Boston Blog Posts

July 8, 2015

Boston Science Museum

This past weekend we visited the Boston Science Museum to see the Pixar exhibit and a Planetarium show. This was my first visit to the museum for my 4.5 year old daughter. We also visited during the 4th of July activities around the esplanade.

The museum had shorter hours on the fourth of July and that's due to all the activities that the museum does to watch the fireworks. The celebration is a pretty big deal, and getting tickets to the show is very hard to do. The museum didn't seem that busy as there was only about 20 people at the 10:30 planetarium show.

We saw the "Big Bird's Adventure: One World, One Sky" show at the Planetarium. My daughter love the show and interacted with the show all the way through. We felt the show focus too much on speaking Chinese than learning about the planet's. It was a fun experience for daughter and she had a great time.

We next visited the traveling Pixar exhibit. It was a great exhibit to learn all the technology that goes into making a Pixar movie. My daughter loved the interactions with making shapes and models. It was fun for her to take pictures of some of the Pixar  characters. At the end of the exhibit, there was a store where you could buy Pixar merchandise, much like any Disney ride. Just like Disney, the merchandise was way over price. It was a great exhibit to learn about all the attention to detail that goes into making every movie.

We brought our own lunch, since we weren't sure that any of the food options would Celiac friendly and be something that my daughter would like. (Not many places have Gluten-free Mac & Cheese) It was very easy to run back to the car and get the lunch bag. However, I didn't need to since their are lockers just inside the main entrance.

The exhibit hall was a fun place for my daughter to run around and have fun. She ran from one exhibit to another eager to explore something different. She had a lot of fun at the lighting show and she covered her ears so they wouldn't hurt. She told me that the lighting was much louder that the fireworks she saw the night before.

It was a fun visit to the museum. We are now members so we'll be going back again and again to explore and learn a lot more about science.

June 16, 2015

Section 5 in Fenway Park

If your going to Fenway Park and have seats in Grandstand 5 (rows 5 to 12), don't worry about rushing to your seats. You could possibly be in one of the worst seating areas in Fenway park.

All the seats in the section are facing the bleachers. You have a direct view of the Giant Glass sign than home plate. In order to see home plate you have to look well left and hope the guy next isn't leaning forward otherwise you'll be having to look over their back to see the game.

In addition, some of the seats have obstructed views of the pitching mound so you can't see the delivery. These are not  classified as obstructed view seats since you can still see home plate.

The Red Sox try to make up for the inconvenience s by installing flat screen TVs overhead so that you can see what's going on. However, the video isn't in real time. You get a 5 second delay of the action on the field. This makes it a weird experience when the crowd roars and on the TV the pitcher hasn't thrown the ball yet.

There are some positive things about the location. The seats are under an overhanging so you won't get wet on rainy days. It's also near the busy grandstand food concourse, which has a lot of food options some of which isn't available elsewhere in Fenway Park. You are also sitting near the kids play area.

My advice is to sit in the seats for a couple of innings and then move to a standing area someplace closer to home plate to actually enjoy the game. You'll do your neck a big favor and you'll enjoy watching the game.

June 8, 2015

Duck Pond on Botolph Street

Some of the Boston brownstone home owners in the Back Bay have a great sense of humor. You can see it various times of the year with unique Christmas lights, awesome winter parking space savers and creative yard design. I think they do some of this to amuse some of the commuters that walk through their neighborhood.

On St. Botolph Street, one of the home owners has a little pond in the front of the house. For most of the year they have the water running and place rubber ducks and frogs around the pond. It's very cute. In the Winter time they stick candy canes in the ground around the small pond.

You can find the pond at 65 St. Botolph Street, about a 1/2 block from the Inn at St Botolph. It's not one of the "must see" tourist attractions, but just something unique to discover how Bostonians make their neighborhood special. While your in the neighborhood you should check out the  SW Corridor Path.

The SW Corridor Path is an public walkway that is above the Orange Line. There's lots of seasonal flowers, dog park and a playground for the kids. In addition you'll get some really good photo opportunities of the Prudential and John Hancock buildings.

February 2, 2015

National Weatherperson's Day

National Weatherperson's Day, also known as National Weatherman's Day, is observed on February 5 primarily in the United States. It recognizes individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting and broadcast meteorology, as well as volunteer storm spotters and observers. It is observed on the birthday of John Jeffries, one of the United States' first weather observers who took daily measurements starting in 1774.

In the Boston Market the chief Meteorologists are Harvey Leonard - WCVB-TV, - Eric Fisher - WBZ, Pete Bouchard - WHDH and Pete Bouchard - WFXT

This year's National Weatherperson's Day is on February 5th, 2015.

