Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Time in Boston

I decided to attend the Association of American Geographers' (AAG) mega-conference with my friend Le canadien errant, a geographer and critical scholar, in Boston this past week.

We scored a lovely apartment in Back Bay, a literal stone's throw away from the infamous Cheers pub. Besides the fact that nobody seems to know my name, the most notable aspect of this historical neighbourhood are the hundreds of runners zig-zagging their way along the sidewalks and in the ample green spaces. Boston Common, the venerable urban park, is around the corner, and it seems like so many wannabe marathoners are using its sleek contours to practice for this weekend's Boston Marathon. Here's a word-to-the-wise - if you're in Boston during race week, just walk around wearing a pair of jogging shorts and shoes and a little sweat on your brow, and you'll be treated, well, like a neighbour might treat you when you arrive home after a long sojourn away - with a warm smile and nod of recognition.

CE and I went to Cambridge today, Harvard Square more precisely. It's across the Charles River from our lovely apartment, which I do highly recommend if you're planning a short-term stay in Boston. We have a nice, sunny 1 bedroom apartment with a pull-out couch and cot, quite suitable for three people, for $100 per night. But I digress, I was on Cambridge. Crossing the river on the red line is a lot like entering into another world. The area around Harvard feels a little like I imagine a conservative college town in California might feel like - starbucks, sushi, books and music, and lots of well-dressed 20 year olds on their cells. It wasn't exactly what I'd call progressive, but it beat the areas of Boston I've been spending time in up until now.

I stopped into two great bookstores. One came recommended by my new friends Patrick and Vanessa. Raven Books, on JFK Street had a good selection of post-colonial theory and social theory, and is well worth exploring. The prices were very decent as well. My best find in Cambridge though, was The Million Year Picnic, a cute basement comic bookstore that had a good selection of graphic novels. The one that caught my eye was Joann Sfar The Rabbi's Cat 2, the sequel to Part I that was just released. I realize that I haven't written a review of The Rabbi's Cat yet, but when I do get around to reading part II, I'll do a double review.

And that is quite possibly all I have to say about Boston. Nice architecture, fully gentrified, expensive rents, staid folks, sunny springs. I'm generalizing, but it's all I have to go on right now.

1 comments:

stares at the sky said...

Hey this blogging thing is coming in handy. It's great hearing about your trip and your used book stores. in fact I think you could create a world wide guide to used book/record/clothing stores. ( even from just pulling it all from your blog...) Becasue as we found out in Charleston - Find the stores and the Neighbourhood will follow. What I great way to get to the goods of a city.
I'de buy it.
See you next week! I'm home Tuesday.
P.S. If you're around Wednesday night you can meet MB.