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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

T Time: North Station

Exploring the historic North End.

graphic for Jeremy Gramson's "T Time" column
Graphic by Emma Selesnick

I want to begin by crediting Kevin Zhang for inspiring this column. Before graduating from Tufts, Zhang wrote a column called “Tales from the T,” which I now seek to continue with “T Time.”

Regardless, I was happy to delve into the history of the station and walk around the idyllic North End of Boston. For those interested in going to North Station, it is seven stops away on the Green Line and took me a little over 16 minutes to get there from the Medford/Tufts station.

First, a bit of history on the station. While the actual North Station did not exist until 1893, the surrounding area was a major train depot all throughout the 1800s. This area, full of train activity, was known as Bulfinch Triangle, named for Charles Bulfinch who led many of Boston’s land reclamation projects.

In 1897, Boston became the first city in America to open a subway system. Public transport service to North Station began in 1898. Since its initial construction, North Station has gone through two major renovations occurring in 1928 and 1995.

Today, North Station is served by the D and E branches of the Green Line, the Orange Line, the MBTA commuter rail and Amtrak.

Just a couple of blocks away from the station is one of Boston’s most iconic neighborhoods — the North End. Playing a crucial part in the Revolutionary War, the North End is home to the Old North Church where two lanterns were famously hung to signify to Paul Revere that the British were coming by sea. The neighborhood has also long been a destination for immigrants with Irish immigrants starting to settle in the area in the 1840s, and those hailing from Italy beginning to migrate there during the 1860s. 

The North End’s Italian heritage is especially prominent today. As I walked around, the streets were decked out with banners and Italian flags proclaiming the neighborhood’s ethnic roots for Italian American Heritage Month.  

The North End’s food scene reflects its heritage as well, featuring an abundance of Italian bakeries and restaurants. Mike’s Pastry is arguably the most well-known dessert destination, although it is just one of many places to grab a sweet treat.

I stopped in at Bova’s Bakery and tried a Nutella cannoli, which was delicious. While many of the North End’s Italian restaurants are on the expensive side, there are a myriad of cafes to get a coffee or pastry and pizza places to grab a slice for those looking for cheaper eats.

With its cobblestone streets, old brick buildings, rich history and delicious food, I highly recommend taking some time to visit North Station and Boston’s North End.