Sunday, December 25, 2011

Larz Anderson Park Christmas Day 2011

    Every year sometime on Christmas day I find the time to stop by the top of the hill at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline. It's a nice place to take a contemplative view of the city and the year that has just passed.
    Even tho I had to work at the Booklink bookstore out at Logan Airport today, I still managed to squeeze in a quick visit to one of my favorite places to view the city.

No snow this year, ok actually maybe there was a 15 minute dusting of flakes that never actually hit the ground but no snow that accumulated to add anything to the scenery. I guess instead, this year the powers that be decided to toss a small white dog into my scenery just to shake things up. 
I was driving up the hill and a little white thing came bounding on it's tiny little legs into the roadway. I got out of the car and asked a lady a little further up the hill if it was her dog. She said it wasn't but she thought the owner was nearby as there was a small tied up bag of poop about 5 yards behind her. Obviously someone nearby owned this little ball of love and my over active imagination had that person going wild with worry searching the hill for thier four legged friend. 
So, of course I left my car by the side of the road and chased this happy, foolish, tail wagging, leash dragging snowy mutt up the hill, all around the ice rink and back again in seach of someone also searching. 
   The dog found her first and I came huffing and puffing behind to encounter a totally unconcerned lady holding the leash and yapping into her cell without a care in the world. 

I guess I'd done the same thing with my Lucy many times years in the past but my Lucy was a husky mix who although she was prone to running off in Brighton where we lived, she always stayed on the grassy part of 'Larzzy's' and was unlikely to be found wandering in the road. 

All things said and done tho, I guess there are worse places one could have a carefree frolic, I just wonder if the woman on the phone remembered to go back and pick up her baggie of poop...                      


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scenes from Quincy Adams T stop...

I snapped this pic a couple of weeks ago at the Quincy Adams Red Line T stop after hearing for the second time a kid telling his parent how nice the station is.

Quincy Adams is not a nice station, the garage is falling apart one gaping pot hole at a time and I would not be surprised at all if the next time I park on the top at level 5, I return to my car and find it has slipped down through the cracks to level 2.
The station also proudly houses some of the ugliest outdated ceiling art I have ever seen at any public facility,(ever), but somehow, I have witnessed 2 totally unrelated kids on two seperate occasions burst with excitement to tell their parents how beautiful the station is.

The first time I kind of ignored the comment, "This place is fancy!" along with the father who asured his son there was nothing at all "fancy" about the delapitated, seriously outdated cold and drafty station but, the second time I paid attention.

What on earth was it that these kids saw that no one else did?

After the second kid commented on the lovliness of the station, I spared the time to look up, clearly these kids were seeing somthing I was missing.

I finally figured it out, the beauty they saw was what grown ups could only see as a flaw, nature bleedding into the station uninvited, kind of like the way plants decoratively overgrow in nice restuarants.

The kids knew what they were seeing was "pretty" and "fancy" even if the adults had a hard time figuring it out at first glance.
Smart kids for looking up.
I've got to try that point of view more often....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A week in the life...

Stuff being built and stuff...
Ginormous crane in the middle of Downtown Crossing. I first thought maybe it was for placing the Macy's tree but I saw 4-5 Filene's trees placed and NEVER saw a crane of this size anywhere ever (much less in the vacinity of the very tiny Hawley Street).
Boston at night from the top of the Logan employee parking garage in Chelsea:

The Chelsea Street Bridge, is it 6 inches too short? Will it ever be placed where it can be of any use? Only time will tell...

Sunrise over Chelsea:

What will the view from next week be?

