Showing posts with label Boston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boston. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Walked Boston's Boston Athenaeum

An athenaeum, if you are unfamiliar, is an institution for the promotion of learning. The word derives from a reference to the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena.

The Boston Athenaeum began as a reading room in 1807. It began by renting rooms near Kings Chapel Burying Ground and later on Pearl Street downtown before finally moving to Beacon Street location when this building was completed in 1849. It is currently only one of sixteen libraries in the country that require membership for usage of services.

Public access to the library is available for free on first floor. This level contains many historic statues and busts and affords an excellent view of the backside of the Old Granary Burying Ground (the burial site of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and Mother Goose).

Boston Athenaeum
Boston Athenaeum
Members receive exclusive privileges to the private libraries of George Washington and The Narrative of the Life of James Allen, The Highway Man. This later was written by a convict who while on his deathbed in prison, requested that the book he wrote containing the confessions and stories of his crimes be bound in his own skin. The skin used to bind his autobiography reportedly came from his back and was treated in a process similar to leather for preservation. The process was supposedly so secretive or nonchalant that the bookbinder was not even aware of the material he was using. Perhaps the sickest part of this tale, however, was that one copy (of which there were reportedly two) was bequeathed to an alleged victim who escaped Mr. Allen and whom he held in such esteem.

  • Website:
  • Address: 10 ½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA
  • Cost: Free.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Louisburg Square Apartments in Boston

Louisburg Square Apartments is considered one of most elite neighborhoods in all of Boston and is the last private square within the city. Current famous residents include Senator John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, the current heir to the Heinz family fortune.

Most of the homes within the square were built in 1835. Upon their completion, the square was named for the 1745 Battle of Louisbourg. A battle fought between the “British” and “French” in “Canada”. How does this relate to Massachusetts? Well, the Battle of Louisbourg was a part of the King George’s War fought between England and France. In this battle (fought in Nova Scotia) the Massachusetts militia actually fought alongside the English who were still allies in the Pre-Revolutionary period of this clash.

Fans of the children’s novel, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, may recognize the name of Louisburg Square Apartments as the site where Mrs. Mallard and her family did some home shopping before settling within the Boston Public Garden. A popular sculpture commemorating the book resides in this garden.

It may be best that Mrs. Mallard decided to relocate to the Public Garden because it likely saved her substantial living expenses. Louisburg Square was the first neighborhood to create a home owners association within the United States to help pay for its upkeep. On the other hand, having decided not to relocate here Mrs. Mallard and her family would not have been able to partake in the first Christmas caroling in the United States which also occurred here in the late 19th century.

Louisburg Square Apartments
Louisburg Square 
Situated in the center of Louisburg Square Apartments is a fenced in green space. This fence was erected in 1929, approximately one-hundred years after the square was initially developer. Located within the fenced off area are two statues. On the south side is a statue of Aristides the Just (530 B.C. – 486 B.C.). Aristides was known to always do the right thing for Athens even at his own expense. On the north side is a statue of Christopher Columbus. Both statues were presented as gifts in 1850 by a former Turkish consul member who used to reside at 3 Louisburg Square.

Gazing around the home surrounding the square you will notice near perfect symmetry in the architectural styles of the buildings. On the side with even numbered addresses all of the buildings have flat facades. While the odd numbered addresses are a bit more elaborate with bow front, cast-iron balconies and flagpole holders with serpents.

The address at 10 Louisburg Square Apartments was the final home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. Louisa passed away here at the age of 55 of what was guessed to be mercury poisoning. Louisa likely contracted the poisoning while working as a nurse during the Civil War. Mercury was used often as a treatment for many ailments. Mercury was typically combined with honey and chalk into a mixture called calomel and this, in turn, was used to kill bacteria. The substance’s ill effects of teeth loss and brain damage were not yet recognized.

  • Website:
  • Address: Louisburg Square, Boston, MA

Friday, June 16, 2017

I Walked Boston's Common Parkman Plaza

Parkman Plaza is a second dedication to Dr. George Parkman within the Boston Common (the Parkman Bandstand being the first). Parkman Plaza was officially dedicated in 1960. The plaza consists of a cement semi-circular space that contains three statues and is also the home to the Visitor Center where the Boston Freedom Trail begins.

You may read more about the Boston Freedom Trail and the Visitor Center which provides free maps for the trail here. In regards to the statues which surround the plaza, each was dedicated in 1961. Each statue is said to celebrate a different aspect of Boston.

Parkman Plaza
Parkman Plaza
The statue on the south side of the plaza is said to celebrate Boston’s Religious energy. The statue consists of a boy kneeling with outstretched arms, palms up and looking up to the sky as if in prayer or in search of spiritual guidance.

The statue on the west side of the plaza (and nearest the Visitor Center) is a figure celebrating Industry. Here there appears to be a man drilling into some object which he has straddled between his legs.

The statue on the north side of the plaza has the name of Learning across the bottom of it. Here we see another young man sitting atop a globe while reading a book.

