Boston Blog Posts

December 31, 2015

Levenger Leaves Boston

Levenger was found in Belmont, Massachusetts in the suburbs of Boston. They had their first retail street the Prudential Shops in 2004.

Sales must have gone down recently as the Boston retail store never reopened after closing this past Christmas. They didn't make any mention of the store closure on their website or on Twitter. You would only know by visiting store and seeing the paper covering the windows.

Boston Levenger

This is the second flagship store to close - in 2011 they closed the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton. They now only have stores in Chicago and Washington DC.

Since I frequently buy from them I get their email advertising with all the hot deals. This week I noticed that the Boston retail store was removed from in all post Christmas advertising.

Levenger Email
Click on image for a larger version.

The store closing can't be too much of a surprise to anyone who regularly shop there. When I went to buy some Circa paper for Christmas I noticed that the store had a lot of space. It wasn't missing inventory, just like look very open. Specifically, they weren't displaying as much furniture as they did before. When I was shopping, I didn't think anything of the lack of shoppers or inventory. Perhaps I should have asked about it.

Hopefully Levenger hasn't given up on the Boston market and open up a new store soon. In the meantime, I'll be buying my Circa paper from their website.

December 24, 2015

Boston Santa

Today's post is about Santa Claus at The Shops at Prudential Center in Boston. This seems an appropriate topic for a Christmas Eve posting.

Boston Santa

Last weekend we stopped at the Prudential Shops to look at some of the Christmas decorations, grab an early dinner at Five Napkin, and then see Santa Claus.

I was thinking that it would be risky to see Santa Claus on the Sunday before Christmas, clearly there would be a long wait. To our surprise it wasn't busy. We only waited for about 15 minutes. Which wasn't bad for a 4pm visit.

What made this even better is that Santa Claus took plenty of time with each child so they could let him know what they want for Christmas. For some kids he did it before the photo opportunity, and for others it was afterwards. It was awesome to see that they didn't rush through the whole photo process.

Around the same time, one of my friends posted on Facebook on the long waiting at the Natick Mall. I was very happy that we didn't choose to do that. We did visit the Natick Mall Santa, and actually thought the santa photo packages were cheaper in Boston

Boston Night Light

So if your looking for something to do on December 18, 2016 how about heading to the Prudential Mall and doing some last minute shopping. You can park at the Prudential for $15 all day, with validation, and walk around the Mall and then take a stroll down Newbury street. Your best bet for parking validation is at one of the restaurants in the mall, including 5 Napkin.

The lights and window displays on Newbury street are absolutely beautiful this time of the year, and certainly will make everyone appreciate the Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2015

Peppa Pig Live

Today we went to see Peppa Pig Live at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Boston. The show lasted about 90 minutes with a brief intermission about an hour into the show.

We sat in the middle section of the upstairs balcony.

Some notes and observances on the show:

  • Very surprised to see Peppa Pig as a puppet on wheels. I thought all the characters would be like Daddy Pig and be someone in costume.
  • They spent a lot of time singing which is quite different than the actual show.
  • It was good that they got some crowd interactions
  • They had a place where you could take picture by a Peppa Pig sign, but it was too close to the entrance. Most people missed it due to the large crowds coming in.
  • Wasn't sure if photography was allowed. I got stop carrying in a camera but the security guy wasn't clear about the rules. I did see people taking pictures and some video of the show.
  • Most people arrived about 20 minutes to show time.
  • Most of kids didn't sit too well after the intermission break. I was looking around after the intermission and could clearly tell that kids we not into it anymore.

Some observations on the Orpheum Theatre

  • The Orpheum is an old theater and the seats in the balcony seemed pretty old and a bit uncomfortable.
  • If you do attend something at the Orpheum, arrive early for a good experience. The main entrance is small and can get very crowded very quickly. Arrive early and get a drink and snack before the show!
  • Not a great place for kid shows. Couple of reasons:
    • The seats in the upstairs balcony didn't have enough height differential between rows. So if an Adult sat in front of a kid, the kid would have move his head just to see the show.
    • After the show got over, it took a long time to get out of the theater. I can't imagine what it would be like if they needed to evacuate the theater in an emergency.
  • I thought it was weird that they had beer and wine for sale. (You could buy a bottle of wine for $35)
  • They could have been created a special pink juice drink for kids and named it the Peppa Splash or something.
  • We parked at the Boston Commons garage as most people did. This is the cheapest parking near the theater, only $16 on a Sunday. It's about a 10 minute walk to the theater.

