More Irish than the Irish themselves, Jake O’Brien gets to grips with the beauty of Boston
Boston: the land of twisted Irish accents, oddly planned buildings and historical paths… sorry, sidewalks. Boston truly is a monument to the consumerist ideals that all but vanish if you head ten minutes north on their outrageously large highways. Nonetheless, this is indeed a wondrous city.
Paved with history from the American War of Independence right up to the seeming monopoly of Dunkin’ Donuts, the city of Boston becomes a live-in cultural greenhouse. There is literally an example of every stereotyped persona you can imagine: a crusty gangster with his pants falling down yelling across the square to his bee-atch; the lost wino who badly needs to tell you about a concrete pillar that he fell over back in 1962; the fast-paced business executive that wreaks of Patrick Bateman; the ferociously pretentious Harvard student that hangs around the peripheral bushes by the Ivy League hub. It’s all in there. But these are the minority. These are the teeming factions of negativity and they are loud.
Don’t blow your brains out yet. Warmth is found in the unprecedented number of warm, reasonable and friendly folk that a tourist finds lurking behind your hotel counter or skulking in a restaurant. Boston, then, is the epicentre of rational humanity for the Eastern seaboard of the US-of-A. Make no mistake about it: this city, more than any other I have seen, is embodied solely in its inhabitants. This may sound fuzzy and heart-warming and dreadfully clichéd, but it’s true. These are proud, interesting and caring people who will stop and help if the situation calls for it. From Faneuil Hall to the Symphony Hall and back to the legendary Quincy Hall (get yourself a burrito in there… seriously) there is not one aspect of this city that could not entertain even the most cynical of tourists, and there is rarely a person you could not talk to.
Moreover, it is important to remember two things: Purchase and consume a few bottles of the native Sam Adams beer, then get the hell out of the city for at least a day. The gloriously upside down nature of the state of New Hampshire is a mere twenty minutes away, and up in these badlands one can personally tour the untainted grounds of the original Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Here the supposed headless Hessian is indeed buried quite close to Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.
On your return to the big bad smoke of Boston, MA, please do so by the highways and not via the extensive subway network. Feel your jaw loosen and descend into awe as the city skyline surrounds the bay and creeps up over the crest of the concrete thoroughfare. Maybe you will get lucky; maybe the sun will be in just the right place, beaming in just the right way to illuminate the insane and esoteric nature that flows gently from the belly of the beast that is Boston.