Grand Entrance: Honoring Eastie’s Past and Albert Lombardi Jr.

-By John Lynds

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The Golden Stairs and Golden Stairs Terrace Park. On June 9 Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department will host the official opening of Golden Stairs Terrace Park and the Albert “Junior” Lombardi Memorial Garden.

The late Albert Lombardi, Jr. an iconic figure in the rough and tumble East Boston political world, will be honored with a memorial garden dedicated in his name at Jeffries Point this month.

The transformation of the city’s historic entry point for immigrants into a revitalized open space will be spotlighted on June 9 as Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department host the official opening of Golden Stairs Terrace Park and the Albert “Junior” Lombardi Memorial Garden at 12 noon.

Located at 10 Brigham Street, the site had been long targeted for improvements by the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA),  which spearheaded the renovation efforts. The vacant land was transferred by the Boston Conservation Commission to the Parks Department in November of 2007 and the park was named Golden Stairs Terrace Park by the Boston Parks Commission on March 24, 2008.

It was agreed that the improvements would include a fully landscaped garden reflecting the energy and personality of the late City Hall mayoral aide Albert “Junior” Lombardi.

Lombardi, known throughout the community as ‘Junior’, died of cancer at the age of 48. Lombardi was know as an overly generous man who loved to travel, who loved his family, and who loved his neighborhood, according to friends and neighbors in Jeffries Point.

Working as the Director of Boston’s Rental Housing Resource Center, Mayor Menino remembers Lombardi not only as a key political operative in Eastie but as a man with a very human side.

“Beyond his love for East Boston and the game of politics was his love of the people he served at City Hall,” said Menino. “He was the first to ask ‘how can I help?’ because Junior honestly cared and was genuine. He loved people and people loved him. The door to his office was always open and he would tirelessly help the residents of East Boston and Boston when they had problems with landlord issues.”

The Mayor said Lombardi was a rare individual and people like him don’t come along very often.

“Even through his suffering and sickness Junior was always smiling and helping people,” said Menino.

Lombardi was born in Eastie and lived his entire life here in the family home at 176 Webster Street, which was always busy during election years–serving as a de facto headquarters for many state and city politicians throughout Eastie’s political history.

The project for the park and garden was funded by $105,000 from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund and two $10,000 grants awarded by the East Boston Foundation and the Parks Department’s Small Changes program.  The site will be maintained through a partnership agreement between the Parks Department and the JPNA.

Improvements include the installation of the memorial garden, seating, walkways and lighting.  Decorative elements include precast concrete block walls, benches, trees, shrubs and perennials.  The designer for the project is Clara Batchelor of CBA Landscape Architecture, Somerville, and the contractor is Phil Mastroianni Corp. of Waltham.

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