Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On Boston Without Research

  • Founded in 1381 by two Irish brothers, Flahertus and Fitzus.
  • Many of the roads still follow the original paths laid out by people using surveying equipment that included a lead weight dangling from a string.
  • There was also some eyeballing.
  • Even today, “that seems right” is a phrase used in Boston construction, as seen in the Big Dig.
  • Boston was America’s first great city, not in small measure due to Boston Harbor, a natural docking point for ships of all sizes; this allowed Boston to become a center of commerce.
  • Among things imported through Boston Harbor were tea, stamps, and intolerableness.
  • Many of our Founding Fathers have Boston roots, such as Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, Mark Wahlberg.
  • Only one of those men has had a truly classic Beastie Boys song written about him.
  • There was a very famous riot in Haymarket Square over something.
  • Freedom?
  • The proper ratio of taxation to representation?
  • (Some. The proper ratio of T/R is some, at least.)
  • The American Revolution started there, kind of.
  • The first guy killed in the revolution was killed in Boston: Crispus Attucks.
  • Black guy.
  • I know, right?
  • Sadly, there was no Colonial Fox News to dig into Crispus’ past and find the marijuana arrest from when he was 14 and call him a thug.
  • #notallredcoats
  • Terrible weather.
  • Hilariously corrupt local government.
  • You know the Whitey Bulger story, right?
  • Whitey Bulger was the HMIC in Boston Crime at the same time his brother was the President of the State Senate.
  • And he had FBI informants on his payroll.
  • And everyone knew it.
  • There was a DJ up there (last name’s Carr – NO RESEARCH, MOTHERFUCKERS) who used to talk about the whole thing every night.
  • No one really gave a shit as long as the roads got plower.
  • Those suckers got plowed to within an inch of their lives.
  • Boston knows how to do two things: think New York gives a shit about it, and plow snow.
  • No idea how to run a modern public transit system, though.
  • Ah, you think, this is because you’re supposed to drive.
  • But anyone who has ever been on Storrow Drive knows this is not the case.
  • Best way to get anywhere in Boston is to walk.
  • I’m talking about in the actual city.
  • Walking is not the best way to get from Charlestown to Jamaica Plains.
  • If you have an hour, though, and it’s nice, there’s no better way to go from the North End to Fenway Park.
  • You’d pass Faneuil Hall and the giant, tourist-infested food markets that all reeeeal Bostonians say they avoid, but they don’t because it smells like a Bond Girl dipped in cinnamon.
  • Up Beacon Hill, which is not named ironically.
  • It is old, and it is historic, and when the cobblestone sidewalks ice up, you will see all the history at the speed of light as you slide down the rather serious grade.
  • If you make it over, you’ll be at the Common.
  • People used to let their cows hang out here.
  • Maybe sheep.
  • Now, it’s mostly bums, tourists, and Emerson students.
  • On any given night in Boston Common, you will find any given number of Ubiquitous Teenage Drug Circles.
  • The State House, and the frieze of the 54th “Glory” Regiment are behind you.
  • You missed them.
  • No, we don’t have time to go back: this is on you.
  • Keep up the pace.
  • Across a road whose name is very famous and that I lived within sight of, you’ll come to the Public Gardens.
  • This is where the Swan Boats are.
  • Also actual swans, which will attack you.
  • If you survive, you will be arrested because trust me on this one: the people of Boston like those sinister waterfowl a lot more than they like you.
  • Larry Bird, weird hot dog buns, and those fucking swans: these are a few of their favorite things.
  • Pass the massive statue of George Washington (maybe) on horseback (definitely) and you’re at the beginning of the Back Bay.
  • The Back Bay didn’t used to be here: they dug out more space into the harbor and this was where they dumped the land.
  • That sounds right.
  • And, since this happened in the late 1800’s, the Back Bay has a modern grid system to the streets; not only that, but going east-to-west, it’s alphabetical.
  • Let’s see how many brain cells TotD has left from college.
  • The big avenues are, in order: sunny Beacon, middle-child Marlborough, the grand concourse of Commonwealth, Newbury Street’s fashion and style, and Boylston’s commerce and libraries.
  • The streets are Abalone, Berkeley, Cinnamon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, Ipswich, Jabroni, and Kellanlutz.
  • Some of those may be made up.
  • Gloucester and Hereford are right: I lived on both of those streets, so it would be just sad to forget them.
  • Okay, though: tour continues across the main street of Boston proper, Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Pronounced Massav.
  • Cut through Kenmore Square, home to the famous Citgo Sign.
  • Citgo does not own the Citgo sign anymore; the city bought it years ago and pays for the electric.
  • It’s pretty.
  • Beauty is its own defense and, no snark: the thing’s just pretty.
  • Kenmore Square used to be a terrible and filthy place, full of junkies and Mister Butches and basement diners and second-floor comic book stores.
  • There were Rathskellars and everything smelled like hepatitis and there wasn’t a supermarket for miles.
  • I fucking loved that place.
  • All my friends lived there.
  • Condos now.
  • Gap.
  • Everything changes, nothing lasts.
  • Keep walking and you’ll hit the Fenway, kind of. (Now we’re thinking with portals.)
  • On your left are the Victory Gardens, which are acres and acres of rows of garden plot given out to the community to grow stuff.
  • Unintended consequence: acres and acres of garden is a great place for gay dudes to go and anonymously grab at one another.
  • Which is a weird thing to suddenly find yourself in the middle of one night when, say, you and your friends wander in ripped to the tits on acid.
  • Trust me on this one.
  • Just a few blocks to Fenway Park, which, like a lot of old-timey stadia, is smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood.
  • I lived on Park Drive, just a few blocks away and on a summer night with your windows open, the home run cheers would wander into your living room.
  • Red Sox fans might also throw up on your car, but you knew that when you moved in, so no complaining.
  • Not much of a college town.

21 Comments

  1. #notallredcoats JFC I JUST CHOKED

  2. plumb-bob?

  3. One more thing: Catholicism, as in 80% of the city.

  4. What?! No mention of the Dead’s Boston Tea Party show on the archive? Reviewer mr chuck: “Great show. Went ’til sun-up. Everyone was dosed. EVERYONE. “ A Boston Acid Test 🙂

    https://archive.org/details/gd69-12-31.sbd.gardner.7373.sbeok.shnf

  5. Paul Revere was not a founding father, he was from Idaho (although he recorded in Oregon and became famous in Seattle).

  6. The Grateful Dead’s Boston debut was right near Kenmore Square, on December 8, 1967 at the Psychedelic Supermarket. The Supermarket address was listed as 590 Commonwealth Avenue, but really the entrance was in an alley behind Commonwealth, backing on to BU. The site was long ago replaced by a BU building.

  7. I saw Paul Revere and the Raiders in Florida. If I heard him right, he proclaimed from the stage that he was he was a Founding Father. He certainly looked old enough.

  8. You forgot the Army/Navy store in Kenmore. And a “Fathers” bar reference might have been nice as well.

  9. Wrong Haymarket Square.

  10. Always good to hear a Spinal Tap quote.

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