City

A Diehard Boston Bruins Fan and the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

I bleed black and gold.

Before you call 911 on me, hold the phone. No, I don’t actually bleed black and gold. No, I’m not going to prove it to you. Take my word for it. What I mean by that is I am a diehard fan of the Boston Bruins, the hockey team of the greater Boston area/New England. Bruins hockey (metaphorically!) runs through my veins.

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City

From The Suburbs To The City

Walking out my front door to see a view of a Cul De Sac with suburban houses immediately makes me miss the city. I hear over and over again that “Austin IS a city.” Yes it is, but can I walk from my house to a Forever 21 in 10 minutes? Nope.

Moving from Austin to Boston was quite the adjustment for me. Not only is there a huge change of scenery, there is a huge chance of pace. In the city everything fast paced and high energy. I will literally plan my day by the hour in Boston. I didn’t always use to be this way. Before I moved here I didn’t even own a planner. Being immersed in this new culture has made me a much more productive person.

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City

Grocery Stores in Boston: Ranked

Grocery shopping is one of the worst activities in the world, and I am incredibly bad at it. I always put it off until the last possible minute, until my food stores are down to four baby carrots and a handful of animal crackers. I always end up shopping when I’m hungry, which is a baseline no-no. And I always get unbelievably bored while I’m doing it, ending up tossing things in my basket to speed up the process until my receipt looks like someone set an eleven-year-old loose in the cookie aisle.

In my endeavors to make this errand more tolerable, I have come up with a rubric for grocery store perfection. Here are six grocery stores in the Boston area, judged for price, location, snack selection, and overall vibe – on a scale where one is bad and five is utopian.

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Campus, City

The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving the Train in Boston

The Boston Train system, known fondly as “the T” to us locals, has become my second home.

I take the train back home every Friday to good ol’ Lynn, Massachusetts. You can find me squished between the gentleman in the wrinkled business suit and the old woman knitting a scarf. I hop on the Green Line at the Boylston station, take a train to Government Center, then connect over to the Blue Line. From there, I sit tight all the way to the last stop: Wonderland.

I’d like to consider myself a professional T rider at this point. While I’m most accustomed to the Green and Blue Lines, I’ve also traveled on every single other line at some time or another. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable taking the T—I’ve only had one panic attack in a T station this whole year, and that was because I’m weak and couldn’t lift my suitcase on to the train (I decided I needed to bring home several pairs of shoes that week).

Being the aficionado I am, I decided to come up with a list of the five best tips I have for taking the train in Boston. Listen up, rookies:

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City

The Life of a Bartender

Margaritas, martinis, mojitos; they sound similar, but they are completely different. Some need to be shaken, some need to be stirred, some need to be muddled, but they all need to be garnished. I am not an expert on alcohol. Even now, after being a bartender at The Shaking Crab restaurant for almost two months, I still have to ask my manager questions about how to make things, especially customer requests that are “off menu”. For instance, one day someone asked me for a cosmopolitan. While it is a common drink and I have heard of several times already, I had no idea what exactly went into it. I proceeded to google the recipe and give it my best shot. I never got any complaints, so I guess I did it right.

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City

Get Outside!

Spring is approaching, although some days it seems like Spring will never arrive…shiver. That being said, it’s time to start thinking about getting outdoors. One thing I was was very worried about going to college in the city is the city’s lack of connection to nature. However, as I started to adjust to the very different landscape compared to my suburban town, I realized nature was still everywhere. Among the sparrows chirping in the early morning, squirrels making the Boston Common a land to call their own, and the roots of trees tearing up the sidewalks in the North End, nature is everywhere. . .You just have to look.

According to the Department of Parks and Recreation (no it’s not just a TV show it’s a real thing), Boston has 2,100 acres of parks. . .That’s a lot of green space for a city! And even more waterfront areas to explore! I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite secret spots aside from the Boston Common to breathe in the fresh (city) air and take in some good ol’ nature.

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City

Hidden Secrets of the BPL

Let’s face it: Emerson College’s Iwasaki library is not the quietest place to work. From archaic printers churning out hundred-page movie scripts, to students complaining that Emerson doesn’t have access to any source materials worth using for a thesis paper (the struggle is truly real), there’s really no place to procure some quiet time. Even if you don’t go to Emerson, I’m sure you can relate to the struggle of being unable to find a serene space on-campus.

Keep calm, fellow Emersonians! There’s a place close to campus where you can go and not only do your work but grab a bite to eat and get cultured as well: The Boston Public Library.