We had a good time and My daughter liked the show, and that's all the really matters. However, given the choice of a Peppa Pig and and Disney on Ice, I think she may want to see Disney on Ice.

December 17, 2015

Public Bathrooms of the Back bay

I remember when I was a teenager and we visited the Waikiki Shopping Plaza in Hawaii. They had an automated kiosk that would help customers in the mall, if you pressed the bathroom button you would hear a lady singing:

You can travel here and there
You can travel everywhere
there's no place like Hawaii...
..and when you have to go... you have to go...
the bathroom are upstairs to your right...

Today's post about bathroom seems a bit ridiculous until you need a place to go. These are some of the places that you can find a bathroom if you need to go. You can find restrooms in all the restaurants in Boston, but if you need a quick place to go, here are three public facilities that have bathrooms:

Back Bay Bathrooms

Back Bay Station

Located on 145 Dartmouth Street Boston, MA, the Back Bay T Station is the third most popular MBTA station in Boston. The station serves the Orange Line and the Commuter Rail for many trains that depart or arrive at South Station. The bathrooms is right near the ticket area at street level.

While the bathrooms may not be super clean, they are in better shape than any facility you'll would find on a train. Definitely worth stopping in before getting on the train.

Prudential Shops

The Prudential Mall, officially called the 'The Shops at Prudential Center' is located at the base of the Prudential tower. The best entrance to get to the bathrooms would be Huntington Ave entrance near Shaws.

The Prudential Mall is currently undergoing some major changes and the bathrooms are in a different location than you may be used to. The bathrooms are now located near Levenger in the 'Back Bay Arcade' wing. The mall does a good job keeping the bathrooms nice and clean.

The bathrooms are usually accessible outside of the regular Mall hours since many people travel through the mall going to/from work.

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library is one of the nation's oldest public library. You can find some very nice art around the library. They have an impressive collection of Newspapers and Magazines in microfiche format.

Use the Boylston Street entrance and head downstairs as soon as you enter the staircase area. You'll see the bathroom signs at the bottom of the stairs.

I have found that these aren't the cleanest bathrooms in the Back Bay. The library tries to keep the place clean. However, they are popular with homeless as they spend much of the day in the library to keep warm or dry.

December 10, 2015

Magic 106.7


Boston's Magic 106.7 (WMJK) is a popular music station that is broadcast out Dorchester, Massachusetts. It has an adult contemporary format.

Things change right after Thanksgiving as they change format and only play Christmas music. Chances are if your driving to the Burlington Mall on a Saturday, many of the cars waiting for a parking spot has Magic 106.7 on. Every year at 6pm on Christmas Eve, they start playing commercial free Christmas Music until the 26th.

The Christmas Music tradition started back in the mid 1990s (I wasn't able to find the exact year.) It has generated a good fan base. Check out Robert Gillis website where he attempted to track all the songs they were playing on Christmas Eve in 2010. He put together a pretty cool spreadsheet of the music that they played.

A few years ago they put together a CD collection of their all time favorite Christmas music. It was quite a list and for many years my Christmas Playlist. I really liked it when every once in a while they would add, "This is Magic 106.7." It's really cool when your listening and your not in the Boston area.

They don't put out a CD anymore, and perhaps you can find a copy at a used music store. This is the CD music list from when I imported it into iTunes back in 2007. (I don't know why the name of the artists don't show up in all of the listings.)

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree 2:05 The Magic Of Christmas Brenda Lee 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer 3:31 The Magic Of Christmas Elmo & Patsy 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
Jingle Bell Rock 2:22 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:12 PM
Sleigh Ride 3:02 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:12 PM
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year 2:17 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
Linus & Lucy 3:05 The Magic Of Christmas Vince Guaraldi 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
The Chimney Song 2:12 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
Feliz Navidad 3:06 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:13 PM
Mary's Boy Child 5:10 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:14 PM
Silver Bells 3:34 The Magic Of Christmas Kate Smith 12/20/07, 10:14 PM
Carol Of The Bells 3:43 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:14 PM
Hark The Herald Angels Sing 3:32 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:15 PM
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 4:46 The Magic Of Christmas Various Artists 12/20/07, 10:15 PM
December 3, 2015

Durgin Park

Boston is a fun shopping town and there's nothing like browsing around various stores at Faneuil Hall Marketplace at Christmas time. You can find all sorts of unique gifts for people that are hard to shop for.

