/19
Channel: One Medical
TheMBTADog: MBTA Government Center - Waiting for Green Line, with Guitar Performer (2014-02-18)
TheMBTADog: MBTA Government Center - Waiting for Green Line, with Guitar Performer (2014-02-18)
Published: 2016/02/04
Channel: TheMBTADog [Real]
Mac Miller - Donald Trump LIVE Boston, MA 2011 Government Center City Hall
Mac Miller - Donald Trump LIVE Boston, MA 2011 Government Center City Hall
Published: 2011/10/10
Channel: craigers57
MBTA Blue Line subway train entering Government Center downtown Boston
MBTA Blue Line subway train entering Government Center downtown Boston
Published: 2017/08/21
Channel: Tim H
Boston, MA - Government Center Station, Green Line
Boston, MA - Government Center Station, Green Line
Published: 2010/12/23
Channel: jr2037
Boston MA: MBTA Boston Green Line From: Arlington Street to Government Center
Boston MA: MBTA Boston Green Line From: Arlington Street to Government Center
Published: 2017/06/26
Channel: Sammy Malls
Boston - Government Center
Boston - Government Center
Published: 2012/08/18
Channel: Acregmed
Boston Subway Squeak - Government Center
Boston Subway Squeak - Government Center
Published: 2010/10/03
Channel: RLGCTL
Grand opening of Government Center Station
Grand opening of Government Center Station
Published: 2016/03/21
Channel: WCVB Channel 5 Boston
Boston Mass. government center
Boston Mass. government center
Published: 2008/07/18
Channel: Thomas Reynolds
MBTA Green Line D: Riverside to Government Center [Type7 3683A]
MBTA Green Line D: Riverside to Government Center [Type7 3683A]
Published: 2017/05/14
Channel: pilot 691
Manholes Explode In Boston
Manholes Explode In Boston's Government Center
Published: 2017/04/03
Channel: CBS Boston
Government Center MBTA subway stop train station Boston MA
Government Center MBTA subway stop train station Boston MA
Published: 2008/02/22
Channel: batestim
Boston Green Line Government Center terminus (2012)
Boston Green Line Government Center terminus (2012)
Published: 2012/02/28
Channel: Busfotodotnl
MBTA Green Line trains at Government Center before renovation
MBTA Green Line trains at Government Center before renovation
Published: 2014/03/23
Channel: sovetskii52
Boston Govt MBTA Station Gets a Huge Renovation
Boston Govt MBTA Station Gets a Huge Renovation
Published: 2015/09/29
Channel: EricaReports
Government Center Station
Government Center Station
Published: 2016/03/21
Channel: mbtagm
Boston - Government Center
Boston - Government Center
Published: 2012/08/18
Channel: Acregmed
MBTA: Boston T: Blue Line: Government Center - Airport
MBTA: Boston T: Blue Line: Government Center - Airport
Published: 2017/07/04
Channel: Bay Area Transit News
Mac Miller - Entrance/Get Em Up LIVE Boston, MA 2011 Government Center City Hall
Mac Miller - Entrance/Get Em Up LIVE Boston, MA 2011 Government Center City Hall
Published: 2011/10/10
Channel: craigers57
MBTA: Boston T: Blue Line Inbound Train Arriving at Government Center
MBTA: Boston T: Blue Line Inbound Train Arriving at Government Center
Published: 2017/06/17
Channel: Bay Area Transit News
Government Center Boston
Government Center Boston
Published: 2009/10/10
Channel: lijnmarkt
Government Center subway stop Blue Green Line MBTA Boston MA
Government Center subway stop Blue Green Line MBTA Boston MA
Published: 2008/03/08
