|February 23, 2017|
At the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Charlesgate West, near Kenmore Square, is a sign indicating that it's Oliver Ames Jr Square. Did you know, that Boston had two famous Oliver Ames Jr?
The square is named for Lieutenant Oliver Ames Jr. who served in the 165th United States Infantry Regiment, part of the 42nd Infantry Division in World War One. On July 29th, 1918, he gave his life at the Second Battle of the Marne.
Oliver Ames Jr (1807 - 1877) is the father of Oliver Ames Jr (1895 - 1918)
Some interesting thing that I learned about Oliver Ames Jr:
You can see the new "Boston Strong" sign from the square. The square is between the cars and the "Boston Strong" sign.
Oliver Ames Jr buried at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Picarde, France. His grave reads:
Oliver Ames, Jr. 2nd Lt. Inf. U. S. R. Killed in action, July 29th, 1918 Act. Adjutant 1st Btn. 65th Inf.
|February 16, 2017|
On Court Street, near the Washington Street intersection, if you look around the sidewalk you will see the following:
You can see these sidewalk markers in various places around the city of Boston. Mario Susi & Sons is an excavating contractor that has performed construction projects for the city of Boston.
Excavation Contractors perform site preparation, grading, trenching and other various soil-related tasks. They basically get to drive around very large pieces of heavy equipment to get the job done.
I wasn't able to find a lot about the company, which is surprising since they do a good job with streetside advertising.
|February 9, 2017|
Did you know that the Boston Museum of Science has an exhibit that looks back at some of the histories of the museum? You can take a step in time and look back at some of the famous exhibits at the museum.
You can read all about how the museum transformed from the Boston Society of Natural History in 1860 to what it is today.
This is a cool place to walk through if you visited the museum when you were a kid. You can see many familiar things from the museum past.
The "Then & Now" exhibit is on Level 2 in the Blue Wing, just beyond the Science in the Park in the Theater of Electricity.
The exhibit was made possible through the generosity of Joan and Herman Suit, and the George Willard Smith Endowment Fund.
|February 2, 2017|
The Boston Public Library Central Branch is known for having a lot of beautiful architecture. Among the serious researchers in the library are tourists checking out the main marble staircase in the entrance hall and the various paintings in the Abbey room.
In the second floor of the McKim Building is the Washington Room. A few months ago this is where people would sit and do research on the computers - it was part of Tech Central. The computers might be gone, but the beauty of the room still exist.
The centerpiece of the room is the large picture of George Washington hanging over the desk in the room.
by Emanuel Gottlieb LeutzeA sign near the desk reads...
Known for his portraits and history paintings, German artist Emanuel Leutze selected a dramatic scene from the Revolutionary War for this enormous work, depicting General George Washington commanding his troops to occupy the hills of Dorchester Heights on the south side of Boston. This action by Washington and the Continental Army in 1776 proved instrumental in driving British forces out of the city, ending the nearly year-long siege of Boston.
The painting was purchased by the City of Boston with gifts from School Children and citizens from Vose Gallery in 1955.
If you really like the art at the Boston Public Library, you should check out more contemporary pieces at the nearby Vose Gallery - which many tourists may not know about. Vose Galleries specializes in 18th, 19th, and early 20th-century American paintings. America's oldest family-owned art gallery, Vose has founded 160 years ago.
Family-owned gallery features American Impressionist art along with contemporary pieces by realists.
They are located at 238 Newbury Street. Getting there from the library is easy, simply walk out the main library doors by Boylston Street and cross Boylston Street. Take a right on Exeter Street, and then a left on Newbury Street. The Vose Gallery will be on the left side about 1/2 block down, it's right next to CVS. Just before Fairfield Street.
The Boston Public Library offers daily tours highlighting the architecture of its famed Central Library buildings by Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson as well as the art treasures within, including works by Daniel Chester French and John Singer Sargent.
The tours start near the McKim Entrance, stop by the one of the borrower services desks for information on the next tour.
|January 26, 2017|
Boston Logan International Airport (IATA Code BOS) is the largest airport in New England. Most New Englanders call the airport, simply "Logan."