: )

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wendy's Downtown Crossing

Another Downtown Crossing staple store front has gone vacant.
This Wendy's was in that location as long as I can remember, (at least 25 years) and I was amazed to find it gone last week when I was walking by.
I have a clear memory of looking out that front window and seeing Woolworth's across the street which is now an H&M I believe, if it's still there.
(In my shock at the missing Wendy's I forgot to look)
In high school my best friend and I would sit and people watch through the big front window as we downed out fries and frostys.
In my 20's I worked diagonally across the street at Filene's and even if I survived mostly on the cheap Chinese food a block or so away, ($2.50 for lunch may have been gastro-intestinally disasterous most days but it was a hard deal to beat...)if I had a few extra bucks kicking around, Wendy's was always a welcome mid-day treat.
I will start working in Downtown Crossing again next week and I certainly hope that the store I will be working in will not be the next to go but one of the few remaining holdouts that help turn back around a once great part of town.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bubbles over Kenmore Square

My friend Lacy tossing bubbles to the wind over the crowd gathered to watch the marathon, circa 1992-ish.

Happy Patriot's Day Boston!

(Don't forget it's a holiday, trash/recycling pick up is a day delayed, we forget every year...)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rise Stevens Robert Merrill Roberta Peters 1952 Boston Music Company

These documents and photos are from my Great Aunt Katherine McIntyre's collection from her time spent working as a secretary for The Boston Music Company. I found these photos a bit out of order and it was hard to determine who the obvious persons of intrest were with only a couple of photos that were blank on the back to work with. Another relative recently passed on some photos and other items of family intrest that contained a file folder with labeled photos and other infor enclosed that solved the mystery of just who these people who appeared to making some sort of celebrated personal appearence were. As an amusing footnote, during my career with Borders Books, I have emassed a small collection of my own photos, and other assorted ephermera (A They Might Be Giants signed album being amongst my favorite things...) from store events at the location in Braintree where I now work, I wonder what will become of my personal collection 50 years from now, who knows? I just know that I feel a little more connected to my Great Aunt knowing that she may have typed her summary of store events on paper and may have sent my own to my bosses by email but essentially? We have done the same exact thing in our own time, in persuit of our own career ambitions. The photo below is of Mr. Merrill, Miss Peters (Mrs. Merrill in her personal life) and Miss Stevens. The man behind them is unknown to me but the woman in the back is my Great Aunt Katherine McIntyre. The men in the are unknown to me but I can assume they must me Boston Music Company executives with Katherine McIntyre beside them admiring the window display. Miss Peters, Mr. Merrill and Miss Stevens on Boylston Street outside the store: A batch of newspaper clippings about the event from The Boston Herald, The Boston Post and underneath those, a clipping from The Boston Globe: I really want to find out more about this restaurant next door to The BMC, how long was it there for? Does the facade of the building still look the same? What is the story behind that? More newspaper clippings advertising the event, I wish we could have gotten this kind of publicity for our events in Braintree but then, we never hosted Opera stars....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Magnavox Display Boston Music Company

I posted a couple of other shots from this series a bunch of posts ago but recently was given this one by my aunt, I like how the crowd has changed a little from the other shots but still stand relatively transfixed by what appears to me as a pretty bland and boring window display.

The back of this photo is marked "Television display at Boston Music Company, 122 Boylston Street Boston, probably Magnavox 1947-48-49???"

So what the crowd is looking at is most likely the Magnavox display from a few posts back but those Magnavox items shown in that picture do not appear to be televisions to me...


Here are copies of the pictures from the older post:

Just goes to show you, you never know what's going to capture the imagination of passers by...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blinstrub's Village

The woman at the end of the table closest to the waitress is my Great Aunt Catherine McIntyre, in searching for more information about this picture I found this really great informative web site:

This South Boston nightclub had a major fire in the late 60's and I find it fascinating that although the Cocoanut Grove fire is so well known, I never even heard of this one before dropping in on this web site by chance.

You never know where hidden history is going to be found, perhaps even in a dusty box of forgotten family photos...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Union Station / North Station

This is a modern (sort of) postcard produced by Dover publications in 1977. It's from a set titled Thirty-Two Picture Postcards of Old Boston. I found this one in a dusty box of about a million postcards from all over the world buried in the back of a New Bedford (MA) antiques mall.

