Join me and several other talented Boston By Foot walking tour guides as we lead a special Tour of the Month of Roxbury Highlands. The tour begins at 2 pm on Sunday, August 30 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line.
Practical vinyl siding side-by-side with full-on restoration to Victorian era.
We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill and through history to the top of Fort Hill, passing through Roxbury’s colonial town center at Eliot Square along the way. Learn how Roxbury went from early colonial settlement to strategic military location to bucolic suburb to immigration destination to one of Boston’s densest neighborhoods. See Roxbury Highlands continue to transform with ongoing restoration and new construction.
Photo of Alvah Kittredge house from 2007, you won’t believe what it looks like now!
The full description of the tour is on the Boston By Foot website where you can also pre-order tickets!
The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury: Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards. There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet. We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America. Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us!
More photos from the 2007 tour to whet your whistle for Sunday.
On my second visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I began a slow and studious exploration of the Art of the Ancient World. I had trouble making a connection with the art at first as there seemed to be no story linking them together. Galleries adjacent to one another held Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman art. Thousands of years, and thousands of miles, and thousands of cultures side by side. But I did make a connection looking at the sculptures of ancient people and gazing into their eyes. When face to face with a person it is hard to maintain eye contact, but here I could look into the eyes of humans who lived millennia ago and they had so much to say. One Greek sculpture, Woman from a funerary monument, almost looked alive in her expression of grief.
To mix things up, I moved on to the Contemporary Art collections. Ancient art memorialized people and honored gods, but contemporary art asks you questions. The descriptions, the writing on the wall, even the art itself ask questions. Art here is more a reflection of the viewer, literally in the case of Untitled (Shu-red). I spent more time that I should be willing to admit trying to take a selfie in its lacquered surface and finding myself delightfully disoriented. Art also asks the tough questions, like “Why?” and “How can we let this happen?” A sobering gallery collects artists’ responses to the 2011 earthquake in Japan. The photographs and film here capture more pain and poignancy than any other news report.
There’s still much more to see and experience at the MFA, so I hope I return soon.
Standing figure of Babaef Egypt About 2472-2458 BC
Face from a composite statue Egypt 2873-2859 BC
Pseudo-group statue of Penmeru Egypt 2465-2423 BC “The Dad and Mom”
Pseudo-group statue of Penmeru Egypt 2465-2423 BC “The kids”
Statue of a young man Egypt 2353-2323 BC
Colossal statue of King Mengkaura Egypt 2490-2472 Detail of hand.
Colossal statue of King Mengkaura Egypt 2490-2472 Detail of head.
Face froma mummiform coffin Egypt 1070-656 BC
Male and female figures Syria about 3200-2800 BC
Lion from the Processional Way Iraq (Babylon) Reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604-561 BC
Lion Greece about 550 BC
King Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen Egypt 2490-2472 BC
Woman from a funerary naiskos Greek About 330-325 BC
Figures of Eros with musica instruments Greek (Euboea) 4th or 3rd century BC
Juno Roman Head, Trajanic or Hadrianic Period, Body of earlier period 1st to 2nd century A.D.
Me, reflected in “Untitled (Shu-red),” 2007 by Anish Kapoor
Me, reflected in “Untitled (Shu-red),” 2007 by Anish Kapoor
John, 1st Baron Byron, 2013 Kehind Wiley
Still from “Stigma,” 2011 by Jonas Englert
The Artist in His Loft, 1969 George Segal
Kiki Smith Lilith, 1994
Josiah McElheny Endlessly Repeating Twentieth-Century Modernism, 2007
Jonathan Borofsky I Dreamed I Could Fly, 2001
This Sunday, June 7, I will be riding with my children, Kay & Peter, in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon! Peter will be riding his own bike and Kay will be the co-pilot on my bike. The Bike-A-Thon is always a fun event and it raise money for a terrific cause.
Based in Boston not far from where we live, Bikes Not Bombs serves two great purposes. First they collect and renovate bicycles to ship to developing communities in Central America, the Carribean and Africa. These bicycles help people meet crucial transportation needs with an easily maintained and environmentally friendly vehicle. Secondly, they help youth right here in Boston learn skills such as urban bike riding and bicycle repair that contributes to building their confidence and leadership skills. Please help us in our efforts by making a generous donation!
Donate now at our Bike-A-Thon page.
On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Boston, my family and I visited the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway to experience the monumental work of art As If It Were Already Here by Janet Echelman. At first it felt underwhelming, pretty, but smaller than expected. But as I walked under and around the sculpture I couldn’t help but notice how it interacts with sun and sky, buildings and trees, always changing even with a small change of perspective. So I took a ton of pictures. You can see them below, but definitely check it out in person.
Hey, look at that big net in the sky.
Punch a hole in the sky
A smaller net, full of kids.
I made another first time in a long time visit to a Boston institution with a day out at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unlike the Museum of Fine Arts, there is only one work of art at the Gardner Museum, a collaboration of Mrs. Gardner and thousands of painters, sculptors, designers, architects, and gardeners. This was my first visit since the opening of the new Renzo Piano wing, which is impressive, but seems mostly a utilitarian annex to the historic museum. It was also the first time I’ve been to the museum since photography is allowed, although only of the courtyard on the main level. Plenty of scofflaws took photos from the upper levels too, but were only stopped by the guards when using flash. I followed Mrs. Gardner’s preference of immersing myself in the art and beauty.
Lemon tree in the greenhouse
Two paths diverge in the Monk’s Garden
Here, photographs are encouraged
The central courtyard
Odysseus peers into the courtyard
Steel supported glass roof, a modern innovation for the classic museum
The goddess Persephone welcomes school groups
The headless Peplophorus
Shadows and light
Mrs. Gardner used to sit on this throne
The Gardner changes with the daylight
No more pictures!
French poetry in the men’s room? Why not?
The historical museum
Peeking back into the garden
A massive tree rises over the wall
The front of Mrs. Gardner’s Palace.
For the first time in several years, I have a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I’m working on putting it to use by visiting the Museum and methodically but casually working my way through the galleries absorbing the art on display and sharing what I learn.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, I explored the third floor, home to the Museum’s collection of 20th-century art. It is a quiet place in the museum even on a busy weekend. A man pushing his sleeping child in a stroller along a window-lined corridor told me “This is the best part of the museum!”
I was impressed particularly by the MFA’s strong collections of 20th Century Art but African-American artists, Boston-area artists, and some who are both. Some artists I learned about for the first time that I’m really drawn to are Eldzier Cortor, Allan Rohan Crite, and Charles Sheeler. In addition to a variety of modern paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, the third floor hosts an excellent exhibit of photography of Gordon Parks, who returned to his home town of Fort Scott, Kansas for a photo essay in 1950.
Stopped for a selfie en route to the third floor.
Art Deco clocks.
Christopher, the lion at Franklin Park Zoo whose roars could be heard throughout the park died yesterday. He was a family favorite. Here are a couple of photos to remember him by.