Sunday, February 22, 2009

Boston 1770s - 2000s

Dear Paul Revere,Union Oyster House Lobster

I have just one question for you: Did the Lobster taste funny after the Boston Tea Party? Seriously, though, I wonder what the vast amounts of tea did to the local ecology. No doubt in my day, PETA and the EPA would be all over the patriots who perpetrated the Tea Party, accusing them of poisoning the oceans and putting you all Melville's Boot Tea
in jail for that, nevermind the civil disobedience. Did you get tea in your boots like Melville did? Did it make your stockings turn brown? Or were you too worried about the stockade and possible hanging to worry about such trivialities?

But after visiting your city, more serious questions remain in my head. What if you hadn't made it to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Sam Adams? Would you be just a nameless headstone in a still-British graveyard?

Paul Revere StatueKing's Church GravestoneCopps Field Graveyard

Bunker Hill MonumentWhat if Putnam had set up shop on Bunker Hill instead of Breed's Hill? Would the British have taken the day at less cost? Would the spirit of the patriots have broken? Would the Bunker Hill memorial stand on Bunker Hill--a half-mile away?

Nonetheless, things played out the way they did, and we are where we are today. And today, Boston is a much different place than it was in your day. I wonder how much of it you would still recognize. Certainly Christ Church, where the lanterns hung, though we call it the Old North Church now. I suppose it wasn't so old in your time.

Old North ChurchChrist Church SignBoston Massacre

Old Custom HouseAnd the Old Custom House, though I'm sure you don't know the tall buildings that dwarf it now. And the site of the Boston Massacre is now little more than an intersection, though the nearby Old State House still stands guard over the site.

Fenway ParkIt makes me laugh how many of the sites are called "Old _____," when they were almost certainly the shining beacon of the New World in your day. And Boston is definitely a city of beauty, although I can see that the rebellious elements still abound. What caught my eye especially were the small spray-paintings on Fenway Park's walls (is someone still unhappy that the Red Sox didn't win this year?), and the sad face on the bike path.

Ted Williams Banksy StyleFrowny FaceGhostly Face

AlleyBut for all the street art I saw (graffiti is too vulgar for this, isn't it?), I was struck by how little the city needed any assistance in looking beautiful. My wife tells me that Boston is called the Most European City in America, and I believe it. The winding, narrow streets did remind me of Europe, while the skyscrapers reminded me of modernity.

Boston StreetSo thank you for sharing your city with me. I look forward to my next visit. Perhaps I'll get a chance to get beyond the old town and see some of the neighborhoods, like Cambridge, Hahvahd Yahd, and all the other little hidden treasures that Boston has to offer. Until next time!



*This post is heavy on photos; most of them are small. Click on any of them to see the full-sized version.


brd said...

Boston really is an interesting place. My favorite is the graffiti drawings. Your photography is really nice.

TheRedSeven said...

Thanks for the compliment. These are the decent photos from about 200 snapshots... The ability to pick and choose the photos that are decent from the ones that aren't makes it much easier to appear to be a good photographer. That's probably why my wife likes film--she can show off her superior skills. :)

Ain't digital photography grand?

brd said...

OK. I looked at some more of your shots. Loved the ducks! But what is the "scoop" about the tea in Melvill's boots. Was Melvill stealing tea or was he just a bit messy in his work?

TheUkieVillain said...

He was part of the Boston Tea Party. Not Herman Melville, the writer, but rather Major Thomas Melville, Herman Melville's grandfather. He apparently got some tea in his boot during the raid, and kept it for posterity.

In unrelated news, it seems that my question about EPA involvement with another Boston Tea Party has been answered by Iowa's Department of Natural Resources. I swear, I could not have planned this!

brd said...

Herman Melville's grandfather! That is great.

Plus, couldn't they mix in just a little bit of tea? Maybe some Sleepy Time. That couldn't hurt anything and it would add the flavor of reality to the whole thing.

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