I was thrown a little bit by the description on the back of the card that labeled it "Union Station in the 1890's (courtesy of The Boston Public Library)". Something about it looked a lot like North Station to me.

This link gives more detail about why I was both right and wrong at the same time:,_Massachusetts)

It is indeed a building that was on the land where the current North Station stands but apparently it was demolished to make way for the Boston Garden which in turn was demolished to make way for the "Whatever" Center (currently Fleet Bank)that stands there now.

My Father lived in Andover for decades and I took trains out of North Station pretty frequently to go visit him, in high school I went to concerts at the old Boston Garden and worked stuffing envelopes for The Yankee Group just a block away. In my 20's I drank at both The Penalty Box and The Harp, even tho I haven't really been in that area with any frequency in quite a while (A Springsteen show at the "Whatever" Center a couple of years ago might have been the last time...) but even so many years later, something about this image clicked "North Station" in my head.

A fun find that definately makes me want to go back to North Station and look around, maybe even look up, something I can't recall ever doing when there in the past...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An early spring stroll down the Arborway...

Not quite Lilac Sunday yet but circumstance had me looking for a parking sot at the Faulkner Hospital a couple of days ago and with both garages full to the brim, I parked over on the Arborway and walked back. No harm done as even if the flowers aren't yet in bloom, there was plenty of neat things to look at along the way.... I really liked this tree with the branches growing strait up from the big sideways branch: Kinda perplexed by the war memorial that leaves enough room for many more wars to come, that doesn't seem very hopeful... The Poor Clare Nuns have an annual summertime yard sale style fund raiser that is always full of great stuff from surrounding attics and garages great and small, they also have a November fund raiser that is exclusively religious themed ceramics and such. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for Grandma, this is the place to go. This monestary was originally built in 1934 but it seems to have gone through quite a few renovations since then, I think that would be a neat kind of thing to look up and learn more about. For being so poor, the nuns really know how to keep house, the building looks great but the very lovely (and expensive to live in) condos further up the hill look far older than this building. I didn't take pictures of the condos as they are behind fences and people live there and such so it seemed kind of rude to walk up thier driveway and start taking pictures of thier house. Tho, the nuns live here and are intenesely private themselves, they don't have a big tall fence around thier home so I can only figure they are ok with a few snapshots from passerby. Blogging photo ethics, looks like that's something else I'm gonig to have to look up when I find the time...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

