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Harriet Tubman Monument, Boston



    Boston is at once intellectual, historic, trendsetting, conservative, multi-ethnic, and blue blood.  That personality is only matched by the maze of downtown colonial streets that are both an utter frustration to drive and treasured for their human scale.  To release downtown’s treasures, bring walking shoes, and purchase a three-day transit pass.  Catch the T subway lines between its distinctive districts.  Then traipse by foot as civics lessons come to life at many historic sites like the Boston Tea Party, the burial ground of Paul Revere, and the Crispus Attucks Monument.  The latter site is testament to the progressive side of Boston acknowledging contributions made by a person of African descent to the formation of the country.

    For many, the perfect view of Downtown Boston is from a waterfront restaurant overlooking Boston Harbor, planes landing at Logan Airport and ships passing by.  The New England Aquarium and public ferries are excellent family introductions to the city.  Charming Beacon Hill features the elderly gold-domed State Capitol, picturesque trees along cobbled streets and brownstone buildings.  This district is home to Boston’s oldest African American district and the historic African American Heritage Trail.  Next door at the Boston Common visitor center, you’ll find the beginning of the Freedom Trail linking sites important to the American Revolution.  Government Center, with is broad-shouldered plaza fronting a modern City Hall, is a frequent site for public gatherings.  Next door, Faneuil Hall sparked the nationwide urban shopping renaissance.  Catch the T subway to North Station.  There, one finds Fleet Center, the home of the winningest team in basketball history, the Boston Celtics.  Italian restaurants and pizza parlors are a short walk away in North End.
    Like sentries, distinctive skyscrapers surround classical buildings in the Financial District.  Show a hint of reverence to the Old State House, US Customs Tower, and the Old South Meeting House from American Revolution days.  Walk south to the Theater District for dinner, a play or a nightclub.  If numerous art galleries, shops, cafes and museums are to your liking, Back Bay has ample reward.  Chic and funky shops make this an upscale shopper’s paradise.  Copley Square, having a block long plaza, historic church, central library, cultural amenities, is one of America’s great plazas. A little further west is Prudential Center, with its cultural attractions, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Then there’s one of Boston most missed treasures by visitors, the Esplanade along the Charles River in spring, summer or fall.  Catch the T subway to Cambridge for must-see attractions at Harvard and MIT.  Along with Boston University, Berkley College of Music, Boston College, Institute of Contemporary Art, Tufts, Wellesley, University of Massachusetts, Northeastern, and Brandeis, Boston’s colleges are creating ideas for government, business and education 10 to 20 years before they reach critical mass nationwide. 

    African American historic and cultural sites include the Afro American Museum, Harriet Tubman Monument, Asa Phillip Randolph Monument, Robert Gould Shaw & the Massachusetts 54th Calvary Monument, Charles Street Meeting House, and the first Nation of Islam Mosque opened by Malcolm X.  Though Beacon Hill precedes them, Roxbury and Dorchester are the nexus of Black culture today. 

    Lastly, traveling around central Boston is an order of magnitude better.  Recent completion of the Big Dig project ends the nightmarish tales of waylaid travelers trying to exit the airport only to reach the freeway parking lot through downtown.  The newly pleasant commute lets you taste that magnificent New England Lobster all the sooner!



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