June 14, 2014

Boston Graffiti

The largest graffiti art in Boston is in the Back Bay, and it's so well done that not everyone can see it. On top of some apartment buildings on Clearway Street is the words, 'NOZE'. Each white letter is painted on each individual building.

The graffiti is only visible to some tenants in the Christian Science Center Building, and guest staying in the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Hilton Boston Back Bay.

The NoZe Brotherhood is a collegiate secret society at Baylor University. Founded in Brooks Hall in 1924, the society was originally formed as a joke regarding Leonard Shoaf, a freshman with a large nose. Shoaf's nose was of "such great length and breadth of nostril"that his friends proclaimed they could "form a club around it". [Wikipedia]

April 28, 2014

Bucket List of things to do in Boston before you die

Today the San Francisco Gate posted a blog about the Things you must do in the Bay Area before you die. I put together a suggested list for the Boston Area:

  • Watch planes land from the Logan Airport Tower
  • Saint Patrick's Day Parade
  • Watch the The Saint Anthony's Feast parade in the North End
  • Watch the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street
  • Boston Marathon (Run or Volunteer)
  • Run a Swan Boat tour
  • Run a Duck Boar tour
  • Hot Dog and a Beer at Fenway Park
  • Watch the 4th of July concert on the Esplanade
  • Salem, Mass on Halloween night
  • Sail a boat in the Charles River
  • Dinner at the Top of the Hub
  • Shake hands with the Governor
  • Boston Ghost Tour
  • Skate on Duck Pond
  • Watch First Night fireworks from a room on the Battery Wharf
  • Beanpot Game
  • Walk the stairs to the top of the Prudential Tower
  • Boat trip to Provincetown
  • Go to a Fenway Park opening day game

Am I missing something? Let me know! Send me Feedback and I'll add it to the list.

December 27, 2013

Alternative Prudential Parking

If you plan on spending a couple of hours of shopping at the Prudential. You should know that it will cost you $28. If you spend at least $10 at any store in the Mall you'll only have to pay $12 for 4 hours of parking.

This isn't much of a savings if you are planning on shopping outside of the Prudential, such as Boylston Street and Newbury Street.

An alternative to parking at the Prudential is to park at the Christian Science Center parking garage. There are two entrances one Huntington and another on Massachusetts ave. It's a short walk, 1/2 block, to the entrance to the Prudential Shopping center.

Current Parking rates for the Christian Science Center parking garage:

Up to 3 hours $15
Up to 12 hours $20
Up to 19 hours $30
Up to 24 hours $40

If your going to be spending a lot of time in the Back Bay for shopping or enjoying a nice day, you should consider the Christian Science garage. If your looking for a Taxi, take a walk down Belvidere Street towards the Sheraton Boston Hotel, you'll see a large taxi line up. This is a great place to grab a taxi since they can go in any direction from that location.

Garage Parking Tips: When you enter the garage, drive all the way in. The further you drive in, the less walking you have to do to get out of the garage. Take your ticket with you since your better off paying on the way out.

December 4, 2013

Running Around Fenway Park

Today I ran the street around Fenway Park as part of my training for the 5k Santa Run in Glastonbury CT. I headed over to Fenway Park because I needed to do some Christmas Shopping and I was looking for a Santa Hat for the 5k run. (The Yawkey Way Store didn't have any Santa hats.)

My trip from the Prudential Mall to Fenway Park was fairly easy, I had a slight wait at Massachusetts Ave and then it was a smooth run towards Fenway Park via Westland and Fenway Parkway. This isn't a great running location due to the number of major intersections, but it's a good warm up.

Here's little useful information the total distance around the outside perimeter of Fenway Park is 1k. This makes Fenway park a great place in Boston to practice for a 5k. There are no intersections to cross! There is a soft slope along Yawkey way and Landsdown Street and this gives you some practice with slope running regardless of which direction you run around the park.

If you work in Boston's Back Bay, I would highly recommend running around Fenway Park as part of your training for the next 5k.

September 9, 2013

Amazon Sales Tax

A friendly reminder for Massachusetts residences that Amazon.com will be collecting sales tax on purchases after Nov. 1. This is because it now has an office in Cambridge. (Even thou you can't buy anything from their office.)

This means for Massachusetts residences, that "Cyber-Monday" will technically be on November 1st for Amazon shoppers. Don't think this is true? Well you should have see how busy the stores were around the Framingham area on "Tax Free Weekend." Seems lots of Massachusetts consumers were out and about on a very nice weekend looking for deals on previously taxed items.

No word on if Kindle books will be taxable, since they are electronic delivery. I suspect that they will be a taxable item.

You might be better off doing your Christmas shopping extra early to make sure that Amazon.com has your items in stock. Don't wait till Halloween, as many popular gift items may go out of stock, and if they are out of stock, you may not be able to order them. When they come back in stock, you'll end up paying the sales tax.

