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12 Days in Boston, Special Commemorative Edition – Boston City Paper

DAY ELEVEN – SATURDAY

The Choir was scheduled to sing outdoors at a 4 p.m. Mass at the Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Ma, a very upper class, predominantly Irish-American community south of Boston.  But the intense heat of the week was broken when the rain started forcing everyone indoors.  Maureen and John Connolly of Hingham were very helpful to Billy in arranging the visit to his unusual place of worship. “Again, it was a full house.  I can’t begin to describe this place but for anyone interested they have a website, the Glastonbury Abbey on Hull Street in Hingham.

After this performance, it was onto the rooftop at the Higgins home again.  This time about 125 people were there including former Mayor of Boston and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn and his wife Kathy and Billy Bulger, former President of the Massachusetts State Senate and University of Massachusetts State College System.  Senator Jack Hart and Sate Rep. Paul Kujawski were present too as Hart presented the Choir a Proclamation from the Massachusetts State Senate welcoming them to the Commonwealth and praising them for their great musical achievements.  “We had a great party and a lot of Irish songs were sung,” said Higgins.  Higgins also presented a momento gift to the visit to the Choir, a framed wide view picture of the entire City of Boston.  Guests arriving at the final Rooftop gathering were greeted by Tip Foley and members of his staff who provided free valet parking.  Tim Foley is another friend of Billy’s son who owns and operates Seaport Valet.

The Seaport as I mentioned previously is growing in leaps and bounds.  For many years the most famous restaurant in that area was Jimmy’s Harborside.  This restaurant was founded by a Greek immigrant, Jimmy Doulos, famous for his fish chowder which was served at the Inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.  Doulos himself was the server.

This was also the daily lunch spot of the late, legendary Congressman from South Boston, John W. McCormack who would become Speaker of the House and of who it was said was just a heartbeat away from the presidency.  Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President when Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas.  Had anything happened to Johnson, McCormack would have been sworn in, the speaker being the next in line of succession.

Tim Foley started out as the valet outside Jimmy’s and when Jimmy’s closed down due to expansion plans of the Massachusetts Port Authority, he looked elsewhere along the Waterfront.  His main facility now is the famous Morton’s Steak House near the Seaport Hotel.

The growth and development of the Seaport District began with the development of the World Trade Center by John Drew.  Then came a new hotel next door, the Seaport and then the Westin.  Last month, the Marriott Corporation opened the Renaissance Hotel, a truly magnificent place similar to Renaissance Hotels opened in New York’s Time Square, Chicago’s, Midtown section and in Los Angeles.  They don’t have the name Marriott on it so as not to confuse people.  The Renaissance Hotels are this company’s first class/world class hotels.

Our visitors from Limerick fully understand the significance of the Seaport District for the future of our city.  Current Mayor Thomas Menino has said he wants to build a new City Hall moving it from the Government Center where it was built in 1960 and formed the basis for the transformation of the old Scollay Square section of Boston into the area now known as The Government Center with the famous Fanueil Hall and Marketplace across the street.  Everyday, you read about a new business opening in the Seaport area, especially upscale restaurants.  From the end of World War II up until recently, this section of our Waterfront was a barren, desolate, lifeless place – not so today as our Limerick friends will tell you.

Billy’s daughter Denise was a big help to her father throughout the visit.  She was the official caterer, you might say, doing all the cooking at the rooftop gatherings and the dinner at St.  Agatha’s in Milton where everything was prepared on site.  Denise got support from her friends Denise and Kerin and her boyfriend Brian who helped her and her Mom Rachel throughout the visit.

August 1st marked the 44th wedding anniversary for Billy and Rachel Higgins.  Billy felt bad that he wasn’t able to do anything special to commemorate the day, but Rachel told him that her anniversary is every day with him.  The two met forty eight years ago at a dance at the Gate of Heaven Church and were married there forty-four years ago.  Gate of Heaven would be the lass Mass in Boston for the Holy Trinity Choir.

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