  • Website:
  • Address: Boston Common, Boston, MA. Near the intersection of Tremont Street and West Street.
  • Cost: Free.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Boston’s King’s Chapel Burying Ground

King’s Chapel Burying Ground is the oldest cemetery in the city of Boston. It was established in 1630 when Sir Isaac Johnson sold the land on which he formerly maintained his vegetable garden to create the city’s first burial ground. It is said that Mr. Johnson was the first individual buried here. For almost thirty years, it remained the only burial ground in Boston until 1659 when Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was established in the North End. It is not known exactly how many individuals were buried here between the years 1630 and 1896, however, it is known to be well over a thousand. It’s estimated that for every one of the 500-600 headstones still in existence that ten to twenty burials occurred.

King’s Chapel Burying Ground
King’s Chapel Burying Ground

King’s Chapel is reported to be one of the most haunted locales in all of Boston. Legends tell of an individual once buried alive here. By the time suspicions were raised and the body dug up, the person was already dead—whether before or after having been buried it is uncertain. Another ghastly tale speaks of a person whose head had to be chopped off in order to fit within their undersized coffin. And last but not least, Captain Kidd has even been rumored to be buried within this graveyard. This would appear highly unlikely, though, as he was hung in London after being convicted of piracy.

While taking a stroll throughout King’s Chapel Burying Ground, you may find:

  1. The ornately carved gravestone of one Joseph Tapping.

  2. The grave marker which supposedly was the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter.

  3. A grave belongs to “the other” Midnight Rider.

  4. The oldest extant grave within the cemetery.

  5. The final resting place for the 1st woman to step off the Mayflower.

  6. The grave for the 1st governor of Massachusetts.

During your explorations if you really wish to experience what death may smell like, we encourage you to stick your nose up close to the wrought iron structure situated in the southwest corner of the yard. This is a structure which seems to attract and puzzle many visitors in the graveyard. This is actually a ventilation shaft for the nearby Park Street Station, which was erected in 1896.

Iwalked Boston’S Howard Athenaeum

I Walked Boston’S Howard Athenaeum - Within the brick plaza space atop the stairs of 1 Center Plaza is a plaque honoring Boston’s former favorite sailor haunts, “The Old Howard.” The Howard Athenaeum, or more commonly referred to as just the Old Howard, was known for its slogan of “Always something doing at the Old Howard.” In addition to its infamous burlesque shows, the Old Howard also showcased the top talent of the day including Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers and Rocky Marciano (who fought a series sparring matches here over a 1 week period in 1951).

During these popular shows one common staple which could be found was the bald-headed section in front. Thomas Edison reportedly commented as such in his diary when he was quoted as, “our seats were in the bald-headed section.”

Howard Athenaeum
Howard Athenaeum

The downfall of the Old Howard occurred in 1953 when the Boston Vice Squad captured a dancer by the name of Mary Good Neighbor stripping on 16mm film. The theatre was forced to close and the numerous efforts to re-open the theatre were finally exhausted when the building burnt down in 1961.

The plaque here to commemorate and remember the Old Howard was dedicated in 1968 by a group which included a songwriter by the name of Francis W. Hatch, who also wrote a song regarding the former burlesque called, “Some Coward Closed the Old Howard.”

  • Website:
  • Address: 1 Center Plaza, Boston, MA (Address is approximate)
  • Cost: Free

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Iwalked Boston’S Public Garden Good Will Hunting Bench

I Walked Boston’S Public Garden Good Will Hunting Bench - Thousands of people come to Boston’s Public Garden every year attempting to relive or recreate the infamous “bench” scene from the 1997 movie starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting. If YOU wish to sit upon a former movie proper what you need to do descends down the stairs from the lagoon bridge before crossing over it (on the south side of the lagoon). Walk along the path beside the water and look for the third backless bench on the left.

Public Garden Good Will Hunting Bench
Public Garden Good Will Hunting Bench
In the movie scene Robin Williams character, Sean, provides Matt Damon (I. e. -Will) with some sound advice on love. This part you may already know. What you may NOT have noticed is that just prior to the 2 characters venturing to this particular point, Will invites Sean to take a “quick” walk from the classroom. Now, the classroom where Will instructs is portrayed at Bunker Hill Community College. While for some people a 45 minute walk from Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown in the Boston Public Garden may be a short leisurely stroll, I’m not certain that this is quite what the directors had in mind.

  • Website:
  • Address: Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA
  • Cost: Free

Winter Hill Gang Headquarters, Boston

I Walked Boston’S Winter Hill Gang Headquarters - Situated in a parking garage along Lancaster Street in Boston resides what was once the headquarters of Irish organized crime syndicate, the Winter Hill Gang and their former leader James “Whitey” Bulger. The Winter Hill Gang is said to be the basis for the 2006 Martin Scorsese film, The Departed.

