Stephen: Lesser Known Gems Throughout Boston

When I arrived on campus for orientation this past summer, it was the first time in many years that I had spent more than a day in Boston. Now, as a second semester freshman, I’ve been in the city for months enjoying what it has to offer. From great food to exciting activities, there are endless numbers of things that can be done here. For me, however, one of my favorite activities is finding new places to take photos.

I come from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania known as Carlisle. Now Carlisle is very nice and all, but it’s not quite as intense as Boston. The photography I did there usually required me to travel long distances to capture a sunset or simply an interesting landscape. Here in Boston, all of that has changed. Now I can just hop on the T, go to the North End and take new photos every time I’m there. However, is continually going to one spot really all that fun? For some perhaps, but for me not so much. That’s why I’m going to share five of my favorite places for photography that I have found in my short time being in the city. Before we get into the list, don’t worry about whether or not you prefer landscapes, portraits, cool insta shots, or whatever really. The list consists of all photography interests so it can apply to anyone.
 
Longfellow Bridge –
Longfellow Bridge is located right next to the Charles/MGH T station and has one of the best views of the city I have yet to see. The bridge has a pedestrian friendly walkway and you can often find bikers or runners making their way across. From my experience, it is best to come to the bridge during the dusk hours of the day when a lot of the city lights start to come on. Naturally, this spot is ideal for cityscape photos and long exposures such as the one below.
 
 
Chris and Ally’s Bench –
If you’re looking for a peaceful place near the river, this is the spot for you. Chris and Ally’s Bench is located along the Charles River Esplanade only a short walk from the BU Campus. It has some gorgeous weeping willow trees and there are great spots to climb around and enjoy nature. This spot is great for portrait work or for getting a nice shot of the river, especially on days where the river is full of boats. It shows up on google maps so you should have no trouble finding it!
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge –
I have yet to go to this bridge just yet but it has peaked my interest for quite some time. If you don’t already know of this bridge, it is located in the North End and it has a quite iconic cable architecture. There are walkways underneath and around the bridge as well so you can get a view of it from many different angles. I’d personally like to do portraits in this spot and test around with some other shots as well. After you’re done checking it out too you can always walk right on into the North End for some quality food.
 
Coolidge Corner – 
A classic Boston location, Coolidge Corner is in the Brookline neighborhood and is about a 15-20 minute walk from West Campus. There are some great food options in the area in case you get hungry, and the photography is great too. The famous Coolidge Corner Theatre features some great lights for a nighttime shoot, and the rustic buildings on the corner of Beacon and Harvard street (right next to the T stop) are quite the sight. I’ve been here once but I am looking forward to returning at night for some more photography.
 
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park –
Another North End location, this waterfront park is quite a nice area to spend some time in. This location is very popular so don’t expect to be alone, but do expect to get some cool pictures. At night when the archways are lit up, things can get quite pretty. Another great aspect of the park is its great view of the water as well as its proximity to Faneuil Hall. Grab some food, do some shopping, and then head down to the park for some pics.
While creating this list I really tried to avoid some of the more popular spots such as Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, or the famous Acorn Street. Those are all great options for photography as well, but the list features some not as popular gems that are still fantastic spots. Grab a friend, grab your camera, and get out there and start shooting! Not into photography? No problem whatsoever, hopefully this list can still add some locations for you to check out in the future.

Emily: My Boston Bookstore Bucket List

This year, I made a resolution to read for pleasure more. It may have something to do with all of my professors telling me to be a “consumer of culture”, but really I just love reading and bookstores. And, as the first month of 2018 comes to a close, I’ve had the terrible realization that I’ve only read one book (It’s Commonwealth by Ann Patchett)!! So, to inspire myself (and hopefully you), I’ve compiled my Boston Bookstore Bucket List (because the idea of cozying up with a coffee and a good book sounds way better than doing homework).

 

  1. MIT Press Bookstore

Okay, so I’ve technically already been here but I cannot recommend this bookstore enough. The MIT Press Bookstore, as the name suggests, features works from the MIT Press. They have an extensive selection of design, art, and science books (and a pretty nice music section). But what makes this store stand out from the others (Aside from the selection of coffeeshops surrounding the location) is the book designs themselves. I have never been more inspired by book covers before. If you’re into graphic design or art, this would be at the top of my list.

