Somerville

Somerville, February 2015

grapes

wine, somerville  (sonya kovacic)

wine, somerville (sonya kovacic)

Grape Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, is a 54 acre island with wooden trails, camp sites, and picnic areas. The island is full of wild berries like blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries, and elderberries, and wild edibles tours are sometimes offered.

Fun fact from the National Park Service: "The sizes of the islands in the park change every hour, as the ocean tides ebb and flow on their shores. The difference between high water and low water in Boston Harbor is among the greatest tidal ranges in the United States (about a 10- or 12-foot difference)."

Grape Island almost doubles in size at low tide.


Read about the Battle of Grape Island, the much forgotten battle proceededing the Battle of Bunker Hill.

You can make your own wine at the Boston Winery in Dorchester.

Somerville, Street art, January 2014

it is beautiful-then gone

truth (sonya kovacic)

truth (sonya kovacic)

Beautiful Then Gone as a phrase is actually based on a book by the famous designer Martin Venezky called "It is beautiful... then gone". This book title and its contents really struck me when my brother gave it to me. It really tapped into a nostalgic place and happened to go along with what I was attempting to capture via photography when I used to shoot photos.

So in essence it became a working title for my collective body of work in photography, capturing life's fleeting moments. We made some stickers and shirts but that was really just because people really identified with that title and design I suppose. I created the design myself. That project was abandoned probably in 2012/2013 and I have since moved on to many other projects in the art world that have been even more successful so to speak. That phrase though... Beautiful then gone.... I think it's still so perfect. It captures a sentiment perfectly. 
 
-E-mail from the artist behind the sticker.


You can follow more of the artist's work on their instagram account. 

See designer Martin Venezky's work here. 

Somerville, December 2014

winter solstice

davis square (sonya kovacic)

davis square (sonya kovacic)

The winter solstice and shortest day of the year in Boston is on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM. The sun will rise at 7:10 AM and will set at 4:15 PM, making the day 9:04:34 long.

However, the 21st does not contain the earliest sunset and latest sunrise. The earliest sunset already occurred on December 8th and 9th when the sun set at 4:11 PM. The latest sunrise will actually occur from January 2nd-5th when the sun will rise at 7:14 AM.


Timedate.com has a sun calculator where you can see how many hours of daylight there is in Boston at any given day.

If you are looking for some winter solstice activities, you can go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Thursday for their winter solstice party or check out the Revels winter solstice celebration until December 28.  

Somerville, December 2014, Industry

supermarket

star market, somerville (sonya kovacic)

star market, somerville (sonya kovacic)


According to Star Market's website:
 

Star Market was founded in Watertown in 1915 by Sarkis Mugar, an immigrant from Armenia.
Stephen Mugar, the son of Sarkis Mugar, became the head of Star Market at just 17 when his father died in an auto accident.
In 1948 he built the Newtonville store and it was very unique as it was built without posts (similar to an airplane hangar).  Stephen did this so that he could convert the building to a movie theater in the event that the store ever failed.
The turnpike went right through this store. As the excavation for the road began, Stephen applied for air rights to build a market over the highway and after a lengthy court battle, the Massachusetts Supreme court ruled in his favor. This made the new, third Newtonville store the only store in the nation to be built with air rights.
Star Market was the first in N.E. with touch system for cashiers.
First to refrigerate cooked foods, self service meats, wrapped products, profit sharing, and paid vacations.


Star Market was bought by Shaws in 1999 but a few Star Markets remain for "historical reasons."


The Boston Indicators Project looked at "food deserts" low--income census tracts where a substantial number of residents have limited access to a supermarket or a large grocery store. The interactive map created with data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative, shows the food deserts in Massachusetts. (Hint: click to enlarge a town or city. Zoom in to see Boston neighborhood data.)

Somerville, Industry, November 2014

polaroid

instant film fun (sonya kovacic)

instant film fun (sonya kovacic)

The Polaroid Corporation was founded in Cambridge in 1937 by Harvard drop out, Edwin Land. In 1947, Land presented the first instant camera, Model 95, after his daughter asked why she couldn't see a picture he took of her on vacation. In 1948, the first Model 95 was sold for &89.95 at the Jordan Marsh Department Store in Boston. In 1963, the first color film was introduced.