The Winter Hill Gang was most noted for having fixed horse races along the East Coast. That is until 1979 when an Atlantic City jockey provided police with evidence necessary to indict members of the Irish crime syndicate. This indictment included Howie Winter himself, and left a vacancy at the top. Not arrested for the crime due to his existing relationship as an informant within the FBI and paving the way for his claim at the top was “Whitey” Bulger.

Bulger obtained his early “career” experience at the age of 14 through larceny and robbing banks for which he spent a number of years in various jails, including the infamous Alcatraz. Known for his platinum blond hair in his younger years it led to him earning the nickname “Whitey.”

When Bulger took over the reigns of the Winter Hill Gang he moved their headquarters to the Lancaster Foreign Car Service parking garage at 131 Lancaster Street. Almost every day around 1:30pm Bulger arrived at this location in his 1979 Chevy Caprice and got down to business.

Winter Hill Gang Headquarters
Winter Hill Gang Headquarters
Under Bulger’s leadership, the Winter Hill Gang re-focused their business model to stay out of activities like race fixing which could be directly traced back to them. Instead they instituted a pyramid scheme of sorts whereby they charged local criminals a “fee” to stay in business. Fail to pay once, it’s a broken bone. Fail twice, well you didn’t. Per the FBI, 18-19 murders have been directly linked to Bulger although for much of this time they turned the other way.

The reason for this was that, as mentioned earlier, Bulger had a “working” relationship with some members of the FBI where he acted as an informant, primarily versus his arch enemies the Italian Mafia. FBI supporters who often tipped off Whitey of any ongoing investigations claimed that information from Bulger helped lead to the eventual arrest of Jerry Angiulo, the head of the Italian Mafia at nearby 99 Prince Street in Boston’s North End. Others in the FBI were less optimistic as to the quality of information provided.

Bulger’s biggest supporter in the FBI was a childhood friend by the name of John Connolly. The tale of how these 2 individuals met is now one of lore. It seems that when Whitey was 19 years old he walked into an ice-cream shop and offered to buy ice cream for three 8-year-old boys in the shop. Only one boy refused stating that his parents had taught him not to accept gifts from strangers. Whitey supposedly looked the kid in the eye and told him, “Hey kid, I’m not stranger. Your mother and father are from Ireland. My mother and father are from Ireland. What kind of ice cream do you want?” The kid grinned and responded, “Vanilla.” That kid was, of course, John Connolly.

Connolly’s relationship with Bulger, long in question, finally came to a head in 1995 when an indictment for Bulger was released. However, when police went to go arrest Whitey he had disappeared with his long-time girlfriend Teresa Stanley. It was figured that Connolly was likely the one who tipped him off. In 1999 Connolly was arrested for obstruction of justice amongst other things and was sentenced to 8-10 years.

In regards to our man on the run, Bulger returned to Boston only one time just a month after eluding police. This stop was supposedly to drop off his girlfriend Teresa Stanley, who had determined that she wasn’t made for life on the run. Whitey, in exchange, dropped her off and picked up another long-term girlfriend Catherine Greig and this time did not return.

Since his disappearance in 1995, Bulger has reported been seen in New York, California, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi and Europe. It’s said while on the run he had used such aliases as Tom Harris, Tom Marshall, Thomas F. Baxter, Mark Shapeton, Jimmy Bulger, James Joseph Bulger, James J. Bulger Jr., James Joseph Bulger, Jr., and “Whitey.” In reference to some of the latter aliases, one has to question how some of these aliases have gone undetected.

Whitey has been on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List since 1999 and is second only to Osama Bin Laden. His tale had been told on America’s Most Wanted 14 times from 1995 to present and the FBI is currently offering a $2 million award leading to his arrest.

Update: Whitey Bulger was arrested on June 22, 2011 in Santa Monica, CA after having been on the run for approximately 16 years.

I walked Boston’S Ally Mcbeal Building

I walked Boston’S Ally Mcbeal Building - The Congregational Library and Archives are administered here. What is that you say? It is a library of religious and New England history that includes a ledger detailing Benjamin Franklin’s baptism. The library is a not for profit organization that originated in 1853 “for the purpose of establishing and perpetuating a library of religious history and literature of New England, and for the erection of a suitable building for the accommodation of the same, and for the use of charitable societies. It began with an initial donation of 56 books and has since expanded to some 225,000 volumes.

Ally Mcbeal Building
Ally Mcbeal Building
This building in which the library is situated dates back to 1898 and contains four bas-relief sculptures on its front façade by Spanish artist Domingo Mora that depict significant events in Boston history. If you inspect the four bas-reliefs from left to right, the events are:

  • John Eliot (“The Indian Apostle”), a Puritan missionary, preaching to the Indians
    The founding of Harvard College

  • A celebration of the 1st Sabbath on Clark’s Island. This is where the Pilgrims actually landed before Plymouth Rock.

  • The signing of the Mayflower Compact. This was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony.

The building is more popularly known as the former offices of Ally McBeal, the FOX television series which ran from 1997 to 2002. The 7th floor offices of Cage & Fish have maintained a legal presence in that they now house the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association.