  1. Trident Booksellers and Cafe

Brunch in a bookstore? Trident says yes! So, I’ve also been here a few times, but I always want to go back! Trident has great food (I recommend the tofu scramble for my veggie friends) and an even better atmosphere. I could seriously spend all day here – and not just because of the free wifi. If you’re looking for good books or good gifts, or a good place to take a friend, this is the place to go!

  1. Brattle Book Shop

This is at the very top of my bucket list… look how cool it is!! Brattle Book Shop offers a vast  selection of used books, plus their outdoor bookshelves would make for a great Instagram (amiright ladies)?

4) Brookline Booksmith

Located in the always-cool Coolidge Corner, Brookline Booksmith is one of the most recommended bookstores in Boston! For aesthetics alone, this is at the top of my list (look at the fairy lights, it’s a Tumblr dream!) Brookline Booksmith has a huge variety, a used book cellar, and also sells audiobooks.

Hopefully this inspired you to hit your reading goals this year! Happy Reading!

 

Claudia: My Boston Bucket List

The semester has started and school is back in session, which means… I’m a second semester senior. As I’m writing this, there are 104 days 16 hours and 13 minutes (give or take) until I am a Boston University graduate. Crazy, right? BU (COM especially) has been my home over the past three and a half years and it’s weird to think in a little over 4 months, I could be in a completely different city. So here it is (a classic senior move), my Boston Bucket List, BUT with a twist. Here are some of my favorite things of the past three and a half years that I hope will make it on your Boston Bucket List!

The Boston Classics:

Go to the movies at Coolidge Corner Theatre: The Coolidge Corner Theatre may be my favorite place in all of Boston. I’ve seen some pretty great movies in this beautiful picture house, but the Midnight Movie series is a highlight of my college experience. I rang in my 19th birthday at a screening of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.

Mike’s Vs. Modern Cannoli Taste Test:  My personal favorite – Modern Pastry

Have a picnic on the Commons: My sophomore year roommates surprised me with a beautiful picnic on the Boston Commons for my 20th birthday.

Cheer on the Red Sox: No BU Bucket List is complete without going to a Red Sox game.

Eat a delicious pasta dinner in the North End 

Go to the Cape: You can take the express Cape Cod Flyer from South Station to Hyannis!

Eat plenty of lobster rolls: The Barking Crab is a personal favorite

Go to Salem on Halloween: SPOOPY!

Go to Boston Calling: LORDE. CHILDISH GAMBINO. BLEACHERS, ALT-J. HOZIER. WALK THE MOON. Enough said. 

My BU Favorites:

 Broadcast Live on 89.3 FM: WTBU Radio has been a wonderful community and will forever hold a special place in my heart

 Attend EVERY Lobster Night: And in Warren Towers, of course…

 Write and produce your own TV pilot: My sophomore year I co-wrote and produced a 40-minute TV pilot (you can check it out at vimeo.com/entidaled)

 Learn what it means to be a BU Boss Lady: I was lucky enough to join the HotHouse team last fall and travel to LA to film BU Boss Lady. I left the trip inspired by these boss BU alumni and eager to start the next chapter of my life

 Shut Down Warren Dining: There have been plenty of nights my friends and I have been the last people in the dining hall

 Lose your voice at the Beanpot: During my Freshman year, the Polar Vortex delayed the Beanpot, but that didn’t stop us from cheering on our winning team

 See a show at CFA: My best friend Hannah is an acting major and all I have to say is WOW.

 Study Abroad: My semester with the BU London Internship Program was life changing. Check out my adventures here

 Work with your best friends: The COM Ambassador program was not only a great platform for sharing how much I love COM, but it also strengthened the bond between me and some of my best friends.

 Staying up late in Warren Dining might not seem like a favorite moment at first, but I’ve laughed so hard in those red vinyl chairs that there’s no way my BU experience would be the same without it. All in all, enjoy your time at BU and make every second count.

Carly: “How’s the cold?”

If I had a single dollar for every time I heard this question, I would have enough money to buy a Canada Goose jacket for everyday of the week. Coming from California, I expected to have a hard time adjusting to the Boston climate. Or rather, everyone around me assumed that I would have a hard time living in cold weather.

