Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July in Boston

I arrived in Boston on the 3rd in the evening. Moran and Liron took me to eat Pho at a vietnamese restaurant on Harvard Sq, bringing back fond memories.

I woke early, and so went out to have coffee at Peet's Coffee, my old time hang-out during my time at Harvard. The place still retained the usual feel, including the educated homeless reading newspaper outside.

When I got back, Moran and Liron were up, and announced that it is going to be a very hot day, and thus we should get somewhere cool. They decided to go for the Boston Harbour Island. We took a boat from Long Wharf (next to the Aquarium) to Spectacle Island.

On the way we saw the USS Constitution, a famous old navy boat parked in Boston.

This was a small Island that went through periods of industrialization, and then served as a dump for various wastes, and eventually was rebuild with mud removed during the Big Dig.

Some people used the opportunity to sunbath, although it was very hot day.

Returning to the dock we saw birds, boats and sky writing.


From there we took a water taxi (a boat that used to be a school "bus" in Florida originally) to another island that is totally occupied by an old fort. Here we enjoyed the water, and then joined a guided tour. The tour guide was so bad we deserted from the tour and did explorations on our own.



Coming back from the water we felt the heat raise with every step inland. By the time we got the Quincy Market it was steaming, and so we stopped for an ice cream and saw street performance by two athletic guys.

After returning to the flat (which was burning hot) and reviving ourselves in the A/C for a while, we went to find a spot for the main event - the 4th of July fireworks. It takes place on the Charles River. The fireworks take off from a float in the middle of the river, and so the best place to sit is somewhere on either bank or on the two bridges. Since the roads around the area were closed, it turned out non-trivial to get there. We finally to a cab that brought us as close as it could, and from there we took on foot.

Many people came in earlier in the afternoon with camping chairs, food, drinks, and games to catch a spot. The river was a mass of boats of all shapes and sizes (from yachts to kayaks) that formed a flotilla around the perimeter of safe distance from the floats (the police was actively enforcing that). When we came in all the sidewalks on the river side were totally occupied and also much of the street.

We had friends from the Broad who were already in place, and so we went searching for them. (Try finding someone who reports that he is sitting across from a specific building on the other side of the river :-) Eventually, we caught up with them. We sat down on the street and chatted. At few times we noticed a bare spot closer to the water, and improved our position. There were large speakers that broadcast the Boston Pops performance (which in my taste was not so great).

And eventually at 10:30 the fireworks started. The show was for 30min and was very impressive, especially that we were that close to the source.

Taking pictures of fireworks without a tripod is a bit of a challenge, but sometimes the errors are fun to watch.

We then walked back home among throngs of crowed. Later I heard on the news that there were close to 1/2 million people in the area (!).

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