Demise of Durgin-Park is another sign of Boston’s changing landscape
We lose something when a longtime haunt gives up the ghost
My family is saddened that Durgin-Park, the longtime Yankee-style restaurant, is closing (“Another taste of Old Boston bites the dust,” Page A1, Jan. 4). I ate there with my parents and siblings while growing up, introduced it to my own family, and brought visiting friends and family members. This is one of a number of longtime businesses I patronized that will close, has closed, or has moved due to rapid changes in Boston. These include Jacob Wirth (1868), Windsor Button (1936), Hilton’s Tent City (1947), and Winmill Fabrics (1969). Boston is changing quickly, and the “New Boston” is not always for the better.
Restaurants and retail businesses are important components that define Boston neighborhoods (like London’s Swiss Cottage district). They are where we connect with others and celebrate. Like Durgin-Park, they may also be places that mark time and provide a view toward the past.
Durgin-Park was sold to New York owners years ago. However, it does employ dozens of workers and is seen as an important Boston cultural institution. Not all businesses deserve preservation, but we would benefit greatly if we found ways to selectively do so. Once lost, they are lost
As Seaport booms, Faneuil Hall fizzles
Durgin-Park’s closing represents another business lost because of the booming and brand-new Seaport District. The seeming shift of Boston’s center from the Financial District to the Seaport has hit all of Faneuil Hall hard. As we know, many businesses have relocated to the Seaport. Yet there may be another shift in the not-too-distant future. We should not forget the floodwaters of the storms of January and March 2018, which brought water straight over and onto the main drag of Seaport Boulevard. Clearly, the next shift will be back to drier land, perhaps to a renewed Financial District and Faneuil Hall. It’s too bad Durgin-Park can’t extend its 200-year run by another 30 years while it waits.
Rising minimum wages are doing some damage
Hidden within the Globe’s eulogy for Durgin-Park is the real reason why the ancient establishment could not survive: the yearly rise of our state’s minimum wage. Only $8 just a few years ago, around the same as the national average, the hourly wage increased to $12 on Jan. 1 and will rise to $15 — one of the highest in the nation — in 2023. The Dedham-based Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo’s chain already filed for bankruptcy in November, citing wage increases, before the increases hit. All this despite assurances from advocates of a so-called living wage that the raises would not shut down businesses. It seems their logic has backfired already in the face of reality: A $15 minimum wage will not help workers.