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  #1  
Old Posted May 12, 2023, 3:35 AM
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hkskyline's 2023 in BOSTON

Going through my website, I hadn't realized my last visit to Boston was almost 20 years ago visiting a schoolmate studying there. I've said I would go back and the thought returned when I looked for a winter getaway out of Toronto that wasn't New York or Chicago.

Boston has a long history that pre-dates the nation. Although young compared to Europe, a lot of their attractions have stories that go back a few hundred years, which is fairly unique in this part of the world.

My arrival on a sunny day was spectacular. My right window seat commanded incredible aerial views of the city as we approached Logan, which is actually quite close to downtown.











Near the airport but with a completely different vibe, Clippership Wharf is a rejuvenation project with new residential buildings along a beautiful waterfront featuring skyline views. Mindful of climate change and the potential for storm surges, the developer had set the lowest residential floors to be 14 feet above the current high tide with no ground floor apartments, while the system of flood barriers can be deployed quickly to protect garages, lobbies, and storefronts.







I was very surprised such a beautiful vantage point had no tourists.















My first meal in the city was at Quincy Market, a tourist trap but I recall on my last visit, there was a bar restaurant serving fresh lobster chucked into a pot of boiling water. A few minutes later, you get the cooked creation with some melted butter. There's no need for any seasoning as it's fresh and it tasted good. I couldn't find that joint anymore but settled for one of the many lobster rolls on offer here.















Next door, Peter Faneuil inherited his uncle's fortune and sought to leave a legacy to the public by funding a permanent central market. A meeting hall was added over it and Faneuil Hall was completed in 1742. Here in 1764, the Americans first protested against colonial taxation policies as they paid dues but had no representation in the British Parliament.







More photos on my website :
https://www.globalphotos.org/porter.htm
https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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  #2  
Old Posted May 12, 2023, 5:14 AM
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Nice pictures!

That Clippership Wharf is in the Jeffries Point neighborhood, which I covered before. I suspect there were no tourists, and very few people, because it was winter. But I was in Jeffries Point for the start of summer, and there were only a few people in Piers Park taking in the skyline views at night, and then only a few neighborhood people jogging when I went the next morning as well. It's a nice neighborhood with great views and seems to be just for locals. I suspect that the tourists get their skyline shots from Charlestown, when they go to or near the USS Constitution.

My uncle is a lobsterman and regularly brings his catch to central Boston for wholesaling and retailing. There is a good chance you ate one of his lobsters if you ate at Quincy Marketplace.

Have you ever ventured well outside Boston when you visited (although I'm guessing you've been there just a few times since you mentioned it's been about 20 years)? Say, to Plymouth, Cape Cod, Salem, or Gloucester?
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Old Posted May 12, 2023, 7:15 AM
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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Nice pictures!

That Clippership Wharf is in the Jeffries Point neighborhood, which I covered before. I suspect there were no tourists, and very few people, because it was winter. But I was in Jeffries Point for the start of summer, and there were only a few people in Piers Park taking in the skyline views at night, and then only a few neighborhood people jogging when I went the next morning as well. It's a nice neighborhood with great views and seems to be just for locals. I suspect that the tourists get their skyline shots from Charlestown, when they go to or near the USS Constitution.

My uncle is a lobsterman and regularly brings his catch to central Boston for wholesaling and retailing. There is a good chance you ate one of his lobsters if you ate at Quincy Marketplace.

Have you ever ventured well outside Boston when you visited (although I'm guessing you've been there just a few times since you mentioned it's been about 20 years)? Say, to Plymouth, Cape Cod, Salem, or Gloucester?
It's a very nice quiet neighbourhood and I looked up the prices as well out of curiosity. Although the Blue Line is not reliable, it's a very short commute into downtown when the trains work properly.

I'm a big fan of New England / East Coast lobster. I can't differentiate the American and Canadian lobsters but I had an absolute feast during my visit, trying out lobster rolls and pasta from many places.

I only stayed in the city this time since I only had a long weekend and this trip was a bit tight timing before I flew back to Asia. I really want to see Cape Cod and how the rich and famous relax but I'll need to put it on my to do list for next time.
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Old Posted May 12, 2023, 7:14 PM
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[size=3]

