Cambridge, MA—For my first visit to central Boston, just last year, I approached from Logan International Airport, northeast of the city. The entire five-mile ride was underground, which wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if I had been on a subway, but I was in a cab. I knew I was traveling through the results of the Big Dig, Boston’s impressive system of tunnels named after area politicians, civil rights leaders, and baseball players. But experiencing it firsthand really had me wondering if the Boston I was heading into wasn’t actually a post-apocalyptic, subterranean dystopia populated entirely by a savage and bloodthirsty race of atomic mutants.
The cab eventually surfaced, of course, to reveal New England’s metropolis to be quite charming, and reminiscent in many ways of my hometown of Philadelphia. Since I was attending a conference, I barely got out of Copley Square during that visit, and I vowed to return to see more. Today, I did just that.
I couldn’t have asked for better weather. With only a few hours to explore, there wasn’t time for much more than a purely visceral experience, and the city had it to spare. Wandering aimlessly around Boston Common, through the Public Garden, and along the Commonwealth Ave Mall was like being transported to a compact, mythical hybrid of New York’s Central Park and Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. Some of the only park features that crossed my field of vision which weren’t either lush and green or masterfully carved from stone were enthusiastic buskers of both varieties: bad-good and bad-bad.
Some of Boston’s finest citizens—Ethan Marcotte, Lizzy Galle, and Dan Cederholm—met me in the evening at Redbones in Davis Square for some of the best barbecue I’ve had outside of Texas, perfectly coalescing where I’ve been and where I’m going.
Boston’s historic, revolutionary spirit has made me look forward to rediscovering similar treasures within my own city. I’ll be able to begin doing that in less than forty-eight hours.