Channel: batestim
Foundation Movement -  Government Center, Boston
Foundation Movement - Government Center, Boston
Published: 2015/08/23
Channel: L Smith
Wiz Khalifa Free Concert Live at Government Center Boston- (Finale: This Plane)
Wiz Khalifa Free Concert Live at Government Center Boston- (Finale: This Plane)
Published: 2010/08/08
Channel: Weisslife
Government Center Green Line Train Station, Boston, MA
Government Center Green Line Train Station, Boston, MA
Published: 2016/09/13
Channel: Malakhone Sonethavong
Steaming teapot Government Center, Boston
Steaming teapot Government Center, Boston
Published: 2010/04/17
Channel: heatherflower8
Boston: Govt. Center, Quincy Market and Haymarket Sq.
Boston: Govt. Center, Quincy Market and Haymarket Sq.
Published: 2006/05/13
Channel: rnolan1087
Boston MA: Schindler? Escalators @ Government Center T-Stop
Boston MA: Schindler? Escalators @ Government Center T-Stop
Published: 2017/06/26
Channel: Sammy Malls
Boston
Boston's Government Center
Published: 2010/07/07
Channel: JORGEPSOUSA911
Pelvis McGillicuddy @ Government Center, Boston MA 10.14.09
Pelvis McGillicuddy @ Government Center, Boston MA 10.14.09
Published: 2009/10/15
Channel: John W Beck
Lauren Poussard Creative Studio Danvers Boston - NEW Government Center T Station Boston
Lauren Poussard Creative Studio Danvers Boston - NEW Government Center T Station Boston
Published: 2016/03/08
Channel: lauren poussard | photography.video.websites.digital marketing studio
MBTA light rail at Government Center
MBTA light rail at Government Center
Published: 2012/09/14
Channel: theraillife
Sons of Serendip 8/12/17 Boston Govt. Center
Sons of Serendip 8/12/17 Boston Govt. Center
Published: 2017/08/12
Channel: Elizabeth Ryan
Government Center station reopens while making history
Government Center station reopens while making history
Published: 2016/03/21
Channel: Boston Herald
MBTA Government Center Station FINAL VISIT
MBTA Government Center Station FINAL VISIT
Published: 2014/03/22
Channel: William Cooper
MBTA Green line B and C trains at Government Center
MBTA Green line B and C trains at Government Center
Published: 2008/06/19
Channel: go11147
Z#0014: A Tour at Government Center, Boston MA
Z#0014: A Tour at Government Center, Boston MA
Published: 2014/08/08
Channel: Tonyzuki Ztudio
Mac Miller @ Government Center, Boston 8/6/11
Mac Miller @ Government Center, Boston 8/6/11
Published: 2011/08/07
Channel: Michael Jared Albano
Global Potential: Sarah Gogel speaks at Government Center in Boston
Global Potential: Sarah Gogel speaks at Government Center in Boston
Published: 2011/09/20
Channel: Emily Cochrane
MBTA Green Line: Woodland Station to Government Center
MBTA Green Line: Woodland Station to Government Center
Published: 2017/08/20
Channel: Scott D.
MBTA Boston T: Kinki Sharyo/Breda Green Line Branch C Train at Government Center Station
MBTA Boston T: Kinki Sharyo/Breda Green Line Branch C Train at Government Center Station
Published: 2016/09/14
Channel: Allen1628famm
Government Center T station to close for 2 years
Government Center T station to close for 2 years
Published: 2014/03/21
Channel: The Boston Globe
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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View of Government Center from the Custom House Tower

