For a long time, I’ve said, “I love Philadelphia.” It has been my favorite colonial city. You have one of those, too, right? The way they worship Ben Franklin is rivaled only by Atlanta’s love of the peach. Unfortunately, each time I confessed my love for Philadelphia, the response was somewhere between a wrinkled brow and a “You’re an idiot.” In other words, it seems most people don’t particularly care for Philly.
One of the best things to come out of this past weekend in Boston is that I don’t have to say that I love Philadelphia anymore. Now, I can say I love Boston.
That’s because Boston makes Philly look like a dump. Well, that might be an overstatement.
No. You know what? That’s pretty accurate.
For every piece of trash I saw blowing around the streets of Philadelphia, I saw a flower blooming in Boston.
Until this weekend, I hadn’t spent much time in Boston. Only for a meeting here and there. But all of that changed during the past few days.
People say how “walkable” Boston is. Based on my 25 or 30 miles, they would be right. When my traveling companions tried to think of something to do, the inevitable answer was, “Let’s go for a walk.” And that was a fantastic way to see the city. Around every corner is a surprise. Plus, it was a cheap mode of transport, which was good in a city where Big Money means serious dough.
For many years, when people talked about big money in Boston, the only things that came up were Mitt Romney and the Big Dig. Because Mitt didn’t come out to welcome us, let’s focus in on the Big Dig, which only cost about $12 billion more than it was supposed to. That’s like a couple of bets for Mitt.
Anyway, back in 1982, some folks in Boston decided their highway system was unattractive so they decided to bury it. Shortly afterwards, construction workers began digging tunnels through the earth in order to bury the roads and create parks. The effort, known officially as the Central Artery / Tunnel project was finished on December 31, 2007. It annoyed virtually every Bostonian and a few out-of-towners, too.
In fact, I was once late for a meeting once because of the traffic jam caused by the Big Dig. That means, like most everyone else, I cursed the thing. Well, let me tell you what. I take it all back. The public spaces created by the monstrous projects were totally worth it. I know, that’s easy for me to say because I only suffered one day for one meeting. You might get a different story from the locals. But I don’t really have to worry about that.
Anyway, there’s plenty to do in Boston. Whether you’re interested in Sport (I’m not), History (I am), or sitting on comfortable chairs watching the world go by (I was when we were about 20 miles into our walk).
We took a Boston Duck Tour, which was an adventure in itself. These things are repurposed WWII amphibious landing vehicles. They’re now driven by clownish tour guides who bring joy and happiness to the lives of Boston tourists day-in and day-out.
I caved and went for some fresh Lobstah. Unfortunately, it was preceded by what turned out to be some rank Calamari so the benefits were short-lived. I’m sure it was marvelous and, in order to describe it accurately for you, I’d be willing to give it another try (sans Calamari).
The most embarrassing part of the trip came when a conversation with a flight attendant somehow turned into a stint sitting in the cockpit on my flight home. With a bright red face, I kept saying, “I’m not seven. I’m not seven.” The first officer looked at me and reflected the disappointment I felt.