  • Website:
  • Address: 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
  • Cost: Free.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Boston

Summer is almost upon us and that means… family vacations! As all of the Clark Griswald’s of the world gather up their regrets to share with their families the largest balls of mud across the U.S., we here at I Walked decided to try and help you find some more worthwhile destinations here in our hometown of Boston. Traveling with families can be expensive, and entertaining the little ones can be a bit of a hassle unless you have a good tour guide—like us! Thus, I Walked Audio Tours proudly presents our Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Boston:

Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Boston

1. Children’s Museum

Well, duh! The second oldest Children’s Museum in the United States. Afterwards, grab some ice cream at the Hood Milk Bottle ice cream stand situated outside the front entrance.
Address: 308 Congress Street, Boston. (617) 426-6500
Hours: Sat-Thur 10am-5pm; Fri 10am-9pm
Cost: Adults, Children and Seniors $12; Children under 1 are free.

2. New England Aquarium

Kids will love the 200,000 gallon central tank you can walk around all the way to the top. If price is an issue at least check out the harbor seals outside of the aquarium within a glass case for some free entertainment.
Address/Phone: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA. (617) 973-5206
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Summer hours (Jul 1- Sept 3) are typically extended 1 hour.
Cost: $22.95 Adult and $15.95 Children (Ages 3-11)

3. Public Gardens

Take a leisurely ride on the Swan Boats and let your kids sit on the Make Way For Ducklings statues. Better yet, bring a blanket and have a picnic and enjoy the picturesque scenery (or the parents can at least while the kids run around screaming).
Address/Phone: Bordered by Beacon Street (north), Charles Street (east), Boylston Street (south) and Arlington Street (west), Boston. (617) 635-4505
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Cost: Free!

4. Museum of Science

Kids can interact with numerous exhibits and stare in awe at the life-sized T-Rez or Tryceratops. The domed Omni theater is a trip for older kids (younger ones may get scared). Also take part in the Community Solar System (, a little known treasure hunt of planets throughout the city!
Address/Phone: 1 Science Park, Boston. (617) 723-2500
Hours: Sat-Thu 9am-5pm; Fri 9am-9pm. Hours are extended Sat-Thur during summer months (Jul 5-Labor Day) by 2 hours.
Cost: Exhibit Halls: Adults $22, Seniors $20, Children $19. Omni theatre and planetarium are extra.

5. Boston Duck Tours

A bit expensive, but kids does get to drive these giant land-water vehicles! Don’t worry parents… only when you’re in the water and there’s nothing they can hit.
Address/Phone: Departures exist in 3 locations. (1) The Museum of Science at 1 Science Park, Boston, MA. (2) The Prudential Center in Boston’s Back Bay at 53 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA. (3) New England Aquarium at 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA. (617) 267-DUCK.
Hours: 9am-Sunset with departures every 30-60 minutes (from the Museum of Science and Prudential Center). 3pm-8:30pm from the New England Aquarium. (Note: This is a seasonal tour typically offered beginning in March and ending in November.)
Cost: $28.99-$32.99 Adults and $19-$22 Children (Ages 3-11)

6. Fenway Park

A family tradition. Need I say more? Tours are obviously more affordable, but if you can swing tickets to a game, it is a must to experience.
Address/Phone: 4 Yawkey Way, Boston. (617) 226-6666
Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. On game days the last tour is offered 3 hours prior to game time.
Cost: Tours: Adults $16; Seniors $14; Children (3-15) $12. Game ticket prices will vary.

7. Quincy Market / Faneuil Hall

Top touristy area with more than 18 million visitors annually (more than Disneyland). Lots of shops, restaurants and area to run. Watch street performers (each of whom is required to audition).
Address/Phone: 1 Faneuil Square Boston. (617) 523-1300
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 11am-6pm. Individual restaurant hours may vary.
Cost: Free to people watch. Shopping and food are obviously at your own discretion.

8. Frog Pond at Boston Common

During the summer the pond is a free wading pool for kids. By winter, a beautiful skating rink. And if you really want to gross out the kids tell them about how this used to be the site a cow pond (evil laugh).
Address/Phone: Intersection of Beacon Street and Walnut Street, Boston. (617) 635-2120
Hours: Check website for details.
Cost: Free summer wading pool. Skating admission in the winter is $5 for adults and free for children under 13. Skate rental is extra.

9. Franklin Park Zoo

Kids love animals! Of all of the local zoos this one is by far the best. Nearby Drumlin Farms are also fun, but you need a car.
Address/Phone: 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston. (617) 541-5466
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. The zoo closes at 4pm during winter months (Oct 1-Mar 31).
Cost: Adults $17; Seniors $14; Children (2-12) $11; Children under 2 are free

10. Christopher Columbus Park

Near the waterfront and the North End, this is probably one of the best maintained children’s play areas.
Address/Phone: Intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Richmond Street, Boston. (617) 635-4505
Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
Cost: Free!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Boston Walking Tours : Samuel Appleton Building

Boston Walking Tours : Samuel Appleton Building  at 1 Liberty Square is a 1926 Classical Revival Building. It is thirteen stories in height and the most dominant feature is the rounded front façade, again, indicative of the Classical Revival style.

