Back Bay, Things to Do

The Time I Raced a Couch on Boylston Street

I laughed out loud when I first received word of the Great Boston Couch Race, an outdoor obstacle course completed via pedicabs/couches/rickshaws, for the awareness and benefit of House of Tsang sauces. “Who are the ad wizards that came up with this one?”

It turns out Tsang puts on quite a show and they deserve a thumbs up for a legitimately fun event. The race’s obstacles were so ridiculous that they circled back on the cool-o-meter, from a DVD hunt reminiscent of Supermarket Sweep to tossing vegetables at a teammate with the help of a wok. I felt like I was a contestant on Family Double Dare, if it were filmed on a frozen tundra. Multiple flatscreens displayed twitter feeds and a nearby tent cooked up stir-fry on demand. This is apart from the sauce itself, which I know as a staple for confused guys who want add flavor to meat, but for whom the advanced ways of five spice marinade remain a mystery.

The Pru on a winter’s Saturday morning is confusing for this city native. The crowd was dominated by high schoolers in formal wear: there was a jazz band competition in the Hynes. You know the crowd: that kid in the food court forgot his tie and the one sitting across from him just threw mini corns at the girls. Another kid slicked back his hair with mousse for the first time ever. It is overrun with tourists, too. But I can only wonder, who chose to come to Boston in February and spend more time inside at a mall? How bad does it have to be where you came from?

In the Couch Race, those high schoolers would be my downfall. I raced against two girls in town from Cape Cod, a pianist and a singer. We had a huge lead, entering the final stretch under 100 seconds. But  pedal mishaps necessitated pushing the bike-couch-rickshaw with our feet, a la Fred Flintstone, costing valuable time. As we approached the finish line behind the musicians, our soy sauce dreams a fading memory, I thought back to competitions of years past, and relived my “almost, not-quite” moments.

I won an Oreo stacking contest in the 1990s. My parents and I happened upon the demo table in Wegmans and encouraged me to compete. My hands, fresh from a piano lesson, piled up over 20 cookies. I knew it to be a triumph, even in the moment. Later that evening, a woman called and informed me I won that day’s round. Glory was upon me. I was ready for regionals, all-state, then the Oreo Olympics. Wegmans never called to schedule a follow-up match.

My middle school bowling team received the Foundation Trophy several years for the dubious distinction of supporting the rest of the league by finishing last. A noble effort rewarded with an embarrassingly stout trophy.

I won Jeopardy! and am pleased by the accolades garnered from the over-60 set, the increase in bar trivia invitations and a wonderfully awkward photo with Alex Trebek many think is Photoshopped. And yet I remain unfulfilled by a thread on a Disco Biscuits discussion board. The night of the show’s original airing, a mysterious, alleged middle school classmate live-blogged the ups and downs of the game. Winnings aside, the true daily double is, “who is this guy?” The answer remains elusive.

Back Bay, Brighton, Brookline, Downtown, Fenway, Neighborhoods, North End, Sports Department, Transportation and the T

Your Roadmap to Wednesday’s Fenway Parking Nightmare

No Stopping Boston Police Special Event Wednesday & Thursday 4PM to 2AM

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get my car towed/ticketed/flipped/broken-into-during-riots… so I checked out the City of Boston’s parking ban list… and I was lost as I read down the laundry list of roads.

I help myself out (and you) mapped out the bans… if it is in red…or close to the red… don’t even think about pulling over.

redsox_parking_bans

From the Department of Transportation:

Red Sox fans are strongly encouraged by the City of Boston to leave their personal vehicles at home and take the T whether they are heading to Fenway or another destination in Boston to watch the World Series games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  On-street parking will be restricted on several streets in the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood of the City.  Parking will also be restricted on streets in Brighton, as well as near Northeastern University, Faneuil Hall and North Station.

Additional Parking Enforcement staff will be working before, during and after the games to assist with public safety needs.  They will also be concentrating on ensuring that only vehicles with Fenway/Kenmore Resident Parking Permits are parked in curbside spaces designated for residents in that neighborhood.

For more information on the parking ban check out the City of Boston’s Press Release for the official road closings… I wouldn’t want you to get mad at me if you park on a street that I missed!

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: July 24, 2013

Boston Strong

That is one amazing sand castle.

It makes me realize I’ve got a helluva lot of sand sculpting skills to learn to do if I ever want to create anything more than a big mound with a “moat” or the ever-classic “Human covered in sand” – the people that create these sculptures are impressive.

Twenty-five artists created 15 pieces surrounding the Boston Strong tribute sculpture as part of the annual National Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach this past weekend.

And the rainbow in this photo is just the icing on the cake of amazingness, very fitting given the sentiments of the sculpture.

Thanks to Lee Costa for posting this gem on our We Love Beantown Flickr page. It’s not crazy hot anymore, but we’re still in the thick of summer, so get thee to a beach and get your sand sculpt on!

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: May 29, 2013

Boston Calling 5 25 13

An ode to ponchos.

People have been proudly rocking ponchos for hundreds of years. Granted, it’s been pretty much a South American thing historically – until Disney World. But with New England weather being what it is, Boston is for sure no stranger to this versatile garment.

It doesn’t get much easier than a piece of fabric with a cut-out for your head and a hood. You can make them out of pretty much anything – the city’s many runners will attest to how a garbage bag poncho can keep you dry before a rainy race. And no matter how techy, Gore-Tex-amazing your rain jacket is, I’m guessing you can’t fit it in a clutch, right ladies? Not a problem with a brand-new poncho!

This past weekend, a stacked one with Memorial Day, Boston Calling, the Run to Remember, and “To Boston With Love” at the MFA, also passed on a side of nasty weather on the East Coast. We saw upstate New York get three feet of snow, and parts of Vermont get 13 inches. And, Bostonians felt their fair share of Mother Nature’s wrath too – case in point the folks in this photo, which inspired the reflection on the often underrated awesomeness of ponchos.

We know that the all-knowing weather people are predicting 90 plus temperatures for the next few days, but the next time it gets rainy out (maybe in the next five minutes), throw on a poncho and go frolick and puddle jump your face off.

Take photos and share so that we can show that not only is the poncho extremely functional and efficient attire, but fashionable as well! And we know how good Boston is at that, right GQ?