In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Henry Cisneros, Housing Expert | Main | Underground Puppets »

October 20, 2008

New England Pictured

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

On my trip to the Northeast and Canada the resolution setting on my camera was mostly on low density because I hoped to use my photos as blog grist. I've already subjected you to several picture-centric postings featuring Canada and the Rochester, NY area. My hard drive still has a trove of unpublished views of Boston and bits of New England, which means ...


Many of our readers are interested in urbanism, and so am I. My previous visit to Boston was in 2004 when the cleanup work was still underway atop the Big Dig project which transformed (at huge expense) a freeway on stilts to one in the nether regions. Here's what I saw in September. Far better than in the Chinese Wall days, but I think some buildings would be a nice addition (through probably impractical to build).

Boston has lots of statues of famous people, mostly on pedestals in parks and squares. But not always. In the Quincy Market area one can find Red Auerbach -- not on the pedestal he deserves, but benched. Those shoes to the right are Larry Bird's, if memory serves (please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Other non-pedestaled statuary includes this mother duck and her ducklings in the Public Garden. As almost any parent knows, they represent the main characters in Robert McCloskey's famous children's book Make Way for Ducklings. Copies of the book can be found in many souvenir shops, almost rivaling Red Sox caps.

Since we're in the Public Garden, I'll toss in this arty shot of the lake. Toward the top you can see a pedestrian bridge and a swan boat or two, if you squint.

Here's a fun bit of signage on Hanover Street in the North End.

I forget where I took this one, but it might have been in the Harvard Medical School neighborhood. Regardless, it struck me as being quite an architectural mélange. The cornice itself seems unusual because I don't see them on newer buildings much. (Maybe that's because new buildings out West where I hang out need to conform to earthquake safety regulations that aren't cornice-friendly.) The etching on the underside of the cornice seems derived from Art Nouveau. The windows ... well, I'm not sure if they're derivative of anything important; feel free to set me straight. The main part of the building seems to be clad in Roman brick or something similar -- another oddity, at least for tall structures.

Enough Boston. Out we go into 'burbs, Sub and Ex, approximately following Paul Revere's route of April 18-19 1775. Sign says it's a Green. The town is Lexington. Hmm. Lexington Green. Don't we have a Chicago Boyz based commenter with that moniker? So now I can say I've seen Lexington Green ... the blogging world can be so small, sometimes.

That's the (reconstructed) Concord Bridge. On the far side came the Redcoats seeking Colonist cannons. Local militia stood on the near side and sent the British into retreat towards Boston. The Colonists weren't pushovers in any case: some were veterans of the French and Indian War while a number of Redcoats were little more than recruits.

Perhaps the smallest, least-pretentious state capital is Montpelier, Vermont. Shown is the small, charming capitol building with its hillside backdrop -- another unique feature.

We overnighted in Waterbury, Vermont before heading into Canada. Waterbury is the site of the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream factory, a big tourist attraction. The guys sold out to a conglomerate a while ago, but the sign suggests the company still plays on "attitude." I call it the ice cream company with a foreign policy and buy other brands unless I have no alternative.



posted by Donald at October 20, 2008


More nice snapz. I vote we all move to Vermont and then secede.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 20, 2008 4:16 PM

MB, hope you like lots of snow. It was 20 degrees in Vermont this morning while you were doing yoga.
DP, the picture of the lake in Boston Common looks very Monet-like. Nice!

Posted by: JulieBrook on October 20, 2008 4:28 PM

OK then, first we move Vermont to the mid-California coast, then we secede.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 20, 2008 4:35 PM

Michael, Vermont is all transplanted New Yorkers, hippie kids waiting for the Dead to reincarnate or Phish to get back together and Bernie Sanders supporters. But that doesn't mean my girlfriend and I don't love to schlep up from Boston to stay at the Round Barn in Waitsfield, the center of mellow capitalism in Vermont. Don't miss American Flatbread at Leroux Farm, especially if they have that dusky porter on tap!

Donald, did you get a cannoli or piece of ricotta pie at Modern, or even better, Mike's Pastry?

Posted by: Brutus on October 20, 2008 7:33 PM

I lived in Vermont for more than a decade and never felt that the capitol building in Montpelier was small. I guess it is small relative to other state capitols but it's easily the biggest building in Montpelier and its whiteness makes it look especially large in that primarily redbrick small city.

The thing about Montpelier and all of Vermont higher in elevation than the Champlain Valley is just how wicked cold it gets in the winter.

And don't kid yourself, the native Vermonters don't get used to it either. I can still remember hopping from foot to foot on a windy Montpelier street corner my first winter in Vermont and trading looks of pure misery with an obvious native.

The only upside is that it feels so good when you finally duck into a hot diner with the windows all steamy and white. The relief is palpable. But is it worth the pain? Some stay and some don't. That's all I know. I didn't.

Posted by: ricpic on October 20, 2008 9:48 PM

N'wenglandy, dinglandy,
Donald J* Pittenger
raises the Internet's
taste to the stars

via his posting of
pics of historical
buildings and cars.

* or whatever, as long as it isn't "W"

Posted by: Reg C├Žsar on October 22, 2008 2:07 AM

Awww, those duckings are great!

Michael, didn't you hear, we're all moving to New Zealand, if you-know-who wins the you-know-what.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on October 22, 2008 9:34 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?