A Bell Ringer’s Story

Posted on December 16, 2012 by


Ahh Christmas at Downtown Crossing…. both maddening and exhilarating!

A. Koktsidis

The distinct smell of roasted peanuts permeates Boston’s Downtown Crossing, giving a perception of warmth on an otherwise bitter cold Friday afternoon.

At the grimy intersection of Temple Place and Washington Street, it’s a congregation of sounds: “Oh, Christmas Tree,” clangs from the bells of the old Filene’s building as people patter by.  Sinatra’s “Oh, By Gosh, by Golly” croons from the speakers in the Corner Mall, while Macy’s department store streams orchestral carols, and a performer sets up to sing on a small stage. But one sound cuts through all the midday commotion: the steadfast, clear ringing of a bell.

It’s coming from the hand of a man who sits on a chair by the entrance of Macy’s, smoking a cigarette. Over his black North Face jacket and gray hooded sweatshirt, Carlos Higuera, 58, of Dorchester, wears a red Salvation Army apron that reads, “I am a Bell Ringer.”

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