Boston, an Old American

I consider the viewing of Super Bowl a necessary part of the American diet, and as I am a considerably healthy half-American, I took the necessary steps to ensure that my Super Bowl XLII experience would include certain degrees of comfort; a friendly couch, some minor wagering, kitschy snack dishes in abundance enough to ensure leftovers, and an ample viewing platform (meaning a good sized television that would do justice to recent developments in high definition broadcasting technologies). As New England was the heavy favorite over New York for this title bout, and as my old friend Jana has been living in Cambridge and studying at Harvard since the Fall semester began in September, I felt this Super Weekend, wherein Boston's favorite sons of the gridiron were to culminate their unbroken string of victories in a out and out thrashing of The Giants, would be capital time to take tour of the walking city and oblige Jana's offer to visit. Traveling by subway on Saturday morning across the Manhattan bridge to reach the Lucky Star bus, which parks on a Chinatown sidestreet next to the PACE University game field (occupied on this Saturday morning by masses practicing Tai Chi), I noticed that the Lower Manhattan skyline looked, well, normal - not the overwhelming mass of big sticks with sheer sides and generally conventional permanent haircuts that has awed me in the past (I would re-visit this image upon my return from Boston and it did once again command a presence of awe). There are certain yardsticks upon which I calculate my assumptions concerning life in New York, and when the skyline ceases to awe, I feel my laurels sagging under granted weight.
It costs $15 round trip to Boston and back on the Chinatown bus, and there is no better way to travel this distance. The seats have cushions that are plush, the toilet is clean, the buses run more frequently than late night A trains, and there's a stop at a Roy Rogers or a Burger King at the halfway point so that we might all have a stretch or a bit of greasy snack-in-a-box. It's not the jet set, but the Chinatown bus receives top marks for value.
This story would run far too long for its own good, so please allow these following bullets along with the photographs below to illustrate my favorite notions of Boston:
- The city is remarkably American, the model of US urbana: Despite its age, it is convenient in layout, thanks in good part to a no-nonsense transit system with a catchy name; it's sidewalks and boulevards are wide and clean, and its main park, Boston Commons, is a manageable inspiration; it is populated by a homely, friendly and educated lot, who are dreadfully proud of their franchises (baseball caps are no doubt held in perfect per capita ratio) ; Its history is evident and charmingly ostentatious; race is a non-issue, though the city remains segregated; the business district is empty as a banker's rhetoric of life on the weekend; Its municipal planners stick to their guns, as evidenced by the completion of the Big Dig; and a river runs through it.
- John Harvard's bronzed blood still runs blue as he stares, soft features and pursed lips, in nonchalance at his knee, slouching in his book-laden seat atop a square pedestal at the head of Harvard yard; the smartest kids in the world don't look any different from any other student body; The Fogg Art museum has a surprisingly strong collection of contemporary artwork, and magnificent examples of every important art genre, and receives my stamp of highest approval.
- I will return to Boston. I will never live in Boston.
Unfortunately Tom Brady couldn't keep the Giant's defensive line from gnawing at his chiseled chin, and New England lost its perfect record to the duck-and-scramble half-retarded brother of last year's Super Bowl champ and his marauding meadowlands go-getters. Nonetheless, the trip was a success, and New York feels like it should to me again.