Since we are going to be flying out of the airport soon, I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit about the airport. Here are some things that I have learned about the airport.
The joke around the city is that the airport is named after an infrequent flier. The question is: Why did Boston name an airport after General Edward Lawrence Logan? For all of his many accomplishments, Lieutenant General Logan never flew in an airplane.
|January 19, 2017|
At the 177 Huntington Ave Office Building you can still see signs of the old building owner. On the back stairs, at each floor landing is a "Certificate of Occupancy." This is a copy of one of the documents:
This particular Certificate of Occupancy defines the max load for all floors in the building as 50 lbs per square foot.
Some information about the Building Code in the City of Boston:
The act was changed a few years later:
In older building, built before 1975, you will find in one of the stairwells, most likely not a heavy traffic one, a Certificate of Occupancy.
|January 12, 2017|
In the early 1950s, Martin Luther King lived in Boston while he was attending school at Boston University of Theology.
He lived at two locations:
Apartment at 170 Saint Botolph Street, Boston Mass.
Martin Luther King lived on St. Botolph Street for his first semester at Boston University of Divinity. He lived between Albemarle and Blackwood Street. (170 Saint Botolph Street)
397 Massachusetts Ave, Boston Mass.
Next Semester he and a student at Tuffs moved to an apartment nearby on Massachusetts Ave, just beyond the Mass Ave Orange Line station. While living there met his wife Coretta Scott of Alabama. ( 397 Massachusetts Ave)
He received his Ph.D. degree on June 5, 1955.
Note: Both locations are priviate residences.
|January 5, 2017|
While waiting for the commuter rail at any of the seven tracks you will see a map of Boston's Back bay. While some of the maps are showing 'Old Boston Town," there are a few modern maps. I am guessing that the maps are there to help people located various points in the Back Bay.
Commuters waiting for the Framingham/Worcester trains may not pay much attention to the maps in the terminal. They are located in various places along the train tracks. The maps may seem fine, but if you take a close look at the map and you may discover something doesn't look quite right.
Example of some of the Oddity that you may see on the map: (This is the top left section)
Looks like the maps are from the Dukakis Administration.
The outdated maps are somewhat useful to get a rough idea where they are to other points in the Back Bay such as Boston Public Gardens and Newbury Street.
However, the maps are outdated. The MBTA can take three courses of action:
You can see the old Boston map between Track 7 and 5 at the Back Bay Commuter rail station.
When you walk into the station from the Dartmouth Street entrance, enter the doors with "South End" and walk by the Dunkin Donuts stand.
Turn left after Dunkin Donuts and go down the stairs where you see "Tracks 5 & 7."
Take a right at the bottom and then another right. Take a short walk along the train tracks.
Walk to the overhead digital clock look to the right and you'll see the classic map.
|December 29, 2016|
In the movie "Good Will Hunting" there is is a scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon talk on a bench at the Boston Gardens.
In Boston, this is known as the Robin William's bench. Bostonians placed flowers and other memorabilia on the bench when he died on August 11, 2014.
"Some people think they know everything - yet they UNDERSTAND nothing"
Someone doing Yoga on the Robin William's bench at the Boston Public Gardens.
Robin Williams park bench is located in the Boston Public Gardens, near the George Washington Statue and the Public Garden's Foot Bridge. There is no marker or indicator that this is Robin William's bench.
There are two markers in the stone at the bench. As your facing the bench and look on the ground:
|December 22, 2016|
In October 10 2016, the City of Boston named the bridge between Fenway Park and Kenmore Square the David Ortiz bridge. The bridge was formally known as the "Brookline Avenue Bridge."
David Ortiz sign to the Boston Red Sox on January 22, 2003. In a few short years he became the most important clutch hitter for the Boston Red Sox. He is regarded as one of the best clutch hitters of all time, Ortiz had 11 career walk-off home runs during the regular season and 2 during the postseason.
He became the MVP of the 2013 World Series by getting the team focus on winning.
Most people are familiar with the bridge they probably walked on it going to a baseball game at Fenway Park.
The city of Boston wanted to make a big deal of the bridge so they put up four bridge signs. The signs are located on each end of the bridge.