The BPL is on Boylston Street, and is just a fifteen-minute walk from Emerson’s campus (perhaps a bit longer for you poor souls who live in paramount). This means you can get in your exercise without having to go to the gym; yay physical activity! On the way to the BPL, there are also a surplus of places to eat, so if you get hungry on the way, you can always stop by Panera or Chipotle for a quick food break.

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City

Wag: Tinder for Dogs

The hardest thing for me about moving to college was not leaving my friends, family, own room, or even free food… It was leaving my dog. Sophie was everything to me, and still is. She was, in internet terms, a perfect floofer that I had the liberty of cuddling with when I was having a bad day, or when I just wanted some lovin’. My first week of Boston, I had somes serious pupper withdrawals; symptoms include: waking up in the middle of the night petting your pillow, having every background picture on your devices a picture of your pupper, and calling home and asking to speak with said pupper.

I knew this could not continue, so when I heard about doggo Tinder, (Wag), I signed up immediately. The sign-up process and background check took about two weeks, and after that I was in! I began to get notifications from ever floofer, woofer, and pupper in a 2 mile radius. I could not believe my eyes as countless pictures flooded my phone of dogs who wanted to be walked by me, me! I accepted the first walk that was two miles away in South Boston, (mistake). It took me an hour to get there and I crossed two bridges, a major highway, and traversed through questionable neighborhoods. Nevertheless, I was thrilled about my first walk and was overjoyed to meet Sam, a pitbull mix. I continued to do Wag walks for the next few months, sometimes three times a day.

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City

Boston Bucket List

As the end of the of the first semester is coming to an end, there is still so much of Boston that my friends and I have been wanting to explore. My friend group consists of people from all over: two from California, one from Delaware, two from Texas (including me), two from New York, one all the way from London, and one from Boston. So we discussed with our Bostonian friend some of the things he wanted to do and he replied with “done that” multiple times, but he also sometimes replied, “I haven’t done that.” In a group meeting, we all brainstormed the places in Boston we wanted to go to and we decided to make a “Boston Bucket List” that we are determined to finish by the end of freshman year.

Ice Skating in the Frog Pond 

Now that the Frog Pond has opened into an ice skating rink. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to go ice skating in the Boston Common. They offer student discounts for ice skating admission, but keep in mind there are skate rental prices and if needed locker rentals.

Follow the Freedom Trail

While exploring Boston, at times we have come across the Freedom Trail. So now we are determined to follow the trail. The trail is 2.5 miles long and passes through 16 significant history locations. On the trail, the history of the American Revolution is told through the trail. After learning about the American Revolution in history class, it’ll be fascinating to see some of the sites in person.

Go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

We’ve heard so many good things about the Isabella Stewart Gardner, and as Emerson students, we get free admission. Located in Fenway, this museum offers many art collections and interactive experiences. This museum was created by the vision of Isabella Stewart Gardner and offers a homey yet regal feel. On the website, there is a multitude of special events throughout the months that are perfect for groups of people.

Eat at Wahlburgers

 If you’re like me my friends and me, you love a good burger. After seeing the TV show Wahlburgers and numerous Mark Wahlberg movies, I decided that I must go to Wahlburgers while in Boston. Wahlburgers is located all over Massachusetts, but the location closest to Emerson is in the Fenway area.

Go to the beach

Growing up in Texas, I have experienced Texas beaches. Now I want to see what East Coast beaches. When it gets warmer, my friends and I are planning to head to Carson Beach which is located in South Boston. We chose this beach because of the location and because my friend from Massachusetts recommended it. So I guess I will see if the Massachusetts beach beats Texas beaches (which should not be too hard).

Eat a cannoli at Mike’s Pastries

I have always wanted to try Mike’s Pastries, but I have always been too impatient to stand in the long line. Once I am ready to face the line, I am so excited to try one of the famous cannolis.

Go to a fancy dinner at the Four Seasons

Don’t get me wrong, we love eating at the dining hall every day, but every once in awhile it’s nice to eat out. My friends and I have devised a plan to dress up fancy and indulge in a dinner at the Four Seasons for the night.

Go to a Celtics, Bruins, and/or Red Sox game

After living in Boston, I have definitely hopped on the Boston fandom bandwagon (I even got a Red Sox hat and a Patriots shirt). With some of the greatest teams in the leagues, it would be silly to not take advantage of seeing them play live. My friends and I are planning on attending a Celtics game soon even though we will probably be in the nosebleed section… But hey, it’s all about the experience, right?