College shopping for my mother and me included an extra leg of work: buying winter clothes for the first time. My mother, frantic about her child’s ability to survive the cold climate, called every single person she knew on the east coast to get their insight and advice on apparel. She was determined, it seemed, to prepare me to present myself as if I had spent my entire life managing snowy winters. But the truth was that I had spent my childhood and adolescence in sunny Southern California, questioning the existence of four seasons and praying for rainfall. I had never even seen snow before.

As a result, my parents — and everyone else who asked me where I was headed for college — seemed to think I would have a hard time with the cold. It was a ripe topic for conversation before I left and when I returned over Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

Unbeknownst to my friends and family back home, I never actually struggled with the cold here on the east coast. In fact, I really enjoyed it during my freshman year at BU. Sure, some days were harder than others, and I cherished every break I spent under the warm, dazzling California sun, but I genuinely enjoyed living in a cold climate. I loved watching the leaves change, and I shed a tear during the first snowfall. I basked in the joy of a cold holiday season, and I absolutely loved experiencing New England culture when I had the opportunity to explore the east coast. I spent a weekend camping in New Hampshire under radiant fall foliage, and I also spent a weekend trekking across suburban Connecticut to reach the Mohegan Sun, a secluded casino and concert venue. Not only did I fall in love with New England, but also, in fact, a part of me felt complete, as if I had been waiting all my life to live among Northeasterners and their classic Colonial architecture. And as I finished my first year of college and watched the Boston skyline recede from the window of my plane home, it hit me: I was an East Coast girl trapped in a West Coast body. And then it hit me again: if I was made to live on the east coast, where should I go after school?

I wish I could take everyone I love and care about from home and move them out here. I wish I could stay in Boston or New York over the summer and still be able to spend time with friends and family from home. Sometimes I even wish I had my car and the gorgeous California coast line on cold, blustery winter days. Thinking about the two lives I have on each coast is so frustrating that I convince myself I’ll never be happy, regardless of where I end up.

But the truth is that I will have many decisions to make as I start preparing for my professional career. Do I want to pursue filmmaking in my hometown of Los Angeles, in accordance with my anticipated Film & T.V. degree from COM? Or do I try pursuing foreign policy and diplomacy in Washington D.C., as my classes for my anticipated International Relations degree from CAS seem to convince me? Or do I want to apply to jobs in New York City, a place I’ve called my second home since the fifth grade and a city that never fails to fill me with a special sense of excitement and hope? A city that houses some of my closest friends from college and my own older brother?

Thankfully, I still have time to decide where I want to live after school. Even still, much of the decision will be out of my hands, as it greatly depends on where (and if) I receive employment offers.

But wherever I end up, I know I’ll keep a part of each coast — and the people I care about on either side — with me.

Stacy: Pre-Summer To Do List

 

The weather is nice, spring is in the air (or was a few days ago… typical Boston) and the summer season is right around the corner. You know what that means… time to go out to eat, explore and “treat yo self “(Parks and Recreation reference).

So I’ve compiled a list of last minute Bostonian things to do before going home for summer.

 

1. Go to a Red Sox game. I KNOW I KNOW, such a Boston stereotype. But I haven’t been yet so it made the list. The new dip in prices for students is motivating me to finally head to Fenway and experience the baseball culture before the end of the semester. Please hold me to that.

2. Bova’s Bakery in the North End. Let’s face it; Mike’s Pastry is overrated. Bova’s is cheaper, less mainstream and less touristy.  And it’s open 24 hours. Only a true Bostonian puts Bova’s over Mike’s.

3. Coolidge Corner Theatre. It shows classic movies, foreign films, documentaries and sci-fi features. From time to time there are new movies, but it’s fun to experience movies that aren’t typically shown in a theatre setting.

4. Maria’s Taqueria. Best Mexican food in Boston. It may look like a hole in the wall, but it’s a best-kept secret of the theatre district.

5. Raven Used Bookstore. One in Cambridge and one in the Back Bay area, it’s a great place to find your next read. Buy a book and go read it outside! Date day with yourself.

6. Dumpling Café. Hands down the best Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. Get soup dumplings, and your life will never be the same

7. Bella Luna. It’s a restaurant in Jamaica Plain with a bowling alley downstairs. It’s definitely not touristy, and a lot of fun.

 

Of course you could always walk on the Common, do the Freedom Trail, look in graveyards for some of Boston’s historical figures, explore Harvard yard… but let’s be honest. Most of us have done these things within our first month of college.