Samuel Appleton Building
Samuel Appleton Building
Atop the front door are a series of bronze and stone friezes worthy of further inspection. Immediately over the door are twenty-one bronze figures in a 3×7 pattern over the words, “The Employers’ Liability Assurance Corporation Limited.” Each of the workers depicted within the individual friezes are performing a series of manual labors such as sawing, hammering or carving. Situated over the bronze friezes are granite symbols signifying various trades such as shipping and manufacturing for which the former insurance firm undoubtedly covered.

Finally, a larger robed figure holding a sword and shield oversees it all as she stands stoically overseeing this all. Seemingly this figure is meant to represent Employers’ Liability’s capabilities in overseeing (and providing insurance coverage?) over all of the trades and industries depicted on its front façade.

Samuel Appleton was a prominent figure in the insurance industry in Boston for years and the building is named after his former offices. Those former offices have since been taken over by a series of legal and financial advisory firms.

Boston Walking Tour Sacred Heart Church Tampa

Boston Walking Tour Sacred Heart Church Tampa - Situated within Boston’s Little Italy (the North End) and just a short distance from the Paul Revere House is the historic Sacred Heart Church.

Sacred Heart actually began as The Seamen’s Bethel in 1833. A bethel, for those unaware, is a chapel for seafarers. In 1876, a faction of individuals from nearby St. Leonard’s Church broke off to formulate Sacred Heart, the second Italian church is the area. As the 1st Italian church, St. Leonards had brought together Italians from many various regions. With so many regions (and religious views) represented in a single congregation, a small faction eventually separated to create an alternative place of worship for the Italian community.

Boston Walking Tour Sacred Heart Church Tampa
Sacred Heart Church Tampa
The congregation which moved here was said to have been home to one of the most famous orators and preachers of its day. People from all around would come to hear the speeches of “Father” Taylor, who was a former sailor himself. Among those whom traveled to hear the wisdoms of “Father” Taylor included Walt Whitman and Charles Dickens. Herman Melville even based his character Father Mapple in the novel Moby Dick, based upon Father Taylor.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Boston Walking Tours : Paul Revere House

Boston Walking Tours Paul Revere House - Located within the heart of Boston’s North End (the Little Italy neighborhood) is Paul Revere’s former home at 19 North Square. The home, mind you, to which he could not even return to for a full year after his famous midnight ride for fear of his life.

This brown clapboard with high pitched roof is actually the oldest home in downtown Boston, having been built in 1680. Revere purchased this house in 1770. To help pay for his home Paul had to undertake numerous jobs. Occupations which Revere held included gold and silver smithing (a trade he learned from his father), political cartoonist (including his famous depiction of the Boston Massacre), copper plate engraver, book plate manufacturer (a small label on the inside cover of a book which would signify the owner of the book), and business card designer.

Boston Walking Tours Paul Revere House
Boston Walking Tours Paul Revere House 

When Paul moved in with his exceptionally large family of 16 children (8 of which he had with his first wife and 8 with his second), the space was said to be so limited that even the British stayed away. British troops, of course, had their right to the quarter in the homes of families. The Reveres, however, qualified for an exemption due to their limited living space. Paul did find space enough though to, on occasion, host exhibits for friends at his home. During one of these exhibits in 1771 he showed oil paintings which he had drawn of the Boston Massacre and which were illuminated by candlelight (in diorama-like fashion). It is said this showing was just one of several instances which helped plant the early seeds of the Revolution.

Paul eventually sold this home in 1800 and the home took on a series of different lives afterwards, including: a tenement, bank, grocery store, candy store and cigar factory. The home was slated for demolition in the early 20th century before being acquired by a group which included Revere’s great-grandson—John P. Reynolds Jr. Who transformed it into this historical museum.

The museum officially opened in 1908 and provides spectacular insight into 18th century living. 90% of the structure is, per its original design. There is a nominal fee for touring it & this is the most popular attraction along the Freedom Trail. If you do decide to enter the museum and visit, do not miss out on the 900 pound bell cast by Paul Revere located in the courtyard.

**Special thanks to the Paul Revere House for their insight in preparing this entry.

  • Website:
  • Address: 19 North Square, Boston, MA
  • Cost: Adults $3.50; Seniors and College Students $3; Children (Ages 5-17) $1

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Iwalked Boston Common Event Today – Park Street Subway

Iwalked Boston Common Event Today – Park Street Subway - While the reminders of our nation’s first subway may be gentle, the launching of the first subway car on September 1, 1897 opened a whole new avenue of transportation for Americans (pun intended). The first subway line ran from this location up to nearby Boylston Station just .19 miles (about 1000 feet) away. If you can imagine, there were actually four rail stops along this short path of which I can just hear the commuter cries if that were still in place today.

