The Boston that hasn’t changed

the Common

the Common

Revisiting a city where you’ve spent a lot of time is always a strange experience.  On the one hand, you immediately notice how it’s changed, all the new construction and the lack of familiar faces. It doesn’t seem like the city you knew, and you realize it is no longer yours, that life here has gone on without you and that it now belongs to a whole new generation of people.  But then you start to see beyond that, and you’re surprised by how many things you knew still remain.

I lived in the Boston area for six years, leaving in 1980, and I hadn’t been back since 1997.   I’ve gotten used to western cities, where everything is new, and to New York, where change is more rapid and extreme.  Boston has many new things (more on this in a later post), but all the old streets and places felt very familiar – I didn’t need a map, I always knew what would be around the next corner.  This is the first place we’ve visited on this trip where I had lived, and it was strange to be in these old places with Greta, who belongs to a very different part of my life.

perhaps the most beautiful state house in the country

perhaps the most beautiful state house in the country

Beacon Hill, the pleasure of a quiet, Federalist neighborhood in the center of the city.

Louisburg Square

Louisburg Square

the second Harrison Gray Otis house

the second Harrison Gray Otis house

Mt. Vernon St.

Mt. Vernon St.

one of my favorite houses, at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Joy Streets

one of my favorite houses, at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Joy Streets

the third Harrison Gray Otis house, on Cambridge St.

the first Harrison Gray Otis house, on Cambridge St.

The newer houses on Pinckney looked very good – as the rules were relaxed and architects had some fun.

Pinckney St.

Pinckney St.

Pinckney St.

Pinckney St.

Greta has remarkably little interest in conventional history, and we intersected with the Freedom Trail once in a while rather than following it.

the Granary Burying Ground, on Tremont

the Granary Burying Ground, on Tremont

the Old City hall

the Old City hall

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Marshall St., one of the few near Dock Square left unscathed by the Central Artery and Government Center

Marshall St., one of the few near Dock Square left unscathed by the Central Artery and Government Center

Copping Hill burial ground

Copping Hill burial ground

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Boston's unwillingness to discard the old was very evident at the Boston Sailing Center. Even though they had added some new boats, it appears that all the Solings I sailed when I belonged in 1979 are still there

Boston’s unwillingness to discard the old was very evident at the Boston Sailing Center. Even though they had added some new boats, it appears that all the Solings I sailed when I belonged in 1979 are still there

Quincy Market, with the same bunch of tourists

Quincy Market, with the same bunch of tourists

on Comm Ave

on Comm Ave

the Boston Public Library, McKim Mead and White

the Boston Public Library, McKim Mead and White, one of the greatest public buildings in the country

the Abbey mural room at the BPL

the Abbey mural room at the BPL

the BPL reading room

the BPL reading room

And then there are many parts of the city which are not really that old, but they were there when you were, so they too are bathed in the glow of memory.

the Richard Haas mural at the BAC

the Richard Haas mural at the BAC

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