Periscope Depth

don't wanna go down in the tube station at midnight

Elizabeth B., a friend of mine from high school, visited Boston to look at grad schools this past weekend. I showed her the best the city had to offer:

  • 90s Night at Common Ground
  • Tour of the college campuses she was applying to
  • The Cellar near Harvard Square
  • The mainstage show at ImprovBoston

She picked a good weekend to get out of Baltimore, as a sudden snowstorm blanketed the city. So she enjoyed Boston’s balmy 30-degree temperatures and wide, windswept streets.

I like showing Boston off to tourists, especially those from Baltimore. It reminds me of how awesome a city I live in. When my younger brother came to visit two years ago to see a Celtics game, he literally stared with a slack jaw at the Boston skyline. “I’m not used to seeing buildings this big,” he confessed.

My first night at Boston College – over a decade in the past, now – I walked to the Green Line terminus just outside the main campus. The pink glow of light pollution told me which way the city was: due east of my current position. I was young, healthy and unchaperoned for the first time in my life. I started walking, with some ill-formed notion that I might walk to downtown Boston and just soak up the fluorescence. I didn’t make the walk that night – young and poetical, I had no conception of what seven miles actually looked like – but I’ve since traveled every part of that route.

Last Thursday I bought lunch at a corner deli in the South End. I can see it from the window of my office, twenty stories above the Back Bay, but it’s still a fifteen minute walk to get there. The route cuts past the gleaming metal and marble offices of Copley, past the First Bank of Boston (established 1784), over the Massachusetts Turnpike, and into dense red brick rowhomes. I’ve lived in this city for a decade and the South End could be in a whole different state, for all that I know of it.

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