There are several good photo opportunities of the 'Ortiz Bridge' sign. There a great opportunity with the sign, Fenway Park and the Prudential building. The best opportunity is crossing the Brookline Ave at Fenway Park and taking a picture with the landmark Citgo Sign.
Great shot of the Ortiz sign and the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.
After you cross the bridge, there is a bonus sign just as you get down the stairs. The sign is in the window at a perfect height for selfies.
The best way to get to the bridge is to catch the Green Line to Kenmore Square and walk to Fenway Park. The signs for the 'David Ortiz' bridge are very large and you won't miss it!
|December 15, 2016|
At the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street is one of the entrances to the Copley Place. Over the past year, many commuters have had to use this entrance to access the Bay Bay station from Copley Place due to the constructions of another entrance closer to the station.
In front of this entrance is an art display featuring two horses.
The two horses that are in the area in front of Copley Plaza are named Henry and Paint. Both of them have a plaque underneath them.
There is a plaque underneath both horses and they both have the following inscription:
The horses are made of cast bronze armature using traditional lost way process, with overlapping sheets of copper then welded on a bronze armature.
The two-pieces abstract equestrian sculpture is the artwork of known "constructivist" Deborah Butterfield. The sculptor has focused on horses for over 20 years and has never made any use of drawings or sketches. Although, the artist is not captivated with mimicking any certain aspect of the horse, be the way she carefully chooses her materials she suggests some of the most delicate and surprising characteristics of the horse.
The artist born in San Diego, CA on May 7, 1940, makes use of two important ideas in art: unity and variety. These two principles serve as a fitting compliment for the centerpiece of the mixed-use complex entrance.
The plaque also gives the dimension of the two horses:
|Paint||1987 Bronze & Copper||86"h x 118"w x 36"d|
|Henry||1987 Bronze & Copper||89"h x 94"w x 43"d|
The future of "Henry" and "Paint" is uncertain, as Simon Property Group planned to build a 52-story tower at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street.
Boston Redevelopment Agency approved of the 52-story tower on May 14, 2015. The 52-story tower was due to include 542 condos and apartments as well as retail and had been a long, long time planning.
In October 2016, Simon Property Group halted any forward progress of the new tower due to rising construction costs and concerns over the rising supply of luxury housing.
|December 8, 2016|
For many Bostonian's the Holiday Pops is a popular annual tradition, this year marks the 43rd year of celebrating Christmas music. Tickets are extremely hard to get, and usually sell out within hours of going on sale.
The show features many popular Christmas songs, as Keith Lockhart conducts the orchestra and encourages the crowd to sing-a-long. The crowd favorite was the 12 days of Christmas and the singers add a bit of humor to the classic song.
We sat on the first balcony near the stage and enjoyed the music and watching Keith Lockhart. We highly recommend sitting between rows 1 - 20 on the first balcony. The nice thing about the balcony is that kids can see the performance because there's no obstruction view. If you sit at the tables on the orchestra floor you can't see the all the orchestra clearly.
Camera and recording equipment are prohibited in Symphony Hall during concerts. However, there were plenty of guests that were taking pictures of the performance using their smartphones.
View from the First Balcony, Seat 10
The Holiday Pops is considered a Special Event and qualifies for discount parking. This means that the Prudential garage is the best place to park for the Holiday Pops.
The parking situation at the Prudential has recently changed to now include automatic checkout. I inquired to the Prudential parking staff on how to take advantage of the discount parking with the new changes.
This is the response I received:
Make sure when you exit the garage to call over the attendant to get your parking discount. Failure to do so will result in a higher parking rate.
Valid for evening and weekend events only, at Symphony Hall, Berklee, Huntington Theater, Jordan Hall
Special $18.00 Event Rate
Enter after 2:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
Enter after 7:00 a.m. Weekends
Exit by 3:00 a.m.
Customer must surrender ticket event stub at garage exit
Symphony Hall is a 5-minute walk from the Prudential Center.
|December 1, 2016|
One of the best views of Boston is from the 50th floor of the Prudential Building. That's where you'll find the Skywalk Observatory - Boston's only 360 city view.
