June 2015

purple sensation

purple sensation, public garden

purple sensation, public garden

If you've walked around the Public Garden recently, you will see some nice purple flowers.  Turns out these purple flowers are part of the onion family (genus allium). And they have a pretty fantastic name---the purple sensation.

In 2010, I submitted a photo of Serbian onion fields to a National Geographic contest. You can see the photo here.


flying to  denver  in april   (sonya kovacic)

flying to denver in april (sonya kovacic)

In April 2015, Logan Airport saw a total of:

  • 2,391,475 domestic passengers
  • 433,652 international passengers
  • 30,572 flight operations
  • 15.279 arriving flights
  • 15,293 departing flights
  • 24,809 domestic flights
  • 2,527 international flights
  • 813 Bermuda/Bahamas/Caribbean
  • 1,260 Canada
  • 50 Central America
  • 1,184 Europe
  • 124 Middle East
  • 2 South America
  • 94 Trans-Pacific

Take a look at some more airport statistics from Massport.

In 2014, Logan was ranked the 18th busiest airport in the United States. See who was number 1.  

Fenway, May 2015, Art

installation art

in front of the isabella stewart gardner museum  (gordana rabrenovic)

in front of the isabella stewart gardner museum (gordana rabrenovic)

My mom sent me a picture of artist Ken Smith's new installation called, Fenway Deity. This is the description from the ISGM website:
"Fenway Deity is part of the Garden Deities series created by Ken Smith. The large inflatable installation, with a psychedelic spiral pattern and gold chain, will hang from the historic façade of the Museum facing the Boston Fens. Deity riffs on the Gardner’s large wheel window on the building’s rear façade, forming a transect line through the Museum, between the window and the installation.

Spiritually speaking, Fenway Deity responds to the Museum’s 2012 relocation of its entrance to Evans Way—it will serve as a new conduit for the Museum’s creative energy to protect the Fens from bad spirits and promote environmental renewal, health, and happiness along the Fenway and beyond.

Read more about the Fenway Deity.

If you haven't already seen Janet Echelman's "Aerial Sculpture" over the Rose Kennedy Greenway, it is worth a look.

May 2015, Brookline

"d" branch

d-line by longwood  (sonya kovacic)

d-line by longwood (sonya kovacic)

Last August we looked at the average speeds of MBTA trains:

21.9 - Red Line (Braintree)
20.2 - Orange Line
19.5 - Green Line (D Branch)
18.3 - Red Line (Ashmont)
15.4 - Blue Line
8.1 - Green Line (E Branch)
7.8 - Green Line (B Branch)
6.9 - Green Line (C Branch)

(The fastest human alive, Usain Bolt, has been recorded at a speed of 27.4 mph.)

Why is the D branch so much faster than the other Green Line branches? Because it runs completely separate from cars.

According to Boston Streetcars, "the D branch's setup is very similar to that of the Mattapan Line, albeit slightly less scenic. The Mattapan Line runs along a former right-of-way of the Boston and New Haven Railroad, and likewise the D branch runs along a former right-of-way of the Boston and Albany Railroad.

The D branch, like the Mattapan Line, runs completely separate from cars, allowing for speedy and direct service from Newton and Brookline to downtown Boston. When the Boston and Albany Railroad abandoned the Highland Branch, the right-of-way the D branch uses today, in 1958, the MBTA acquired the right-of-way and converted it to run streetcars as opposed to the heavy-rail commuter trains that once ran along the route. New tracks were installed, and overhead wires were constructed above them."

Read why there are still streetcars in Boston.

On April 24th, 2015 the MBTA unveiled the Green Line's first tracking board on the D branch.

May 2015


trophies under the  longfellow bridge    (laura davis)

trophies under the longfellow bridge  (laura davis)

This morning I received an intriguing e-mail from Bostonology reader, Erin Sunderland. She wrote:

Hi Sonya,

I’m wondering if you could help me with something. I’ve been running by this trophy case under the Longfellow Bridge on the Cambridge side (photo taken by my friend Laura attached) and I’ve been trying to find out the story behind it. Have you seen it or do you happen to know anything about it?


I've never heard of the trophy case before but it seems like people have been asking about it. All I could find was that it started in 2014 and the collection of trophies has grown.

Readers, do you know the story behind this trophy case?

Jamaica Plain, May 2015


porch living, jp  (sonya kovacic)

porch living, jp (sonya kovacic)

In Boston, porches are synonymous with a popular form of architecture from the late 19th/early 20th century-- the triple-decker. Triple-deckers allowed recent immigrants and the working class to own property, live away from the city, and have outdoor space with porches.

From the Boston Public Library:

"During the 1870' s, suburbs such as Allston, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester were annexed to Boston and the horse-drawn streetcar system was extended to serve them. This set the stage for a period of tremendous economic and physical development in Boston. Given the opportunity to move from the crowded conditions of the old "walking" city, a rapidly growing middle class chose to move to the new "streetcar suburbs," where they were able to afford a free-standing one-, two- or three-family wooden house with enough land to provide a sense of individuality.

