Then & Now: The Combat Zone
A photography exhibit remembers the city’s red-light district, while a new generation of Hub photographers shoots its cleaned-up streets.
When government center displaced Boston’s red-light district in the 1960s, the prostitutes, XXX theaters, and crime moved just west, to Washington Street between Essex and Kneeland. The -notorious “Combat Zone” also attracted photographers Roswell Angier, Jerry Berndt, and John Goodman, who documented life there in the ’60s and ’70s. Boston asked students from MassArt and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to reshoot the locations of three original photos, showing how a neighborhood can be unrecognizable from one generation to the next. Above: The Naked I, shot by Angier in 1977, is now the entrance to the Archstone apartments’ garage, inset, shot by MassArt’s Zachary Milligan-Pate.
1968 (above): An unidentified woman at King of Pizza, corner of Boylston and Washington, by Jerry Berndt.
Today (below): The same view from what is now Asia Trvale, 2 Boylston Street, by MassArt student Sarah Roberti.
1978 (above): A deli turned porn shop, corner of Essex and Washington, by John Goodman.
Today (below): That famed purveyor of coffee and crullers, operating next door to the RMV, by SMFA student Connie Sawyer.
“Boston: Combat Zone 1967-1978” opens 2/12 at the Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-262-0550, howardyezerskigallery.com.