I hope these suggestions are helpful in your adventures during your last few weeks of classes, good luck on finals!

Anneliese: Boston Outdoors

Currently sitting in the sun as I write this blog, I’m so obviously inspired by this gorgeous weather. Now that spring has finally sprung, it’s time to start taking full advantage of the great Boston outdoors.

 

SoWa Vintage Market

SoWa open-air market is now up and running again after a brutal winter. I took my COM freshman group in the fall and it was fantastic then, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for spring. There’s a delicious farmer’s market portion of the bazaar, as well as vintage treasure and handmade art vendors. Even if you’re not looking to shop, you should definitely hit up SoWa to check out the awesome food trucks and local music!

 

The market is open every Sunday. More info at the following link:

http://www.newenglandopenmarkets.com/sowaopenmarket/

 

Amory Park, Brookline

Obviously, there’s Boston Common and the Boston Public Gardens, if you fancy a stroll in the sunshine. However, one of my favorite nature-y spots in the city is Amory Park in Brookline. There’s a cute pathway through the trees, plenty of green space to play a game of Frisbee or some soccer, and—best of all—there are always tons of dogs around. It’s quieter than the Common, and I love sitting beneath the giant maple trees while looking up at the gorgeous Brookline homes.

 

Located at 45 Amory Street, in between the Hawes St and Kent St T-stops.

 

Lunch at Dorado

For some reason, I equate good weather with Mexican food. My favorite Mexican place in Boston is Dorado, located just past Coolidge Corner. They have amazing fish tacos, the BEST guacamole (sorry, Chipotle lovers), and seasonal fruit juices—the watermelon juice was super weird and super delicious. Stop by Dorado to sit outside at one of their adorable picnic tables while sipping Coca Cola from a glass bottle. How quaint.

 

401 Harvard St., Midway between Beacon & Comm Ave, Brookline, MA 02446

Hannah C.: Study Spaces

If you’re like me, always torn between the need to get work done and the desire to explore, you know the value of being on the lookout for new study spaces.  For me, studying in my dorm is impossible thanks to the fact that all my friends live on my floor, and Mugar gets monotous after several nights spent among its desks. Since my mind constantly wanders when I’m in a familiar setting, I often need a change of scenery in order to be productive.

 

After a semester and a half at BU, some of my best-kept secrets have been the uncommon study spots I’ve found throughout Boston.  So without further ado, here are my favorite places to study in and around BU.  You can thank me later.

 

1. Hogwarts-style studying

Bates Hall at Boston Public Library has been compared to Hogwarts for its majestic dome ceilings and long rows of tables.  It’s beautiful to say the least, and doing work alongside its bookshelves always makes me feel like a proper scholar.  It’s impossible to go in and out without having done some work.

 

2.  Trident Booksellers

Going to Trident means great food paired with great atmosphere.  Plus it’s an opportunity to venture to Newbury without breaking your wallet.  Chances are you’ll be in good company with other students who visit Trident to study, especially on the weekends.

 

3.  Coffeehouses

Starbucks in Kenmore Square and Pavement Coffeehouse on Comm. Ave. each offer a great place to read texts or write essays for the price of one cappuccino or latte.  Frequented by students, both spots makes it hard not to get to work done with people busy at laptops all around you as you enjoy your coffee.

 

4.  Rooms with a view

For East Campus students, the 9th floor of Kilchand Hall, and floor twenty-six of StuVi2 for those in West provide study lounges up and away from the noise.  Take a break from staring at your laptop screen to glance at the Charles or the city skyline from these lounges with spectacular views.

 

5.  Group study spaces

Need a little background noise to be productive?  The COM study lounge on the first floor is a great place to do work in between classes in a creative atmosphere; this is where groups meet and TAs hold office hours.  The first floor lounge of Kilachand Hall, open 24/7 to students, is a favorite setting for study groups as well.

 

6.  Smaller study spaces

Less room equals less people equals less distractions.  On the fifth and sixth floors of 100 Bay State, the tiny spaces with couches and chairs are perfect for quiet reading.  This is where meetings with Career Services take place, but if it’s empty it’s yours to claim for working.

