Boston Blog Posts
Cows on the Boston Commons
In Colonial Boston, grazing cows use to roam freely on the Boston Commons. Some locals even joked that cows were the first official residents of the Boston Commons. It was so common to see cows, that once a young Ralph Waldo Emerson escorted his family cow to the Boston Commons.
Not only were Cattle allowed to roam, so were pigs, sheep and goats.
The city was growing rapidly that Mayor Harrison Gray Otis decided in 1830, to ban all Cows on the Boston Commons. This was done so that the Boston Public Commons could be a full-time public park and a recreational grounds - which officially happened in 1837.
Cows were officially banned on the Boston Public Gardens on May 1st, 1830. Making April 30th, 1830, the last day the cows were free to roam on the Commons.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Cows make their yearly appearance on the Boston Public Gardens on the first week of June to celebrate National Dairy Month. Usually, they appear near the Park Street station.
Five Napkin Burger Closes in Boston
While some people might be surprised that the restaurant closed, it really didn't come a surprise to me because it was never busy. When the wait time for the Cheesecake Factory would be 45-minutes, there would be no wait at 5-Napkin and they are just doors apart.
The last time I ate there was at lunch time - just days before closing. I was very surprised of the number of tables during a busy lunch hour.
When I started working the Back Bay, it was the place to go to after work. I can remember going and sitting at the busy bar and ordering one of their famous burger. It was a busy happening place.
Five Things I Learned about 5 Napkin in Boston
- Opened at 105 Huntington Ave on April 9, 2011
- Previous Tenant was Daily Grill, before that it was Applebee's
- When it opened, there were nine burgers were on the menu. They were priced from $7.95-$12.95 (Last year I got a Five Napkin Burger for $14!)
- Officially Closed on September 14, 2018
- There are current 4 other locations - which are all in New York City. (Closest one is 209 Miles away)
Land Parcel on Scotia St
Open land space in the Back Bay is getting very scarce - with the red-hot economy, developers are trying to grab as much open space as they can for building high rise luxury apartment.s
Just off of busy Boylston Street, there is a piece of open land that will soon have high rise development. This will be the new location for 1000 Boylston Street apartments.
This open Parcel land will soon be gone.
Ten Things I Learned about the Open Space Parcel
Official address of the land is Scotia St Boston Ma 02115. The City of Boston Parcel ID is 0401345000
The lot size is 11,109 sq ft.
The land was previously owned by the St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church. In May 2008, the Archdiocese of Boston sold the land to ADG Scotia LLC for $13.85 million. ADG Scotia LLC is sometimes known as "Scotia Parcel."
ADG Scotia is a joint venture between John Fish's Suffolk Ventures and Weiner's Weiner Ventures.
While it was owned by St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church the land was tax exempt. Since 2009, the City of Boston has collected $41,000 each year in additional tax revenue. The land is currently assessed at $3,301,600.
The St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church used the funds from the sale to do a major interior renovation - new floors, pews, painting and a redesigned entrance.
ADG Scotia LLC has plans to build a new tower in the space. Ideas of the Hotel/Retail/Parking complex first came out in 2008 but was shelved because of the "great recession."
In January, ADG Scotia LLC paid $30,000 to Travaglini Eisenberg Kiley LLC to lobby so the Massachusetts General Laws 6C could be changed to allow air rights by sale or by lease.
The original Plans for 1000 Boylston Street have been changed a lot since 2008. Original plans had 2 towers - One 566 feet and 39 stories, the other 283 feet, and 24 stories. The new plan has a single high rise - 484 feet and 27 floors. The new tower would be just as high as the State Street Bank. It will be the 21st tallest building in Boston.Plans for building 1000 Boylston Street are underway. Trees in the parcel have been taken down.
MillStone by Haymarket
As you walk along the backside of the Boston Public Market, you may encounter a strange stone wheel and a cement path heading towards Faneuil Hall.
While it might look like an artistic display, it's actually a piece of Boston's history that is more than 300 years old. It's an original Millstone that helps colonial Bostonians grind up grain.
