Boston

Boston was founded in 1630 as part of an ambitious attempt to establish a community that lived by Puritan religious values. Until the mid 18th century when Philadelphia and New York overtook it, Boston was the leading city of the colonies. Boston remains a major commercial city, and a leading Educational centre. It also is also a centre for financial services, but the city would prefer to forget one famous 1920’s resident, Charles Ponzi, whose fraudulent investment scheme was so large that similar schemes still bear his name. For tourists the city has plenty of historic sites but it focuses primarily on its revolutionary history with a patriotic fervour that may at times be a little uncomfortable for British visitors.

 

 

Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drums outside Old City Hall

On July 4 parades and events are held across the USA. Here the Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drums perform military music from the revolutionary era outside Boston’s Old City Hall. The musicians are dressed in the uniforms identical to those worn by New England troops during the Revolutionary War.

Wharf District Park

In the 1950’s an elevated freeway was driven through the heart of Boston. Apart from separating the waterfront from the historic heart of the city, the freeway  was narrow, twisting  and had frequent junctions that impeded traffic flow. By the 1970s it was totally overloaded. In the 1980s plans were drawn up to replace the rusting elevated Interstate 93 with a new freeway built underground. Work on the ‘Big Dig’ as it was known, began in 1991 and was completed in 2006 at a estimated cost of around $22 billion. The land once occupied by the freeway has been turned into a park that snakes through the city.  This picture shows the Custom House tower from the park.

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Downtown Boston from the John Hancock Tower

This photograph taken in 1998 shows the highest view of Boston then available without taking to the air. The John Hancock Tower is the tallest building in New England at 241 metres (790 feet) high.  The observation deck was closed after the 9/11 attacks and remains closed at the time of writing and it is not clear that there is an intention ever to reopen it. The picture shows Boston Common filled with people attending a rally in favour of legalising cannabis.

 Interior of dome, Quincy Market, Boston, MA, USA

Interior of dome, Quincy Market

We were surprised to find that Boston’s Long Wharf is actually quite short. It turns out that it did indeed once live up to its name, but over the years the shoreline has moved out into the harbour until only the very end of the wharf remains. Quincy Market is an example of how this happened. The original market was at Faneuil Hall which then stood on the waters edge, but by 1826 it had become too small. A new market building was planned adjacent to it but there was no space available for it on land so part of the harbour was filled in. Quincy Market ended up on a new waterfront and Faneuil Hall found itself inland. Well, Quincy Market was on the waterfront until the next building was constructed, and so on. By the 1970s both the market trade and the waterfront had moved on and Quincy Market was redeveloped as a food court for tourists.

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Wharf District Park from Atlantic & High Streets, Boston , MA, USA

 

Independence Day reading of the Declaration of Independence, Old State Hall, Boston , MA, USA

Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Old State Hall

In 2008  we decided to brave the heat and visit Boston for the 4th of July celebrations. Technically, US Independence Day should be celebrated on the July 2nd, as it was on that date in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to approve the resolution of independence. However, the written Declaration of Independence that followed was dated July 4, so this is the date that is celebrated. The picture shows the ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of Old State Hall.

 

 Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drums performing outside Old City Hall, Boston , MA, USA

 

Downtown Boston from the John Hancock Tower, Boston, MA, USA

 

 

 

'Cheers' (Bull & Finch Pub)

Those who have never been to Boston will may feel that they know it courtesy of the TV comedy ‘Cheers’. Set in a small neighbourhood pub in Boston, ‘Cheers’ ran for eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993. In reality, the series was shot on a stage in Paramount Studios in Los Angeles with only the exterior views shot in Boston. The Bull & Finch pub at 84 Beacon Street was used for shots of the  exterior of ‘Cheers’ and this has turned it into one of the best known tourist attractions in Boston. The inside of the pub is nothing like the bar in the TV series, but a second ‘Cheers’ pub at Faneuil Hall Marketplace has been designed to replicate the bar albeit on a smaller scale.

'Cheers' (Bull & Finch Pub),  Boston, MA, USA
Boston_mapL7Theatre District & ChinatownBack Bay & South EndBoston Common & Public GardenDowntown & Financial DistrictBeacon Hill & West EndNorth EndCharlestownCambridge
- A great waterside city with lots of historical buildings.
- The Harvard University buildings in Cambridge.
- The removal of the I-93 viaduct which eliminated a big (and rather nasty) dividing line across the city.
- Boston’s tendency to overplay its role in the American Revolution. OK it was the site of the Boston Tea Party, but there was plenty of unrest in other cities and the only battle in Boston at Bunker Hill was won by the British! If you want to find out about how the Revolutionary War was won, New Jersey is a better place to go.
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New Year Fireworks, Boston Harbor

Boston holds some really good celebrations for New Year, so good that we have experienced them twice. Boston has two fireworks shows for the New Year, an early evening show for children on Boston Common and a display to herald the New Year starting on the stroke of midnight. When we saw in the year 2004 the midnight fireworks were launched from Boston Common and we viewed them from a harbour dinner cruise. The dinner cruise was nothing special and the fireworks were quite distant so when we went back for the 2015 New Year we decided to view the fireworks from the land. We booked a hotel near Boston Common but then discovered that the midnight fireworks display had moved to the harbour. Fortunately we discovered this in time to change to a waterfront hotel. We were very impressed by the display, it was well worth getting rather chilly on the hotel viewing platform. This picture shows the fireworks from our hotel.

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