Boston is a city of thresholds.
I have honestly had a very hard time putting into words why I love Boston. It was hard, because I don’t love Boston because of the Red Sox, Mike’s Pastry, Sam Adams Brewery Tours, or the beautiful historic buildings. I don’t love Boston because of the friends I have made here or the school I went to. All of these are reasons that I will most likely never leave here.
I will try my best to describe these non-tangible moments that allowed me to transform Boston as a place that I went to school, into a city that I can call my home.
What I love about Boston is that there are very specific moments and transitions between spaces that after several years of living here, I still am in awe by and make me love Boston more than any other.
Growing up, we would come into Boston for family dinners followed by delicious cannoli. At that time Big Dig construction was fully underway and we would need to sneak under the depths of the City to cross over to the North End. I remember being in awe of the amazing structural feats taking place. Sparks were flying everywhere and my dad explained me the history of the Green Monster and how it would soon become what we now know as the Greenway.Tiptoeing around Haymarket through scaffolding and construction really makes me appreciate what the Downtown area of Boston has become.
Several years after the Green Monster was deconstructed, I moved here for school. While I went to Wentworth, I would travel north to stay at my Grandmother’s house in New Hampshire for the holidays. My parents would take 93 South to come back into Boston, under the “Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge” (I doubt any knows that is its full name), and into the newly “finished” Big Dig. I love as the 93 North overpass peels overhead the threshold into Boston become darker, the overhead clearance pressing, and as you curve back around, the road widens, light pours in, and you have an incredible framed view of Boston through the cables of the Zakim. The vibrant green ribbon of the Greenway intertwines and snakes its way through the city covering the tunnels below.
Now, I work north of the city now at a full service Architecture and Engineering firm. Sometimes, after a long day, instead of choosing to cut people off on Storrow, I take the long way to my apartment so I can experience this pristine moment…until someone blares their horn at me because I am going 30 on the bridge.
Hey. It’s my moment, and all of these experiences never get old for me.
Boston is a city that does not show its cards right away. It is a place that you need to spend time getting to know. As a student, I would walk around the city and “get lost” on purpose. I was able to discover the little pocket parks of Post Office Square, Louisburg Square, and Ramler Park dispersed all over the city. One of the first times I began wandering around the city as a freshman, I found myself walking down Huntington Ave towards the Prudential. As I walked beside the historic Symphony Hall, I saw a glimpse of a tree lined “street”. As you walk down the tree street, an overwhelming sense of relaxation takes over. The stresses of being away from my family and all of my school work was immediately subdued.
After discovering this tree-lined street adjacent to the Christian Science pool, I would wander over to it and relax by myself on the concrete benches surrounding the water. Now, I am an Adjunct Professor at Wentworth. When I sense that my students are becoming overwhelmed with work, we take a walking sketching tour down Huntington and relax by the pool, to sketch the immaculate layout of the Christian Science complex.
Having places to take time to pause in the middle of congestion within Boston can be hard to find. But Boston tucks these places away for you to stumble upon. One of my favorite and most vivid experiences, that I was not expecting, was when I saved up enough money to go to my first Red Sox game as a college student in Boston.
I was stocked up with my Papi jersey, Sox hat and Mike Lowell t-shirt – read here for more hats. I purchased a foam finger (yes I am a 5-year-old tourist at heart), and an Italian sausage sandwich. Lugging my merchandise though the concourse stumbling with my ticket I saw the sign: Right Field Box 88. I turned to my left and there it was, a dark ramped corridor, people bustling with $8 beers in each hand, dragging kids with ice cream smeared faces to their seats. I paused, checked my ticket again, and proceeded up.
In the ramp everything seems to stop, the sound from the concourse is muffled, and your line of sight is obscured. I stood on the threshold into my section, and was in awe. The crowd was animated, unleashing a thunderous roar. The lights from above blinded me and the brilliant color of the Fenway grass took me aback. Not knowing what to expect transitioning between the crowded concourse and the lively crowd was an incredible experience that I love feeling every time I go to a game at Fenway.
What do I love about Boston? I love the surprising experiences of places that you would never expect to exist in a dense Metropolitan city. Sure every city has overpasses, pocket parks, and tunnel construction. I like to hang out with those cities, try new things, but I’m not in love with them. I wrote this love letter to Boston, because I am in love with Boston.