Six Things I learned about the Mill Creek Millstone
- On November 16, 1999, During the construction of the "Big Dig," two Millstones were found near the Dock Square Parking Garage. (Which is next to the Hard Rock Cafe)
- According to one archeologist, the discovery of the millstones and colonial trash nearby is the "finest such artifacts ever found from Colonial Boston - the true treasure is encased in the creek bottom"
- The Millstones each weighed 2,200 pounds and are believed to be dated from the 1700s.
- In Colonial Boston, there was a large pond near the area near Faneuil Hall. The millstones were found in an area where a creek was created from the pond to the ocean.
- The rise in tide would how the the grist mills were powered.
- There use to be a sign next to the Millstone, but it's been removed for many years - leaving the history and story of the Millstone a mystery to those that walk by.
Colonial Boston Map
A map of Boston that shows the location of Millpond.
You can learn more about the Millstone on the Massachusetts Historical Commission page.
Source: Information was gathered from various sources including the Boston Globe which covered the story in 1999.
North Square is one of the most popular squares in Boston, about four million visitors visit the square annually. Most people visit the square as part of the stopover to the Paul Revere House.
On October 11, 2017, a groundbreaking ceremony was done to launch a major reconstruction project. The project will transform the square to be more of friendly space for gatherings. In addition there will be new statues to commemorate several story sculptures from the North End.
North Square Park in October 2015
North Square Park in September 26, 2018
Six Things I learned about North Square Park
North Square in the North End, Boston of Boston, Massachusetts sits at the intersection of Moon, Prince, North, Garden Court, and Sun Court Streets. Paul Revere lived here, as did other notables in the 17th and 18th centuries. Prior to July 4, 1788, the area was known as Clark's Square.
The 2018 restoration project will cost $2.5 million. The work will be replacing all the original cobblestones that align the street - making the area more accessible to wheelchairs. The work should be completed by the end of the year.
The AJ Art Design is working on the bronze sculptures.
The square is part of the Freedom Trail, this small historic square offers benches next to the Paul Revere House.
Most people look at the Paul Revere House, but at 29 North Square, next door is the Moses Pierce-Hichbom House. It is one of the two 18th-century buildings still standing in the North End.
In 1907, there was an attempt to change the name of the square to Scigliano Park. The City Aldermen turned down a request to name it after George Scigliano. He did a lot for the Italian Americans which made up the North End. He founded the Italian Protective League - an Italian labor union.
200 Clarendon Artwork
On the afternoon on September 22nd, 2015 a strange art appeared on the side of .200 Clarendon (formerly the Hancock Tower), a few days later, Boston Properties, the property owner, revealed on Twitter that it's a piece by French street artist JR
Six Things About the Art Work
- This was s translucent painting on glass of the 200 Clarendon Tower spanning from the 44th to the 50th floors.
- The art was 150 feet wide and 86 feet tall
- It took 3 days to successfully put up the artwork with the help of Pedro Alonzo, a Cambridge-based independent curator.
- The painting is based off a picture that JR took on his worldwide travels.
- According to the Press Release at the time, the reason for the art: "JR prefers for the artwork to emerge quietly, for the city to respond to the imagery."
- The painting was temporary and came down on April 20, 2016 - two days after the 120th running of the Boston Marathon.
View of the Artwork from the Southwest Corridor Park
October 19, 2015
Four things about the artist named JR
William Ellery Channing Statue
At the corner of Bolyston and Arlington Street in Boston is a statue that has overlooked Arlington Street for the past 115 years, it's a statue of William Ellery Channing.
William Ellery Channing (April 7, 1780 - October 2, 1842) was a popular Unitarian preacher in the early nineteenth century.
Description of the Monument
A portrait of William Ellery Channing, standing holding the Bible in his proper left hand and clutching the folds of his ecclesiastical robes to his chest with his proper right hand. The sculpture rests atop a granite base that is installed in a marble niche beneath a marble canopy. The monument is approached by two granite steps.