Although best known for instant cameras, Polaroid was also responsible for creating ski goggles, glasses (including 3D glasses), stereoscopic motion picture viewers, fog-free and dark-adapter goggles for the Army and Navy, and helped design optics for spy planes in the 50's. Edwin Land even advised President Dwight D. Eisenhower on photographic reconnaissance matters.

At one point Polaroid was making 1.3 billion dollars in sales but in 2001, Polaroid Corporation filed for bankruptcy.


Take a look at Edwin Land's prototype drawing for his first instant camera. 

Comparing Edwin Land to Steve Jobs, BBC created a short video about the Polaroid Corporation and its charismatic leader.

Cambridge, Somerville, November 2014

boundaries

entering cambridge by porter square (sonya kovacic)

entering cambridge by porter square (sonya kovacic)

Today's post was inspired by an e-mail correspondence with bostonology reader, Reed Savory. Reed kindly mentioned that as a Middlesex County resident (in Carlisle) he sees wild turkeys all the time. Yesterday's curated post was supposed to say Suffolk County instead of MiddlesexCounty. The Official Website of (Massachusetts) Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs states that "Turkeys are absent from Nantucket and Suffolk Counties." Reed responded by saying, "Well, if they are in Harvard Square, I doubt there’s much keeping them from crossing the bridge from Cambridge (Middlesex) into Boston (Suffolk). But maybe the turkeys have GPS and know they aren’t allowed in Suffolk County proper:)" That made us think about boundaries. Thanks for the conversation Reed!



Boundary- something (such as a river, a fence, or an imaginary line) that shows where an area ends and another area begins.

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Massachusetts was founded in 1630 as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became a state. Massachusetts currently has 14 counties, 50 cities, and 301 towns.

Geographic center of Massachusetts is Town of Rutland in Worcester County
Oldest town: Plymouth incorporated 1620
Oldest city: Boston incorporated 1820
Chestnut Hill is comprised of parts of the City of Boston, the City of Newton, and the Town of Brookline, as well as being comprised of the counties Suffolk, Middlesex, and Norfolk.

Massachusetts' 14 counties: Barnstable (established 1685), Berkshire (1761), Bristol (1685), Dukes (1695), Essex (1643), Franklin (1811), Hampden (1812), Hampshire (1662), Middlesex (1643), Nantucket (1695), Norfolk (1793), Plymouth (1685), Suffolk (1643), Worcester (1731).

According to Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development department, the cities and towns that make up the Greater Boston area include: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Cohasset, Dedham, Everett, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, Weston, Weymouth, Winchester and Winthrop.

Boston neighborhoods: Allston/Brighton, Back Bay, Beacon Hill/West End, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Financial District, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston, South End/Bay Village, and West Roxbury.


Click on the interactive map to see boundary formations in Boston. 

Somerville, October 2014

cookies

simply irresistible (sonya kovacic)

simply irresistible (sonya kovacic)

The chocolate chip cookie was invented 20 miles outside of Boston in the south shore town of Whitman. The story goes that in the 1930's, Ruth Wakefield, who ran the Toll House Inn along with her husband Kenneth, decided to put Nestle semi sweet chocolate bits into her cookie dough. The Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie became an instant hit with her customers, and after Nestle saw their sales spike, asked Ruth for the rights to her recipe. Ruth sold her recipe to Nestle for one dollar for an unlimited supply of chocolate and for her original recipe to be printed on Nestle cookie dough packaging.


Sweet Idea, a late night cookie delivery service in Boston, lets you send your family and friends a cookiegram.

September 2014, Somerville

speakeasy

backbar, union square (sonya kovacic)

backbar, union square (sonya kovacic)


"What America now needs is a drink!"

- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

Prohibition in the United States from 1920-1933, banned the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcohol. What it did not do was stop people from drinking alcohol. During Prohibition, Americans frequented speakeasies, places that sold alcohol illegally. Boston alone had around 4,000 speakeasies. It was during this time that the cocktail grew in popularity. Because alcohol was mostly bootlegged, and the quality of liquor was poor, mixers were needed to mask the flavor. Some popular Prohibition-era cocktails included:

The French 75
Gin Rickey
Mint Julep
Old Fashioned
Sidecar

Modern speakeasies have been popping up in Boston for the past few years and are characterized by serving Prohibition-style cocktails. Some of them even have hidden entrances. Below is a brief list of Boston's modern speakeasies:

Backbar (Union Square, Somerville)
Brick and Mortar (Central Square, Cambridge)
Drink (Fort Point, Boston)
The Hawthorne (Comm Ave, Boston)
Highball (Downtown Boston)
Jim Curley (Downtown Boston)
Saloon (Davis Square, Somerville)
Wink and Nod (South End, Boston)


The Boston Public Library has a collection of almost 40,000 photographic negatives from photographer Leslie Jones. Jones, who was a staff reporter for the "Boston Herald Traveler" from 1917-1956, documented everyday life in Boston in the 20th century. One photo from his collection is of a speakeasy... after a raid.

Somerville, September 2014

autumn

somerville community path (sonya kovacic)

somerville community path (sonya kovacic)

The morns are meeker than they were--
The nuts are getting brown--
The berry's cheek is plumper--
The Rose is out of town.

The Maple wears a gayer scarf--
The field a scarlet gown--
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.

 — Autumn, by Emily Dickinson


Now on view in the MFA's Art of the America's wing: Sanford Robinson Gifford's An October Afternoon

July 2014, Somerville

cats

pilaf  (sonya kovacic)

pilaf (sonya kovacic)

Science confirms: Boston cats are more likely to be polydactyl.

In other words, Boston has a very high rate of cats with extra toes — so much so, that the trait has developed a nickname: "Boston thumb."

The question is: why? The most likely explanation is that decades ago, sailors in New England developed an affinity for the extra-toed cats. They were thought to be better climbers (to catch rodents) and just plain good luck. The trait was artificially selected for, and a result, Boston has a much higher rate of polydactylism than other U.S. cities.

(Another nickname for these cats is "Hemingway Cats" — apparently, the author Ernest Hemingway collected more than 50 of them while living in Key West.)


For one more week, Boston's MSPCA is running a promotion for senior cat adoption, complete with a poster for Catsablanca.

Somerville, June 2014

donuts

 five union square donut holes (one eaten)  (sonya kovacic)

 five union square donut holes (one eaten) (sonya kovacic)

Dunkin' Donuts was founded in Quincy, and has since grown into one of the largest restaurant chains in the world. There are currently over 15,000 Dunkin's across the globe — and in Boston alone, you can find 40 within a 1-mile radius of Boston Common. It also has plenty of critics.

In 1997 (before the age of Yelp), one customer decided to air his grievances publicly. After getting fed up with DD's refusal to carry 1% milk, the 25-year-old teacher registered a domain and created his own website –  dunkindonuts.org.

The website was a forum for Dunkin' customers to share their gripes about the chain. It immediately took off. National media coverage helped increase traffic, and the site became so popular that it actually showed up above Dunkin' Donuts' official website on several search engines.

The chain took notice, and in 1998, purchased the domain for an undisclosed amount.


A Top Chef contestant serves her "Stacked Donuts" at one new location in Boston almost every weekend. This weekend, there are four.

May 2014, Somerville

extension

rails in union square, somerville  (sonya kovacic)

rails in union square, somerville (sonya kovacic)

Somerville and Medford will soon have at least seven new T stations, thanks to the MBTA's Green Line Extension. The project – which extends the Green Line past Lechmere Station – consists of two new branches terminating in Union Square and at Tufts University. The first three stations are set to open in 2017.

However, it won't be the first time the cities will have light rail access. Streetcar lines actually extended from Boston into its surrounding towns in the early 20th century, until they were replaced by today's bus lines. In fact, if you know where to look, you can still see some old rails peeking through the pavement.


The MBTA's history is full of extensions, replacements, and closed lines (the A Line, anyone?). Thanks to vanshnookenraggen.com, you can view an animated map of the MBTA's history in a single gif.