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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Historic Boston by Snively '11

This entry may be a little long . . .

About a month ago I got a comment in one of my entries that read:

Since you are used to getting up early now, go out to the Boston Market on Saturday and load up on the cherries and avocados, not to mention all the other fruits and veggies available right now. Better still, talk a walk through Little Italy. The smell of the bread and garlic early in the morning is amazing. Then go to Bunker Hill and climb the stairs (if you haven’t done that already). Then walk back to Little Italy and eat. Its an exceptional treat that I would love to do right now.

Normally I wouldn’t actually do this because I’d be too busy or just not motivated enough, but for some reason this seemed like a good idea, so I went along with it. That’s right, your comments actually affect what happens in my life. I’m kind of like a less creepy version of the subservient chicken.

Unfortunately, my day of excitingness started off a bit rocky. I woke up too late to hit the market or to wander the North End (Little Italy) and enjoy the smells so I had to settle for going to Bunker Hill. I strapped on my skates, grabbed my directions from Google Maps, and headed out.

I made it reasonably far before Google Maps decided to mess with me.

“Cross suchandsuch a bridge for .25 miles.”

Yessir Google Maps, I’m at your command. *goes to cross bridge*

Um, crap, no sidewalk or bike lane. I took a moment to evaluate my options. There were all sorts of bridges going across the river but none of them seemed to have sidewalks for me to skate on. I tried going left, skating for a while to see if there would be an alternate way across the river. Nope. I skated back. How about to the right? *skate skate skate skate* Woo-hoo! A bridge! I skated across the bridge and then attempted to skate back to where I was supposed to end up according to Google Maps. Easier said than done. That’s the thing about step by step directions instead of a map, one mistake and you’re done for. I skated for about 15 minutes, unable to figure out where Google Maps’s sidewalk-free bridge ended and couldn’t do it. I ended up stopping at a drugstore and buying a map of Boston. After a quick map viewing I oriented myself and was back on track.

This is when I saw my first exciting tourist attraction of the day. Quick, just by looking at the picture, guess what country I’m in:


Looks like Europe, doesn’t it! For a second I thought I was back in Italy on vacation, but then I heard som guy yell (with a thick Boston accent) out his car window at another driver and I was quickly reminded where I actually was.

I continued skating towards the bridge and connected with the Freedom Trail, a brick trail that connects all the major historic locations of Boston. Basically, a giant magnetic line for tourists. Fortunately for me, this trail led right to Bunker hill so I followed it.

Let me tell you something about Bunker Hill. It’s a hill. A big hill. A hill that I skated up. A hill that, once I reached the top, I couldn’t let myself go back down just because it would have been a waste of the energy required to get to the top of the hill. Instead, I took off my skates and wandered around a bit, enjoying the sites at the top of the hill.

Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill Monument Plaque

Ok, time to listen to the blog comment and climb the stairs of the monument. I wandered over and saw this sign:

Bunker Hill Monument Warning

Psh, that’s not so many stairs! I’m in good shape, I can do that no sweat. In fact, I think I’ll jog it. After admiring the masonic symbol on a decorative cup at the base of the tower

Mason Emblem

I began my ascent. *jog jog jog jog* This isn’t so bad! *jog jog jog* Look, I’m already at step 50! *jog jog* Hm, I wonder how far I am now? *jog* Step 75!? *step step step step* Well, maybe I’ll walk a little bit and then start jogging again later *step step step* Ok, this isn’t fun anymore *step step* 150!? WHAT!? Really now, that’s it? *step* I hate stairs.

At around the 210 step mark I realized that turning around wasn’t an option because I’d already come so far, but going any farther just wasn’t something I wanted to do. What does one do? One keeps going, even though it hurts (remember that for next year all you eager beaver ’12s). Eventually, 294 steps up, I made it to the top. Oh, have I mentioned the 90% humidity? In the top room I saw about 5 other equally exhausted looking people, all soaked with sweat, taking in the view. Now, I will cram the view down your throats. Why? Why am I going to post so many pictures of it? Because I almost died trying get to the top, just to see this, so now all of you are going to see it too.

Bunker Hill Monument View

Bunker Hill Monument View

Bunker Hill Monument View

Bunker Hill Monument View

Bunker Hill Monument View

And, that last stair, the hardest one:

291st step of Bunker Hill Monument

Finally it was time to descend, something that really hurt me to do, seeing as I’d built up so much potential energy by climbing those bloody stairs. Let’s see, mass x gravity x height = potential energy. That equates to 81 kg x 9.8 m/s^2 x 20 bazillion meters = 15,876 bazillion Joules of energy. What a waste! I started me descent, jogging.

Staircase Down from Monument Top

Luckily for me it’s much easier to jog down than to jog up, so in about a minute and a half I was at the bottom. That’s right, even jogging down it took a minute and a half. That’s a long time, but I was able to entertain myself by watching the gradual change in expressions of the people climbing up the stairs. As I started down it was like watching the undead reach the summit but as I neared the bottom I noticed eager, athletic, and optimistic faces.