Nine things I learned about the William Ellery Channing Statue
Statue was paid for by John Foster, a former attendant at the Arlington Street Church. He left $30,000 in his Will for the purposes of a new statue for his mentor William Channing. ($30,000 in 1903 is equivalent in purchasing power to $835,636.36 in 2017)
John Foster, was a notable Boston Merchant who died on April 9, 1897. He was part of a successful wholesale grocery store - Foster & Taylor. His Will also contributed funds to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Town of Hudson, NH, Warner, NH, Perkins Institution for the Blind, MIT and many others.
Mr. Foster directed that the William Channing statue be placed in the Garden across from the church because Channing was once pastor of the Federal Street Church, the predecessor of the Arlington Street Church.
The statue was designed by Vincent C. Griffith and created by Herbert Adams. The design was approved by Boston Art Commission.
The foundation for the statue was put in place on September 11, 1902.
Statue was dedicated on June 1st, 1903 ( 60 years and 8 months after William Channing passing ) The day was chosen because it was the 100th anniversary of the ordination an installation of Channing into the Christian ministry.
There were about a thousand people in attendance when the statue was unveiled, including William Ellery Channing Eustis the niece of William Channing.
The William Ellery Channing statue is the first statue in Boston of a clergyman. The next clergyman statue was placed only seven year later - the Phillips Brook Statue down the street at the Trinity Church.
If you walk up to the statue and look at the foot of the statue on both sides, you can see the signature of the developer - Herbert Adams
Two Inscriptions that are next to the statue
He breathed into theology a humane spirit and proclaimed a new divinity of man.
He preached with spiritual power and led a great dance toward Christian ideals.
Back Side of the Statue
Many people may not know, but on the backside of the statue, the part you can see in the Public Gardens, is the following quote:
I see the marks of God in the heavens and the earth, but how much more in a liberal intellect, in magnanimity, in unconquerable rectitude, in a philanthropy which forgives every wrong, and which never despairs of the cause of Christ and human virtue. I do and I must reverence human nature... I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.
To get an idea of how long the statue has been there, when it was dedicated in 1903, the Boston Red Sox were on their way to a championship season by winning their first World Series over at the Huntington Grounds. Just days after the statue was dedicated, June 1903, the State of Massachusetts had begun to issue the first driver's licenses and registration plates.
If you ever been to Fenway Park, no doubt you seen the Fenway park sign on the building:
Sign on the Building on Jersey Street
Did you know that on the otherside of the famous sign is a vegetable garden?
Five Things I learned about the Fenway Garden
- The Garden was first put in during the 2015 Red Sox season. Prior to that the area was just an unoccupied roof top that wasn't much value to fans because there's no views of the field.
- Food grown in the garden are distributed throughout the park - mostly for the EMC Club seats and the Vineyard Vines Club.
- You can reserve space at the Vineyard Vines Club and request some food from the Garden.
- The Farm is maintained by the Green City Growers.
- You can view the farm during the game or during tours of the park. When you do tour the park, they will stop at the farm and tell you all about it.
- By the end of the season, 6,000 pounds of produce harvested from the farm,, not bad from a place that wasn't usable.
This is a very active farm, and things get moved as quickly during the season. The exact plants that are grown are up to the farmers and the Chefs:
In the Spring you'll probably see:
arugula, broccoli, broccoli raab, carrots, chard, chives, cilantro, collards, greens mix, head lettuce, kale, lettuce mix, mint, oregano, parsley, pea shoots, radish, rosemary, scallions, snap peas, spinach, strawberries and thyme, violas.
In the Summer:
basil, beans, broccoli, chard, chives, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, flowers, hot peppers, kale, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, scallions, strawberries, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, thyme, tomatoes and zucchini.
Learn More about Green City Growers
You can learn more about Green City Growers and how they are changing empty spaces all over the city to practical farms.
Boston Skyline from Fenway Park
Boston’s Fenway Park has been a local photographer’s favorite spot since it opened. Photographer’s not only like to take pictures of the game in action, but they also like the view of the city from the stands.
Skyline Changes over the Years
When Fenway Park first opened in 1912, the tallest building was the Christian Science Center Church. In the 1960's skyscrapers went up and now you can see the Prudential and the 200 Clariton Street Building. Boston's newest skyscraper, 1 Dalton Street, is still in progress and will be open next year.
