Monday, September 6, 2010

A Day in Back Bay

I've been in Boston for over two weeks now, and I haven't really written anything about it! Probably because the first week was the "be totally overwhelmed and confused" phase of moving, and the second week was the "spend five days at a conference and two days recovering" phase. (You mean you don't go through that phase when you move?) But now I'm starting to settle in, and yesterday for the first time I took public transport all by myself! I'm a big kid now! (People who grew up in real cities are probably laughing at me, but the extent of public transport in Jacksonville was a bus system that basically only gets you from one Walmart to the next, and a useless monorail that was built during the Every City Needs A Useless Monorail trend some years back, so I never took a city bus or train till I came to Boston.)

What was the big occasion that led me to venture into the city by myself? Church, yo. Specifically a 400-year-old church founded by this guy:

Yes, that John Winthrop. Which is amusing, given that it is a Unitarian-Universalist church now:

The inside of the church wasn't too remarkable, because part of it burned down in the '60s and had to be rebuilt, but the outside was way cool:

The service itself was lovely, something to do with Labor Day and the Walmart effect and what it means to do useful, fulfilling work - I'm not really a morning person so I'll admit a lot of it went over my head, but I got to hear a guy playing a harpsichord in person, and that is all that matters.

Back Bay is an upscale, historic neighborhood that's really pleasant to walk through, full of gorgeous old brownstones, brick sidewalks and cute little gardens.

After church I decided to wander over to the library and see if it's open on Sundays (it isn't), and on the way there I stopped at the Commonwealth Avenue mall. (Mall as in "long, narrow park", not "place where you drink an Orange Julius and wish you had money".)

One thing I like about Boston is there are statues everywhere, so whenever I go out I always come home with some names to Google. As a history geek, this pleases me.

William Lloyd Garrison, a damn cool guy who I hadn't heard of till I saw his statue

Not sure who this was, but he looks rather unfriendly.

My favorite thing was the Boston Women's Memorial, right in the middle of the park:

Remember the Ladies

I like Abigail's posture here. She's all like, "The Leggs of a Lady are none of your fucking Business, John."

Inscription on Lucy Stone's memorial

After the park, I walked over by the library and took some pictures there:

Old South Church

This entire building, including the bit hidden behind the tree, is the library. Oh baby.

I will DEFINITELY be coming back here.

This is the sign on a weird "city toilet" thing outside the library. You can't really see the text, but essentially it says that you insert a quarter, and the thing (which looks like some kind of alien space pod) opens up, and you get 20 minutes to desecrate it. After 20 minutes, the door automatically opens. So if you're anticipating a major colon blowout or something, find a real bathroom. There's also a lot of instructions on it about how to call 911 by pushing a button inside, which I thought was slightly ominous.

So, I'm digging Boston so far! Lots of cool historical shit, lots of cool people, lots of cool, uh, donuts - and it's gonna be fall soon! Yay!


Spiffy said...


marcia @Child in Harmony said...

I LOVE Boston!

My girl and I are going to hop the train most Fridays this fall explore and then attend a class at MFA.

happy day!