Boston Common Event Today – Park Street Subway
Park Street Subway

Now when our subway system opened its merits were not sold on all individuals. There were numerous skeptics whom feared the underground railway would lead to the buildings in this area collapsing. Fortunately the neigh-sayers were proven wrong and we still have our Park Street T-Station with us today.

The Boston T system, if you are unfamiliar, refers to their subway system. This is similar to how individuals in Chicago refer to their rail system as the ‘L’. Now while it is fun to think that the name of the rail system cleverly references historical events from Boston’s past, unfortunately, the reality is that it just simply stands for the term “Transit.”

There is a historical marker on the back of the subway exit nearest Tremont Street if you wish to view more details as to the station. Also outside of the station is a four-sided kiosk or marker with some additional history on the Boston Common if you wish to view this as well.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Iwalked Boston’s Park Street Church

Iwalked Boston’s Park Street Church - Park Street Church is an active Conservative Congregational Church located along Boston’s Freedom Trail that dates back to 1809 (just five years after Park Street itself was established). Prior to its erection, the largest building in all of Boston resided on this site. A building known as the Granary (built in 1738), was located here for nearly seventy-five years, serving the purpose of storing corn and wheat for sale. It was inside the former Granary building in which the sails for the U.S.S. Constitution were said to be sewn. The Granary was demolished in 1809 to make room for the Park Street Church which was founded by twenty-six parishioners from the nearby Old South Meeting House.

Boston’s Park Street Church
Boston’s Park Street Church
Park Street Church was formally constructed in a very short period of time between 1809 and 1810 and was designed by architect Peter Banner. Banner based his plans on a similar London church by Sir Christopher Wren who is most noted for having designed St. Paul’s Cathedral. Integrated within Banner’s designs include a 217 foot Georgia steeple and some intricately carved wooden capitals on the front columns that were done by Solomon Willard. An addition of a stained glass window caused a bit of controversy when it was installed in 1904 for its anti-Puritan flare. The controversy eventually led the church to install a plain-glass window over the exterior so that this single example of stained glass may only be viewed from the interior.

When masses began here in 1810, the congregation was known as a very serious and passionate bunch. Masses would last approximately two to three hours each week and in the event that attendees were found to be “resting their eyes” they were awaken via a wooden stick.

Over the years Park Street Church earned the nickname of “Brimstone Corner,” both for the fiery speakers who used to preach both inside and outside the church and for the gunpowder which was housed there during the War of 1812. Amongst those who spoke here included William Lloyd Garrison who delivered his first anti-slavery speech here on July 4, 1829. It was during this address that he spoke the famous words, “Since the cause of emancipation must progress heavily, and must meet with must unhallowed opposition—why delay the work?”

A number of other notable firsts are said to have occurred within the Park Street Church. The first Sunday school program was held here in 1816. The church’s first organist, Lowell Mason, composed “Joy to the World” here. Another noted song, “America” (aka “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”) was sung for the first time of the church’s steps on July 4, 1831 by the Park Street’s Children Choir. And lastly, some unrelated organizations including the Animal Rescue League (a predecessor of the humane society) and the Prison Discipline Society (the first U.S. prison ministry) were also founded here.

Today the church continues to be an active congregation that is said to have nearly 2,000 mass attendees each week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Iwalked Boston’s Freedom Trail - The Freedom Trail is Boston’s most famous and historic walking trail. It was the product of a Boston columnist by the name of Bill Schofield who came up with the idea in March of 1951 in an article in the Evening Traveler. After much promotion, the city formally implemented the trail in June of 1951, although the red paved path was not added until 1958.
Boston’s Freedom Trail
Boston’s Freedom Trail
This brick-paved or red painted path extends approximately 2.5 miles throughout the city and connects seventeen historical sites related to the American Revolution. Those sites include:

1. The Boston Common
2. The Massachusetts State House
3. Park Street Church
4. Granary Burying Ground
5. King’s Chapel
6. King’s Chapel Burying Ground
7. Benjamin Franklin Statue & Old Latin School
8. Old Corner Book Store
9. Old South Meeting House
10. Old State House
11. Site of the Boston Massacre
12. Faneuil Hall
13. Paul Revere House
14. The Old North Church
15. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
16. Bunker Hill Monument
17. U.S.S. Constitution

Just a tip, of these seventeen sites, while only three advertise admission fees (the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House and Paul Revere House) you may be expected to provide a donation at some of the churches (including Kings Chapel and the Old North Church).

Parkman Plaza within the Boston Common is the official starting point for the Boston Freedom Trail. Within the Visitors Center (which opened in 1966) you can pick up a free map if you wish to do a self-guided tour. Per the Freedom Trail website it is estimated that some 500,000 maps are disbursed annually.

From the Visitors Center you may also join a guided tour led by individuals in 18th century costumes. The guided tours are usually about an hour and a half, although if you really wish to spend time at even a handful of the sites, I would allow yourself a majority of a day to do so.