Eight Tips on Taking Pictures from Fenway Park
- If you never been to Fenway, take the $20 tour so you can walk around the park and see the different views.
- Tours start at 10 am, the only way to get a picture of the morning sunrise from Fenway Park is to arrange a private tour. (or to be a registered press member)
- Sunset shots are easy to get during a game, best seats are the Bleacher seats.
- The Right Field Pavilion Box seats have the best view of the Citgo Sign and the Green Monster.
- The Left Field Pavilion Box seats have the best view of the Boston Skyline.
- If you're looking for views of the field, try Field Box 60. These seats are closest to the field. In addition, with the proper lens, you can look at the Red Sox dugout. If your not a Red Sox fan, then try Field Box 30, which gives you views of the visitor dugout.
- In general, ticket holders don’t have full stadium access. That is, you can’t access the Green Monster unless you have Green Monster seats. You might have the opportunity to see views from the Green Monster from your Fenway Park Tour.
- Fenway Park has a lot of vintage signs around the park, keep your eye out for them.
Views of Boston From a Distance
Six Things I learned About the Blue Hills Observatory
- This is a great spot to catch the sun rise over the city.
- There is no public transportation to the Blue Hills, you will need a car to get to this location.
- You can watch the Boston Fireworks from this location, tickets are needed in advance - and they do sell out!
- Blue Hills Observatory tours are available weekends from 10 to 4. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students.
- You can take a Mountain Bike or hike the Blue Hills Reservations trails. Stay on the trails! There's no cost to hike or bike the trails.
- The Skyline Loop is the best hike to get great views of the city, it takes about 2 hours to do the hike which covers a total of 3 mile.
Five Things I Learned About the Thompson Island
- This is a great spot to see the sunset over the city!
- The Public may visit Thompson Island via public access on Saturdays and Sundays, from May 28, 2018, through September 3, 2018.
- Year round boat access is available for private events or school groups.
- Summer Connection program on Thompson Island is run by Outward Bound. The 5-week program is free for middle schoolers.
- You can read more about Thompson Island in the early blog post.
Fall Pictures Opportunities
The Boston Public Gardens and Commons are a great location for fall foliage. You don't need to head to the Berkshires to see some great colors. You can find great color right in the city.
Four Tips on Taking Pictures in the Boston Public Gardens
- The best time to take pictures of the fall foliage in Boston is the first week of October. You'll get some great bright colors and some trees will still be very green.
- The spot over by the Parkman Bandstand is a great spot for pictures. The trees along Charles Street turn bright orange early.
- In the Public Gardens, the trees near the Ether Monument have great early colors. Also, the trees near the flagpole are great.
- The swan boats are taken out on the third Sunday in September. There is a slight chance that some trees may change before then. (Makes for a great backdrop photo.)
Boston Fan Pier Park
Boston's Fan Pier is the perfect spot to get a landscape picture of Boston. Located in the Seaport District, it's a great view of the building in the Financial District - including the Custom House clock tower.
Five Things I Learned about the Fan Pier
- In the fall there is a fire pit to keep people warm while visiting the Pier.
- Best Picture spots are along the grass near Courthouse Way. Make sure to include the Pier Chains in the pictures for the best effect.
- There is a tot lot for the kids to play while the adults take pictures - fun for the whole family!
- This is the best spot to take sunset pictures. If the sky is clear, head down to the Fan Pier after dinner with a tripod to take amazing pictures. Tip: Keep the horizon on the lower third for the best effect.
- Check out my Blog post from last June about the Fan Pier Park.
Directions to Fan Pier Park
The Silver Line T / Courthouse Station is the closest stop to the Fan Pier Park. You can catch the Silver Line at South Station.
Acorn Street is widely cited as the "most-photographed street in Boston" is the perfect street to start this month-long Boston Photographic series. All month long we'll look at where to take the best pictures of the city of Boston.
This street is famous because it is the last remaining street in Boston, to be fully lined up with cobblestones. It's also unique because it's a single lane street and has a downward slope.
Make sure you make good use of depth of field here!