The triple-decker evolved as a unique and enormously popular housing style during the period of sustained building activity that began around 1890 and lasted into the 1920' s. By 1920, approximately 15,000 triple-deckers had been constructed in Boston, and the style had spread throughout New England. Free-standing houses with a two- or three-bedroom apartment on each floor, triple-deckers provided more light, fresh air and suburban green space than the older brick row houses closer to the center of the city.

Tomorrow is PorchFest in Somerville! Porches all over Somerville become performance spaces for local bands. Take a look at this map to see which bands are playing and where.

JP will have their second annual Porchfest on July 11th.

Boston Harbor, May 2015


roseway off of castle island  (sonya kovacic)

roseway off of castle island (sonya kovacic)

 Roseway, the historic tall ship found sailing around the Boston Harbor during the summer, is a wooden schooner that was initially constructed in 1925 as a fishing vessel.

Harold Hathaway from Taunton commissioned the boat. It was said that the oak to make the frame came from his estate and the name, Roseway, came from  an acquaintance of his, "who always got her way.” 

Fun Fact: "Despite its limited fishing history, Roseway set a record of 74 swordfish caught in one day in 1934.

The ship became a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

World Ocean School currently operates Roseway. From May to September, the schooner is located in Boston and from November to May, in the US Virgin Islands.  Click here to see where Roseway is at this exact moment.

If you are looking for something to do this summer, there are Sunday Funday trips as well as beer and wine tastings on the Roseway.

May 2015


bitcoin atm, kendall square   (sonya kovacic)

bitcoin atm, kendall square (sonya kovacic)

Massachusetts was the first colony in the United States to issue paper money.

According to Slate's history blog, The Vault, "To thwart counterfeiters, Massachusetts issued bills whose top edge was an indented line. Since this cut was made freehand with a blade, rather than mechanically, each indentation was slightly different. The treasury kept a stub, which could be used to verify a genuine bill."

Take a look at printed currency in 18th century Massachusetts. 

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that was created in 2008. A local Boston startup called LibertyX, allows you to buy bitcoins in person. 

May 2015

long wharf

view from the boston marriott long wharf hotel  (sonya kovacic)

view from the boston marriott long wharf hotel (sonya kovacic)

According to the National Park Service, the Long Wharf in Boston was constructed in 1710-11 and "in its heyday, Long Wharf was 1,586 feet in length and 54 feet wide, providing docking facilities for up to 50 vessels. In the 18th century, Boston was the leading colonial port (it would be surpassed by both New York and Philadelphia by the end of the century)...Because the wharf served private merchants and the public, who could buy directly from the warehouses and stores on the wharf, it was a marketplace long before the construction of Faneuil Hall (Quincy Market) in the 1820s."

Take a look at this 1929 photo of the Long Wharf.

May 2015, Cambridge


sticker, east cambridge   (sonya kovacic)

sticker, east cambridge  (sonya kovacic)

I have seen these stickers around the city for some time now. Turns out, the stickers are part of a global public art movement that started in Chicago.

"It began simply with 100 stickers in 2002 in Chicago, and has since evolved into block-long murals, public installations, and exhibitions at cultural institutions involving thousands of artists."

Not to be confused with this Boston based sticker.

Boston, you are beautiful!

May 2015

blue hills

october (sonya kovacic)

october (sonya kovacic)

"The Blue Hills were so named by early European explorers who, while sailing along the coastline, noticed the bluish hue on the slopes when viewed from a distance. More than ten thousand years before those Europeans arrived, Native Americans made their home in the hills. The Natives referred to themselves as Massachusett, or "people of the great hills". Eventually the Europeans began settling in this region. The colonists built houses and barns, cleared fields for crops and livestock and logged the hillsides for lumber."

-Mass Gov

Hills have played an important role in Boston--as the city was founded on a hill.

The Blue Hills Reservation has over 7,000 acres with more than 125 miles of trails. Take a look at the hiking trails and learn more about the reservation.

May 2015

portland penny

(peter gorman)

(peter gorman)

When Portland, Oregon was first settled in the early 19th century, its initial name was The Clearing. Two of its initial founders -- Asa Lovejoy (from Boston) and Francis Pettygrove (from Portland, Maine) -- each wanted to rename it after his respective hometown.

In 1844, the two men left the decision up to the flip of a coin. When Pettygrove flipped two heads, the selection was made. The Clearing would become known as "Portland" from then on.

Thanks to the Portland Penny, Boston just barely avoided having a West Coast twin city

Today's email comes from Bostonology co-founder Peter Gorman, who bicycled to Portland (Oregon) from Boston. If you haven't seen his campaign to help others travel, watch the video here.

May 2015, South End


a toast  (sonya kovacic)

a toast (sonya kovacic)

Today is the one year anniversary of Bostonology! Thanks so much to all our readers for your continued support. We hope you have been enjoying it as much as we have.

