Friday, June 27, 2014

Boston Central Library...and more

I had heard about the Boston Central Library located downtown, across from Copley Square.

BPL has 26 sites around the city area.

First I noticed there were no lions out front, guarding the entrance.

A few steps inside, I saw the Library Cats, posed and poised at the top of the stairs in back-lighted serenity.

What a beautiful scene.

Arriving late in the day, I knew it closed at 5 pm so I hurried around the place.

Wanted to visit each floor and carry away vivid memories of this impressive  BPL flagship.
The Main Reading room was huge.

The towering ceiling, the rows and rows of green-shaded lamps at all the tables.

And comfortable chairs that encourage lengthy marathon reading sessions.

The Central library has 64 computers for use by the public.

It also is a wireless hotspot for myriad cellphones, tablets and laptops.

Oh yeah, and plenty of printed books.
So, despite the lack of "traditional" lions out front, it was an excellent stop on my return tour of Boston.

Apparently  the 44th annual Gay Pride Parade and Festival was set for the next weekend

That would help explain why so many flags and banners in support of the LGBT community were visible flying proudly all over town.

As the link says, the parade included 25,000 marchers in 200 different groups.

The Massachusetts Governor and the Boston Mayor led the parade.
Just half a block off the famed Freedom Trail in Boston, close to Faneuil Hall, is the New England Holocaust Memorial.

Strong. Very moving.

The six glass towers represent the six death camps.

As you walk a path through the towers, you see numbers etched in white on the tinted glass, identifying numbers that had been assigned to victims.

The link gives more precise directions and names the four streets that form a square around it.

 Walking along the Freedom Trail, the self-guide tour through American history, you pass many delightful sights.

I try to compose with a contrast of the very old and the new.

In this particular picture, I maneuvered around for the best possible angle.

Naturally I had to step in the way of traffic a few times but I was careful and waited until there was a break in the flow.

Despite all my efforts though, a tri-color traffic light was impossible to exclude.

If I adjusted for it, I picked up signs and other visual interruptions.

 Even a person from Boston now probably would not see where it "really was" before I Photoshopped it out of the way.

By the Visitors Center on the Commons, I overheard a tour guide say there were four competing companies with narrated walking tours.

Hmmmm. On my smartphone, I could trace the Trail map and read the salient historic points all along "The Trail."

I spotted this tour guide resting on a bench, looking at HIS cellphone.

Maybe he was sizing up the competition? On "ye olde smartphone."

Or playing "Angry Birds."

I did not stop and ask him.

Later, over in Cambridge, I paused at the entrance to Harvard.

Across the street, there was another competition going.

Chess battles.

Multiple tables, timers, seating and lots of standing room for onlookers.

I suspect money passed hands as winners "beat the clock" and won.

Now, if it had been checkers...I still would have lost.

These were serious players.

Walking up a steep hill on the "Trail"on the way to Bunker Hill,  I noticed the "skinny house" at 44 Hull Street.

Actually I had read about it but didn't spot it at first.

Knowing the street number helped me locate Boston's "narrowest house."

It really did look like an addition but then I spotted the "front door" on the left side of the 4-story home.

The link will give you "the rest of the story" of the house built in 1862.

Yes, it was constructed by a noted shipbuilder and measures 10.4 feet at its widest - on the outside.

Inside, it's 9 and a half feet from wall to wall.

In ship talk, that would be "the beam."
The nearby Leonard P. Zakim bridge,
known locally as the Bunker Hill Bridge. is a very visible product of the Big Dig.

That gigantic  project drastically improved traffic flow, reduced congestion and  reunited downtown Boston with the waterfront.

The link quotes many engineering studies that went into the design of the distinctive two pylon cable-stayed structure.

It links downtown with the "Tip" O'Neill Tunnel, scooting traffic in and out.

No studies factored in my using a fisheye lens effect to bend and warp the bridge image into all sorts of impossible
angles and curves..

Looks like a a giant wishbone. Make a wish?

I did see a marketing principle at a tavern dating back to the 1700s.

The large pull on the draft no doubt presented a truism for bars and selling beer and ales.

I'm just a bit disappointed it was not being used to pour a Samuel Adams Seasonal.

Local brewer. And Patriot.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

So, my stay in Beantown involved history, engineering, monuments, libraries, chess, gay pride, shipbuilding and selling more beer.

Did I mention I love lobster rolls?

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