I have about 4 more weeks in Boston, then I’m a country boy. I don’t find it easy to leave here. I am very connected to this city. Once you’ve been a bike messenger in a place, then you’ve got its streets in your bones. Much has changed in the 35 or so years I’ve been here, but when you’re talking about a city that has been here for almost 4 centuries, there’s a lot that hasn’t. The ubiquitous brick, the Richardson Puddingstone, the brutalist slabs; they all make up the urban landscape for me.
When I started as a messenger in March of 1987, we used to make a drop at the State House at the top of Beacon Hill. We then would ride really fast down Beacon St., across Tremont St, down School St. with a left onto Washington and quick right onto Water and glide all the way down to the end of Water St at Broad St. It was like a roller coaster ride. We would swoop through each intersection, blending in with the traffic, almost getting hit, but “almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. That little spine of streets is the heart of Boston as I see it.
Now I work in the Seaport, a place of constant growth after lying dormant for decades, home to parking lots and fish piers. When I was a messenger, we did a lot of work shuttling plans around for Fan Pier and Anthony’s Pier 4. Fan Pier was built back then with the Moakley Courthouse on it. Anthony’s is just getting to its thing now. Over the last 5 years the growth has exploded and the parking lots have all grown into hi-rises, or actually 18 story rises, because I think there is a height limit imposed by the airport across the harbor. This has the effect of negating any possible skyline that might develop here. From a distance, I imagine the place will look like a block in the future, much like parts of the Bronx.
I am trying to take in all the cultural amenities while I can. We went to the MFA (another former employer), ate dinner on Broad St., went to the Lizard Lounge, etc. Not that there’s nothing where I’m going, it’s just that it is so prevalent here. It will always draw me back. I want to develop a routine of coming back here monthly, working, doing music with the Triplets and taking in at least one cultural urban experience. That will be good for me and keep me sane.
Past The Headlands from Headlands, Tom May – vocal, Greg Smith – composer