16 November 2009

The Underappreciated History of Boston

To see the various points, click on each thumbtack. They each correspond to a number below.
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The median age of a resident of Boston is 33.1 years old. Comparatively, the median age of a resident of the entire United States is 36.7 years old. This is largely due to the enormous amount of college students in the area. As a college student, I never factored in the history of Boston into choosing my college. Sure, I loved the city, but aside from the few facts I remembered from AP American Studies, I never really knew the history of the ground I walked on or the skyline I saw everyday to and from my classes. That was, until recently, when I took the chance to learn about the city of Boston. It is absolutely incredible, and something that I believe is truly underappreciated, especially by the hundreds of thousands of college students that live in the area.

We learn the history of our ancestors and of our world for a reason. Our professors always told us that it was because history repeats itself, and this may be true, but it's more than just that. It's important to know where we came from and how things came to be. And if you're like me, it's interesting. So I urge you to make the time visit the following landmarks, and the many that I didn't get a chance to list. Celebrate Boston, and as college students, take advantage of not only your future, but the fact that most of these places are free.

Here is a list of some of the famous historical sites in Boston and how to get there by the MBTA:

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/bostoncommon.asp

1. Boston Common/ Public Garden
The Boston Common is the starting point of Boston’s Freedom Trail, a line along the streets of Boston that guides you through various historical landmarks. The park is the oldest in the country, having opened around 1634. It has seen speeches by many famous speakers including Martin Luther King, Jr. and very recently, Barack Obama. Before the revolution, British troops actually camped out on the almost 50 acres that comprises the Common. The T stops near the Common are Park (Red/Green Line) and Boylston (Green Line).

The Public Garden opened in 1837 and is the oldest public botanical garden in the United States. The garden was designed by George Meacham, who won a public contest with his design. Within the garden you will find Swan Boats that were created and have been operated by the Paget family for over 100 years. Many prominent figures, such as Calvin Coolidge, Shirley Temple, Princess Grace of Monaco, Lucille Ball, and John and Jackie Kennedy have ridden on these boats. You will also find an annual tulip display in the spring of over 9,000 tulips. The garden is accessible by the Arlington and Boylston (both Green Line) Stations.

Photo from http://www.willowell.org/champlainslakerediscovered/images/boston.jpg

2. Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library was founded in 1848 and was the first large free municipal library in the country. Over 2.2 million people visit the library each year for its architecture, exhibits, or their 6.1 million books or 1.2 million rare books, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, and prints. The first building of the library was a former schoolhouse, but was quickly added on to. The structure cost about $2.5 million to build and was completed in 1895. The library is the official Presidential Library of John Adams and can be reached by the Copley (Green Line) Station.

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/bunkerhill.asp

3. Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument stands on Breed’s Hill, the site of the bloodiest battle of the American Revolution. The battle was fought on June 17, 1775 on Breed’s Hill, but was mistakenly recorded as being fought on Bunker Hill. The Americans lost the vicious battle, but in their valiant struggle, they killed or injured about half of the British soldiers. The monument is located in Charlestown and is accessible by bus.

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/Faneuilhall.asp

4. Faneuil Hall/ Quincy Market
Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and given to the city of Boston by Peter Faneuil. It is a market house with a large hall, where patriots like Samuel Adams debated the controversial issues of the American Revolution. It has also been used by Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and John F. Kennedy. The hall was expanded upon in 1806 and is still used today primarily as a marketplace and a place for debates.

Quincy Market sits just next to Faneuil Hall and was built by Josiah Quincy in 1826. It was originally proposed as an extension to the markets of Faneuil Hall. Quincy Market was renovated in the 1970s and remains a popular tourist attraction today. Both Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall can be accessed by the Government Center (Green and Blue Lines), Haymarket (Green and Orange Lines), and State (Blue Line) Stations.

Photo from http://www.berstene.com/kathryn/pictures%202004.htm

5. Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox and officially opened on April 20, 1912, making Fenway the oldest professional sports stadium in the United States. Though the stadium has seen several fires and minor renovations, the park mostly remains the way it looked when it opened. It has kept the historical things it is now known for like the manual scoreboard in the outfield. This year, Fenway will be hosting an outdoor ice rink for the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Winter Classic. Fenway Park can be reached by the Fenway (Green Line) Station.

Photo from http://web.mit.edu/sos/leisure_sightseeing.html

6. North End
The North End is the oldest neighborhood in Boston and is known today for its well-established Italian cuisine. It was first settled by English families, but is now predominantly Italian. Paul Revere lived here, and his house is now a historical landmark. The Old North Church is also located in the North End. You can reach the North End by the Haymarket (Green and Orange Lines) Station.