Tips on Taking the Best Pictures
This is a popular location and you'll most likely encounter other people visiting this location to take pictures. Be patient and wait for the right moment to take your prize shot.
I have found that the top of the street has fewer people than the bottom of the street. The top of the street is the best place to take the picture. You get the best depth of field.
The best time to come here is in the late afternoon as the sun starts setting.
If you have a DSLR, this is a great place to try different lenses to see how a lens can really change the view.
The Gas Lamp and American Flag is a great "colonial-type" close-up picture to take. Rarely will you see a flag near the gas lamps.
The street is not plowed during the winter, so the street doesn't have the same old time look.
While it looks pretty in the winter, without the cobblestones it's just another street.
Finding Acorn Street
Acorn Street is far away from any T stop, the closest stop would be Boylston Street. It's a 10-minute walk from the train station.
From Boylston Street, walk down Charles Street - the street between the Commons and Gardens. Cross the street at the Intersection of Charles and Beacon Street. Walk two blocks to Chestnut Street and take a right. Walk two blocks to W. Cedar St and take a left. Acorn Street will be the next street.
You'll be at the bottom of the street, walk up the cobblestones to the top of the street for your picture perfect opportunity.
Louisburg Square is a small square located in the Beacon Hill area of Boston Massachusetts.
Most people may have heard about the square from the children's classical book - Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Five Interesting Houses Around in the Square
- 10 Louisburg Square is where the Alcotts lived for a few years in the 1880s.
- 19 Louisburg Square is the oldest house on the street built in 1834
- 20 Louisburg Square is where Jenny Lind married her accompanist Otto Goldschmidt.
- 3 Louisburg Square townhouse sold in 2012 for $11 million. It was the 2nd biggest deal in Boston. 15 Commonwealth Ave was the biggest at 12.5 millon
- 85 Pinckney Street was on the market in 2017 for $14,950,000 or $2,136 a square foot
Fun Facts About the Louisburg Square
- Charles Bullfinch came up with the idea for the square in 1826. The square was built up around the same time the current State House was being constructed.
- Louisburg Square is named after the battle of Louisburg, during which the Massachusetts Militiamen sacked the French Fortress in 1745.
- The houses surrounding the square were built between 1834 and 1848 on small plots suitable for row houses.
- The small park is privately owned by all the houses that have visibility to the square. This is the first privately owned park in the nation. Only house owners have keys to the gate.
- The Proprietors of Louisburg Square was formed in 1844 as the entity responsible for maintaining the square.
- The only other privately own square is the Gramercy Park in New York City
- There is an iron fence around the square and only residences are allowed in the square.
- On the road around the square you can see the original cobblestones that were placed in the 1830s.
- There is a statue of Columbus at the north end and of Aristides at the south end (closest end to the Boston Public Gardens).
Seal of Boston at the Boston Public Gardens
There is a gate entrance to the Boston Public Gardens. It's used to open and close the gardens after dusk.
Look carefully at the Center Gate
There is a little secret to the top of the gate.
Above the gate entrance is a small oval which contains a picture what the town of Boston looked like in 1823. This is the official seal of the City of Boston
Six Fun Facts About the Seal and Gate
- The map on the official Seal of Boston is significant at this location because the Boston Public Gardens didn't exist on the map. It was marshland and flats known as Roxbury Flats. The Boston Public Gardens was known as the Botanic Gardens started in 1839 but didn't get fully accepted by the citizens of the town until 1859.
- The City Seal was adopted in 1823.
- The current gate was built around the Boston Public Gardens as part of the park restoration project in July 1974. The budget for fixing and protecting the Boston Public Gardens in 1974 was $1.65 million.
- "SICUT PATRIBUS SIT DEUS NOBIS" is Latin phrase from the Bible - "God be with us as he was with our fathers" ' (1 King's, viii, 57).
- "Bostonia Condita AD 1630" is Latin meaning Boston was founded in 1630.
- "Civitatis Regimine Donata A.D. 1822" is Latin meaning the city was incorporated in 1822.
- Therefore, Boston was founded as a town in 1630 and incorporated as a city in 1822.