When I reached the bottom I took some time to cool down and read some plaques that talked about various historical things. I’m not a big fan of history so I won’t go into detail, you’ll have to look it up on Wikipedia, but eventually I’d read enough and was ready to move on. I now faced a decision: should I head straight back to the dorm or should I do something else with my Sunday? While I decided I wandered to the (air conditioned) Bunker Hill Museum. I forced myself not to purchase a Jaw Harp (even though I really wanted one) and made my decision regarding the rest of my day. I decided to walk the freedom trail all the way back to the Boston Commons, effectively eliminating it from my list of “101 Things to Do Before I Graduate” list and in turn, culturing myself.

My first stop on the freedom trail was the U.S.S. Constitution, or as you may know her, “Old Ironsides.”

USS Constitution Drydock 1 Info

I om nom nom’ed an Italian sausage and some peppers before checking out the original drydock for the Constitution.

USS Constitution Dry Dock

After the Constitution there wasn’t a whole lot to see on the freedom trail for quite a distance, it just snakes around through the North End. It does give you a chance to see the Bunker Hill monument from a distance though.

Bunker Hill Monument in Distance

The next important location was the Old North Church. You remember that, right? Paul Revere, lanterns, land and sea, British? That’s right, let that APUSH flood back into your brain for the next 5 seconds as you look at two pictures:

Inside Old North Church

Old North Church

I continued on my trek and saw a fountain


and a donkey

Donkey and Footprints

What’s that donkey looking at?


Feet! I should stand on those!

Standing on Footprints

A little farther down the street was one of the big important locations on the freedom trail, the Granary Burial ground.

Granary Burial Ground

There were a couple of awesome things about this cemetery. The first was the hilarious show of gender inequality that was proudly displayed in the center of the cemetery. For your viewing pleasure, the tombstone of Benjamin Franklin’s father:

Franklin Monument

But, Benjamin Franklin’s mom must be dead too, and wouldn’t she want to be buried near her husband? Where could her grave be?

Franklin Monument Rear

Wait, what’s that?

Franklin Tombstones

Hm, whose name is on that tiny little tombstone shoved behind the giant Franklin monument?

Franklin's Wife's Tombstone

There she is! I wonder if they discussed those burial arrangements?

“Honey, I’d like to talk about our burial arrangements.”
“Oh dear, I trust you to be fair and true when deciding how we will forever be remembered by the world.”
“Absolutely honey, we’ll have two ident– AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”
“Oh no! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to pour scalding hot oil all over you! Please, please forgive me!”
“Oh, I forgive you. Really, it’s no big deal. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go finish up our burial arrangements. No, really, don’t worry about pouring boiling oil all over me right before I decide who gets what in the cemetery, I promise I’ll still be fair. . .”

Other awesome dead people present were all of the victims of the Boston Massacre

Boston Massacre Tombstone

Paul Revere

Paul Revere's Tombstone

John Hancock

John Hancock's Monument

and our favorite brewer, Samual Adams.

Samuel Adams Tombstone

After the cemetery I visited Quincy Market, Borders, a bar to watch a bit of the Eurocup, and then I ended up on the Boston Commons. How did I know I was in the Boston COmmons? Because, conviniently, a large red pushpin marked it out for me.

Giant Pin

A walk back to campus from the Boston Commons yielded two things of note:

1) Another Smart Car!

Another Smart Car

2) The Church of Scientology!

Scientologists are the scariest psycho-religious cult known to man. Seriously, they are too screwed up for words and if you ever hear that anybody you know is entertaining the idea of being a Scientologist either slap them and convince them otherwise or leave them and never speak to them again. No joke, do a little research, it'll scare the crap out of you too!

Finally, after 5 hours and a little over 11 miles, I saw MIT.

MIT in the Distance

I got back to the dorm and collapsed. It had been a very long, culture-filled day and it was definitely time for some air-conditioned r&r.

Curious just exactly where I went? Click this link at your own risk, it’s kinda a big image file, but it traces my route for you all to enjoy.

Map, 3 Mb

35 responses to “Historic Boston”

  1. Woah, Boston looks unbelievably clean, a world of difference from NYC.

  2. Sh1fty says:

    It seems like you had a great day. Anyone who claims that climbing those stairs is easy should try it smile Are you sure that wasn’t the same Smart car?

  3. I actually suggested to my friends that we go into Boston and walk the Freedom trail the other day when I was bored but they (probably sensibly, because its hot out) nixed the idea.

    I remember the time my 8th grade history class went on a field trip to visit Old Ironsides. We had much more fun playing hide and seek in the WWII battleship that’s right near it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Does the chicken dude stand there allll day?

    He failed at the crab walk.

  5. Steven '12 says:

    lol, I would have taken the subway.