Along with the amazing view of Boston are several interactive exhibits that will inform you about the history of Boston. Some of the exhibits that you'll see when you're walking around the floor:
Visit in the afternoon if you looking for views/pictures of Fenway Park, Metro West and Back Bay
Visit in the morning if you want good pictures of Downtown Boston. Otherwise, you may end up seeing the Prudential shadow in your pictures.
Downtown Boston from the Skywalk Observatory at 3pm on November 11, 2016.
|November 24, 2016|
The Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of December 6, 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin.
The low-speed collision caused a series of chain reactions that resulted in a fast moving fire on the SS Mont-Banc. The fire caused a ignited the cargo on the SS Mont-Banc, causing a large explosion that devastated the seaport district of Halifax. Nearly 2,000 people were killed by blast and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.
As soon as the news hit Boston, locals scrambled to send help to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Within 24-hours after the accident, a train was loaded up with medical supplies and was sent up north. Unfortunately, a major snow storm hit and the train was delayed and didn't arrive until December 9th.
The train arrived in Halifax just in time as supplies were badly needed, in addition, the medical staff on the train was able to cover for many of those that were working since the explosion occurred.
Nine years after the incident, the city of Halifax sent a Christmas in appreciation of the support by the people of Boston. The tree was also a way to promote Christmas Tree exports from Nova Scotia. The annual gift was soon taken over by the Nova Scotia Government as a way to promote the goodwill gesture and to promote Nova Scotia to Boston.
Here's the timeline that happens every year:
There are certain requirements for the Christmas Tree, as not just any tree will do:
This year marks the 99th of the Halifax Explosion.
It cost Nova Scotia $250,000 (Canada) a year to send a tree to Boston.
The Nova Scotia CA story has a complete cost breakdown of the true cost of sending the tree to Boston.
Most of the Christmas trees come from the open land and not from Christmas Tree farms. Landowners that agree to give up their tree get some compensation, last year a family was paid $500.
An average Balsam Tree grows less than 12" a year. Which means that a qualified Balsam Fir would have to have been planted at least 40 years ago to be eligible for Boston.
Nova Scotia pays for the lighting ceremony in Boston.
|November 17, 2016|
At the corner of Washington and State Street is Massachusetts Old State House building.
The building played an important part of the history of the United States. The Boston Massacre happened in front of the building on March 5, 1770. The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in Boston to a crowd on July 18th, 1776. After the Revolution, the building was the location of the Massachusetts State government.
It served as Boston City Hall (1830 - 1841) and as a commercial building (1841-1881).
Since 1881 the building has been a museum run by the Bostonian Society.
The Queen of England gave a speech on the famous balcony on July 4, 1976.
Youth (6-18) are free, so there's nothing to lose by taking them to the Old State House.
There are a couple of rooms on the second floor where my five-year daughter had some fun in.
In the "State Room" there are some puzzles to put together. Kids can try to rebuild the Old City Hall with a tall puzzle, build a wall using soft bricks and try to piece together an old photo.
In the "Old State House: A Hands-on History" room kids can draw a small picture and then hang it on the wall. There are story books to read all about Boston history at a kids size table. Kids can re-create the process of having to fix the clock.
Average time in the museum is about 45 minutes, it depends on how much you're into Boston history and if you take the tour.
The souvenir shop has lots of goodies for kids. There are lots of colonial period items such as a feather pen and scrolls. On this trip, we picked up a large pencil since it's similar to the one she uses at school.
You do not have to go to the museum to visit the gift shop, so if your walking by the Old State House it's worth just stopping by for some unique Boston Souvenirs. Your purchase supports the museum, so it's for a good cause. (There's a good selection of Boston coffee mugs if you're looking something for the office.)
Parents with kids are always concern about bathrooms...
In the basement is a bathroom that was reasonably clean, you do have to purchase museum tickets to use the bathroom. It's a good pit stop if you're heading towards downtown crossing or the commons since good bathrooms are hard to find.
My five-year-old daughter had a fun time learning about history at the museum. She enjoyed learning about how colonial chairs were made, sitting at the head of the table, looking at the old clothes and seeing history up close. She had a fun time with the puzzles and was excited to put up a drawing on the board with her name.