There's my house!
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  #5  
Old Posted May 13, 2023, 8:59 AM
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That's an interesting detail about this new development, that there are no ground floor units...that must leave ample room for a garage for many of them.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 13, 2023, 6:40 PM
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Musicman215, Is your comment based on these photos? Between the aerials, food and architectural photos, there's not much to make such a judgment. I think Boston is more like Philadelphia than any other big American city-- busy central area, pretty dense, narrow streets, walkable. Both have new construction but they're overwhelmingly old cities with mainly nineteenth and early 20th century buildings. Phila is bigger, maybe more dynamic. Boston isn't bad but less busy since Covid.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 14, 2023, 2:12 PM
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Not to offend anyone but Boston seems quaint and lack any vibrancy for what many consider a major city and one of the most urban places in the country. I'm not saying it's bad, but Boston from the pics look like a nice small town rather than a large city.
well lets try to put it in your experience. have you ever been to philadelphia? if so you could flip a quarter between the two cities. or just like say, pittsburgh and cincinnati. or perhaps detroit/cleveland/buffalo. kinda like that.

edit -- oh wait, now i see you are from philly. so then on the ground there on a visit you will 'get' boston pretty well i would think.

as for the people, replace your always sunny crew with the my boy's wicked smaht folks.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 14, 2023, 2:19 PM
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I'm a big fan of New England / East Coast lobster. I can't differentiate the American and Canadian lobsters but I had an absolute feast during my visit, trying out lobster rolls and pasta from many places.
wait, so now canadians are on about american vs canadian lobsters? that's a new one.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 15, 2023, 1:12 PM
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Back Bay is home to the city's richest and famous, but with an additional shopping street to draw out the tourists. Once a real bay along the Charles River, the land was filled in starting in the 1850s for about 30 years and a grid of blocks was created. This new part of the city was influenced by the Haussmann Paris plan, with boulevards and service alleys.









































More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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  #10  
Old Posted May 16, 2023, 2:03 AM
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Nice pictures so far! I also went in and looked at a few pages in your link. Some of those dessert pics had me salivating. I like the aerial shots too. Got them in any larger sizes? (especially the one with the full skyline)

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No, I didn't say Boston is bad but from the aerials and skyline pics it doesn't give you a major city vibe. For what's a top 10 urban area you'd expect more density and high-rises. The skyline looks like a mid-sized city and street level views look like a quaint town.
Let me preface this by saying I believe Philadelphia has a better skyline than Boston, due to the top-level firepower. However, here's some stats where Boston wins, using built and U/C:
500'+
Boston 23
Philadelphia 16

150m+
Boston 26
Philadelphia 18

400'+
Boston 39 (+1 U/C in Cambridge)
Philadelphia 33

100m+
Boston 67 (+3 in Cambridge and Everett)
Philadelphia 62 (+1 in Camden NJ)

300'+
Boston 85 (+6 in Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville)
Philadelphia 82 (+1 in Camden)

Boston cannot compete with Philadelphia's tallest buildings, but in a direct comparison it starts winning right at the 10th building, and then wins every match-up down the line from there.

Boston is a little more spread out with a bit bigger combined downtown/high spine footprint, while Philadelphia's Center City is absolutely as in-your-face as it gets. Philly has both the top level firepower, and the top level old-school towers. Boston has a larger and more spread out mass of big buildings overall, but less stand-out buildings, both modern and historic, due to NIMBY politics and lower height limits. (plus the airport)

Boston's immediate inner residential rowhouse neighborhoods (North End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End) annihilate Philadelphia's offerings, which themselves are great, just not on par. From there it's miles of mostly triple deckers (better ones in Cambridge/Somerville) interspersed with rowhouses vs miles of 2-3 story rowhouses for Philly. Of course, the triple deckers average about 3.5-4 stories, so are taller but with a bit of permeability. They still make fine walking neighborhoods, and feel even more urban because you can see the next rows (and next ones) of houses looking down people's driveways. It's all very colorful and vibrant, built like a maze surrounding many urban nodes. There are also more hilly neighborhoods where the houses tower over the street, and it's easier to recognize how densely packed in they are, street after street after street. The densest city in all of New England (Somerville) is mostly built in this vernacular.

Boston also has better park systems, 43 miles of harborwalk in Boston proper, a better utilized river, and really just more interesting topography overall. It's easier to get lost, and winding streets create a feeling of enclosure that's missing in a grid. I love Philadelphia but I believe Boston's motley collection of urban neighborhoods (including inner suburbs) has more to offer in terms of a total urban experience.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 16, 2023, 3:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
Nice pictures so far! I also went in and looked at a few pages in your link. Some of those dessert pics had me salivating. I like the aerial shots too. Got them in any larger sizes? (especially the one with the full skyline)
Please PM me your email. Happy to send you the original size photos.
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Old Posted May 16, 2023, 5:29 PM
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Lovely shots! Love Boston. Thanks for posting
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  #13  
Old Posted May 17, 2023, 11:25 AM
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but less stand-out buildings, both modern and historic, due to NIMBY politics and lower height limits. (plus the airport)
Great post but this point I don't get: There are so many historic stand-out buildings in Boston: Bulfinch's State House, the Old State House, Old City Hall, Custom House & tower, Faneuil Hall, the public library, Memorial Hall in Cambridge (although not sure any of them have the firepower of the Penna Academy of the Fine Arts). I can't think of a single standout church in Philadelphia (which doesn't mean there aren't any) but numerous Boston ones. Standout modern buildings too-- people may not like them but the 1960s concrete structures stand out big time. Cambridge has one of Frank Gehry's deconstructionist exercises; there's the institute of contemporary art and some Philip Johnson follies. NIMBY politics keep density down, keep single-family zoning in place, etc but yes, they're also a factor in all the design review processes that dumb down standout architecture.

