JANUARY 28, 2007
Okay, its time to talk about the city I live in, grew up in, and love like a family member: Boston. I have always, always loved this city: I always will. I remember as a little kid taking the Redline, and crossing the Longfellow Bridge, and having a choice: looking out one towards the skyscrapers, or the other way towards the sailboats. On a sunny day in Boston, there’s not a better view in the city.
I remember going to the New England Aquarium, and spending hours looking at all the tanks, and naming all the fish in the middle tank (for some reason my friends were always impressed when I knew the name of the ‘cobia,’ a gamefish native to Florida and the tropics). I remember going to the Mugar Omni Theatre and always flinching when Roger Clemens threw his fastball at the crowd. And really remember growing up nearby in the city of Somerville, and loving the attitudes and way of life that I saw everyday. I left at the age of eighteen to be in the mountains of Vermont: and every day I was there, even though I loved it, I missed Boston badly.
So knowing all this, it might come as a shock that I have some issues with Boston. But, the truth of the matter is, I have some issues with Boston. Its mainly stuff that you don’t pick up on as a kid: in fact, its stuff that you really don’t pick up on until you hit the age of 21. Its little things, never the big picture. But as any sports or movie fan will tell you, more often than not its the little things that push the team over the top/make the movie truly great. And in Boston’s case, its the little things that annoy the hell out of me.
Some of the these little things in Boston are commonplace in other parts of the country: the 2am bar closing time, the fact that beer, wine and booze needs to be bought at liquor stores; the time limit on buying alcohol. When you’re eighteen, none of this matters, because you can’t do anything anyway, so everything you’re doing, essentially, is illegal. But when you become twenty-one, something miraculous happens: you look down at your driver’s license, realize that you are twenty-one, leading you to jump into the nearest car, drive to the nearest liquor store, and buy a six-pack of any type of beer (this is what happened to me, atleast). I remember the guy at the counter looking at my license, looking at me, nodding, and letting me pay for alcohol (he didn’t wish me happy birthday, though). It was the Six-Pack Miracle of June 6, 2003.
After that, everything got pretty normal: I could go to bars, buy booze, pretty do anything I wanted except rent a car and run for President (both of which I still can’t do). But the point was clear: I was a free man.
At the time I was living in Vermont for most of the year, where alcohol can be bought at grocery stores. In fact, the grocery store I worked at had one of the best micro-brew selections in town. Working till midnight, I used to go pick and choose what I wanted around 11:45, scope out for any customers, and ring myself through (this was all done with the manager’s knowledge, it might be added.) As long the receipt was printed before 12am, it was a totally legal purchase: the receipt clock, in actuality, was four minutes slow, so I could actually record the sale at 12:03 Eastern time and still have a legal purchase. I never tried this, but the point was made: what difference did it make, if I, say, bought the beer four minutes later? Was it really that big of a deal?
Ofcourse, this point that I make is totally skewed and off the point: the law pertains to millions of people (or in Vermonts case, thousands) making potential purchases of sales in endless situations. But it still lead me to this conclusion: the law doesn’t make much sense.
After five years in Vermont, it was time for me to come home to Boston: I had fallen out of touch with some people, was a little (actually, very) sick of the whole scene, and really ached to be back in an actual city. So I did: found an apartment, found a job, started hanging out with all my old friends. It was great: and to top it off, I was in an actual city now, with an actual bar scene (Burlington, VTs bar scene is actually fine, I will come back to this), that I could actually enjoy. The first night home going out to the bars, we headed to Fanueil Hall: an awesome place, a place I knew well from my childhood, crawling with tourists and street performers during the day. And we went to a bar: and I don’t remember much, but what I know is that it kinda sucked, it was kinda dark, kinda loud, really expensive, and at the end of the night, I was a little disapointed. The next weekend we went back out, and the same thing happened. Within a month, I was longing for the bars of Vermont.
Before I go any further, I want to say that there are cool bars in Boston: people reading this blog might start saying that I’m a moron who hasn’t explored enough to know anything. The Sunset Bar & Grille in Allston, for example, is the bomb if you wanna chill and drink a lot of different types of beer. There are plenty of bars in Boston where great times can be had. But the whole system is flawed: the bar types are generally segregated from each other (meaning clubs are usually clumped together, ect..), there isn’t enough variety for a major city, and, most importantly, the bars close at two.
This was a law in Vermont, also, and always annoyed me: usually because it was freezing outside and we had to find a place to go after 2: once in a while there was an after party or something, but usually things just sort of died. But in Boston, it hurts it much more: the bar scene never really gets to die down properly: instead, masses of people empty onto the streets, restless, leading to fights and headaches trying to find cabs. But this comes back to the law about buying booze before twelve (eleven in MA). Why? Seriously, why?? I mean, when I turned twenty-one, I jumped in a car and bought a six-pack. Whose to say I wouldn’t jump back in my car after my purchase, crack open all six beers, drink them in celebration, and drive around like a maniac. I was a lot more imature back then, it easily could have come to that. Is that what legislators are thinking when they make these laws: the longer these grown adults who can legally drink stay in this bar, the more likely they are to murder someone, or act unrationally? Lets shut down the bars!! Thats the answer!!
I’m sorry, but the scene in Fanueil Hall at 2am proves that this is wrong: people are restless, guys are trying to fight each other, its a mess. There are to many people at once: if the bars closed at 4, or even 3, this wouldn’t happen: people would trickle out gradually, there would be more cabs, less fights. Boston at night would be a better place. Maybe people think there would be less drunk driving, buts it pretty naive to think it would be any better at 2am than 4am. If drunk driving is the issue, maybe all bars should be shut down at 8pm, just to be safe. Maybe subways could stay open on weekends only (I know they have to do maintenance every night, and don’t have the luxury of having double tracks like New York). Whatever, if drunk driving is the reason bars are only open till 2am, then that is pure idiocy.
None of this explains why so many of the bars in Boston suck, but they do. But this is a problem to tackle for another time. Along with these other various problems: the lack of anything to eat late (which is really, really pathetic), the 1am closing time of many bars (which is not quite as pathetic as the lack of food, but almost), and the difficulty of finding a cab late in Boston.
Well, whatever. I’m done bitching for the night. For the time being, I am outa here! You all be safe and have a great weekend! Peace out.