Noreascon IV in Boston – Boston the town

September 9, 2004

Boston is a modern city that thrives on its history, with modern architecture complimenting the older works — old churches like Trinity reflected in mirrored glass buildings like the Hancock Building — brick sidewalks in Beacon Hill — the epitomy of my idea of Boston with the small closed-in and quiet streets — leading down into the main steps of Boston Commons where enormous pigeons and friendly squirrels fed. Inner Boston isn't really such a large place, but its history is huge in the mind.

What I mainly noticed of course, was the people. Blacks, Asians, Slavs, Italians, all mixed seeming without bias. I heard only 2 cars thumping with rap and the like while I was there, and the windows were closed — perhaps Boston has a noise ordinance — and even the cars were all nice. Some expensive, many not, but not torn up and duct-taped together like Cincinnati. People seemed intelligent and friendly, dressed well, and there was a virtual sea of pretty women which I, of course, observed closely 😉 Especially the Asians, heh. Perhaps it was the general affluence and intelligence of the town, or the financial institutions and colleges around which contributed to this. Food was rather expensive to me, but it was good food.

While we spent most of our time at the convention, we also took several walks, going to the Church of Christian Scientist to gaze at the I.M. Pei designed fountains, reflecting pool, and addition to the original church from the late 1890s. From there we wandered through cafe filled streets in the South end and the connecting southern corridor, a brick and tree decorated park-like walkway through several blocks.

We took a few trips to Boston Commons — using our imagination to spot Robert Parker's detective, Spenser, jogging — and sitting and just enjoying the atmosphere, moving from bench to bench. In search of something to drink, we spotted a cooler in a flower shop and bought some water. By chance I spotted some men standing around outside looking at a plaque. I'd discovered Edgar Allan Poe's birthplace on Carver Street.

In the Commons, the variety of people and children struck me again. Unlike Cincinnati's race-ridden separatism, Bostonians mixed together. We wandered up through well-to-do Beacon Hill (John Kerry has a residence there), into the Boston of my mind, with steps leading up through large colored wooden doors into secrets I'll never see.

On Sunday, after having spent Saturday at the convention, we took a trolley trip around the city, acquiring a boatride around Boston Harbor with the ticket. The trolleys allow one to get off at a stop and catch a ride later, so we bypassed the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), grabbed a bite to eat in Little Italy — every other establishment was a restaurant — saw Old North Church and followed the Freedom Trail down the hill to one of our trolley pick ups. The Freedom Trail is interesting in that Boston has laid two lines of brick in the sidewalk and roads following the trail.

At Quincy Market we explored a few shops, enjoyed some performers, and spoke to a couple eating pizza who had a male boxer half the size of mine. "Does your boxer beg food all the time?" the woman asked.

"He gets the last bite of most everything," I said.

"They're so very good at it! It's like they go to school for it," she said.

Their dog's name was Rocky, the name of Spenser's father. When I told them this, the man laughed, connecting Spenser's name with the fictional Boston detective. He asked how big he was, then blinked at my response. Spenser weighs in at 95 pounds, about 20-30 pounds larger than most male boxers. Rocky, on the other hand, was only 55 lbs.

While the trolley ride began pleasantly, if late, by our third late pickup by trolley it had grown frustrating. The red trolley line ran late that day and the trolleys unbelievable crowded. Worse, the tours ended at 4:30, which meant you *had* to catch your ride home before or at 4:30. Unfortunately, most of the trolleys were packed and you couldn't get on one! We managed to squeeze into one driven by a kind fellow who took personal offense at some people's grumbling, but we were happy to have been able to hitch a ride even though we had to stand for several miles through several stops — MIT, Harvard, the Charles River, Beacon Hill and the Commons — before being able to sit down. We were thankful to get back to the Marriott for dinner before the Masquerade.

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