Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
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With summer approaching I couldn’t help but think about one of our favorite recreation spots back in the day. Revere Beach was where our parents took us when we were kids. It had everything. There were amusement rides, arcade games, food stands, and souvenir shops. I remember mom packing up the bulky metal cooler with Zarex and baloney sandwiches, and piling into dad’s big old sweltering Chevy for the ride to Revere.
A friend shares this: “Oh, what a magical place it was! My mom would pack me up along with a lawn chair, towels, a huge green cooler filled with lemonade and we would head for the bus and train. The ride seemed endless. I remember that when we finally got there the parking lot of the train station was so hot that the asphalt would melt your ‘zorries’ (flip flops), and we would have to run across it. I felt like we arrived in heaven. The water, the sand, and being able to walk up and down the boulevard staring at all the wonders before me. I loved all the smells coming from the different food stalls, and playing the games in the arcade. There was always the exciting bumper cars that I never quite got the hang of how to steer them out of the corner. But the beach really came to life that nighttime. We would sometimes go ‘down the beach’ after my dad worked at the fire station. There of course would be no supper because we would eat at the beach. When it finally got dark and everything sparkled it truly became a place of awe. We would finish off the night with a slice of pizza at Bianchi’s. Once in a while I will go by myself to get a slice of pizza and sit on the wall and remember those truly magical times with a fond tear in my eye, like I have right now.”
Remember Rudolf’s Pepper Steak? How about Bill Ashes and Sammy’s Patio? Bianchi’s Pizza cost 75 cents for a slice that was 1/4 of a pizza. A nice frozen custard would top it off. Victors was mostly a bikers club.
Glen R says, “Gotta eat your Kelly’s clams in the bandstand. Throwing fries to the gulls so they leave your clams alone.”
Bob from Somerville tells us, “I met my wife cruising Revere Beach back in the day!” Linda’s dad was king of the Skeeball and Jim remembers fun at The Lighthouse Lounge. Did you ever play Shooting Waters? It was the squirting pistol balloon breaking game. Gale shares this: “I remember being on the double Ferris Wheel and my shoe falling off and hitting the guy running the thing.”
The Cyclone roller coaster had a 100-foot vertical drop and could reach speeds of 50 miles per hour! Barbara says, “I remember hyperventilating while riding on the Cyclone. I never went on it again!”
When I was 15 my friends and I worked at the Dodge ‘Em cars at Revere Beach. We had the honor of working for Clement Hurley, whose family owned about half of the attractions there. We took the Blue Line back and forth from our jobs taking tickets and fixing the mesh above the cars. I have lots of fond memories of Revere Beach and so do many of my Somerville friends. The Cyclone burned in 1974 but the beach was basically dead by then anyway. Now it’s mostly apartments and condos and memories.
Warren goes way back: “I remember the trolley car ride from Somerville to Lechmere, then to Boston, and over to Revere. It took forever but once we got there the magic began. The fun house, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, the Cyclone, clamming and crabbing, The POW camp, and later in life, Murphy’s by the Sea. Memories and scenes from long ago.”
It was always the most uncomfortable feeling coming home on the train, when we would be burned to a crisp and covered with sand and salt water. We had fun though!
By the way, Sammy’s Patio, Bianchi’s and Bill Ash’s are still there.