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/oldnorth.asp

7. Old North Church
The Old North Church was built in 1723. This is the famous church mentioned in Paul Revere’s ride, on April 18, 1775, when he hung the two lanterns. The bells that ring within the tower today are the same bells that Revere rang when he was the church bell ringer in 1749. The Old North Church can also be accessed by the Haymarket (Green and Orange Lines) Station.

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/ussconstitution.asp

8. USS Constitution
The USS Constitution set sail in 1797 and is now the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. The Constitution is also known as “Old Ironsides,” after earning the name in the War of 1812 when cannon balls would skim off the ship’s thick hull. The ship was restored in 1927 and now resides in the Charlestown Navy Yard. The USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard can be reached by bus.

Photo from http://www.northeastern.edu/offcampus/images/BeaconHill.jpg

9. Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is located just behind the Boston Common and the Public Garden. It is a small historic area known distinctly by its architecture, and is full of lavish mansions. It lies partly on where the Charles River was filled in. Much of the area was developed by rich families and proprietors like Charles Bulfinch. One of the most popular tourist destinations on Beacon Hill is the Cheers Bar. Beacon Hill can be accessed by the Park Street (Red, Green, and Orange Lines) Station.

Photo from http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/Massachusettshouse.asp

10. State House
Known as the ‘New’ State House, the Massachusetts State House was built in 1798 on top of Beacon Hill. Charles Bulfinch designed the building for the land that Massachusetts’ first elected governor, John Hancock, once owned. The unmistakable dome is plated in 23 karat gold, layered on top of wood and copper. The State House contains the Massachusetts General Court, as well as the Governor of Massachusetts. A hundred years after it was originally constructed, additions were made onto each side of the building. The State House can be reached by the Park Street (Red, Green, and Orange Lines) Station.

1. http://www.census.gov/
2. http://www.cityofboston.gov/
3. http://www.bpl.org/
4. http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bos
5. http://www.beaconhillonline.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi
6. The Quack on Boston, 2009 Boston Duck Tours’ Exclusive Guide to Boston

04 May 2009

south boston little league.

Finally, this future sports reporter gets to do some real sports reporting. For the past few weeks, I've been working on a story and multimedia piece on South Boston's Little League. I covered one game on opening day at Moakley Park. This particular game was between the Thomas C. Foley Red Sox and the Fire Fighters Cardinals. It was an absolute blast; the parents were eager to talk about their adorable kids, and the adorable kids were happy to be playing despite the fact that it was freezing and a bit rainy.

My favorite part of the day? A toss up between a heavily bundled mom who sat down for five minutes and then declared (during warmups), "I've seen enough, it's cold. I'll be in the car," and the Red Sox catcher who (also during warmups) asked his pitcher, "Have you noticed that these cups don't really work?"

Both the print story and the multimedia can be found here, but more specifically here: click for print, or for multimedia.

Make sure to let me know how I did! :)

03 May 2009

the kitschnettes

Okay, so I know I've been slacking again. And badly, at that. But if you'd like to check out an area where I actually have been writing, head over to my new blog, The Kitschnettes. I started it with my current roommate, Celeste. We're planning on writing on all sorts of things from crafty projects, to recipe reviews, and how-tos. We designed it ourselves, and after slaving away at the html template for several nights, we think it's pretty adorable. Check it out and don't hesitate to comment! :)

You can also follow The Kitschnettes on Twitter and email us at the.kitschnettes@gmail.com. We hope to hear from you soon!

30 March 2009

covenant in cinnamon twigs.

Okay, so I've been feeling pretty guilty about not posting in, well, a really long time. Though, I'm not really sure who's reading this. Anyway, my next post is in the works and should be up in a week (or less!) In the mean time, I thought I'd share some poetry. Let me know what you think! :)

covenant in cinnamon twigs.

i am a phoenix.

my eyes, red-rimmed and
set aflame, only hinted at
my body’s temperature.
i was on fire.

after we had felt the water
rushing, flowing, changing--
defining boundaries and
borders with bed linens,
cooling the beat in my veins,

after we had felt the water
my kindled feathers crumbled,
nestling me within my own
ashes, knee-deep within
my own reincarnation.

our eyes burned shut-sealed
with (un)sweet dreams,
and our mouths crusted open in
unfulfilled, unfaltering expectation.

but your lips dried the water and
melted my bed of ashes and
fueled the fire that bled into my
you set a match within me.

i am traveling heavy with desire.
i am a phoenix.