From The Phoenix Newspaper (Boston, MA) Sept 28, 1971

By Stan Trachtenberg

West Street in downtown Boston is between Tremont and Washington, just around the corner from the Combat Zone. Nudie movies, hard core porn novelties and book stores. A lot of popcorn around. Mickey Finn's is on the end of the block. Around the corner at the Mayflower, the first Boston showing of "Nurse Made". But in the middle of the block in a five story building that used to be the old Codman estate and is now owned by the Boston Art Museum there's George Gloss's Bratte Book Store-at least for a while.
Since opening in a basement at 32 Brattle Street nearly 25 years ago, Gloss has been forced to move four times by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Each time he has held giant sales and then given away most of his remaining stock. It keeps getting harder each time. Gloss, whofigures he takes in over 2000 books each weekcurrently has 350,000 titles piles up. Along with maps, posters, movie stills, stereopticon slides, and artifacts his wife and daughters borugh back froma trip to Equador, the books choke the stalls on all five sloors and spill over onto the aisles and along the stairway.
Gloss gets up at six in the morning every day to find more. He goes to junkyards, to warehouses, thrift shops, charity sales. "It's like a treasure hunt," he explains, "I feel like a kid looking for buried treasure."
Once he found a $5 diary of the Gold Rush by a man named John Miller who left Boston for California in 1849.. Another of his finds was an 1833 edition of Beaumont's classic study of the digestive system. Both went for $750. More recently he came across what he thinks is a letter from Andre Previn noting that his wife, Mia Farrow, planned to play Joan of Arc using real fire at the stake.
Gloss is ready to move all the time. Even behind the large desk right at the door he is always in motion, answering the phone, ringing up a sale, or just talking to his customers. They range from Red Skelton to the Reverend Frederick Meek of the Old South Church. From the late President Kennedy to a man with cracked glasses trying to supplent his relief check by selling an old copy of Elmer Gantry. Gloss has time for everyone. Even the more than 200 applicants who showed up last winter when he advertised for a store clerk. One of them loved books so much he drew a heart with an arrow through it on his letter. "We don't sell books here, anyway," Gloss says, "We give therapy."
A white haired old lady in a house dress down to her ankles comes up with two paperbacks: Teen Age Terror is one, The Greatest Story Ever Told is the other. George sells them without blinking. AS she goes out he turns as though correcting an impression. "We get a lot of young people in here," he says, "a lot of college students." Sure enough one of them looking a slightly pregnant 15 comes up with a copy of Roget's Thesaurus. It cost $1. Gloss wraps it in a double stregnth grocery bag, the only large one he has handy. "As far as this store is concerned," he says, McLuhan doesn't exist-except to my customers. They read him."
Gloss isn't worried about the pron shops that keep opening around the corner, either. "Listen, " he says, "We've always had that stuff around. All the way from Upton Sinclair's fig leaf edition of Oil ( in which fig leaves were substituted for objectionable material in a Boston printing.) We carried Krafft Ebbig and Freud and Stekel. I'll tell you men used to come up to ask for Boccaccio and Maupassant in whispers. All those unexpurged books they used to think of as spicy. Now they're right out on the table. I don't think that market today is much of a threat. The minute something becomes too available, people get bored with it."
A woman with a rich southern accent comes to ask about "Lincoln" books. "Abraham or Joe," Gloss asks her, "Joe" she says, laughing in a friendly way. Gloss ducks from behind the desk to show her the section.
"I tell you one threat to the book business," he says when he comes back, "the BRA. Urban renewal is kicking the bookshops out of those old buildings where the rests are low. Book sellers can't live in the center of the city any more. They're moving to the suburbs and even further out. They're moving into old barns, things like that."
He grabs the phone off teh hook as though he expected someone from the Authority t be on the other end. Instead he assures the caller that he can get as many copies of Anna and the King of Siam as they want. As soon as he hangs up it rings again. This time someone wants Bill Buckley's McCarthy and His Enemies. Gloss asks his son Kenny to look in the conservative section. "You'd be surprised how large that's gotten in the last year or so," he says. "That and woman's lib and black power. That's a big jump from when I first started out. It used to be a lot of science fiction. H.P. Lovecraft, that sort of thing. Now they read Herman Hesse. Serious stuff, you know." His son came back to say they were out of the Buckley book.
A man comes up to the desk wearing a green sport shirt hanging over his pants. The pants are coffee brown, cut full in the legs the way they wore them in the '40s. "Do you think you can use this somewhere George?" hes asks, handing over a folded newspaper. The Sporting News 1946. "Careful, you've got two of them there."
Gloss seperates them carefully. "1946, that's like yesterday."
"Yesterday? Here let me show you something. This pitcher for Cleveland, Feller? It shows you where he made $175,000 with all his tours and everything. That was a lot of moeny in those days."
Gloss offers him $1.
"Can you let me have $1.75. I am a business man too, you know."
"What business, " Gloss wants to know.
"Oh, hell, any business is business, you know?"
"Well, " Gloss says. "I'll tell you. If you want to hold onto these for about 50 more years they might be worth something. Right now a dollar is all I can give you for them."
"Well, I think I'll hold onto them then," the sport shirt tells him. "My daughter is learning to type. Maybe I'll get her to write to one of these here people they write about. They might want to have one of these. Listen, you ought to get some air conditioning in here. The hell with the customers. You got to take care of yourself."
It's probably the one thing he's said that Gloss hasn't listened to.