CREW Boston

Combat Zone to Luxe Life: Transforming the Most Notorious Neighborhood in Boston

CREW Boston’s Housing & Community Development Committee (HCDC) hosted Jan Brogan, local author of “The Combat Zone,” for an in-person conversation on Thursday, January 26th at ICON Architecture.  
Now reduced to one block housing two adult clubs on LaGrange Street, The Combat Zone is nearly urban legend to many of our members. Brogan highlighted the history of Boston's most notorious neighborhood with pictures of its heyday and anecdotes from her research, and CREW Boston members shared stories of their experiences living and working around (or avoiding) the 4 blocks that were once populated with adult entertainment. Several members could attest to the economics, demographics, community policing, and social problems -- including Boston's infamous "busing" effort to reduce segregation in the school system -- and market factors that led to the contrast in the peak years of the Combat Zone with the neighborhood of luxury condos we experience today. Starting in the late 1970's, political and practical efforts were made by the mayors and police commissioners of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (now the Boston Planning & Development Agency) to contain, curtail, and eventually squeeze the industry by upgrading Park Square.  Ultimately, the prevalence of VCR's and then internet porn factored heavily in the area's renaissance.  Members were very curious to hear about Ms. Brogan's next work, and hope that it involves Regina, a nun turned lawyer known for defending prostitutes in court!
A big thank you to Jan Brogan for her time as well as ICON Architecture for letting us use their space.

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Confirmed Attending

  • Amanda Alberda
  • Michelle Apigian
  • Rebecca Bachand
  • Alma Balonon-Rosen
  • Amy Blomeke
  • Juliet Borja
  • Donna Brown
  • Wendy Cohen
  • Elizabeth Gruber
  • Triona Heyes
  • Natasha K. Winter
  • Tabetha McCartney
  • Berley McKenna
  • Angela Meehan
  • Roan Miles
  • Kate Moran Carter
  • Carla Nelson
  • Kelly Nguyen
  • Judy Nitsch
  • Emily Paparella
  • Teresa Patten
  • Sarah Rhatigan
  • Allison Rojas
  • Alisa Santos
  • Victoria vernet
  • Christine Vincenti