Boston celebrated the Red Sox victory in the World Series by throwing a parade on Saturday. I joined the crowds at one corner of the Boston Common, with bright fall color in the background.
Category Archives: Culture
Cool Globes on Boston Common
We saw these painted globes on Boston Common as part of a worldwide Cool Globes exhibition, designed to raise awareness of solutions to climate change. The globes went on display in Boston on August 15.
The globe on the left, covered in frogs and entitled Frogs in Common; Offspring, was designed by David Phillips. Phillips also designed the frog sculptures near the Frog Pond on the Common.
Boston’s Dominican Parade
We watched the tail end of Boston’s Dominican Parade Sunday afternoon on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. Loud and festive, the parading groups brought a lot of energy to the neighborhood. Dominican flags flew everywhere.
Drivers seemed to compete as to who could stack the most speakers on their car or van. At times, the loud music was nice, especially when dancers followed. But I didn’t understand why five cars in a row each blared a different song; all we heard was noise. Is it about the music or your speaker set-up?
Tree of Heaven: Invasiveness, Immigration, and Racism
I like to call Ailanthus altissima the tree of good or evil. Depending on your perspective, it is either the “ghetto palm,” an invasive pest, or the “tree of heaven,” a tough, hardy street tree once planted for its beauty.
Introduced into the United States from China in 1748, it was being planted as a street tree by the 1820s. Pollution-resistant, salt-tolerant, quick-growing, and with tropical-like foliage, what was not to love about this tree?
Peter Del Tredici, senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum, held a tree mob on July 22 on a specimen of this tree (accession #695-80-B). Before eventually turning brown, most ailanthus trees have fruit that go from green to yellow. The tree that Del Tredici collected goes from green to red, hence the form “erythrocarpa,” which means red fruit. Del Tredici described the red on the tree as a spontaneous mutaton that appears sporadically.
Lantern Festival at Forest Hills Cemetery
The Lantern Festival is an annual Jamaica Plain tradition that takes place at Forest Hills Cemetery. Attendees decorate lanterns in memory of loved ones. After lighting a small candle in the center, each lantern is placed on Hibiscus Pond. The prayers and well-wishes then swirl around the pond.
Fourth of July Fireworks
I continued an annual tradition by biking down on the Fourth to see the fireworks display on the Charles River. The fireworks were spectacular as always. This year, they closed off Mass. Ave over the river and some of the fireworks were sent airborne from the bridge.
Security was advertised as tight and that may have kept the crowds away. I estimate the crowd at a quarter to a half of a typical Fourth.
Happy Independence Day!
Anne Frank Sapling Planted on Boston Common
This afternoon, a living memorial to one of the more famous victims of the Holocaust was planted on Boston Common. Anne Frank, author of The Diary of a Young Girl, which chronicles her time in hiding from the Nazis, mentioned a horse chestnut tree that grew just outside the window of the Secret Annex where she was hiding.
“Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs. From my favorite spot on the floor, I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind…”
“The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.”
Tour of the Rose Kennedy Greenway
The elevated Central Artery running through downtown Boston was dismantled starting in 2004 as part of the Big Dig. The automobile traffic that would have taken the highway now moves below ground. In its place, Boston got the Greenway. On Thursday, I took a tour of the Greenway parks.
The tour was led by Darrah Cole and Anthony Ruggiero, horticulturists working for the Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit group that manages the parks.
Our group started at the Chinatown gate. The park there has reduced green space because the community asked for a plaza where they could hold events. One end of the plaza is lined with Dutch elm-resistant ‘Frontier’ elms. These elms are a hybrid of the European field elm (Ulmus minor) and the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia).
Urban Nature Walk: Muddy River/Fenway
Jef led us on a walk along the banks of the Muddy River on a sunny, seasonal spring day. We first stopped to view some outdoor sculpture as part of the Through the Trees exhibition by studios without walls.
Wake Up the Earth Festival
Every year, Jamaica Plain celebrates Wake Up the Earth, a paean to spring and to a successful push to stop an interstate highway from decimating the neighborhood. A parade wanders from the center of the neighborhood to the Southwest Corridor Park to begin an afternoon of music and people. Here are some photos from the parade.