Posts Tagged ‘Boston By Foot’

Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts: Circle the City

Bostonians enjoyed easy access for walking, biking, skating, playing and more on the outbound lanes of Huntington Avenue on Sunday, July 14th thanks to the Circle the City Open Streets program.  Thanks to Walk Boston, I was able to participate in the event reviving my Boston By Foot Avenue of the Arts walking tour.  A small but curious group joined me on the 90 minute walk from the Christian Science Center to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

After the tour, I met up with my wife and kids to take in more of the activities.  My son Peter was drawn to the Super Soccer Stars activities at Northeastern University and happily played soccer with the coaches and rotating cast of children for about three hours.  I had little trouble convincing my daughter Kay to be my copilot on a bike ride up and down the Avenue of the Arts.  We enjoyed the Boston Cyclist Union’s demonstration cycle tracks, listened to a drum circle, watched dancers, heard a loud synthpop duo, rode alongside marching bands, and got high fives from passersby.

Despite scorching hot weather, it was a fun day out for all the family and something I’d love to see more often.  Before I get to the photos, I have two quick, mild criticisms.  First, the map and program didn’t seem to have enough helpful detail about the types of activities going on or even a good sense of where to find some things (for example, I think my tour may have had more people if they had a better sense of what it was and where to meet, but I also had this feeling looking for other activities).  Second, the stretch of Huntington from Ruggles to Brigham Circle felt like the activity tents were spaced far apart.  It’s also a less shady part of the road, unfortunately.  It didn’t seem too welcoming to pedestrian activity and I didn’t see many people walking here.  Maybe the activities should be grouped together more closely to lend it a better street festival vibe?

 

Cross-posted at my Boston Bike Commuter blog.

July 14th: Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts

This Sunday, July 14, 2013, Circle the City and The Fenway Alliance present Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts.  From 11am – 4pm, Huntington Avenue will be closed to motor vehicles and open for fitness, yoga, bikes, dance, arts, kids activities, and walking tours AND MUCH MORE.

postal

 

I’m particularly excited about this event because thanks to Walk Boston I’ve been invited to reprise my Boston By Foot walking tour of the Avenue of the Arts.  Imagine a walking tour where we can step safely out into the street to take in new perspectives on the architecture and history of the institutions that line the avenue!  And the best part is that the tour is free.  If you are interested in learning more about the cultural institutions on Huntington Avenue, this is the day to do it.

As we walk along this cultural corridor we’ll explore the history of Huntington Avenue and learn about:

  • landmarks created by two of the most remarkable women in Boston’s history: Mary Baker Eddy and Isabella Stewart Gardner
  • not one but two acoustically perfect concert halls
  • not one but two historical figures named Eben
  • the oldest artificial ice sporting arena in the world
  • Boston’s lost opera house
  • the many innovations and contributions of the YMCA
  • the site of the first World Series game
  • expansion and development at Northeastern University, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • and much, much more

Meet at the Christian Science Center plaza on Massachusetts Avenue at 11 am for the 90 minute tour.  And leave time to make a day of it because there will be plenty more activities to enjoy on our Open Streets!

 

Boston By Little Feet Tour, or My (Nearly) 15 Minutes of Television Fame

Boston Neighborhood Network Television recently filmed the Boston By Foot Little Feet walking tour and I was the lucky guide captured on film:

Here I am leading a Boston By Foot tour geared towards children aged 6-12 years old.  BNNTV captured me on April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon, but despite the bomb attacks you can see that downtown Boston is bustling with activity.  A lot of children came out for tours that day but I was assigned to wait for latecomers and thus ended up leading just one child and his mother (and the cameraman!) so it’s not very representative of a typical tour where there’s more interaction with the children rather than me just talking.  All the same, it’s fun to see myself at work and enjoy my brush with television fame.

 

Boston’s South End: A Photo Collage

A photo collage of sites in Boston’s South End.

Learn more about these sites on the South End Walking Tour presented by Boston By Foot, this Sunday August 26th at 2pm.

Buy advance tickets for the tour online and meet us across from Back Bay Station on Dartmouth Street.

This Sunday: Boston By Foot South End Walking Tour

Come join a South End Walking Tour presented by Boston By Foot.

I will be one of the guides, but this is not just shameless self-promotion as the other five guides are a dream team of some of the best walking tour guides in Boston.  Come learn about one of the largest, most diverse, and dynamic neighborhoods in Boston.

Buy advance tickets for the tour online and meet us across from Back Bay Station on Dartmouth Street at 2 pm on Sunday August 26th.

