Downtown, Things to Do

Hidden Gem Above the City

So I have not disclosed Why I love Beantown yet. ..but here is one of the main reasons.  Have you ever been to the Custom’s House? No? Well get ready to nerd it up with me.

The Custom House’s 1837 form was designed in the Greek revival style. The controversial 495 foot tower was not fabricated until the early 1900s. Do you know where the building sits?  Imagine this land underwater. The building originally sat on the Boston harbor shoreline allowing ships coming into port to pass through customs prior to selling their wares within the city of Boston.

Besides the Architectural history, I love this building because it has a hidden secrete.  It has the best public “skywalk” in the city. Have you ever been to the Top of the Hub Skywalk Observatory? You wasted 14 bucks. Not only did it cost way too much, but you couldn’t see any of Downtown Boston because the John Hancock Building blocks your view! Next time it is a clear day, head over to 3 McKinley Square, pay $3.00 (all of which goes to support children’s hospitals), and get ready for the most breathtaking 360 degree view of Boston.

Unlike the never-ending hike up the Bunker Hill Monument, which leads to a cramped foggy windowed room; when you are on the observation deck of the clock tower you can see for miles. Not only can you see the built up density of the North End and Financial Districts, but you can see Old Iron Sides in Charlestown, the Greenway winding its way through the city, the  hidden atrium within Boston City Hall, and even evidence of the Great Fire of 1872.

Every time I have people visit me, or someone is looking for a new place to take their mom/kids/boyfriend,  I always tell them to head to the Custom’s House. Boston is my favorite place for so many reasons; the Custom’s House is defiantly one of them considering I have probably been 15+ times!

Downtown, Things to Do, We Love Food

Get Ready for a Food Fight, New York!

Boston vs. NYC…the rivalry continues, this time with food.

Head out to Dewey Square from 11-9 this Saturday for the First Annual food truck grudge matchSavory and Sweet Trucks representing each city will go head to head in various contests throughout the day for a chance to be crowned “Best Food Truck”. Boston’s trucks will include Bon Me, Kickass Cupcakes, Lobsta Love, The Cookie Monstah, Staff Meal, and Mei Mei Street Kitchen. The New York trucks are Bian Dang, Big D’s Grub, Fishing Shrimp, Mike N’ Wallies, The Munchie Mobile, Nuchas, and Waffels & Dinges.

I am personally rooting for Bon Me. Their rice bowls are always fresh and fast with complex layers of flavor. The fresh cilantro coarsely chopped in all of their dishes really sells me. Try their “Thai Basil Iced Tea” and you will be rooting for them too!

Quickly Around Town

Beantown in Pixels

I thought I knew this city pretty well, but Phil Boucher has taken it to a whole new level. Color me impressed: without using a map, he recreated the entire city of Boston as a virtual town in Sim City 4, dubbed (what else?) ‘Beantown.’

I’m not much of a gamer, but I remember playing Sim City in middle school and I thought just maintaining a city was challenging enough, but to create Beantown in all its glory in a computer game is pretty remarkable.

Boucher payed close attention to the nuances of Boston’s various neighborhoods and, given the limitations of the game, did an excellent job depicting them in his virtual Beantown.

So, he may have created this masterpiece six years ago, but that doesn’t detract from how cool and creepily accurate it is. Check out everything from Post Office Square to Mission Hill and all kinds of fun stuff in between in Boucher’s 2006 ArchBoston posting.