Here are just a few items on a list that continues to grow. While we are in college in this amazing city, we need to take advantage of all the city has to offer. It’s still crazy to me that we get to go to school in such an amazing city! I hope that you and your friends can enjoy some of the same adventures that my friends and I plan on going on. For more Boston bucket list ideas, I linked some below. Happy exploring!

Links:

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/boston/things-to-do-in-boston-bucket-list

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2017/05/04/bucket-list-things-boston/Uwe9zM7Kad0nsBvASycc4O/story.html

https://passionsandplaces.com/2016/11/08/the-ultimate-boston-bucket-list/

 

City

Boston Common Dogs: An Investigation

I walk through the Boston Common bare minimum twice a day. For better or worse, I spend a significant portion of my life traversing the paths of the oldest city park in the United States.

Today, we’re focusing on the better, and that better has a name. Dogs.

I may not love walking through the Common all the time, but something I do love is that it is constantly filled with dogs. Small dogs and big dogs and puppies and the dog-elderly, most of them off leashes, all of them having a full-on blast.

But I have had a lingering question on these walks, a question of such deep significance it refuses to leave my mind for longer than moments at a time:

Are these planned dog playdates? Or spontaneous friendships forming between dog-strangers?

Despite my inherent reluctance to speak to the glamorous dog owners of Beacon Hill, it was time to investigate.

Thankfully, we live in the age of the Internet, and I was able to conduct an exhaustive investigation using only my laptop and the need to know whether there was an online dog-owner community I could stalk in order to be aware and later take advantage of the most dog-heavy hours.

My research began with the extensive and pretentiously-written Parks Rules and Regulations of the city of Boston. Immediately, I was given the shock of my life; Section 5 includes the statement, “No person shall, in any public park […] have or allow any animal, except a dog on a leash no longer than eight feet.”

It was a concept I had never considered. Were these dogs committing acts designated as illegal by Boston Parks and Recreation? Am I witnessing the cutest, fluffiest residents of Boston break the law on a daily basis? I had to find out more.

I delved into Google, finding only a Yahoo group called “Boston Common Dogs,” the last post of which was seven years ago—a user called CoOlBoY writing about parrots, for some reason. It was a dead end.

My first real clue came from an elegantly-designed website called Bring Fido, dedicated to giving tips to dog owners on ideal locations. Information on the Common was extraordinarily limited: a single review, a single photo, and a single sentence description. Although the photo is full-on amazing (see above), I had eyes for only one thing: the answers and new questions contained within that one statement of description.

“There are dedicated hours where dogs may play off-leash, but they are welcome leashed at all times.”

It was a lead if I’d ever seen one (which, in my limited investigative experience, I had not). If I were to find these off-leash hours, would they correspond to the heavenly times when hordes of dogs frolicked together, free in the oldest city park in America?

This question led me to the site Fido Loves, essentially a more long-winded, less well-designed version of Bring Fido with a very similar but more fragmented name.

The revelations contained within the essay-length entry on the Common were twofold.

First, the reveal of a private Facebook group: The Common Canine. It’s uber-exclusive at only 648 members, and Fido Loves cautioned, “It is a group open only to local dog owners in order to keep discussions focused on the needs of Boston dogs.” As I sent my request to join, I was overcome by thoughts of how to slip in unnoticed. Perhaps I had a picture with a dog I could change my profile to . . . Maybe a quick post stating, “Wow, I love taking my dog, who I definitely own and who definitely exists in the city of Boston, to play in the delineated areas allowed by Boston Parks and Rec.”

Deep within this train of thought, I received a notification. After 15 seconds (presumably dedicated to an intensive examination of my Facebook profile) I was admitted into the Common Canine.

A scan of the last few months of posts revealed four equally important facts.

  1. No concrete meetup time planning occurred.
  2. There was still a sense of community within the dog owners of Boston Common that could only be created by regular dog/human bonding.
  3. Every time a new member was added, a post was made greeting both the two- and four-legged, and I needed to get the dickens out of this group before I was discovered.
  4. The excellence of the dog pictures and the rigor with which dog-related events were shared convinced me there was no way I could leave this group.

I had never felt more undercover detective-y (and therefore cool) in my entire human existence.

But Fido Loves’ Bible-length posting contained another revelation within its millions of words: “Dogs are allowed off-leash during the morning hours between 5 am and 10 am, and then again in the evening between 4 pm and 9 pm.”

The investigation was complete. There was only one thing left to do: Trawl Boston Common at optimized hours for dogs to pet—now equipped with the knowledge only the Common Canine could grant me.