Walking Tour of Davis Square in Somerville

I’ll be leading this Boston By Foot Tour of the Month of Davis Square in Somerville (which I also researched and co-wrote) on Sunday, July 29th from 2pm-3:30pm.  Admission is $15 per person, $5 for members (and you can become a member on the day of the tour).  No reservations needed, just show up a few minutes before 2 pm on Sunday at the plaza opposite Somerville Theatre.

October 30th: Avenue of the Arts – Boston By Foot Tour of the Month

Huntington Avenue photo courtesy of Yarian Gomez's photostream on Flickr

Come out this Sunday October 30th at 2pm for a guided walking tour of Boston’s Avenue of the Arts lead by Boston By Foot guides (including yours truly).  The tour begins in front of The Church of Christ, Scientist on Massachusetts Avenue and the cost is just $15/person.  If you become a Boston By Foot member admission is reduced to just $5 and you get lots of other benefits as well.

Have you ever wondered why so many cultural institutions dedicated to fine arts, music, education, religion, and sports are clustered in one area in Boston?  As we walk along this cultural corridor we’ll explore the history of Huntington Avenue and learn about:

  • landmarks created by two of the most remarkable women in Boston’s history: Mary Baker Eddy and Isabella Stewart Gardner
  • not one but two acoustically perfect concert halls
  • not one but two historical figures named Eben
  • the oldest artificial ice sporting arena in the world
  • Boston’s lost opera house
  • the many innovations and contributions of the YMCA
  • the site of the first World Series game
  • expansion and development at Northeastern University, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • and much, much more

I’m particularly proud of this tour because I originated the idea and collaborated on the research and manual writing.  So please come out and join us to learn more about this fascinating Boston district.

Huntington Avenue in 1920, courtesy of Boston Public Library's photostream on Flickr

Book Review: The Crime of the Century by Stephanie Schorow

Author: Stephanie Schorow
Title: The Crime of the Century
Publication Info: Beverly, Mass. : Commonwealth Editions, c2008.
ISBN: 9781933212548
Summary/Review: The Boston Brink’s robbery of January 1950 is shrouded in folklore and embellishment (much of it from the criminals themselves) so Shorow sets out to separate fact from fiction in this accounting of the famous crime.  I didn’t know much of folklore myself but was greatly fascinated by the details of the true story.  For example, I never knew that the robbers broke into the Brink’s office multiple times and had keys made for all the doors between the office and the vaults!  The details that went into the planning of the crime are amazing and hard not to appreciate if not admire.  Schorow also notes that while the cash haul is huge the criminals actually missed out as there was usually more cash on hand on other nights.  While the crime is famed for having no shots fired and no one hurt, Shorow unearths the violence and bloodshed that came in the wake of the crime.  In all an entertaining, researched and informative read.

Recommended books: The Underboss: The Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family by Gerard O’Neill, Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boserand Dark Tide: the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo.
Rating: ***1/2

Boston By Foot Boston Common & Public Garden Tour

Today I enjoyed another special Boston By Foot tour focusing on Boston Common and the Public Garden.  Our guide taught us a lot about the history of these two great public places, their features, and many works of public art.  It was a wet day, maybe not the best time to enjoy the parks, but on the plus side I got to take lots of pictures without people getting in the way.

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Benjamin Franklin’s 305th Birthday

This coming Monday is the holiday where we observe the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I encourage one and all to celebrate the life of Dr. King and put in some volunteer service time.

But, Monday is also the birthday of another great American leader, Benjamin Franklin, who was born in Boston on January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705].  Come learn more about this Son of Boston on a Boston By Foot tour lead by knowledgeable Boston By Foot guides (including yours truly).  The tour visits sites associated with Ben Franklin’s life in Boston from his birth in a house on Milk Street until the age of 17 when he ran away from his home town after a falling-out with his older brother.  This tour is unique in that since Franklin spent much of his long life elsewhere – Philadelphia, London, and Paris for starters – the sites often offer a launch point for talking about Franklin’s varied careers in printing, science, invention, postal services, public service and as a founding father.

The tour meets in the public park at the corner of Washington and School Streets by the Irish Famine Memorial and Borders Book Store.  The cost is $15 per person ($5 for Boston By Foot members) and the 90-minute walking tour departs at 2 pm on Monday, January 17th, 2011.  More information is available on the Boston By Foot Meetup Group web page.

Click photo to see more images of sites visited on this tour.

Official tour description:

Celebrate and learn the life of Benjamin Franklin by walking among the sites of his homes and haunts in Colonial Boston. In his day, Benjamin Franklin was America’s greatest scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, statesman, and entrepreneur. Ben was born in Boston, came of age in Philadelphia, and was the darling of Paris. From his many inventions, creation of civic, philanthropic, and educational institutions, to his his roles in the founding of America, his legacy is immeasurable.

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