Boston in 3 days

Do a trip report here....go to another city and want to relate it to what KC is doing right or could do better? Give us a summary in here.
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moderne
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Boston in 3 days

Post by moderne » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:26 pm

Had 4 nights reserved at the Yotel in the Seaport district. Great location just across the channel from downtown. Called the hotel the day before to tell them we would not arrive until after 1 in the morning and please do not release our room. Was assured no problem. Flight was hour late, arrived at hotel and was told we had no room for the first two nights, ok for the second two. They put us up in Hotel Indigo about 15 miles west of DT. Yotel did pay for Ubers back and forth to city. Indigo ok but restaurant breakfast staff was one cook and 2 servers with a line of a dozen waiting to be seated.
First day did the Freedom Trail. Old State House, Fauneil Hall, Old north Church, Paul Revere house, USS Constitution. Very walkable, more history packed together and preserved than any other major US city.
Second day finally got into room at Yotel. Not a micro room but close. Room designer designs the sleeping cubicles on transpacific flights. The head of the bed rises and was comfy, but when you lower it flat it moves into the space at the foot of the bed. Tight squeeze in the middle of the night. The bathroom was on the window end of the room with an actual operable window. Bathroom was all glass walls with separate cubicle for large shower and much wasted space for water closet. On the glass wall of bathroom opposite bed was a curtain that could be pulled for privacy, but not light blocking so had to wake bedmate up if using facilities in middle of night. Had nice coffee bar in lobby with small menu and nice rooftop lounge. Seaport has cranes everywhere since new convention center built. Everything seems to be in 12-20 floor range with Seaport in airport glide path.
Spent morning at Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the Fens area. Surprised to see cousin of our Cyrus Dallin "Scout"(Penn Valley) on front stairs with arms raised to the heavens, not hidden and vandalized like ours. After that walked through Back Bay to the Prudential Center. Sort of a Crown Center but much more like a conventional shopping mall with hotels and offices. Had a hard time even finding the entrance from the street. Went to to top "Skywalk" for a panoramic view of Boston. The 3 tallest buildings in town are not downtown, but clustered in Back Bay. Downtown proper has no buildings taller than any in KC, but a lot more of them. From Prudential walked through lovely area of row houses, but row mansions would be more descriptive. This led into Boston Garden, adjacent to Boston Common.
Final day took train out to the Kennedy museum. Was a little disappointed how dated displays were and the (non) treatment of the assassination.
One thing of note: you cannot actually visit the site of the Boston Tea Party as it no longer exists. It is now solid ground several blocks from the water. I was surprised how much of inner Boston is built on barely above sea level landfill: a good portion of downtown, the seaport, the airport, back bay, and MIT. Also the tremendous infrastructure of tunnels. A few more decades of ocean level rise will be disastrous. I do not see how these areas can be protected. While most of Boston is safe on hills large areas will probably have to be abandoned.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by brewcrew1000 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:48 pm

I always heard that Boston has no large buildings and lackluster skyline is because the ground around downtown is very swampy/marshy so it prevented them from building anything tall

We are headed there in October for 2 nights on our way back from Europe but I think we are gonna skip Boston (never been a fan of Boston) and head to Providence/Fall River. I am in love with this Portuguese Bakery in Providence and need to get my fill on Pastéis de Nata and Sweet Breads.

I love Providence and the Fall River/Providence always interests me because of the immigration waves from Portugal, Azore Islands and Cape Verde that settled in the region. I wanna try Cape Verdian food. People think of Boston/New England as this Irish/English place but it's so much more.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:00 am

moderne wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:26 pm
Very walkable, more history packed together and preserved than any other major US city.
Philly's Center City on par if not more accessible with its early history. A sister lived in Boston for many years and I'd hit city for work at times. I like the physical city but it really can be pretty difficult to deal with the reputation of the rudeness of the people when you dig into the weeds. Took some getting used to in workplace, compared to say Philly that is almost as brash but doesn't come across as personal. Boston is a very proud city otherwise and I admired that.

Did you try some lobster or local seafood?

edit: I've stayed in Indigo a couple times and liked two things about it that I'd go again... the most comfortable bed and white noise generators. Not sure if all have them but the 2 I stayed in did and I slept great. Usually don't sleep well first night in hotels and had no issue at Indigos.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by moderne » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:27 am

Guess I was lucky, all the locals I interacted with were friendly. In a packed Fanueil Hall(America's oldest food hall?) with no seats available a young Harvard student insisted that I take her stool then conversed with me for an hour. Going back to the airport on the train(subway) again with no seats available a woman gave me her seat and vowed to guard my large suitcase sitting in the aisle. Had lobster at a very fine place on the waterfront near the Fed Reserve and found it no more expensive than in KC.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:50 am

Nice. Thinking more about workplace with my experience. There's an interesting balance of small gesture/etiquette on E Coast and protecting the personal circle. And the services industry is more competent out there with higher standards in my experience too.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by brewcrew1000 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:20 am

