|August 31, 2017|
The Boston Garden Footbridge is a small bridge that allows pedestrians a quick way to cross the lagoon at the center of the Boston Public Gardens.
Winter View of the Bridge
|August 24, 2017|
"Mr. Watson, come here -- I want to see you." Those famous words were uttered by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876, in Scollay Square in Boston. They were spoken at a workshop on the second floor of 109 Court Street.
On Court Street is a marker to where Alexander Graham Bell discovered the telephone
The marker reads, "Birthplace of the Telephone. Here, on June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson first transmitted sound over wires. This successful experiment was completed in a fifth-floor garret at what was then 109 Court Street and marked the beginning of worldwide telephone service."
The marker is located next to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building. You can see it next to the blue sign on the Cambridge Street side of the building. Simply walk along the Boston City Hall Plaza towards Sudbury Street. You'll see the "John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building" sign. The marker is on the other side of the bushes.
While in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell lived at 38 W. Newton St., Boston MA. A petition was submitted to the Boston Landmark Commission to make it a landmark. The request was denied on April 1979. I assume that the original building was taken down to make room for modern buildings. It is now a private residence, there are no signs to indicated who lived there before.
Given the location of Alexander home and work, chances are that he might have walked the streets of Boston to get to and from work. He would know about the Great Elm of the Boston Commons and probably cut through the commons to get to his workshop.
Most people have been taught that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. However, there is controversy on who really invented the telephone.
The telephone design was the patent on March 7, 1876. On January 13, 1887, the Government of the United States moved to annul the patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation, a case that the Supreme Court found viable and remanded for trial.
Whereas Antonio Meucci, the great Italian inventor, had a career that was both extraordinary and tragic;
Whereas, upon immigrating to New York, Meucci continued to work with ceaseless vigor on a project he had begun in Havana, Cuba, an invention he later called the ''teletrofono'', involving electronic communications;
Whereas Meucci died in October 1889, the Bell patent expired in January 1893, and the case was discontinued as moot without ever reaching the underlying issue of the true inventor of the telephone entitled to the patent; and
Whereas if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.
Note: Only the House of Representatives voted on this action. No Senate vote was taken.
Should Boston remove the Telephone marker near City Hall? Based on the actions by Congress, the marker gives false credit to Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone.
|August 17, 2017|
Between Faneuil Hall and the Old State House is the Ames Boston Hotel. This building is the first skyscraper in the city of Boston.
View from the Old State House.
Four firemen lost their lives in the construction of the Ames Building during a massive "The Thanksgiving Day Fire" on November 28, 1889. The fire was started in the basement of a warehouse about 5 blocks from the Ames Building. The fire destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed fourteen people.
Following firefighters were found dead in the Ames Building:
At one time there was a Time Ball on the top of the Ames Building. The ball was used to help mariners entering Boston harbor for the correction of their chronometers. Each day at exactly at noon the ball would be hoisted to the top of the pole on the Ames Building. The ball was put up on December 30, 1902 and taken down on September 7, 1923. It was removed since the invention of radio time signal the service was no longer needed
The Bostonian Society placed the following marker on the building:
When the thirteen-story Ames Building was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in Boston. Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building exhibits both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. The Ames Building was constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, and instead is supported by nine-foot thick masonry walls. It is considered a great technical achievement of its day, and remains the tallest example of the type of construction in the United States. In 2009, the newly renovated Ames Building reopened as the Ames Hotel.
The Ames Boston Hotel is located at 1 Court Street in Boston's Financial district. It's located directly across the street from the Old State House.
|August 10, 2017|
In the courtyard of the Old City Hall is a statue of a Donkey and a pair of elephant footprints.
They were the inventions of Thomas Nast, an illustrator who became America's preeminent political cartoonist. Nast's donkey first appeared as a Democratic party symbol in Harper's Weekly on Jan. 15, 1870. The elephant turned up in Harper's four years later.
|August 3, 2017|
Every day about 20,000 commuters travel through the Sumner tunnel from East Boston to Downtown Boston. Here's some information about the person that the tunnel is named after.