Below are all 258 posts we have written this year:

city upon a hill, flight, arboretum, dinghies, pediment, path, neon, beaches, charlie, aesop's fables, fells, extension, plaza, ivy, fridays, geese, southwest corridor, stata, ferry, streetball, walking city, alewife, bu bridge, vaudeville, scratch tickets, brattle, post, 111, juice, canopy, kendall square, phones,thin ice, mary soo hoo park, cheese, self-portraits, votes, thrift, donuts, summertime, reflection, movement, memorial drive, pomp, rain, back bay, railyard, cats,willow 50, reading room, pride, electricity, muddy river, bruce's Friday trivia, green, pine street, computer, citrus, stairs, street lights, margaret fuller, kayak, printing, moving day, screever, the cape, ads, lone red seat, ramen, speed, hello!, winthrop, tourism, state, blizzard, ruggles, newbury, movies, music, escalator, harborwalk, old manse, young love, long weekend, pleasure bay, zakim, east boston, melnea cass, 90, cemetery, bikes, construction, hotels, dance party, autumn, teapot, mass ave, tunnels, announcements, speakeasy, painter, orchestra, ideas, fluff, dog, food, faneuil hall, coffee, sculpture, aquarium, bowling, piano factory, golden dome, square, cookies, circus, t.rex, hood, south end, within these walls, fire alarm, not art, madonna, storrow, honeybees, free hospital for women, celtics, menino, halloween, influenza, election, great fire, lighthouse, monument, park square, veterans day, "e" branch, jamaicaway, bela lyon pratt, and this is boston, steam, longfellow, oysters, immigrants, turkeys, boundaries, fruit, thanksgiving, poloroid, supermarket, weddings, cathedral, clock tower, shell, soofa, nightlife, jelly beans, wind, traffic signal, back of the hill, alchemist, winter solstice, greeting cards, breweries ,genzyme, arthur fiedler, menorah, christmas tree, shurcliff benches, new year, coat of arms,, molasses, summerthing, james brown, banking, hockey, horses, forest, astronauts, it is beautiful-then it is gone, dr. king, sewer, mugar omni theater, katharine lane weems, robot, snow/snow update, voyage,,, memories, sidewalk, rent, tides, commute, puns, gulls, playing cards, port, birds, help, traffic circles, windows, presidents, pedestrians, grapes, tattoo, mount, fountain, rainbow, comedy. orange, from above, infinite jest, franny, taxi, cafeteria, cheer, chess, orator, light, ice cream, from the archives, karaoke, brazil, fried dough, vestiges, dumplings, red, victorian, fallout shelter, television, lawn, motorcade, rock, spring, future home, psychoanalysis, jalwa, cube, wadsworth, street signs, market, the off-season project, trader joe's, one boston day, garden, the fonz, marathon, bostonologist, defiance, tulips, pond, national parks, beacon st., cooking, familiar, compost, transformation.

Take a look at all the posts we've done and let us know your favorite ones.

Back Bay, May 2015


boston architectural college, 951 boylston street  (sonya kovacic)

boston architectural college, 951 boylston street (sonya kovacic)

The Richardsonian Romanesque building that sits on 951/55 Boylston Street has been through a few transformations during its 128 year history. Originally built in 1887 as a police station, it was connected to the fire station on 941 Boylston Street. The fire station still remains, but in 1973, the Institute of Contemporary Art moved into the space and stayed there for 33 years (the ICA has moved 13 times in its history) before moving to its present location in the South Boston Waterfront.

In 2006, the Boston Architectural College bought the building and in 2012 completed its $14 million purchase/renovation project.

Take a look at this slideshow that shows the completed renovated BAC space, as well as old photos of the Back Bay Police Station and the ICA.

Jamaica Plain, May 2015


bootstrap compost, jp

bootstrap compost, jp

Bootstrap [compost] provides residential subscribers with a 5-gallon bucket, liner and lid. Over a week (or two), you fill it with coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, veggie matter, old memories, etc. Anything goes except meat and dairy products. On your pickup day, you’ll leave the bucket near the front entrance of your residence; Bootstrap picks it up and drops off a clean new bucket. Every four months, Bootstrap delivers five pounds of our premium soil amendment. The cost: $8 per weekly or $10 per biweekly (once every two weeks) visit.

Learn more about Bootstrap composting here

April 2015


sculpture: lao tzu outside denver museum of art    (sonya kovacic)

sculpture: lao tzu outside denver museum of art (sonya kovacic)

I'm in Denver for the week and I came across the sculpture, Lao Tzu outside the Denver Art Museum and Public Library. If it looks familiar, it is from the same artist, Mark di Suvero, who created Aesop's Fables II that is found on MIT's campus.

April 2015, Cambridge


making curry, cambridge culinary instittute   (sonya kovacic)

making curry, cambridge culinary instittute (sonya kovacic)

Julia Child, the famous American chef known for bringing French food to American audiences, lived in Cambridge from 1961-2001. It is in her kitchen in Cambridge that her popular WGBH show, The French Chef, was filmed. Child donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian when she moved.

Take a look at Julia Child's "little house in Cambridge."

In 2012, Julia Child would have been 100 years old. WGBH celebrated her birthday