Boston has some of the worst drivers in the Nation, they are absolutely horrible. Probably why they call them Massholes. Driving in Boston sucks, i swear i get lost every single time, When you think your going north, your going east, if you going south your going west, its so confusing

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by Highlander » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:24 pm

brewcrew1000 wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:20 am
Boston has some of the worst drivers in the Nation, they are absolutely horrible. Probably why they call them Massholes. Driving in Boston sucks, i swear i get lost every single time, When you think your going north, your going east, if you going south your going west, its so confusing
While I agree Boston can be difficult to navigate in a car, I was surprised how chill the driving is there. I've been up there a lot lately and I've never had any issues, getting out of town on the interstate is remarkably civil. I guess coming from Houston (where the drivers are truly the worst drivers in the nation), I am pleasantly surprised by drivers just about anywhere. I rarely saw any instances of aggressive driving, was never tailgated, and if I signaled someone always slowed down to let me in. I heard the same about "Massholes" before going up there and found both the drivers and the people I met in Boston to be pretty cool.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by chaglang » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:16 pm

I lived there for 7 years. The driving is more aggressive than KC but not noticeably worse than any other large American city.

Boston was initially a peninsula connected to the mainland by the "neck", a narrow slip of land where Washington Street runs. It was also much hillier than it is now. During the 19th century many of the hills were cut down and used create fill land to build on. The MIT press has a good book on this: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaining-ground

The rudeness thing is interesting - I guess I just got used to it, to the point that I didn't notice it. But when I moved back to KC I distinctly recall being confused why strangers wanted to make small talk all the time.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:30 am

chaglang wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:16 pm
But when I moved back to KC I distinctly recall being confused why strangers wanted to make small talk all the time.
There a pros/cons to "Kansas City Nice". For many years, have taken countless visitors in workplace around KC - visiting employees, contractors, vendors, etc. from around the world. Some pointed out KC Nice favorably but others were openly bothered by it. It shows in service industry. Servers can get a good tip from locals for just being nice, even if not competent. Outsiders can be bothered by the small talk from servers, saying they should be present but invisible. Recall one saying, "a good server fills your water glass w/out you realizing it, not disrupt the conversation with chitchat." It maybe feeds into KC's reputation for being content with the sub-par... seems most in KC won't send food back if poorly prepared, would rather Yelp. Have noticed some vendors who realize it do try to exploit KC Nice (developers too).

However KC Nice is welcoming in the sense that a new person in workplace often gets respect by default until doing something to lose it. In many other cities, have noticed many may not get any respect by default until doing something to earn it.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by FangKC » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:04 am

One of the nice things about living in Kansas City is not being so stressed out just by driving somewhere.

I lived in NYC for a decade and never found New Yorkers to be as rude as reputed. Some could be aggressive, and some were blunt. I interacted with all types of people and just didn't find it to be true. Things move faster there, so I guess some people from other places might perceive the hurried pace of people to come across as rude. I think that reputation comes from tourists visiting for short periods, and never seeing what people there are really like.

I never found the French to be that rude either.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:11 am

Heading to NYC again next week. Agree rudeness isn't right word for NYC. If cities have standout personalities, NYC's is a relatively fine tuned machine and you don't want to be the problem cog in the machine or you'll hear about it.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by warwickland » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:49 am

i really enjoyed boston the one time i was there...part of the time i was with friends and part of the time i was wandering the city alone. it's a beautiful brash city that can be equally refined. i've been to philly more times, but i enjoy visiting both equally and actually prefer visiting either to manhattan. boston just really charmed me, though, during its first impression...the last american city to really do that for me. in many ways it's the ideal american city to me, at least to my atrophying east coast city-brain lobe. about to head for seattle, vancouver after being in los angeles a few weeks ago...i've somewhat semi-abandoned the east coast.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by warwickland » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:12 pm

earthling wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:00 am
moderne wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:26 pm
Very walkable, more history packed together and preserved than any other major US city.
Philly's Center City on par if not more accessible with its early history. A sister lived in Boston for many years and I'd hit city for work at times. I like the physical city but it really can be pretty difficult to deal with the reputation of the rudeness of the people when you dig into the weeds. Took some getting used to in workplace, compared to say Philly that is almost as brash but doesn't come across as personal. Boston is a very proud city otherwise and I admired that.

i interact with my boston office a lot and have never had any issues. there's always a directness and i feel like it really cuts down on non/miscommunication which of course is a plague on all industries.

center city is fantastic, and i'm always sure to hit reading terminal market. there's an ancient pub in center city that feels almost exactly like you're in shepherds market in london or something.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by Highlander » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:08 pm

FangKC wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:04 am
One of the nice things about living in Kansas City is not being so stressed out just by driving somewhere.