Five General Information Facts about William H. Sumner
Mentioned in Edward M. Kennedy: "Chappaquiddick" speech (Top 100 American Speeches):
The people of this state, the state which sent John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and John Kennedy to the United States Senate are entitled to representation in that body by men who inspire their utmost confidence. For this reason, I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me, this will be a difficult decision to make.
|July 27, 2017|
If you're taking the Green Line from Park Street to Copley Square you end up exiting up the street at a different location than the inbound trains. The outbound trains end up under the intersection of Boylston Street and Dartmouth Street. The inbound train ends up near the Boston Public Library Main Entrance.
What’s tricky is that as you walk through the terminal, there’s no clear indicator on where you appear at street level. This is important because you don’t want to exit to street level and then find that you have to cross the street because you came out of the wrong door.
The exit are separated by Dartmouth Street, and the exits are on opposite sides of the street.
Check out this picture:
There are no signs to indicate where the exits will take you!
You should go left if you want to go to the Boston Public Library, visit the Boston Marathon Finish Line, Apple Store or the Old South Church. Exit right if you want to go to Copley Square, Trinity Church and CVS.
Perhaps someday the MBTA will put up a sign to help people navigate out of the station properly.
Note: Some people may think this is a silly blog post. But it can be frustrating when you arrive at the station and have no clue on which exit to take.
|July 20, 2017|
When you enter the Boston Public Library from Copley square you may not have paid attention to the Bronze doors that you walk through.
These doors were created by Daniel Chester French in 1897, about 20 years before he did the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial.
It took a while for each door panel to be completed:
SVCG Sweet Compulsion Does in Music Lie To Lull the Daughters of Necessity and Keep Unsteady Nature to Her Law
True Poetry is Like the Loadstone Which Both Attracts the Needle and Supplies it With Magnetic Power
There is in Wisdom a spirit subtil, clear in utterance, loving what is good, pure, stedfast. By Knowledge Shall, the Chambers Be Filled with all Precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:4)
Truth is The Strength and The Kingdom and The Power and the Majesty of all Ages A Romance to Rede and Drive the Night Away from me thought it Better Play than Either at Chesse or Tables
|July 13, 2017|
Most people that visit the North End usually end up eating dessert at Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry. Both places are extremely popular and quite often you'll find long lines that overflow onto Hanover Street.
Next time you're in the North End and want a dessert to treat to try - Bova's Bakery. It's usually a lot less crowded and pretty much has the same food selection.
Bova's Bakery is a Family-owned bake shop, opened in 1932, offering up delicious loaves of bread, cookies & sandwiches 24 hours a day.
Description from their website:
Visit us and celebrate a family history made around the oven. North Enders will tell you, there's nothing quite so comforting as walking home in the early morning with a warm loaf of bread carefully cradled in the crook of your arm. Once home, you sit down at the kitchen table, sneak the butter from the fridge, and open a jar of jam. With mounting anticipation, you prepare for a delicious breakfast.
Not always crowded like some of the popular bakeries on Hanover Street.
Anthony Martignetti, of the Prince Spaghetti Boy commercial from the 1970s, worked at Bova's Bakery at night
You can see Bova"s Bakery in the Fever Pitch Movie. The main character lived right upstairs.
I have found that they have a better selection of desserts than Mikes Pastry. I have enjoyed their homemade Italian cookies and fig bars.
I don't have a go-to item, I just browse around and see what looks good.
Bova`s Bakery has sandwiches and pizza too, which I keep thinking of having but the desert treats are a meal in themselves.
The Whoopie Pie is really good, kids will enjoy the character versions such as Cookie Monster.
Always Open - Open 24 hours!
According to Google, the most popular time is between 6 and 9, but the bakery does appear to get considerable amount of late night traffic.
Bova's Bakery, located at the intersection of Prince Street and Salem Street. The Street address for Google/GPS is 134 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113
It's a quick 10-minute drive from Logan Airport via Taxi. Which is good to know if you have some layover time and want to grab some great Italian food.
|July 6, 2017|
The Boston Museum of Science has a lot of fun and interesting exhibits. Many of them are interactive which makes it fun to learn.
With all various exhibits to see, there are a few which you may miss. Here are a couple that I think are pretty interesting :
Have you ever touched Dinosaur Poop? Well you can at the Boston Museum of Science.
My six-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of the Dinosaur poop. We joke about it as we drive to the museum:
The "poop" is several million years old and is just a fossil remain. So touching it is just like touching any rock.
There is a sign next to fossilized remain to let you know what it is:
The photograph below is a magnified slice from the coprolite, fossilized dinosaur "poop". From the evidence, we can figure out the coprolite is from a plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. You can observe the cell structure from some of the indigested plant material.
