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Here at Boston Online, there are certain questions that keep coming up. Here are the answers. Have other questions (or answers)? Post them in the Wicked Good Conference.
Q. I'm coming to Boston...
Q. How do I get an entry form for the next
Exactly what depends on what your interests are, but what follows is a basic two-day Boston Experience. All of the locations listed are easily accessible by subway (known around here as the T). Taking the T to get around the city is an excellent idea - it's reliable, safe and inexpensive ($1 a trip, or you can get a visitor's pass for unlimited travel). Boston roads and drivers, in contrast, really are as bad as the natives will tell you. Keep your car in the hotel garage.
The Freedom Trail
A good place to start is the visitor center for the Boston National Historic Park, where you'll find brochures to help you understand what you're seeing (free guided tours are also available) - along with the all important restrooms. You can also get information on the numerous bus and "trolly" tours of the city - some of which let you get on and off as particular sites catch your fancy. The center is next to the Old State House and the State Street T stop on the Blue and Orange lines (the exits are actually in the Old State House); a couple of blocks from Quincy Market.
Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market
You go to the marketplace because, well, that's just what you do as a tourist in Boston. To be sure, it's a fun place, with street comedians and musicians, a gazillion types of food to try and the like. But many of the unique local stores have been driven out by national chains - nothing against Warner Brothers, but is the point of a visit to Boston really just to buy more Bugs Bunny sweatshirts? You can get to the market from the State Street stop on the Blue and Orange lines; the Haymarket stop on the Green and Orange lines and the Government Center stop on the Green and Blue lines.
The place in the Boston area for serious people watching - from skate punks to tweedy profs. More bookstores than you'll find in some states. The Chessmaster (play him for $2; if you win, you get your money back). Some unique shops, but, like Quincy Market, increasingly home to national chains. See if you can spot the offices of Dewey, Cheetham and Howe (really home to the Car Talk guys). Oh, yeah, and Harvard University (and no, you can't pahk ya cah in Harvihd Yahd). Get off at the Harvard Square stop on the Red Line.
Boston's chic shopping street. Expensive boutiques at one end, funkier shops (such as Newbury Comics) at the other. Numerous outdoor cafes for watching the world go by. One block away from the Arlington Street and Copley and Hynes/ICA stops on the Green Line.
The most European neighborhood in the most European of American cities. Narrow streets, old men talking in Italian on benches, restaurants representing every type of Italian cooking and, during the summer, weekend festivals. A couple of blocks away from the Haymarket stop on the Green and Orange lines - walk toward (and then under) the hideous green elevated highway.
I want to visit Boston. How can I get some tourist brochures mailed to me?
Visit the state tourism office at www.mass-vacation.com or call them (in the U.S. or Canada) at (800) 227-6277.
TheaterMirror has listings for current and opening plays in Boston. Dick and Bert's Boston Music Home Page has a clubs listing that describes local clubs and provides links to their Web sites for booking info. The Boston Phoenix's Listings page lets you search by club or band. Unfortunately, it's only for the current week.
Boston has many attractions, but campgrounds aren't among them. The nearest ones are 30 to 45 minutes away, in such places as Plymouth, Scituate, Wrentham and Gloucester.
Plymouth (south of the city on I-93) and Gloucester (north of the city at the end of Rte. 128) are tourist attractions in their own right; Scituate and Wrentham are mainly places to stay to get to someplace else (if you come in the fall and decide to stay in Wrenthm, check first to make sure the Patriots aren't playing at home; else you might get stuck in some horrendous traffic jams on Sunday). Here's a listing of Massachusetts campgrounds (as noted above, look for Plymouth, Scituate, Wrentham and Gloucester).
You'll get all the info you need on these unusual tours (in which you're driven around the city for a tour and then into the Charles River for a cruise) at their Web site.
Try the Boston Athletic Association's Web site
It's named for Boston, England, which had a sizeable population of Puritans - the people who settled the place. "Boston" itself is a shortening of "St. Botolph's Town." Also, the original name for Boston was Tremontaine, in honor of the three hills that were the first thing you would see on the Shawmut Peninsula. Two of the hills no longer exist (they were flattened in part to supply fill for the Back Bay); the third is Beacon Hill, which itself was shortened. The original name survives in Tremont Street. You can read more about the original Boston on the U.K. version of Boston Online.
Back in colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans baked in molasses for several hours. Back then, Boston was sort of awash in molasses - it was part of the "triangular trade" in which slaves in the Caribbean grew sugar cane to be shipped to Boston to be made into rum to be sent to West Africa to buy more slaves to send to the West Indies. Even after the end of this practice, Boston continued as big rum producing city - the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 (which killed 21), ocurred when a tank holding molasses for rum production exploded.
Today, Boston baked beans are something of a rarity - there are no companies in the city making it and only a few restaurants serve it. If you want to try it yourself, here's a Boston baked beans recipe
Yes. On Jan. 21, 1919, 21 people died when a large molasses tank exploded in the North End. See The Wicked Good Guide to Bizarro Boston for more details.
It was the last time the Red Sox won the World Series - before 2004, that is (Yankees suck). A year later, Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth's contract to the Damnyankees (so he could finance a play on Broadway, of all things). This started the Curse of the Bambino, under which the Sox supposedly could never again win the World Series. Hah!
That would be Crispus Attucks, a freed slave living in Framingham. Read more about the Massacre.
What's the rhyme for deciphering the weather lights on the old Hancock Building?
Goldrush (thanks to GF for the answer). For what it's worth, Pablo's donkey's name was Chiquita Marquita Lolita Pappita Rosita Juanita Lopez (from ''Rex Trailer: The Boomtown Years'' by Shirley Kawa-Jump; Covered Bridge Press).
It's called "The Partisans" and was scultped by Andrzei Pitynski in 1979. It's a tribute to guerilla freedom fighters.
There are a number of schools and institutes that teach English in Boston, many with residential programs. Here's a list.
By applying at the parking-permit window at City Hall.
They're free, but you'll need to supply proof of residency, which the city defines as a recent credit-card or utility bill (nope, they won't accept driver's licenses or car registrations!). Yes, this can present a problem if you've just moved in. Fortunately, the city issues temporary permits. You'll also have to pay off any outstanding Boston parking tickets. And you have to apply in person at City Hall.
Get more details or call (617) 635-4410. Note: A permit doesn't guarantee you a space. All it guarantees is that if you park on a street with resident-only signs, you won't get a ticket. It's a good idea to brush the snow off your windshield so that the sticker is showing; meter maids have been known to ticket cars if they can't see the permit; no, they won't wipe off the snow to check.
Legally, the person already in the rotary. Longtime residents will tell you that, in practical terms, the person in the oldest car with the most dents has the right of way.
Trash day varies from neighborhood to neighborhood (and even street to street), so ask a neighbor. The city runs a fairly extensive curbside recycling program - you can recycle newspapers, aerosol cans, plastics of various kinds, glass bottles, cardboard, etc. (but not stuff like paint). Get more recycling details