Whitey McGrail, a well known and loved part of Southie in Boston, MA. Photo and the monument inscription below was supplied by Hugh McGrail:

This memorial to Whitey McGrail is located at Carson Beach, in South Boston. I guess Whitey was a somewhat controversial character in South Boston.

He used to walk the boardwalk of Carson Beach, in his fancy outfit and greet one and all. This is a very popular beach, and includes Castle Island, which has Fort Independence situated on it.

The following poem was inscribed on the stone, to the side of the monument:

 MY BEST FRIEND

ON THE DAY I LOST MY BEST FRIEND
I WEPT FROM CITY POINT TO THE LOWER END
HE WAS ONE HELL OF A GOOD MAN
MY WHITEY MCGRAIL

IT BROKE MY HEART TO SEE HIM GO
FOR THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU KNOW
THE "WHITEY STORIES" ! HEARD AS WE SAID GOOD BY
MAN, HE WAS ONE HELLUVA GUY

I'LL MISS THIS POLITICIAN, THIS BANKER,
PRANKSTER, AND LOVABLE HAM
HE MADE ME STAND TALL, HE MADE ME PROUD
HE MADE ME WHAT I AM
HE WAS SOUTHIE PRIDE, HE WAS WHITEY

I'VE BEEN THROUGH HELL THESE
LAST DOZEN YEARS
HE PICKED ME UP, DUSTED ME OFF,
AND QUELLED MY FEARS

GOOD BYE WHITEY, TAKE YOUR REST
AMONG MY PEOPLE YOU WERE THE BEST

WHO AM I? I AM SOUTH BOSTON

Also, notice on the bottom of the memorial. The following words are inscribed:

SO. BOSTON TOWN GREETER

Greg McGrail supplied the following info on Whitey:

Broadway play..............

"DIRTY DAY"

                  Reviewed by Irene Backalenick

                  Presented by Imua! Theatre Company at the Currican
Theater, 154 West 29th St.,
                  NYC, March 28-April 11, 1999

                  What is fascinating about “Dirty Day,” a new
off-Broadway piece, is its historical
                  background.

                  In 1985 “Whitey” McGrail, a well-liked tavernkeeper,
was gunned down in his own
                  South Boston bar. And now his son, actor-playwright
Brian McGrail, has written a play
                  based on the actual murder. McGrail himself played the
lead in its original California
                  production, and, this time around, plays the villain.

                  Though his father’s murder was the impetus for this
slice-of-life play, McGrail goes on
                  to grapple with broader issues of morality. He raises
the critical question of whether
                  morality is a luxury in an amoral world.
                  The story centers on Bobby McGrath (read Brian
McGrail), who leaves college after
                  his father’s death to take over the family business in
South Boston. There he is beset
                  by friends and enemies who make inordinate demands
upon him as he struggles to
                  determine who is honest, who is trustworthy.

                  Unfortunately, we are as confused at times as Bobby.
The playwright does not offer
                  clear clues as to where culpability lies, nor does he
spell out what motivates each
                  character’s behavior. Further confusion results from
the actors themselves who rush
                  their lines and garble critical speeches.

                  Nonetheless, the all-male cast of four—which includes
Jack R. Marks, Derek Phillips,
                  and Kevin Anton, as well as McGrail—throw themselves
into the story with a will.
                  Performances are competent, in terms of their
interpersonal actions and displays of
                  passion. And fight scenes, under William
Mierzejewski’s direction, are particularly
                  effective.
                  “Dirty Day,” despite its flaws, rings with passion.
And, with its bloody, violent
                  moments, one gets an insight into a brutal world which
apparently still exists in South
                  Boston.

michael@mctiernan.com

Last updated July 12, 1999

Return to the beginning