Every time we go she feels that she has to take a picture of me touching the poop.
You can find the Dinosaur poop along the back wall in the Dinosaur Area on the first floor,
There is a large tree cross-section in the main exhibit area. This was once part of a 2000+-year-old tree.
There is a sign in front of the cross-section of the tree:
The cross-section is from a Giant Sequoia that was cut down in 1950 in Sequoia National Park, CA after being badly damaged. It was 240 feet tall and 2044 years old. The gap on the upper right was caused by a fire hundreds of years ago. Sequoias are well-adapted to withstand fire: they are covered by a thick, fibrous bark that has very little flammable resin. The tree survived and kept growing as the two sides curved around to protect the exposed wood.
Imagine all the winter storms and droughts that the tree had to live through over the past couple of centuries.
There are 9 points on the Giant Sequoia Tree that the museum highlights. You can press a button to see the year on the tree ring:
The Giant Sequoia is one of Michael Bloomberg favorite exhibits at the museum. Last year he donated $50 million to the Boston Science Museum.
It's not hard to miss the Giant Sequoia tree, its located in the main hall between the bathrooms and the back staircase.
Did you know: If you're interested in starting your own giant sequoia tree, you can purchase a starter kit in the museum gift shop. Just ask someone in the store if you need help finding it.
|June 29, 2017|
In the Boston Public Gardens, along Boylston Street, are four bronze statues on granite pedestals that have stood as a group for more than eighty years.
The first statue to be placed on this path is simply labeled, 'Sumner.' This is a statue of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner.
Today's post is about Senator Charles Sumner.
In 1876, the Boston Art Committee put out a formal notice that they were looking for a statue design for Charles Sumner to be placed in the Boston Public Gardens. They held a contest at the Old State House with several prominent designers showcasing their statue idea.
After much consideration, the committee picked the design done by Anne Whitney in a blind competition. However, when she went to collect her reward they rejected the design since the sculptor was a woman. The committee didn't like the idea of women designing a man's leg.
The committee then selected Thomas Ball designed instead. (Anne Whitney still kept the prize money.)
In 1902, the version of the statue Anne Whitney's created was placed in a small park across from Harvard University in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Anne Whitney got the last laugh as her version of Charles Sumner statue is seen far more than Thomas Ball version.
Charles Sumner fought hard for Civil Rights. One of the last bills he introduced to the Senate was a civil rights bill to guarantee to all citizens, regardless of color, "equal and impartial enjoyment of any accommodation, advantage, facility, or privilege." On his death bed he asked Frederick Douglas - "Don't let the bill fail!" and "You must take care of [my] civil-rights bill."
The Civil Right Act of 1865 passed on March 1, 1865, almost a year to the day that Charles Sumner died. The act was also known as the Butler-Sumner Act.
However, seven years later the Supreme Court threw out the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in four rulings: United States v. Stanley; United States v. Ryan; United States v. Nichols; United States v. Singleton; Robinson et ux. v. Memphis & Charleston R.R. Co.
It would be another 80 years before Congress could pass a civil rights act.
The tunnel between East Boston and Boston is called the Sumner Tunnel. However, it's named after William H. Sumner and not Charles Sumner.
William H. Sumner was responsible for building up East Boston, that's why the Tunnel is named after him. Charles Sumner had nothing to do with East Boston.
Both men did live around the same time, but they are not related.
The statue is located in the Boston Public Gardens along Boylston Street.
At the corner of Arlington and Boylston take the right most path in the Public Gardens. It will be the first statue on your left.
Tip: You can get some nice pictures of the Swan Boats from this location.
|June 28, 2017|
Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?
Ya, it happens to everyone.
The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.
EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.
I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.
As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.
Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.
Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:
At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.
Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.
Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?
|June 25, 2017|
This summer, as you walk to Fenway Park from Kenmore Square, if you look down on the sidewalk you may see a strange red character:
This has nothing to do with the Boston Red Sox, it’s actually the Grateful Dead Dancing Bear. Apparently, a fan painted it on the sidewalk.
The Dancing Bear is as much a part of the Grateful Dead experience as the Steal Your Face logo or the Skull and Roses design. Artist Bob Thomas' Dancing Bear is on just about every Grateful Dead T-Shirt.