One final option on doing the Freedom Trail is if you go to their official website you can download an audio tour which provides full theatre to each of the attractions.

  • Website:
  • Address: Boston Common, Boston, MA. Trail begins at Parkman Plaza. Near the intersection of Tremont Street and West Street.
  • Cost: Free.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iwalked Boston’s Haymarket - Haymarket is an open-air fruit and vegetable market open every Friday and Saturday morning at the approximate intersection of Hanover Street and Blackstone Street. In this market, which dates back to around 1830, you will find dozens of push carts and stands selling some of the cheapest produce in town. The reason that you are able to buy these goods at such a low, low price is that these items are typically acquired by the vendors from wholesalers needing to make space for newer and fresher shipments.

Boston’s Haymarket
Boston’s Haymarket
While the produce may not be the freshest off the vine, the quality is still sufficient enough to draw large crowds here every weekend. A large reason for the attraction, and part of the charm of Haymarket, is the ambience. You have vendors yelling at each other, yellowing at the crowds, and it’s just a very festive atmosphere.

Haymarket has been such a long standing tradition in Boston that even when the Big Dig was performing construction in the area; crews were forced to shut down at 2pm every Thursday so as to allow vendors to begin setting up for the next day. This being a project, mind you, that at its peak was operating at a cost of $3 million per day. All shut down to allow the sale of 99 cent fruits and vegetables.

If you find yourself in the area either during the market or some day in-between, there is a wonderful sculpture embedded into the concrete to take notice of. Embedded into the pavement are little brass pieces of fruits and vegetables that are the symbolic work of Mags Harries. This work was originally created in 1976. Some 30 years later additional symbols such as mushrooms were added. The work is titled Asaroton and, quite fittingly for this area, means “unswept floor.”

  • Website:
  • Address: Intersection of Hanover Street & Blackstone Street (address is approximate), Boston, MA
  • Cost: Free to visit. Cheap produce is extra

Monday, June 6, 2011

Iwalked Boston’s Zero Marker – The Boston Stone - If you glance at about ankle height you will find embedded in the brick wall a small hollow stone that measures about two feet long. This infamous stone is known as the Boston Stone which was brought over from London in the year 1700 by a painter named Tom Childs. No word on whether baggage fees were associated with bringing the stone stateside.

The Boston Stone
The Boston Stone
Mr. Childs formerly had a shop here and used the stone as paint grinder. Originally the stone was four times its current size before being broken on some four separate occasions. In 1737 the stone was embedded within the brick wall and a stone trough was added to keep carriage wheels from striking the location.

Many sites will have you believe that this stone was once the Zero marker—that being the point from which all distances to Boston were measured. This, in fact, has never been the case. The Massachusetts State House has served this purpose for years, either as the Old State House on Washington Street or its current home on Beacon Street.

  • Website:
  • Address: 10 Marshall Street, Boston, MA (Address is approximate)
  • Cost: Free

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Iwalked Boston’s King’s Chapel Burying Ground

Iwalked Boston’s King’s Chapel Burying Ground - King’s Chapel Burying Ground is the oldest cemetery in the city of Boston. It was established in 1630 when Sir Isaac Johnson sold the land on which he formerly maintained his vegetable garden to create the city’s first burial ground. It is said that Mr. Johnson was the first individual buried here. For almost thirty years it remained the only burial ground in Boston until 1659 when Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was established in the North End. It is not known exactly how many individuals were buried here between the years 1630 and 1896, however, it is known to be well over a thousand. It’s estimated that for every one of the 500-600 headstones still in existence that ten to twenty burials occurred.

King’s Chapel Burying Ground
King’s Chapel Burying Ground
King’s Chapel is reported to be one of the most haunted locales in all of Boston. Legends tell of an individual once buried alive here. By the time suspicions were raised and the body dug up, the person was already dead—whether before or after having been buried it is uncertain. Another ghastly tale speaks of a person whose head had to be chopped off in order to fit within their undersized coffin. And last but not least, Captain Kidd has even been rumored to be buried within this graveyard. This would appear highly unlikely though as he was hung in London after being convicted of piracy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Iwalked Sports Illustrated’s Top Sports Bar

Sports Illustrated’s Top Sports Bar - If you happen to visit the TD Garden for a Celtics or Bruins game, then pre-game festivities along the nearby Canal Street are a must. Here you will find a wide array of bars from brew pubs and clubs, to your traditional ol’ sports bar.

Sports Illustrated’s Top Sports Bar
The Fours
Perhaps the most famous of those sports pubs is located at 166 Canal Street—The Fours. The Fours have been a staple of the Boston sports scene since it first opened its door in 1976. In 2005, Sports Illustrated labeled The Fours as the Best Sports Bar in America. In addition to their more than 40 televisions throughout the bar, they are well known for their bar menu as well. Not surprisingly, a number of the sandwiches and wraps are named after famous New England Hall of Famers. This selection includes The Yaz, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, The Bambino, Doug Flutie, Ray Bourque, or our personal favorite, the John Hannah Burgers. Try the BBQ Cheddar.

