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Observations from Boston - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Observations from Boston [Dec. 11th, 2010|11:48 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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  • I've never been anywhere in the US with such ubiquitous jaywalking (Edit: there's Manhattan, of course, but I'm not sure if it's true of the rest of NYC. Someone clue me in?)
  • A lot of people still have the accent, but I assume it will die out eventually
  • Not counting the Greater Boston area, the city isn't as big as Bostonites seem to want to believe
  • After about 4 hours of walking around in sub-freezing weather, you get desensitized and it's easy to walk indefinitely after that
  • Holy crap Harvard has a lot of money
  • The taxi situation is the best I've experienced in the US (in terms of cost + convenience)
  • The distribution of chains is very different. I noticed a lot of Dunkin Donuts and Ann Taylor
I have somewhat unusual interests in traveling, and I'm befuddled by the nature of standard tourist activities and destinations. I spent a few hours doing them anyway just in case I was missing something amazing, but as expected, it was all like, "here's a really old building and here's a statue of a dead guy who was really important." Grrreat. Chinatown was the only moderately interesting thing but nevertheless a letdown after being spoiled by San Francisco's.

I spent an hour roaming around inside Mass General, which is my kind of travel activity. I enjoyed it, but it didn't yield quite as many insights into the human condition as I'd hoped for. I should have done more of the offbeat stuff and planned it better. The other thing I usually do is talk to strangers and homeless people. I didn't do quite as much of that as I'd wanted to, either. I guess there's always a next time.
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Comments:
From: fixious
2010-12-12 05:09 am (UTC)
If you like museums, you should check out the MIT museum and the Isabela Stewart Gardner.

If you can time your next visit, try for the fall.

Re: jaywalking -- worse than NYC? And I think most northern big cities tend to have enough jaywalking that I don't even really notice it.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2010-12-12 05:12 am (UTC)
Ha, I edited that comment right before I saw this. Yeah, it could just be a "northern big cities" thing. I haven't been to that many of them. I don't recall much jaywalking in DC, but I wasn't there very long.

I did go to the MIT museum. It was good. I'll try the other one next time. Thanks for the suggestions.
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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-12-12 05:16 am (UTC)
In NYC the jaywalking laws used to be enforced. Also, because of the traffic patterns it is much more difficult to jaywalk in NYC than in Boston.
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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-12-12 05:12 am (UTC)
Why didn't you tell me you were going to Boston? I grew up in Boston. I could have told you a number of interesting and exciting places to go.

Next time you are in Boston you HAVE to see this:
http://www.cosentini.com/portfolio/pblc_usfedbost.html
The view of the waterfront is fantastic.

Also, it is my opinion that legal seafoods is absolutely worth eating at. Although I hear there is a mysterious fish store with a very long line in a secret location with the best seafood. But I have never been there. So I don't know where it is.

I've never been anywhere in the US with such ubiquitous jaywalking

I did not notice this until you pointed that out. But that is true.

A lot of people still have the accent, but I assume it will die out eventually

Do accents die out? I know they change over time but to my knowledge are usually not eliminated.

Holy crap Harvard has a lot of money

I usually think of it as "Holy shit Harvard has a stick stuck miles up its ass." but maybe that is because I grew up about 1/2 an hour away from it.

Boston's Chinatown is overrated. If you are on this end of the U.S. you should just skip it and hit up NYC Chinatown. It's hole in the wall seafood restaurants are not though.
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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-12-12 05:14 am (UTC)
Legal Seafoods is a restaurant in Boston. Of course, now it is everywhere. But people in Boston pretend it isn't.


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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2010-12-12 05:18 am (UTC)
Yes, I am aware that you grew up in Boston. It occurred to me as soon as I thought of making a Livejournal post. This trip was entirely ill-planned in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. My apologies.

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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-12-12 05:20 am (UTC)
It's okay. I wasn't entirely sure if you were aware or not. Sometimes wondering around a strange city is fun all on its own.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2010-12-12 05:25 am (UTC)
Next time you are in Boston you HAVE to see this:
http://www.cosentini.com/portfolio/pblc_usfedbost.html
The view of the waterfront is fantastic.


That sounds like something I would enjoy very much. Thank you. But I can't seem to find it on Google maps. Where exactly is it located?

I know they change over time but to my knowledge are usually not eliminated.

That has certainly been true historically, but only because mass media wasn't pervasive. In modern times I doubt if any regional accent will survive for more than one or two more generations, but I could be wrong.

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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-12-12 05:30 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2010-12-12 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: ephermata
2010-12-12 06:51 pm (UTC)
Au Bon Pain at Harvard Square is not a bad place to talk with random people. It's better during warmer months when we have open air seating.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2010-12-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
I was there but there weren't that many people and all I managed was one short conversation. You're right, it's probably better in the summer (but then everything about Boston/Cambridge is :-))
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