Government Center is an area in downtown Boston, centered on City Hall Plaza. Formerly the site of Scollay Square, it is now the location of Boston City Hall, courthouses, state and federal office buildings, and a major MBTA station.

Major structures[edit]

Boston City Hall[edit]

Boston City Hall

The dominant feature of Government Center is the enormous, imposing, and brutalist Boston City Hall,[1] designed by Kallmann McKinnell Woods and built in the 1960s as part of Boston's first large Urban Renewal scheme. While considered by some to have architectural merit, the building is not universally admired, and is sharply unpopular among locals. Furthermore, it is resented for having replaced the Victorian architecture of Boston's Scollay Square,[2] a lively commercial district that lapsed into squalor in the Twentieth Century.[3]

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building[edit]

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building is a United States government office building. It is located across City Hall Plaza from Boston City Hall. An example of 1960s modern architecture, it consists of two 26 floor towers that sit on-axis to each other and a low rise building of four floors that connects to the two towers via an enclosed glass corridor. The two towers stand at a height of 118 metres (387 ft).

City Hall Plaza[edit]

City Hall Plaza, circa 1968

City Hall Plaza is not a well-loved space, either. As Bill Wasik wrote in 2006, "It is as if the space were calibrated to render futile any gathering, large or small, attempted anywhere on its arid expanse. All the nearby buildings seem to be facing away, making the plaza's 11 acres (45,000 m2) of concrete and brick feel like the world's largest back alley. … [It is] so devoid of benches, greenery, and other signposts of human hospitality that even on the loveliest fall weekend, when the Common and Esplanade and other public spaces teem with Bostonians at leisure, the plaza stands utterly empty save for the occasional skateboarder…"[4] The plaza is often colloquially referred to as "the brick desert."[5]

Government Service Center[edit]

Another very large Brutalist building at Government Center, less prominently located and thus less well known than City Hall, is the Government Service Center, designed by architect Paul Rudolph. The building is unfinished as the tall central tower in the original plan was never built. In the mid-1990s, the adjacent space was filled with the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, which houses a division of the Boston Municipal Court. This irregularly shaped, sloping lot was the last parcel to be developed of the Government Center urban renewal plan; in the interim the space was used as surface parking. In a 2014 article, architectural historian Timothy M. Rohan praised the building for having "a wondrous interior courtyard like something from baroque Rome, a space that even in its incomplete and neglected state contrasts sharply with nearby City Hall and its alienating plaza." [6]

Government Center Garage[edit]

This 2,300-space privately owned garage[7] was built as part of the Government Center urban renewal project. In 2016, the Boston Redevelopment Authority gave final approval[8] for the replacement of the garage with "Bulfinch Crossing,"[9] a 2.9 million square foot mixed-use development[10][11] to be designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.[12] Construction began in January 2017.[13]

Center Plaza[edit]

Center Plaza

This 720,000 square foot office and retail structure, built by developer Norman B. Leventhal, is across Cambridge Street from City Hall Plaza. In 2014, the property was sold[14] by the Blackstone Group to Shorenstein.[15] Shorenstein has proposed a $25 million renovation[16] designed "to add some new buzz" to the building.[17] The renovation was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2016.[18]

Nearby public buildings[edit]

Several state and federal government buildings near Government Center were not built as part of the urban renewal project. These include the Massachusetts State House, the McCormack Building, the Saltonstall Building,[19] the Suffolk County Courthouse, and the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building. Some of these buildings are considered, in Wikipedia listings and other sources, to be located in Government Center.

Geography and transportation[edit]

Government Center is located between the North End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.

Boundaries[edit]

Government Center does not have official boundaries. The Boston Redevelopment Authority map of Boston neighborhoods[20] shows most of the Government Center area as part of the Downtown neighborhood, and the rest as part of the West End.

Other maps and documents show a variety of different boundaries for Government Center. The Boston Zoning Code has a map called "1H Government Center/Markets District."[21] The map shows the Government Center portion of the district extending as far west as the Massachusetts State House and including all of the major structures listed in this article. The Boston Redevelopment Authority map of "Urban Renewal Areas"[22] includes a somewhat smaller area that excludes the McCormack and Saltonstall Buildings.

By contrast, a search for "Government Center" on Google Maps[23] yields a map showing an even smaller area that is bounded by Court, Cambridge, Sudbury, and Congress Streets. The AirBnB neighborhood map[24] shows a somewhat larger area than the Google Map.

