Archive for July, 2004

too little, too late?

Menino is offering discounts to entice people back into the city. Among these discounts are free metered parking, 15 percent off North End restaurants and heavily discounted parking in the garages.
Sounds good to me. It sounds like local businesses are hurting. Hopefully the tourists who specifically avoided Boston this week (like everyone was told to) will be back in droves next week so our local businesspeople don’t suffer too much.

My $.02 on the DNC

How has the DNC affected me?
Honestly, it hasn’t really. It’s made my commute much better than usual, since the roads aren’t as busy. Speeding on the Tobin Bridge and on Route 1 has been diminished with the heavy police presence on the southbound side. I’ve been working half-days so I miss the worst of the afternoon commute. I’ve not actually tried Route 1/93 and Storrow in the afternoon, so I can’t compare the traffic there, but 128 has been fine.
So overall, the only thing to come out of this for me is lighter traffic, shorted work days, and the impetus to get my inspection sticker.

To all you addicts out there

New Krispy Kreme is being built on Route 1!!!

Boston is no longer ‘quaint’

Timothy Noah, in Slate, complains that Boston is “no longer quaint”:

Boston has succumbed to New York me-tooism. Where you can really see this is in the food. The Hub has become a culinary paradise, stuffed with the sort of restaurants that the writer Calvin Trillin mockingly refers to, collectively, as La Casa de la Maison House.

Well excuuuuuuse us!
No, I’m laughing. The article is mostly tounge-in-cheek. Maybe Boston does have a teensy inferiority complex in comparison to New York. But why can’t we strive to be better and attract more tourist dollars, hmmm? And I like having a billion choices about where to eat.
Are Boston’s best days behind it? I’m no historian, but I would guess that the mid to late 19th century was Boston’s heyday, producing prominent abolitionists, poets, writers, politicians, etc. We lose bits of our population every year because of insane housing costs and expensive cost-of-living.
But I think there is still a lot for Boston, and Massachusetts in general, to be proud of. We have some of the country’s best universities and hospitals in our fair city. Taking a tour around the city is getting a great history lesson of how our country began. And we should be proud of all the great men and women we sent to Washington, and all the poets and authors we produced. I’d rather live here more than anywhere else, except maybe London – and London reminded me of Boston, which, I think, is why I fell in love with it in the first place.
I also love driving around in the historical districts of some of the suburbs, like Lexington. It is so quintessential New England, and I love it – the 300-year-old houses with the white paint and black shutters look awesome. Western Mass. is also gorgeous as well, especially in the autumn.
The Globe had a great article in this past Sunday’s Ideas section: Bay State Nation: What if America were more like us?”. Great read. If America were more like Massachusetts, there would be less crime and cheaper beer, for starters.

Why do you like Boston?

It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times since moving here from the UK, and I guess it can be answered here, and expanded into:
Why do you stay living in Boston? What keeps you here?
I’d like to read other peoples answers too.
I first came to America for a 3 week trip in May 2002, I spent two weeks at my office in Lynnfield, and stayed in a hotel there, then spent the last week in Boston itself and Chicago, visiting friends.
I felt at home in Boston, much more so than Chicago. I couldn’t place why really.
I came back that November for a proper holiday and spent 3 more weeks here. I travelled to New York, but spent most of it in Boston again.
The city itself was fun, I felt much more comfortable with Bostons twisting roads and rotaries (otherwise known as roundabouts) than I did in New York or Chicago. I found Bostonians friendly, whereas Chicago seemed almost fake. If someone in Boston asked how I was doing, then it was because they wanted to know, in Chicago, it was because it was expected of them and fake.
Of course, to many people here, this is considered rude behaviour, but to me, from Europe, its pretty typical :)
In general, I guess I like Boston because it is so much more European than anywhere else in America … it has a certain level of history, some fun neighbourhoods.
I moved here in April 2003, and have lived in Jamaica Plain ever since … with the pond, the shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants … it has everything you could want, in walking distance, yet is also small and compact enough to feel like a town. When we move to Lynn in August, I’m going to miss it …
So, why do you like Boston?

For my birthday I want a new president…

Voice of America: “Among the speakers Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Boston will be the founder of the website Kids for Kerry, 12-year-old Ilana Wexler.
Because I tested well as a kid, I was tracked into accelerated school programs from fourth grade onward. My classes were generally populated by precocious kids like Ilana Wexler. I quietly despised their cheery can-do attitude, their flute lessons, and their nice clothes. At the same time, I wanted to be like them instead of the kid with the bad haircut and irregular husky pants smelling faintly of smoke.
Within three weeks, my wife will give birth to our first child. I hope that our daughter is as engaged and confident as young Miss Wexler when she hits her pre-teens. Either I’ve become more square or I’ve learned something in the past 20 years…or both.

DNC = Do Not Care

Looks like the entire city of Boston is focused on the Democratic Convention this week … every local blog and new site is reporting about the bad treatment of the protestors, or the various speeches that are being given.
Personally, I took the week off. I have no car, and refuse to get on the Orange line without a good reason. The TV is on, but it’s showing old reruns of Star Trek right now.
I don’t really care too much about what happens, being a Brit, I can’t vote, I’m more worried about being hassled by the police and security “precautions” than I am about any terrorist activity. It seems any T stop is having “random” stop and searches, we’re constantly being buzzed by helicopters of various types, the roads are plauged with police.
So, I’m staying inside, or walking distance from the house and pretending none of this is happening :)

Rock Your Vote

Rock the Vote is having a lot of events this week in Boston, trying to get people registered (and excited) to vote.
So, as they say; it’s your voice. Use it.

Kick off the DNC

So far, so okay. I am mostly un-bothered, I even made it into work this morning without incident. Has anyone else noticed the GIANT signs at Downtown Crossing shouting out “ORANGE LINE, INBOUND” (implied !!!)? I guess Boston residents are expected to be confused and disoriented, left to figure it out for ourselves, but that can’t happen to the Delegates. The Delegates! I would shout out “The Delegates are coming!” But I guess they are already here.
The only other thing I have really noticed is a lot of helicopters flying around last night (above my house in JP) – unlike the medical choppers, they just kept coming back around again and again. Whooosh! And then last night I heard some mysterious loud banging (like fireworks, or thunder, but not) and I thought it was gunfire and wanted to hide under my bed. I am still not sure what it was exactly.
Anyway, here’s a DNC guide with some good info. Enjoy the madness!

I guess some parents may like these …

A much more PC version of the infamous anti-Yankees slogan heard around Boston.

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