A decade later . . . remembering the workers of the Big Dig

It seems like just yesterday that our Boston streets were continually disrupted by the Big Dig. Back in 2000, construction on roadways, tunnels, and bridges was in full swing. Tunnelworkers, crane operators, pile drivers, ironworkers, carpenters, and electricians labored to replace an ugly and dangerous elevated highway and replace it with a 10-lane underground expressway. Now that the tunnels are tiled and the traffic is flowing, we thought it was a good idea to remember these laborers’ contribution.

Listen here as we venture down the “Glory Hole “and speak with Sand Hogs Steve Shepardson and Dominic Mazzeo. (This 10-minute radio segment originally aired on WUMB in 2001.)

Though their numbers were small, women had a consistent presence on the Big Dig. Sally Addison joined the Piledrivers Union in 1993 and worked on the Big Dig until it was completed in 2006. When asked how her grandchildren would be able to appreciate her role in the Big Dig, Sally said, “You can see what I’ve done.” We can see what she, and thousands of other Big Dig tradespeople, have done. Let’s not take their contributions for granted.

All photos by Maggie Holtzberg

Caribbean Kings and Queens in Dorchester

Shirley Shillingford wearing Fruit Cocktail, 2007. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.

This Thursday, August 21, marks the opening of Boston’s Caribbean Carnival – a Trinidadian style extravaganza now in its 35th year. I attended this annual festival for the first time in 2003. Four years later I was offered a prime seat in the judges’ viewing station, where I shot this photo of Shirley Shillingford. She is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Social Club, which is one of 9 area mas (masquerading) bands that compete each year.

A succession of bands march their way down a 21-block parade route, ending up at Franklin Park. The King and Queen costumes are spectacular and they are followed by sections of exuberant dancing masqueraders. Be prepared for loud calypso music, the smell of jerk chicken, and vendors selling trinkets from Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, and a number of other West Indies islands. Many in the Caribbean cultural community live for carnival. More than 600,00 people attend carnival, though most Bostonians have no idea this event takes place each year. Art critic Greg Cook previewed the event in the Boston Phoenix last week. It would be nice to have additional press coverage for a change.

Soca and Associates band members, 2007. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.