Mass transit[edit]

Government Center station upon reopening in March 2016

Scollay Square station opened as part of the third phase of the Tremont Street Subway in September 1898, bringing subway service to the area with a stone headhouse in the center of the square. Court Street station opened on the East Boston Tunnel in December 1904; it was closed in 1914 and replaced by a lower level (Scollay Under) to the Scollay Square station in 1916.[25] The station was rebuilt in 1963 as Government Center station with a low brick headhouse, and again from 2014-2016 with a large glass headhouse that dominates the south side of the plaza.[26] It serves as the transfer point between the MBTA's Blue and Green Lines.

Surroundings[edit]

Government Center is adjacent to historic Faneuil Hall and popular Quincy Market and very near the Old State House. It is two blocks away from the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, which was created as part of the Big Dig. Major city streets in the vicinity include Tremont, Congress, Cambridge, State, New Chardon, and Washington Streets. Hints of another street, Cornhill, still exist along one edge of City Hall Plaza. Two of the neighborhood's few remaining old buildings, the Sears' Crescent and Sears' Block, face the plaza and follow the original curve of Cornhill. A veteran's shelter[27] still has an entrance with a Cornhill address.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Boston-based seminal proto-punk band The Modern Lovers recorded a song called "Government Center". It was originally released on Beserkley's Chartbusters sampler album. It has been included in re-release versions of The Modern Lovers album. In it, singer Jonathan Richman humorously croons about his intent to "Rock non-stop tonight at the Government Center" to "Make the secretaries feel better / As they put the stamps on the ledgers." The song appears in the film Harmony and Me.
  • Ska/punk band Jaya The Cat recorded a song titled "Government Center". The song references the Ashmont and Central MBTA stations.
  • Long Island rock band Brand New, on their debut album Your Favorite Weapon, included a song called "Logan to Government Center".
  • The Government Service Center building played the role of the Massachusetts State Police headquarters in the 2006 film The Departed.
  • Government Center is featured prominently in several scenes of the 1973 film The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

See also[edit]

History of the site

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Southworth & Southworth. AIA Guide to Boston, 3rd ed. 2008; p.52.
  2. ^ "History of Scollay Square". BambinoMusical.com. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Mapping Boston, Krieger, Alex, ed., MIT Press 1999, p.163-165. Lost Boston, by Jane Holtz Kay, p.110.
  4. ^ Wasik, Bill (2009). And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture. Viking. ISBN 978-0670020843. 
  5. ^ Ulam, Alex. "Softening Boston's City Hall". The Architect's Newspaper. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Rohan, Timothy M. (7 September 2014). "The dream behind Boston’s forbidding Government Service Center". Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Government Center Garage". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Logan, Tim (15 January 2016). "Government Center Garage to give way to two glass skyscrapers". Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Bulfinch Crossing". HYM Investment Group. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Ross, Casey (23 June 2011). "Ambitious plan for Government Center Garage site". Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Government Center Garage Redevelopment". BostonRedevelopmentAuthority.org. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "Government Center Garage Redevelopment". Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Acitelli, Tom. "Bulfinch Crossing construction officially starts". Curbed Boston. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  14. ^ Grillo, Thomas (9 January 2014). "Blackstone's Equity Office sells 1-3 Center Plaza for $307 million". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Center Plaza". shorenstein.com. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Center Plaza". Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Carlock, Catherine (27 July 2015). "Shorenstein’s planned $25M renovation of Center Plaza in downtown Boston". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Center Plaza". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Saltonstall Building". Restoring the Urban Fabric. Matthew Lawlor. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Boston Neighborhoods". BostonRedevelopmentAuthority.org. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "Map 1H Government Center/Markets District". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "Urban Renewal Areas". BostonRedevelopmentAuthority.org. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "Government Center". Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Government Center". AirBnB. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  25. ^ Belcher, Jonathan (19 March 2016). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2016" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  26. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (21 March 2016). "Government Center reopens". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  27. ^ "New England Center and Home for Veterans". Retrieved 21 April 2016. 

Further reading

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′38.52″N 71°03′33.22″W / 42.3607000°N 71.0592278°W / 42.3607000; -71.0592278

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