Fenway Park has a very busy summer, aside from the usual baseball fun.
|June 22, 2017|
Have you ever walked around in the Boston Commons near the Park Street station and looked over at the State House building. Have you wondered why you can't see the State House building? In the summer you can only see the top of the gold dome.
What are those ugly trees there? Why don't they just cut them down and let everyone see the beautiful State House building?
Those ugly trees are confirmed to be the Oldest Elms trees in the Northeast.
In 1780 John Hancock sought permission to plant trees in the park across his residence on Beacon Hill. The city of Boston agreed with his request
Yes, that John Hancock. The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence and who later became the first governor of Massachusetts. Not to mention that he played a critical role in the revolutionary war. He planted those trees that you see at the Shaw Memorial.
Tree experts estimated that they were planted sometime between 1772 and 1812. I believe that the trees were planted someplace else and then transported to the Boston Gardens in 1780.
This year the set of trees will be at least 237 years old.
Last year I wrote about the famous Great Elms of the Boston Gardens. Nobody knows exactly when that tree was planted, and by whom. (Some say it was planted by Capt. Daniel Henchman in 1670)
When the Great Elm of the Boston Commons came down in 1875 it was estimated to be about 206 years old.
The Shaws Memorial Elms is currently at least 237 years old. (Based on being planted on 1780 ) This makes it the oldest Elm on the Boston Commons.
This means that the Oldest tree in the Boston Commons is the set of Elm Trees around the Shaw Memorial.
While researching about the trees in the Commons and Gardens, I did learn that there is another tree that is older in the Public Gardens. Public Gardens officials have not disclosed which tree it is so that no harm will come to that tree.
In a Illustrated music sheet cover from 1830, you can see the three Elm Trees right in front of the State House. This was done about 50 years after the trees were planted.
You can see the small trees growing up in front of the State House.
Since the 1970s these trees have received the VIP treatment. The special tree experts check out the trees every couple of weeks and make sure that they are doing well.
Bricks were placed in one of the trees to keep the tree stable and to prevent any damage to the inside of the tree.
There was concern about the trees when the Shaw Memorial was built in xxx. The memorial has actually helped prolong the tree's life by protecting the tree from tree diseases that have killed many Elm trees in the Public Gardens.
View of the trees from Park Street Station in the Winter and the Summer.
The trees are located on Beacon Street directly across the Massachusetts State House.
|June 15, 2017|
One of the most popular photo spots in Boston is the buildings along the waterfront with the harbor in front. People take this photo from Boston Fan Pier in the Seaport District. It's a nice place to get a harbor side view of the city skyline.
The Boston Harbor Association describes Fan Pier:
From the HarborWalk on the Fan Pier, visitors can enjoy one of the best panoramas of the city, with unobstructed views of downtown to East Boston and the Harbor Islands.
Harborwalk, the area in front of Fan Pier Park, was inaugurated on July 4, 1982.
The easiest way to get to the Fan Pier is to take the Silver Line to the Courthouse stop.
Once you get up to the street level, head towards Boston (walk with the direction of the car traffic). You will see a lot of tall buildings in the distance.
At the first light take a left towards a brick building (That's John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse)
At the end of the road, take a left towards a couple of old bridges, this is the Old Northern Ave Bridge.
Then take a right and walk along the Boston Harbor. This is the Harborwalk.
As you continue to walk, you'll see a sign that welcomes you to the Fan Pier Park.
|June 8, 2017|
Recently, 116 Huntington Ave updated the sideway. In the process, the plaque about the figurines on the building was removed.
Here's a copy of the plaque that I took back in 2011:
Plaque text, from my 2011 blog post:
The CARYATIDS that support the arch over the large oculus of this building were designed by Boston Artist, Syma. The figures reference the original sculpted Caryatids who supported the pediment of the Temple of Diana in ancient Greece. Diana was the Greek Goddess of dance and dreams. Seven stars adorn each panel, a reference to the Pleiades, which, according to Greek Mythology, were the seven Caryatids or Princess of Diana who were places among the stars by Zeus. Each of the stars has six points, a traditional symbol of harmony and transformation. The waves underfoot recall 19th century Back Bay, once covered with water.
This is what the Caryatids look like on the building:
You can see the Caryatids walking on the Huntington Ave Pedestrian over path. Which is located between the Prudential Mall and the Copley Square Mall.