Legal Crossing in Downtown Crossing

Published in the Boston Globe – April 8, 2015

WHERE Legal Crossing

WHAT A 15-foot-wide crimson painting of what looks like a mountain range but is actually a curvaceous woman lying on her side. It hangs in the Downtown Crossing restaurant’s dining room.

WHOSE IDEA Legal Sea Foods honcho Roger Berkowitz commissioned the painting by Florida artist Paul Tamanian to honor his restaurant’s proximity to the bygone Combat Zone. “I had a lot of experiences in the Combat Zone growing up — with my grandmother, that is,” Berkowitz laughs. “She used to be a seamstress at the old Kennedy’s [department store], and I remember this neighborhood with fondness.” Tamanian thought the crimson hue evoked the Zone’s red-light past, but he designed something subtle so as not to shock a modern crowd. The image confuses many customers until they notice the painting’s far right panel, which has a pair of feet. “The optical illusion sparks many conversations, especially after a drink,” says Berkowitz.

Legal Crossing, 558 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston