Boston, 1975: Hobnobbing at the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast

Today’s incarnations are too long, too scripted, too big, too Hollywood, and too boring, but the old breakfasts were the best.

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast

From left, state Representative Ray Flynn, state Senator William Bulger, Governor Michael Dukakis, City Councilor Louise Day Hicks, and Congressman Joe Moakley. Photograph by George Rizer, courtesy The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“This photo was taken on Sunday, March 16, 1975, at the Bayside. A restaurant now occupies that building at East 8th and Covington streets. The setting was intimate, to say the least. I have no remembrance of how the ticket situation was handled— suffice it to say, if you were connected, you got in. While there may have been seating for 150 to 200, a number of other folks managed to line the walls. I marveled at the dexterity of the waitresses squeezing between tables with, oh, four plates in each arm, loaded with corned beef and cabbage.

Billy Bulger ran this gig for about a quarter century, from the early ’70s to the mid-’90s. He ran the show, of course, with minimal notes, rapier wit, and rapid rejoinders to any speaker who might stumble over a poor joke or attempt to poke fun at the Senate president. Bulger particularly liked to skewer the Boston Globe and its liberal stances. This photo was just six months after the implementation of school busing.

I covered a few of these events in the ’70s, as well as the ensuing parade. My shift changed circa 1980, and I was thereafter off Sundays. At the risk of sounding like too many of my generation, the old breakfasts were the best. Today’s incarnations are too long, too scripted, too big, too Hollywood, and too boring.” –George Rizer, former Globe photographer