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Boston's immediate inner residential rowhouse neighborhoods (North End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End) annihilate Philadelphia's offerings, which themselves are great, just not on par.
I don't know-- streets like Delancey Place make Philadelphia shine and West Philadelphia Victoriana is to die for.

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Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
Of course, the triple deckers average about 3.5-4 stories, so are taller but with a bit of permeability. They still make fine walking neighborhoods, and feel even more urban because you can see the next rows (and next ones) of houses looking down people's driveways. It's all very colorful and vibrant, built like a maze surrounding many urban nodes. There are also more hilly neighborhoods where the houses tower over the street, and it's easier to recognize how densely packed in they are, street after street after street.
I love this part; you're taking Kevin Lynch's urban imagery research to the next level, or at least to all the vernacular late 19th century neighborhoods that Sam Bass Warner Jr. found to be so unsatisfactory in Streetcar Suburbs. Would be an interesting research project: Phenomenology of the street car suburb.

Last edited by Quabbin; May 17, 2023 at 9:11 PM.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 21, 2023, 2:10 AM
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Boston Public Library's current building was built between 1888 and 1895 in the newly-created Back Bay district. Designed by Charles F. McKim, it is an architectural masterpiece inspired by an Italian Renaissance palace.



The Grand Staircase uses yellow Siena marble with a pair of unpolished lions that were funded by 2 Civil War volunteer infantries' surviving members. They were kept unpolished on purpose to showcase the raw carved marble's effect. Today, visitors rub their tails for good luck.









Bates Hall is the main reading room. Named after the first major benefactor upon the library's founding in 1852, he imposed conditions that the library provide space for at least 150 patrons and be "free to all".









Further upstairs, the Sargent Gallery is named after the artist who spent 29 years decorating this hall between 1890 and 1919. The theme incorporates early Egyptian and Assyrian beliefs, Judaism, and Christianity. However, he was not able to finish his last work as he passed away in 1925, and that panel remains blank.







More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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Old Posted May 28, 2023, 3:56 PM
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Newbury Street is Boston's equivalent of 5th Avenue, with upscale brands and other fancy stores where you can't afford to shop everyday. Most of the buildings were originally constructed as townhouses, and by the 1880s the area had eclipsed Beacon Hill as the best area to live in the city. However, the ground floors have changed purpose into commercial use today.

As Back Bay was filled up block by block in the mid-19th century, the land was sold to different builders block by block, hence while we see some uniformity within each block, they differ on the next block. An old map showed horse and carriage rental services were offered on this street.

































More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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Old Posted May 29, 2023, 1:03 AM
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Give Boston downtown a supertall, give boston downtown a supertall!
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Old Posted Jun 1, 2023, 8:46 AM
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Designed by Charles Bulfinch, State House was completed in 1798 and served as an inspiration for many more capitol buildings across the country. It hosts free public tours although you are also welcome to visit on your own and enter the House and Senate Chambers' public viewing galleries.

Originally plated in copper to prevent water leakage, the dome was gilded in 23-carat gold in 1872.





















More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2023, 1:46 PM
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Known as "Little Italy", the North End is one of Boston's original neighbourhoods. With residences and churches, the densely-populated district is a popular dining destination today. Part of the Freedom Trail from downtown runs through the area as well en route to the other side of the river.

Along the main thoroughfare, Hanover Street, there are 2 particularly popular Italian bakeries - Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry. Mike's opened in 1946 and is famous for its overstuffed cannoli in many flavours. Just down the street, Modern was established in the 1930s and is famous for its cannoli and ricotta pie. It's hard to say which one is better, so try both.



















More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2023, 5:50 PM
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Regarding the state house, most/all the interior photos are from the Brigham extension built in the 1890s, about 100 years after the original Bulfinch building.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2023, 9:42 AM
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Puritan leaders founded a college in Newtowne in 1636, the first college in the American colonies. Upon John Harvard's death, he donated half his estate and all his books to it, and the town surrounding it was renamed Cambridge, after where the colony's leaders studied. At its historic heart is Harvard Yard, a grand leafy zone with many buildings and no cars.























More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/boston.htm
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