Morgan: A Little Perspective from a Second Semester Senior

As I’m well in to my last semester of my senior year, I’ve started to reflect on my entire college experience. Being a transfer student, my experience might be somewhat a-typical. Two schools, two orientations, two different cities to explore, and two great groups of friends and tons of awesome professors who have helped shaped my life to what it is today. But the one thing that, when I look back I wish I did more of, was to document this entire experience.
Don’t get me wrong I have just as many Instagram pics of the Pru at sunset, Fenway Park in the summer, or the Common in the Fall as you do – but those aren’t the things you’ll need help remembering. What about the night before that snow day when you and your roommates decided to dance around in your PJ’s to pop hits circa 2002 while baking cookies and drinking hot chocolate until approximately 4am? Or the time the Red Sox won the World Series and you ran down to Kenmore Square to scream and celebrate with the rest of this awesome city? Or that time your club did something super cool like a big performance or created something cool or WHATEVER. The point is, these are the experience that you can only ever have in college – right now where you are.
As we’re getting all caught up in this exam and that class and that project and whatever roommate who you’re fighting with this week, we forget to appreciate this time and this experience.
So basically what I’m getting at is, take more pictures, videos, and even screenshot those hilarious Tweets you may want to look back on someday. 30 years from now you’re not going to want to remember the exam you took on February 12th for the psychology class you needed to graduate, but you’ll probably want to remember how you celebrated after.

Tyler: I Swear It Wasn’t Like This Before

When I got off the plane from London at Logan Airport two months ago, I gleefully welcomed the frigid weather. It was unbearable and exposure to the wind caused concerning pain to my face and hands, but it confirmed that I was home.

 

Don’t get me wrong — spending the fall semester studying abroad in England was the greatest thing I’ve ever done. And that was exactly the problem. I didn’t want to leave at all, but I’d accomplished my academic and research goals and completely run out of money. So, I had come to accept that it was time to get back to campus where I can focus more directly on working toward a career without being distracted by travel, a different social dynamic, and the whimsy of simply being elsewhere.

 

I take it back. I’d become accustomed to such a routine lifestyle of extremes in London. My time was spent in lengthy periods of either sitting quietly and nervously in a massive historical library or taking taxis, buses, trains, and planes to the new coolest place I’d ever been in my life. Classes ran once or twice a week. The weather was a comfortable, albeit often rainy, 50 degrees every single day. Plane tickets cost $40. I could drink legally!

 

Nothing feels right in Boston — the city in which I’ve lived practically all my life. I’m no longer on a cultural crash course disguised as a vacation. It’s not easy realizing that what I learn and accomplish in the next year very much decides how I spend the rest of my life. It’s not easy reverting to prudent financial habits. Fortunately, friends and family remain constant regardless of where I spend my time, and returning to those at home has certainly helped me realize what, or who, truly drives me to achieve my goals.

Hannah H: The Boston Bucket List

Over the past few weeks I’ve received some great news that is really going to impact my time at BU next year. My best friend (and sometimes my greatest nemesis) is moving to Boston this summer. My older sister, Madison, is graduating from college this June and then she’ll be headed my way to take on Boston with me.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from her impending arrival, it’s how much I still have to do here in Boston. She’s constantly rattling off ‘we should try this’ or ‘let’s do that when I get there.’ It’s like she’s more familiar with the city than I am lately. For this reason, I’m really making an effort to get out into the city this semester, take the time to familiarize myself with the areas I don’t spend as much time in, and branch out.

An aide to this exploration is actually my Production 1 class. All Film and TV students have 4 required courses: Production 1, Understanding TV, Understanding Film and Screenwriting. Production 1 familiarizes students with different equipment and editing software. Another aspect of the class is filming 3 different ‘short film’ projects over the semester. While it’s a lot of work outside the classroom, it’s also a great excuse to get off campus and into Boston. I’m only three weeks in and I’ve already had so much fun going into the north end and over to the financial district to scout locations for my projects. It’s also helping me find a few things I’m excited to try with Maddie when she arrives too.

While she still doesn’t understand that an apartment in the north end isn’t in walking distance to my classes on campus or that the t is our public transportation system not just a letter in the alphabet, she’s still teaching me a lesson or two. It’s going to be hard to sacrifice some of my binge-TV time (which I’m sure she indulges in just as much as I do) but I’m excited to dive into our little, (or not so little) Boston Bucket List together.