Worst case scenario? Take a trip to New Hampshire? No! Support your local businesses that are working hard to keep jobs in Massachusetts.

August 1, 2013

Harcourt Street

In the Boston's Back Bay there are some unusual streets, once such street is Harcourt Street. What makes this street  different than other street is how the trees are growing on both sides of the street. All the Oak trees are leading towards the center of the street! This creates an unusual effect when looking and walking down the street.

This is has happened because of the the limited amount of sun that shines in the area. Due to the tall building on both sides of the street, the street gets very little day light and over the years all the Oak trees that were planted on the side of the streets have been leading  towards the center to get the most sun. These trees have been growing this way for at least 50 years.

This isn't the only street in Boston where this is happening, there are some trees around Beacon Hill where you'll see this effect. What makes Harcourt Street special is its best place to see the effect on the street. Since this is a quiet dead end street, its safe to walk down the middle of the street and see how the tree branches are interlacing other tree branches. Note: Other people walk down this street as its a short cut to get to the Back Bay train station.

You can find Harcourt Street near Copley Place and the Prudential Shops. It's about two blocks west of the Hunnington Ave overpath. Something different to check out while your waiting for the Boston Duck Tours. Check out the location on Google Map or on Map Quest.

July 26, 2013

Mystery Rails on Ring Road

While walking around Boston's Back Bay, you may notice something strange on the road between the Prudential Center and Shaws Supermarket (Ring Road). If you look down you'll see some metal on the street and sidewalk that run's parallel to the street.

This metal strip is called Migutan Rails, and Boston isn't the only place where you'll see them. The purpose of these strips is to protect water from going underneath the road or sidewalk. That's because much of the Prudential Center and Shaws is built over the Massachusetts turnpike.

You can find Migutan rails almost any place where it's necessary to protect water from going underneath the split slab deck. Such as Parking garages, Plazas and Podium Stadium concourses. You'll find them in Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, Meadowlands and Yankee Stadium.

If you look carefully you can see a stamp 'Migutan' on the stainless steel capping strips. That's the brand of the system made by EMSEAL Joint Systems located in Westborough, Massachusetts.

July 22, 2013

Huntington Avenue Grounds

This fall marks the 100th anniversary of the World Series. The field, Huntington Avenue Grounds, where the first World Series was played no longer exist, it is now the main part of the Northeastern University campus. In 1993, the Yawkey Foundation put a marker and a statue of Cy Young to show where the pitching mound and home plate use to be.

This is the inscription on the home plate:

The First World Series

On October 1, 1903, the first modern World Series between the American League champions Boston Pilgrims (Later known as the Red Sox) and the National League champions Pittsburgh Pirates was played on this site. General Admission tickets were Fifty Cents. The Pilgrims led by Twenty Eight Game winner Cy Young trailed the series three game to one, but then Swept Four consecutive victories to win the championship five games to three. Home plate sat at this location with the left field fence along the Huntington Avenue Sidewalk.

Directions to the Cy Young statue at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds:

By Public Transportation:
Take the Green Line (E Line) to the Northeastern University Station stop. Head towards Forsyth Street, the intersection you see when you get off the train. Cross the street towards Northeastern University, stay on Forsyth Street. Take a left after you pass by the Bank of America ATM, that pedestrian path is World Series Way. Walk down World Series Way for about 50 yards and you'll see Cy Young statue on your right in a little park.

This is a nice place to visit if your a Red Sox Fan. There's really not much else to see here, there is just a statue and a home plate marker. Have a bit of fun and bring a baseball to see if you can throw a strike.

July 19, 2013

Red Sox Parking

There are several parking lots to select from when going to a night or weekend Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Here's a list of six of them that are within walking distance of Fenway Park. Two things to consider when selecting the parking lot, the location to Fenway Park and the location to major highways to avoid traffic after a game.

Clarendon Street Parking Garage
Distance from Fenway: 1.5 Miles (Approx 30 minute walk)
Game Parking Cost: $10

Clarendon Street Parking Garage is the "official" parking garage of the Boston Red Sox, it's also the furthest parking garage from Fenway Park. This is a good solution if you have plenty of time before a game to get to the park. The garage also has the easiest access to the Mass Pike, you can actually get on the Pike from the garage!

Copley Place Parking
Distance from Fenway: 1.2 mile  (25 mins)
Game Parking Cost: $15

Copley Place Parking is a good solution if the Prudential Parking garage is full. In most cases, you'll probably run into less traffic getting out of the garage. You can easily get on the Mass Pike via Huntington Ave near Copley Square.

