Reflections on my week in BOSTON… and a peek into Harvard/MIT.

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Reflections on my short trip to Boston:

  1. I personally found Boston to be the older and more attractive sibling of New York: the streets are cleaner, the people are friendlier, and the architecture is diverse. (Boston is the perfect mix between tradition and modernity). Plus, Boston is quite small, making the walk from the North end all the way to Cambridge a charming afternoon.
  1. The city has a bustling culture scene. I was fortunate enough to catch a Puerto Rican festival this past weekend. First, my friend and I stumbled upon a full free night concert and the next day we saw a parade! The atmosphere was absolutely joyous due to the wonderful Bostonian people and hispanic pride. The cultural diversity of the city adds to its dynamic ambiance. (Fun fact from a local: Boston has a large Puerto Rican community).
  1. Boston could easily be identified as a university area. The actual city is filled with names ranging from Northeastern, Berklee School of Music, Tufts, Boston University, and Boston College. And just across the Charles River are MIT and Harvard in Cambridge. As a student aspiring to their high calibre, I found the two prestigious universities to be aweing and yet normal. By talking to current students, it became clear that going to Harvard or MIT was difficult (but DEFINITELY not unattainable through hard work). Insider information: Harvard students pee on the statue of John Harvard, so DON’T rub the foot. Also, MIT students love climbing on things… buildings, the alchemist statue, etc.
  1. The transportation was easy to use and efficient. I was staying at MIT in Cambridge, which was closely connected to the city through the T (metro). There were also buses and other quick links. I’m biased because I live in London, but hey, for an American city the public transportation was pretty good!
  1. So much to do! So much to see! So much to enjoy! There are museums, historical sites, comedy clubs, malls, movie theatres, Red Sox games, food markets, parks and so so so much more. Additionally, the city appears to care for its citizens. For example, the greenway is a park stretch from the North End to South Station. AND there’s free wifi on this strip (it also has benches, tables, fountains, and vegetation).
  1. The people were absolutely lovely. The population sample was probably skewed away from students because it was summer, but I found Boston to have a nice mix of students, young professionals, and established business suits. Although it heavily depends on the area, Boston also has a nice balance between the different socio-economic classes.

Personal recommendations for places to visit:

  1. Boston Commons
  2. Faneuil Hall Marketplace/Quincy Market – bustling food and clothing stores
  3. Beacon Hill – where the rich people live
  4. North End – Italian part (must try cannoli)
  5. Newbury Street – shopping and beautiful area
  6. Freedom Trail
  7. The financial district
  8. The Boston Harbour Inn
  9. The different university campuses (especially Cambridge)

Food/Drink:

  1. Eat lunch or dinner on top of the Prudential Tower for an amazing view of Boston
  2. Coffee and a sandwich at Thinking Cup
  3. Coffee shop experience =  Flour Bakery and Cafe 
  4. Brunch in Cambridge – Area Four (they serve pizza!)
  5. Boston Common Coffee (why go to Starbucks when Boston has its own chain?)
  6. La Burdicks – for a hot chocolate experience like a true Harvard Student
  7. Georgetown Cupcakes – there’s one on Newbury street

Final Conclusion: Boston… I’ll be coming back for you someday. You absolutely took my heart away!

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If you haven’t discovered TedTalks, it’s not too late for you. Go feed your brain at ted.com. You definitely won’t be sorry you followed my advice … this time!

5 Rules of being a Good City Citizen

  1. When someone asks you to take a picture of them, take your job as a photographer seriously. This picture could be their only ‘couple picture’ in front of Big Ben. Or it could be her new Facebook Profile picture. (And we all know how important that is!)
  2. When it comes to working in coffee shops, be respectable of space. If you’re on your own at Starbucks, let a stranger take the other side of the table. And when they or you leave, say your goodbyes and smile… you were practically on a coffee date after all!!
  3. Be mindful of people traffic flow. Everyone is busy. Everyone is stressed. Everyone is late for a meeting. Everyone is being slowed down by tourists wandering on the wrong side of the street. So just please be respectful of those stressed and frazzled human beings around you. They’re fighting a battle as well.  
  4. Those people on the street – the ones in colourful vests and a cause they’re promoting – are real people on the street. You don’t need to ignore them like the plague. THEY’RE PEOPLE, in the cold, trying to save Pandas. So say “no thank you” if you don’t have time, but have the courtesy to look them in the eyes.
  5. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks. So, every now and again… take a break and look up at the wonderful buildings around you. It’s simultaneously a humbling and aspiring feeling. And will make you a better citizen of your respective city. A true Londoner, or Parisian, or New Yorker.