Boston blog postings

Boston Postings

Earliest: March 16, 2003Latest: June 24, 2017Total: 176

February 9, 2017

"Then & Now" MOS Exhibit

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.

M O S The Now

Some of the features in this Exhibit

  • Pictures of the Boston Society of Natural History
  • Birds that were on display at the "Boston Society of Natural History"
  • Pictures of some old Exhibits, remember the Hatch Egg?
  • Pictures of the original Dinosaur and why they changed it.
  • Pictures of Spooky - The Museums Great Horned Owl
  • Turbidity Column Exhibit
  • Interact with The Tooth Exhibit
  • Interact with the first Interactive Exhibit, the Ermine.
  • Watch a classic 1980s commercial of the Museum - Where its fun to find out"

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.

Finding the Exhibit

The "Then & Now" exhibit is on Level 2 in the Blue Wing, just beyond the Science in the Park in the Theater of Electricity.

Thanks to the Sponsors!

The exhibit was made possible through the generosity of Joan and Herman Suit, and the George Willard Smith Endowment Fund.

February 2, 2017

Washington Portrait at the Boston Public Library

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.

Washington Hall

Washington at Dorchester Heights

by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

A 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.

About Vose Gallery

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.

Free Library Tours

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

Logan Airport

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.

Airport History

  • The original airfield was created by the United States Army
  • First airplane to land on the field was on June 13, 1923.
  • That's 19 years, 5 months, 27 days after the Wright Brothers first flight.
  • Commercial Aircraft started flying out in 1927.
  • In 1927, Charles Lindbergh and the "Spirit of St. Louis" landed in Boston after a solo flight across the Atlantic
  • Official Name is the General Edward Lawrence Logan Airport. (June 12, 1943)
  • Previous Name was the Commonwealth Airport, some people may refer to it as the "East Boston Airport"
  • In 1947, the airport became International with passenger flights to Canada, Bermuda, Lisbon and London.
  • In 1959, Massport took over the airport
  • In 1973, Massport built a 22-story airport control tower. (The largest in the world.)
  • Today the Airport covers 2,384 acres and six runways.
  • Currently rank 17th busiest airport in the United States.
  • The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger aircraft to ever have landed at the airport.
  • Private Planes can land at Logan Airport. Departure Fees start at $10 daytime. Nighttime field use starts at $59. - Massport Aircraft Operating & Parking Fees

General Edward Lawrence Logan

  • Born in South Boston and Graduated from Boston Latin
  • Served in the 9th Massachusetts Regiment in 1897
  • Commanded the 101st Regiment in World War I
  • Justice of the South Boston Court in 1914
  • Died July 6, 1939 and buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery
  • A statue of General Logan by Joseph Coletti was unveiled at the entrance to the former Boston Airport when it was officially renamed the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport in a public ceremony in 1956.
  • The statue has been moved with each major airport expansion.
  • The statue is currently located on Porter Street. You will see it on your left as you get on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

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

Certificate of Occupancy

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:

CSMFloor.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

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:

Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1938 as amended, ?An Act for the Codification, Revision and Amendment of the Laws Relative to the Construction, Alterations and Maintenance of Buildings and other Structures in the City of Boston? was passed by the Legislature on June 27, 1938, with the provision that it take effect upon its acceptance by the Boston City Council, whereupon the Council proceeded to hold a series of public hearings on proposed amendments submitted by architects, builders, property owners and various civic organizations.

The act was changed a few years later:

On January 1, 1975, the Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 802 of the Acts of 1972, as amended, went into effect in the City of Boston and superseded all previous codes. The Building Department and the Housing Inspection Department were abolished and all powers and duties transferred to the Inspectional Services Department by Chapter 19 of the Ordinances of 1981.

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

Martin Luther King Lived Here

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:

Freshman Year

Saint Botolph
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)

Remaining Years

Mass Ave Apartment
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

Map of Back Bay at the Back Bay MBTA Station

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.

Back Bay Station

Maps are Outdated

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.

Map Oddity

Example of some of the Oddity that you may see on the map: (This is the top left section)

Prudential Map

  • Red Arrow - Part of the the Prudential Mall is missing? Where is Barnes & Noble?
  • Green Arrow - Boylston Street doesn't have a road divider.
  • Blue Arrow - What about the pedestrian bridge over Huntington Ave?

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:

  • Update all the maps, which may cost a lot of money but are useful for tourists.
  • Add a sign to let people know the maps are outdated. (Historic Back Bay in the 1980s)
  • Do nothing as nobody really pays attention to the maps.

Finding the Map

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

Robin William Bench

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.

Good Will Hunting

GWH Movie
"Some people think they know everything - yet they UNDERSTAND nothing"

November 11, 2016

GoodWill Hunting Bench
Someone doing Yoga on the Robin William's bench at the Boston Public Gardens.

Finding the Robin Williams Bench

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.

  • From the George Washington Statue, walk toward the Public Garden Foot Bridge.
  • Take a left at the first Path.
  • Walk down the path until it connects to another path.
  • On your right is the Robin Williams Bench.

There are two markers in the stone at the bench. As your facing the bench and look on the ground:

  • On the left: "A place for Barbara and her Pups to pause"
  • On the Right: "In Memory of Jeffrey A. Guyer "Breath in hope, breathe out love."

December 22, 2016

David Ortiz Bridge

Ortize Bridge

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."

Who is David Oriz

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.

Landmark Bridge

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.

Ortiz Citgo
Great shot of the Ortiz sign and the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.

Selfies Alert

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.

Getting there

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

Henry and Paint

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.

Henry Paint Copley

Henry and Paint

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

Future of the Copley Place Entrance

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

Symphony Hall

Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall

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.

Holiday Pops2016
View from the First Balcony, Seat 10

Fun Facts about the Boston Symphony Hall

  • Located at 301 Massachusetts Ave
  • Symphony Hall opened on October 15, 1900 with a performace of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis"
  • The Building was Designed by McKim, Mead and White
  • McKim, Mead and White also designed Boston Public Library five years earlier
  • Symphony Hall was the first American Hall to have scientific acoustic planning.
  • Harvard Professor Wallace C. Sabine did the acoustical research
  • President Eisenhower spoke at the National Council of Catholic Women in 1954
  • 1,000 Navy Inducts were sworn in at Symphony Hall in 1942
  • Holiday Pops started in 1973 and was first called "A Pops Christmas Party."
  • Arthur Fiedler was the first conductor to lead Holiday Pops.
  • The hall has served other types of events such as civic observances as various conventions, political meetings, commencements, inaugurations, religious worship, debates, flower shows, fashion shows, automobile shows, ball and banquets.

Event Parking at the Prudential Garage

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:

I apologize for the confusion regarding your inquiry for the Symphony Hall special event rate. It has been confirmed that parking attendants will be at garage exists through the end of the year to assist with these programs. You will simply need to surrender your ticket stub upon leaving the garage to receive the reduced rate. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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.

Prudental Garage Special Event 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.