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Last weekend yourstruly and the Escape Artist took a little trip up to Boston — for fun and conquest. Having not been to Boston before, I wasn’t sure what to expect: everyone — or, at least, just about everyone who has made a statement to me about Bostonians — says that the people in Boston are some of the meanest around; and many people have told me that there is “not much to do” in the city. But I was looking forward the trip out of the Concrete Morass no matter what it promised.

Boston is something of a quaint city: it is dwarfed by the size of New York, and it retains a far larger amount of the squat, brick buildings that were built in its early years. In fact, because it is so small — and because of the burying of its central freeway — the old city center is very much still in the core of the visitors’ experience: while not many tourists spend all of their  time in NY caught in the bramble of streets of the pre-grid city, the tourists who visit Boston will spend the vast majority of their days wandering meandering zigzag streets. Part of me appreciated this; part of me appreciated rectilinear modernism. The streets combined with the preserved rowhouses make Boston an architectural gem to walk, especially the old North End. Decay — this is not the highly desirous real estate of SoHo — has set in, and many of the old facades are dingy, rusted, and breaking down. All pleasures to gad-about, and stroll through.

The weather was nice enough that this was possible — another good thing since I was wretchedly sick all weekend. I think I’ve coughed up several gallons of phlegm in the last couple of days. Yes: that was as fun for me to do as for you to imagine it.

But Boston was not all shits, wheezes and giggles. I was struck by how conservative the dress of the city was. Men wore boxy wool sweaters and loafers, and women sported cardigans and khakis. The ‘wholesomeness’ of appearance put me off; perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to NY’s scraggly hipsters and ragged brooklynites, but the self-conscious decorum of the Bostonians put me ill-at-ease. Of course, I didn’t run into a truly rude person in the whole city, so besides their Republican getup, the people of Boston are agreeable.

On our last day, we took a side-trip up to Cambridge and visited Harvard. What a lovely campus! What a collection of spoilt brats!

Categories: Postcards.

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2 Responses

  1. would spend my time in cambridge square where i could buy my guardians and jornal do brasil but mainly to get lost int the harvard books store. boston - meaning that part around the common was fine for wandering and tony art galleries but it was to cambridge for reading matter.

    bayman-townie19 February, 2009 @ 1:00 amReply
  2. The Harvard Book Shop was I admit a gem — lots of great books, and priced below the sticker! I picked up a cookbook called Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David. So the trip up amongst the Cantabrigians was not completely without value.

    Also Harvard’s campus was worth a glance. I would prefer less austere buildings and more grass; perhaps hobbit houses.

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