Prudential Parking Garage
Distance from Fenway: 1 mile  (19 mins)
Game Parking Cost: $16

The Prudential Parking Garage is an excellent solution for anyone coming to the game using the Mass Pike eastbound. You can get off the Mass Pike and pull right into the garage without having to deal with the off ramp traffic on Huntington Ave. If you don't want to deal with the walk there are plenty of bike rides available to get you to the park very quickly.

Dalton Street
Distance from Fenway: .9 mile (17 mins)
Game Parking Cost: $14

Dalton Street Garage is located just off Boyston Street and next to Kings. This is a very busy garage and can be tricky to pull out due to pedestrian and car traffic. The garage is a little small and there are some tight corners to navigate.

Pilgrim Parking at 425 Newbury Street
Distance from Fenway:  .6 mile (12 mins)
Parking Cost: $25

This is a popular garage for long time Red Sox fans. It's not all that easy to get to, but a nice short walk through Kenmore Square to the park.  If you don't have tickets to the game, you'll run into plenty of ticket scalpers on your way.

Lansdowne Garage
Distance from Fenway: 200 feet (3 mins)
Parking Cost: $40

Right at the Park! Excellent location if you don't want to do a lot of walking. You'll have to arrive early as the garage does fill up very quickly. After a game it can be tricky to get out due to the number of pedestrians and game day traffic.

July 11, 2013

Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Recently I took the Boston's Sam Adams Brewery tour with my company's engineering team. Here are some notes about the tour if you are interested in doing it.

The brewery is accessable by the Orange Line, get off at the Stony Brook stop and walk a couple of blocks to the Samuel Adams Brewery. You'll see some signs along Amory Street pointing you to the right directions.  (Take a left when you get out of the train station and head towards the traffic light, and look for the Sam Adams billboard pointing you to the way!)

The tour groups are large, I estimate that there were 30 people on the tour group. We basically went through three sections of the Sam Adams Brewery. You are allowed to take pictures on the tour.

Section 1

In the first section you get some basic understanding what goes into making a beer. You will get to feel and smell raw hops and wheat. (Some people even tasted raw hops!) Your tour guide will explains all the different parts of the beer and why each ingredient is important to making their beer the best.

Section 2

In the next room you get to see some of the large containers and barrels where the beer gets made. The tour guide will explain the step-by-step process of making each beer. While the tour guide is talking you may see some employees opening containers and barrels to perform daily functions. Note: The tours are given in the research and development area of Samuel Adams Brewery - you are not really seeing beer making process being done that will be distributed around Boston.

Section 3

This is where most people are excited to try some of the beer. You get a 7oz plastic cup and a chance to sample 3 different types of beer. On my tour, we tasted Boston Lager, Summer Ale and Black Lager. When you get the first drink, the guide will explain all the ways to taste and see what makes Sam Adam's beer different. Some people in the tour were able to have more than one sample of the beer.

Misc notes
  • There were some children on the tour. I think it's probably not the best place to bring them since there's not a whole lot of excitement for them. (Kids don't get root beer or anything, and the one's I saw didn't look excited to be there.)
  • When your tasting the beer, the tour guide will explain how you can get the famous Sam Adams glass at a discount. (Hint: It's available at a nearby bar.)
  • The tours last about 45 minutes, with much of the time spent tasting the beer.
  • After the tour is over, there is an "extra" tasting where you can sample a couple of "upcoming" beers. Let the Brewery know which one you like and why.

June 14, 2013

Using Disassociation to help Running

More training today for the 5k during lunch. I ran the longest duration of my training for the 5k. Yet I  was able to run 20 seconds faster per mile than what I did on Wednesday. (Wasn't even trying to run that fast, was focusing on maintaining a pace!)

I found this article on Running Planet by Rick Morris, really help me stay focus.:

Imagine you are running a 10 mile loop. You are at mile 3 and you begin to feel fatigued. It starts to rain and you're feeling miserable. Off to the right is a nice warm café with fragrant, steaming coffee. Your conscious mind tells you that you would be much better off stopping your run and relaxing with a nice cup of hot Joe. So – your body reacts by becoming even more fatigued. That is the power of your brain. But you can use that power for good instead of for the dark side.

There are a number of techniques you can use to harness the power of your mind, including focus and positive thinking. Another is disassociation. There is a great legend you may have heard of involving Tibetan monks. According to this legend, a group of monks ran 300 miles in just 30 hours – a blistering pace of 6 minutes per mile. This story, as reported by an anthropologist, says that the monks performed this unworldly feat by fixating on a distant mountain peak and repeating a mantra with each stride. They disconnected their conscious minds from their body's physical demands and feelings of fatigue.

Read the whole article.

Having a really good running playlist also helps distract from wanting to slow down. Also part of my run goes along the Boston Marathon route, so there's a bit more inspiration.