Tuesday, January 29, 2013

High style and low rent

Jan 24: Walk to Downtown Crossing and take the Red Line across the river, to Harvard Square, Cambridge, $2.50 per head single trip. Breakfast at COOP bookshop, walk on to Harvard Bookshop, where Annette scored The Sugar Barons, by Matthew Parker, $20. Back to Boston for early lunch at Wong's of Boston in The Corner Food Court, off Washington Street. Singapore noodles, vast portions, recommended. Quiet afternoon back at the hotel, where we split $16 pizza for supper in the hotel bar. Suitable.
Jan 25: Walk to South Station where we breakfast at Cosi, on the concourse: sandwich, oatmeal, two coffees, $9.50. We ride the 9:55 'T' train to Providence, Rhode Island, $20 round trip each. The ride takes just over an hour with numerous stops en route. We walk via the shopping mall, next to the station, across the river and climb up to the Brown House, 52 Power Street, for a tour of John Brown's House. This is not the home of the famous abolitionist, but a slave-trader responsible for the Sally slave-ship debacle and a friend of George Washington. After viewing his house I'd say his epitaph should be: "He lived well." Lunch at Cafe la France, 1 Citizens Plaza, Red Chowder and half sandwich. Walk on to Cafe Choklad, 2 Thomas Street, for coffee and cakes, $10.32.
Providence is a pleasant contrast to Boston, with many interesting old buildings, and an ideal distance for a day trip. We would have returned by Amtrak but delays meant we opted for MBTA. We bought some foot-longs at Subway for supper in our hotel room - menu fatigue is setting in.
Jan 26: Walk to Quincy Market. On the way we lament the loss of Filene's, the famed department store and former Boston flagship, which has been half-redeveloped and left to rot. We were planning to breakfast in Quincy Market, but there is a dreadful racket created by a keep-fit class. We resort to Cheers, a tired reminder of an aging TV show. The waiters are anything but cheerful. Scrambled egg, cheese omelet (not the veggie omelet ordered), plus coffee with refill, $26.94, $31 with tip. Pretty average. We walk to Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront. It is too cold to linger so we backtrack to The Boston Athenæum which is a membership library and museum, founded in 1807. From there we walk across Boston Common to Boston Public Library, where I do some research into the history of The Sports Car Club of America, founded in this city circa 1944. We take a late lunch at Maggiano's, 4 Columbus Ave, $33.71, $41 with tip. Quite the best service since we arrived.
Jan 27: A quick breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, where an old man is eating sardines from a can. By subway to the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, to see the splendid exhibition The Postcard Age, Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Time also for a quick look at Art in the Street, European Posters. Then back on the Green Line to Boston Public Library for more research. Walking home we stop at Pho Pasteur, 682 Washington Street, where the noodles are cheap and cheerful.
Jan 28: Up early and after 08:00 visit to Post Office to send a post card, we walk to South Station for the SL1 airport bus, $2.50 per head. Logan airport is pleasantly quiet, if airports can be pleasant this gets close. We take the 11:20 Porter Airlines flight to Toronto City Centre Airport. The pedestrian tunnel to the island is progressing nicely, only spoiled by noisy strikers picketing outside. (If I was an investor I'd get straight back on the plane.) Like Toronto, Boston is showing signs of decline, with plenty of empty shops and offices. Parts of the public transit system are neglected and lack investment. Having said that there is much of interest to occupy a week in Beantown.
Pic by Annette.

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