I lived in NYC for a decade and never found New Yorkers to be as rude as reputed. Some could be aggressive, and some were blunt. I interacted with all types of people and just didn't find it to be true. Things move faster there, so I guess some people from other places might perceive the hurried pace of people to come across as rude. I think that reputation comes from tourists visiting for short periods, and never seeing what people there are really like.

I never found the French to be that rude either.
I don't find Boston or New York residents to be rude.

From my travels across the US and Europe, I find people who live in dense cities to be less chatty and more perceived to be more rude. I don't think they are rude, they just interact with thousands of people daily and it becomes trite to be outwardly friendly to all. In places like the midwest and west, human interaction is less frequent and people tend to be more friendly to whom they interact with. The same is true for France - in Paris, many folks you interact with may be perceived as rude but that fades away into the more rural areas.

As for driving, I find drivers in big cities will always be more aggressive than rural and small town drivers. That can be further divided into older denser cities and newer more suburban cities. People tend to accept the problems associated with driving in older denser large cities whereas drivers are much more aggressive in large newer cities where commute times are long and patience is low. For whatever reason, Texas (outside of Austin) is really bad for aggressive drivers and Houston is the worst place I've ever experienced. But even in Houston, drivers in the city seems slightly more chill than suburban drivers. I guess the former have come to accept traffic woes while the latter are just always frustrated by the distance to be covered and impatience with anything that slows them down.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by FangKC » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:19 am

I grew up in rural Missouri. After living in New York City, and moving to Kansas City, it took me awhile to become more chatty with people I encountered. Living in New York did change me to some extent. I want things to move along quickly, and get irritated with slow pokes. New Yorkers walk fast. It was always the tourists blocking the sidewalks. I didn't realize how fast I walked until family members came to visit, and they complained that I was wearing them out walking places.

I liked Philadelphia a lot.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by brewcrew1000 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:31 am

I love Philly, probably my favorite East Coast city, its big but not to big, its easy to navigate, its very walkable and the food scene is great

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:39 am

Philly's food scene improved dramatically over last 10+ years. And agree with warwickland about the pubs, many still have the Old World feel. But it is kinda funny how Philly, a metro over 6M, still lives under the shadow of NYC. Heading to NYC tomorrow...

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:06 am

Not to hijack Boston thread but on the city personality tangent, did a day trip to Philly from the NYC trip. Was interesting to see the contrast of how highly gentrified NYC is and Philly isn't. Local accent was one measure. In Center City Philly, heard a lot of local accent in the parks and bars/eats. NYC is so gentrified now that I didn't hear any local accent compared to 10 years ago. Not even Brooklyn/Queens accent heard when visiting Coney Island - and was deep into the outer burroughs. My Brooklyn brother agreed it's more rare compared to 10-20 years ago, though relatively more present in Bronx and ungentrified parts of Queens.

He used to live in Philly in the 90s and was a bit disappointed to see neighborhoods around the park squares actually go backwards a bit in terms of neighborhood vibes. Many of the old world pubs deeper into residential areas have diminished in place of small biz that don't contribute to the neighborhood. Overall enjoyed the visit and had a great soft-shell crab hoagie that squirt in my mouth.

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by warwickland » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:02 pm

everyone on the east coast likes to crap on philly but center city is probably the most enjoyable, varied, walkable, fine grained immediate downtownish built environment i've ever stayed in, in north america. i like other regions better but as far as a long weekend without a car, it's hard to beat the variety...midtown manhattan is kind of a tourist clown show (i've never stayed downtown manhattan and i know there are many good neighborhoods to stay in, albeit different level of gentrification from philly which is kind of what i'm getting at) and the chicago loop is a bunch of banks and dunkin donuts with a case of corporate gigantism thrown in (the buildings are beautiful, though).

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Re: Boston in 3 days

Post by earthling » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:47 am

The old dense neighborhoods surrounding park squares is what makes Philly's downtown standout compared to others. If I moved to E Coast, would consider Center City Philly. I liked that it wasn't too gentrified and easy access to NYC/DC.

Downtown Brooklyn is taking off so much that it seems to be approaching the level of say downtown Denver and Minneapolis. Lots of new skyscrapers with more planned. The streetvibe is much higher than DEN/MSP downtowns and much higher than Brooklyn 5 years ago. The piers below Brooklyn Heights promenade are also fantastic, various park themes on each pier.

DUMBO is also pretty amazing now. It's very much like W Bottoms but with mega money poured into it. If KC only had the breadth and depth to turn W Bottoms into something like this, maintaining some of its gritty edge though, which DUMBO has lost.

Williamsburg continues to gentrify but also solid full functioning neighborhoods w/out being too refined. Most artists have fled E to Bushwick and Ridgewood. This is what Xroads could become with proper infill that caters to contiguous street vibe experience. Xroads developers need to visit Bedford Ave before starting a design.

So much money in NYC spilling into the outer Burroughs... at the expense of excessive gentrification.

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