Faneuil Hall is also well known for it wide selection of foods from various counter restaurants in the Main hall to various sit down restaurants in the area. If you want to try something new this is the place to go.

If your looking for a good Celiac friendly restaurant, your best bet the same place your grand parents might have eaten at - Durgin Park. This is local favorite with a unique atmosphere and a menu that hasn't changed much since George Washington stopped by.


Historic Durgin Park, one of the oldest Boston restaurants, has served traditional New England home cooking near Faneuil Market for almost 200 years. Durgin Park "established before you were born." Features New England specialties such as prime rib, delicious steak and chops and a variety of fresh seafood. Other favorites include Indian pudding, corn bread, Yankee pot roast and strawberry shortcake.

Recently I stopped in with my brother and had a great dinner. It's been a long time since we both stopped in. We enjoyed our traditional New England cuisine and the service was excellent.

As we were leaving, I inquired if the restaurant had any Gluten-free options for my daughter. I was very surprised to find out that they had a large Gluten-free menu that offered a lot of the same specials as their regular menu.

I did notice that they didn't have anything special for kids. The manager on duty did tell me that they would work with us to put together a dish that my daughter would love. They did have a Frankinster dish on the Gluten-free menu - which is basically a couple of Hot dogs grilled, baked beans and French fries. This is certainly a dish any kid would enjoy. Incidentally the baked beans were very yummy, I highly recommend this as a side dish to any meal.

The manager told me that the kitchen would make sure the meal was prepared in a separate part of the kitchen - this is to prevent cross contamination. He seemed very knowledgeable about concerns that people have about eating Gluten-free.

If you need to eat Gluten-free, you don't have to miss out on going to one of oldest restaurants in the country. Next time your in Boston try Durgin Park. I highly recommend it.

September 3, 2015

MBTA T-Alerts

While sitting in a nice air condition office, the MBTA kindly let's me know how hot is is outside. On hot days, I get a text notifications about the delays on the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail train due to heat restrictions.

The longer the train delays means that it's pretty hot outside. It seems that most of the delays impact the early afternoon trains. Usually by 5pm the delays aren't as bad.

Heat restrictions are a problem only with the Worcester/Framingham line. This is because CSX used welded steel rail which can expand during high heat. To avoid any derailment, trains have to go slow.

You can join in on the MBTA weather fun by signing up to the MBTA T-Alerts on their website. It's a handy notification to have when you need to know ab

July 15, 2015

Logan Airport Cell Phone Parking lot Overflow

My frustration with finding the overflow cellphone parking lot at Boston's Logan International airport is the reason for today's post.

The overflow cellphone parking lot is located right next to the car rental return location. Simply follow the signs for car rental returns and just before you get to the return area you'll see a white sidewalk sign for the Cell Phone overflow waiting lot. The "official" street address is Tomahawk Dr, Boston, MA 02128, while waited I pinned my location on Google Map.

In fact, if your coming in from the Massachusetts Turnpike, it's much easier to get to this lot than to the regular lot. Not only that, it's much quicker to get to the terminals than from the regular cellphone parking lot. This means you don't have to deal with much airport traffic to get to the terminals .

If the person you are waiting for doesn't have any checked baggage, it takes roughly 30 minutes from when the plane touches down to when they walk through the departure doors. This depends on how busy the plane is. I would estimate about another 20 minutes if they have any checked luggage.

The passenger car arrival area at Terminal C, is very crowded and the car area waiting for passengers is very small. Boston Police strictly enforce the no standing policy and keep pushing cars to move on. Your best bet is to wait until your passengers have gotten off the plane before getting to the gate. If you arrive too early, you may have to move out of waiting area, and getting back isn't fun.

If you do arrive at the terminal early, be friendly with the Boston Police. I am sure they appreciate some humor in their crazy day. Just watch them for a few minutes and be happy that they aren't in your weekly FitBit challenge.

I hope my simple Logan Airport tips help you have a great uneventful pickup experience.

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.