In reference to the “2005” Sports Illustrated (SI) honor, this was actually the last time SI published such a list, so as of current, The Fours can still lay claim to their “best of” status.

After a filling lunch (or a few beverages) don't miss out on the nearby New England Sports Museum.

  • Website:
  • Address: 166 Canal Street, Boston, MA
  • Cost: Depends on how much you eat/drink

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Boston

Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Boston - Any town that has it’s own Little Italy has to have some great Italian cuisine and Boston is no exception. Here in Boston that area is called the North End. The North End is one of many Boston-based IWalked Audio Tours. On IWalked’s 2-hour audio tour of the North End we explore: Copps Hill Cemetery, the narrowest home in Boston, the infamous robbery of a Brinks Security office, 40-50 waves of molasses destructing the town, Paul Revere’s home, the Old North Church, the Italian mafia, the tale of Sacco and Vanzetti, and more. But before you get started on walking, you’ll probably need some sustenance. Thus, IWalked Audio Tours proudly presents our Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Boston:

Top 10 Italian Restaurants in Boston

Terramia Ristorante

Good ahead and look up top Italian restaurant on almost any list for Boston and this is one, if not “the” top pick on nearly every list. Opened in 1993, this place only seats 39 individuals. Do not fret though on patrons “hogging” that choice table all evening, as Terramia does not serve coffee nor dessert (common amongst many restaurants in the North End) so turnover is more timely.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 98 Salem Street, Boston. (617) 523-3112

  • Hours: Mon-Thur, Sun 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm

  • Prices: $$$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


If you thought Terramia Ristorante was quaint at 39 seats, you’ll be in pure heaven at Carmen. Quaint doesn’t even begin to describe this 9 table romantic haven. Carmen is rated high on Zagat and a number of other lists.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 33 North Square, Boston. (617) 742-6421

  • Hours: Tues-Thur 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun 3-10pm

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes

Via Matta

Located in Back Bay, this is our highest ranked non-North End selection and for good reason. Not only do people come here in droves for the food but for the bright modern ambience driven via its brightly lit rooms. Who says you have to eat Italian in a small, dark space?

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 79 Park Plaza, Boston. (617) 422-0008

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-1am

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


Notice a common theme amongst our top Italian selections? Pomodoro’s intimate setting of 8 tables continues to fuel the fires of Boston romantics. While planning that intimate dinner, however, don’t forget to hit the ATM machine first as cash is required.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 319 Hanover Street, Boston. (617) 367-4348

  • Hours: Tues-Fri 3pm-11pm; Sat-Sun 11am-11pm

  • Prices: $$$$

  • Accept Credit Card? No

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


Prezza is named after a small ancient town in Italy where the chef’s grandmother was born. Integrating the best of Italy’s Abruzzi region with other Mediterranean regions, Prezza is well-reknown for both its food and extensive (900+ varities) wine list.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 24 Fleet Street, Boston. (617) 227-1577

  • Hours: Sun-Thur 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm; Bar Open 4:30-Close.

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


Located within the Charles Hotel, you’ll enter Rialto via a “white stone paved path inspired by an ancient Roman road.” Boston Magazine’s top pick, be sure to enjoy the rotating 4-course regional menu. Diners may order either fixed price or ala carte.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge. (617) 661-5050

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; Sun 5:30pm-9pm.

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


Keep the credit cards at home, for as they state on their website, “We like dead presidents.” Giacomo’s is obviously a popular joint, as based upon personal experience and numerous online reviews, you can likely expect about a 30-minute wait for seating. (Giacomo’s does not accept reservations.)

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 355 Hanover Street, Boston. (617) 523-9026

  • Hours: Mon-Thur 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm; Sun 4pm-9:30pm.

  • Prices: $$

  • Accept Credit Card? No

  • Accept Reservations? No

Mamma Maria

Located along the Freedom Trail, and just a block from the Paul Revere house, comes to Mamma’s for their simple (1 page) but elegant menu. Located within an 1820 row-house you’ll enjoy fine cuisine and spectacular views in one of five distinct areas within the restaurant.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 3 North Square, Boston. (617) 523-0077

  • Hours: Mon-Thur 4pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


Taranta describes their food as a Southern Italian cuisine with a Peruvian blend. Opened in 2000, Taranta is one of the few certified green restaurants in the world for its eco-friendly design.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 210 Hanover Street, Boston. (617) 720-0052

  • Hours: Mon-Sun 5:30pm-10pm

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes


When in the theatre district, this is your “only” option for supreme quality Italian. While the dress code specifies casual, you may want to be conscious of other diners likely headed to a show (in case you tend to feel under-dressed). Our choice here is the thinnest pizza in town.

  • Website:

  • Address/Phone: 177 Tremont Street, Boston. (617) 778-6841

  • Hours: Tues-Thur 5pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11:30pm; Sun 4pm-10pm

  • Prices: $$$

  • Accept Credit Card? Yes

  • Accept Reservations? Yes