We were in Boston September 1 – 5, and are now in Manhattan. I don’t have any photos to include with this post, but hopefully I will soon. We used Laurel’s camera in Boston because hers is skinnier and easier to carry around. When she tried to upload the pictures to the computer this evening though, she couldn’t. She read the online manual and tried everything, but nothing works. SO, I’ll look tomorrow for another USB plug that fits her camera and hope for the best.
So here’s our Boston summary:
1. Despite the state being known as Taxachusetts, Boston’s mass transit SUCKS. (What are they doing with all that money?) Last time I was there (2006 with Wayne and the kids for a day as part of an epic, 5,000-mile car journey), I thought it was wonderful. Now that I have more experience with it, I think otherwise. We stayed in an apartment in Everett, a working-class suburb four miles north of Boston. How long can it take to go four miles? Depends on the time and day, but between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. When we went from Harvard to our apartment, it took two HOURS. The subway on the leg from Harvard to downtown just stopped and then went very slowly. There was no explanation, and it took 45 minutes to go two miles. Last night we took the train from Boston to the bus station in Wellington where we had to wait 45 minutes for our bus. So the commute really ate into our time there. The train drivers/conductors mumble information about the next stop into the really crappy PA system. As Laurel said, “You can tell from their voices how much they hate their jobs, and it’s really unnerving since they’re responsible for so many people.” I have no idea why the transit authority can’t get a recording to play at each stop.
2. This is a summary? Seems more like a detailed account. 🙂
3. The Revolutionary history is nice, but I guess I got my fill of it last time I was there. I’m also sick of hearing the words “Tea Party” because of its meaning in the last few years. So why did I go to Boston? I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t realize my aversion until I was there. But I’ll quiz you anyway: What are the names of the three ships from which the colonists dumped tea?
4. The Boston Public Library is MAGNIFICENT. Oh the photos we have that we can’t upload! And, of course, even our pictures don’t do it justice. There’s tiled ceilings and murals and big ol’ lion statues at the top of a grand, marble staircase. There’s a courtyard with a statue and fountain in the center. I felt like I had broken into a billionaire’s home (I’ve never actually done this.) and had to keep reminding myself that this was a public library.
5. The Red Sox game at Fenway Park was fun although the Sox lost to Detroit.
6. Boston has beautiful parks. Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park among many others, designed Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks that mostly connect and form a circle around the city. We took a ride on a swan boat (cheap, relaxing fun) and Charlie went on a carousel ride in Boston Public Garden; and we started a walking tour in Boston Common. We also walked about two miles (each way) of the Emerald Necklace – heavily wooded and many pretty statues of the city’s prominent citizens – on our way to Fenway Monday. We ate lunch at a cafe at another beautiful park Wednesday.
7. We took a trolley (bus made to look like a trolley) tour Wednesday which was fun and informative. Did you know the Big Dig which moved a portion of the interstate underground in Boston cost $16 BILLION and took 15 years to complete?
8. Dinner at Cheers was fun. We walked down the stairs like they do in the TV show, but the bar that’s in the basement is not the one from the show. That set has been moved upstairs which is where we ate. Our waitress gave us good directions to the library (when I asked her) but told me she’s never been inside. 😦
9. The Irish Famine memorial, which we saw seven years ago but was worth another look, is very moving. I highly recommend Paddy’s Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred by Thomas Gallagher. It may sound horribly text-bookish and dull, but it’s not. You can get a cheap, used copy through Amazon.
10. Them Bostonians like their Dunkin Donuts.
11. Everett (at least the part where we were staying) is a virtual food desert. There’s a small grocery store a half mile from our apartment; but it was mostly cheap, processed stuff. Between that and the poopy bus/train transit they have to take to work, I was getting pretty annoyed with the lot of the working poor. They spend a big chunk of their lives getting to their crappy jobs and then can’t buy much more than Froot Loops and chips at the local market.
This morning (Thursday) we flew to New York and are staying in a garden-level/basement apartment on the Lower East Side/East Village. Until about 20 years ago, it was a scary, crime-ridden neighborhood according to Rafi, our 60-year-old (on December 25) Pakistani taxi driver who drove us from the Newark airport to the apartment, but now is fine. I found on the Internet this evening the murder rate of New York City. It’s lower than the national average! “At current levels, the rate of homicides for each 100,000 city residents could drop in 2013 to 3.83, one of the lowest levels since the Korean War.” (Huffington Post) Cincinnati, by the way, has a murder rate more than five times that of New York. Rafi (I’m back to the taxi driver now.) is a very nice man. (He told me so many times, but I happen to agree.) He has four children: two are medical doctors in London, the third is in college, but “my number four son has the brain of a chicken.”
There are about 15 Indian restaurants on the next block as well as Vietnamese, Thai, and Peruvian. Our apartment is really tiny. The kitchen is just cabinets and appliances along the wall in the hallway that connects the 10′ x 6′ living room to the bedroom (that has no door or closet). What little there is of it is quite elegant though.
I better go to bed (couch) now. It’s after midnight on the east coast.