r Letter From Eastie: Eastie makes it into the "Paper of Record."
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Collaged view of Boston, from East Boston

Letter From Eastie

News and other items from East Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Eastie makes it into the "Paper of Record."

Eastie made it into the New York Times this week in a book review of T.D. Thornton's book Not By A Long Shot, a chronicle of the 200o season at Suffolk Downs. The reviewer felt that Thornton got a little too focused on the running of the track, while neglecting the human subjects that showed up in his story. However, he points out the strength of the books saying:
The grim pleasures of Mr. Thornton’s book lie in the details of the daily racetrack routine, and the oddities of life at the gritty East Boston oval. When an unidentified carcass appears on the track, it inspires a furious round of betting in the press room. “I’m offering 100 to 1 on it being a mink,” an impromptu bookmaker says. “You also get to keep the pelt if it is.” The animal turns out to be a muskrat (10 to 1 odds).

Best of all are the races. Although he has an unfortunate tendency to use the word “steed,” Mr. Thornton describes horse races with great flair, even when they involve no-hopers like Lonicut, an ancient 10-year-old looking for his second lifetime win after 34 races. This is racing too. They can’t all make it to Churchill Downs in May.

I find this interesting given all the stories lately that have come out about the possibility of turning Suffolk Downs into a casino.

Coastal Development Massachusetts LLC, headed by developer Richard Fields of New York, has purchased the largest ownership interest in the company that runs Suffolk Downs racetrack. He is expected to try to turn the tired horse-racing venue into a modern entertainment complex that would include shops, restaurants, live entertainment, family activities, and -- if state government embraces it -- casino gambling.

I'm not sure how I feel about having a casino right in the middle of Eastie and Revere. I don't have a problem with casinos in Massachusetts as a rule, but it just seems weird to me that you would be able to ride the T to a casino. Also, I wonder what kind of traffic this would generate in the area. I know people feel like it could bring business to the area and that is definitely a possibility, but my experience of casinos is that once people get in them, they don't come out and explore the surrounding area. I wonder if it would actually draw business away from East Boston.

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