  6. Enas'12 says:

    Okay Snively when I saw the chicken guy my sister was next to me. Now she’s addicted to asking him to do stuff… She’s 13!!! Lol… She’d make a TERRIBLE boss to interns, I’d imagine ;P

  7. Enas'12 says:

    I just remembered a question… What do you suggest for getting around Boston? Skates or a Bike? I’m not so good with skates, but I suppose I could get better…

  8. chris '12 says:

    LMAO!!! I laughed at your potential energy equation, how very MIT. By your calculation* (and a little help from the D.O.E) you could power the U.S annual energy consumption for approximately the next 5,582,824 years! you gave off the energy equivalent of 3,795 GIGATONS of TNT. WOW! you make Fat Man look like a cherry bomb!

    *well, turns out bazillion is a number only used in exaggeration, so I picked a very large actual number.

  9. i hope by “effects” you meant “creates” and not “has an influence on” because then it would have to be affects…

  10. Man says:

    For some reason the chicken refuses to make me some pancakes!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stair story definitely interesting.

    I remember when I was in elementary school, I lived on the 6th floor (no elevators) , so that is 18×5 = 90 steps that I run up on with a backpack as big as me 1-2 times every day, a bit more on the weekends. I also remember running up to the 12th floor at my aunt’s work place because I was too lazy to wait for the elevator.

    Totally out of shape now…ohhh what studying does to us.

  12. ono ono 9.8 m/s^2; don’t forget the other 1/s Snively :D

  13. I saw the USS Constitution when I was visiting MIT in early May. But it was late and I didn’t get to stop by the accompanying museum. We did ,however, see the crewmen taking down the flag and doing cool night things. I would put a link to the Boston skyline pic I took from around there, but apparently I never put it up on Flickr.

    I was reminded that I took pics of Stata Center and the Great Dome, though :D

  14. Anonymous says:

    on google maps they have this feature where u can draw lines on the map to document where u went. it also tells you how far you traveled. it’s really cool and probably easier than drawing lines by hand.

  15. Anonymous says:

    incredible post!

  16. donaldGuy says:

    so ..some one has probably asked this before, or they have just considered it too obvious to ask, but I am curious and too lazy to search, so:

    How do you simultaneously have skates and shoes? Do you carry one in a backpack while you are wearing the other.. which begs the question of do you have a backpack specifically made for carrying skates (this evokes images of the Disney Channel movie Brink! from my mind) or do you have small skates? or neither?

    The public must know!


  17. Piper says:

    Not saying this is what Snively uses, but there are also wheel platforms that you can attach to normal sneakers (thus creating skates).

    I’d get those… if I knew how to skate =).

  18. Ahana says:

    “Oh dear, I trust you to be fair and true when deciding how we will forever be remembered by the world.”

    “Oh, I forgive you. Really, it’s no big deal. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go finish up our burial arrangements. No, really, don’t worry about pouring boiling oil all over me right before I decide who gets what in the cemetery, I promise I’ll still be fair. . .”

    Other awesome dead people present were all of the victims of the Boston Massacre”””

    Snively, you’re just too good!!

    (include gazillion with bazillion in the list of hypothetical large numbers!)

  19. Lauren '12 says:

    Ah! Sorry to be a pain Snively, but it’s the Granary Burial Ground. Probably just a typo, or possibly the sign is old. Mergh. Living in Boston too long you just kind of know the names of these things…

  20. JWC '12 says:

    @physics nerd:
    Don’t forget though, that the properties of the earth make g vary depending on your location.

    Oh wait, physics assumes perfection. nvm

    Anyways, it’s both hilarious and scary to see a Smart Car on the highway around here.

  21. Cartographer says:

    How’d you get that awesome jpg Google Map of Boston?

  22. Bertrand says:

    Btw, it’s just the Boston Common, not the Boston Commons.

  23. Snively says:

    Ok, fixed a bunch of issues, thanks.

    As fo skates vs shoes, I always have a backpack with a pair of shoes in it. It’s not designed for skates, per say, but it does hold them and it works rather nicely.

  24. Aditi says:

    294 steps o.O
    you’re brave.

    Awesome post btw

  25. Omar says:

    The Boston market has clam chowder right? That’s what I really want. I also want a lot of seafood haha.

    Man, they should install an elevator there hehe. Yeah yeah … im lazy.

  26. Omar – do you mean Quincy Market? If so, there is indeed abundant amounts of clam chowder.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen that masonic symbol in a great deal of monuments in my city, but what is that exactly? and why is it everywhere?

  28. Ann says:

    Another smart car? Or the same smart car???

  29. Ahmed '12 says:

    I find that Smart Car owners emit dangerous levels of polluting smug.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, you’re venturing outside on the same day 4chan succumbs to a DDoS attack. Coincidence? I think not.

    Perhaps getting nerds some fresh air was the point of the raid to begin with. Greenhat hackers?

  31. Lauren '12 says:

    Lol Bertrand. People from Boston even call it Boston Commons…

  32. Akshay says:

    John Hancock ? :O !!!? is he the superhero ? :D

  33. Ehsan'15 says:

    The church of Scientology???

    I wonder if Tom Cruise was inside!

  34. Anonymous says:

    @ Ehsan: OH LAWL! nice ^_^

  35. Anonymous says:

    That big hill you skated up is actually Breed’s Hill, not Bunker Hill. Bunker Hill is the next one over. Nice job climbing though!