Feb 112017

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

First snow day of the winter.  A large storm pounded the east coast, creating blizzard conditions in Boston for about five hours.  Although the snowfall was very heavy at the height of the storm, we only ended up with about a foot of snow in the city.  And more snow is in store for this weekend, but it will likely change to rain.  Up until now, we’ve had very little snow and are far removed from the massive winter two years ago, the total snowfall for which was 110 inches.  And most of that fell in a relentless series of storms from late January through early March.

But back to this storm.  It was fun to be out in the height of the snowfall, walking around my neighborhood.  The streets were basically deserted but for snowplows.  Most shops, cafes and restaurants were closed.  Very few people were out and about, except for kids sledding in Sparrow Park a block away from my house, and a few souls out walking dogs or just enjoying the blizzard.

Snow Day Sledding in Titus Sparrow Park
Snow Day Sledding in Titus Sparrow Park

Snow on the block
snow piling up on the block

Stone Cold Harriet Tubman
Stone Cold Harriet Tubman (Harriet Tubman Memorial and Park)

snowing heavily outside my door
Southwest Corridor Park, steps from my door

out for a walk
out for a walk

The full set of photos may be seen here, on Flickr.

Jan 292017

Not this time
Not This Time

More than 20,000 people protested in Boston’s Copley Square against Trump’s immigrant ban on Sunday, January 30, 2017. This demonstration followed the large and spontaneous protest at Boston’s Logan Airport Saturday night. Late Saturday and very early Sunday morning (2:00AM) federal judges in New York and Boston, respectively, temporarily blocked Trump’s immigration ban, pending full hearing at later dates in February.

For more on Sunday’s demonstration in Copley Square, see this Boston Globe video and article.

Copley Square Protest Against Trump's Muslim Ban

The US was Founded by Immigrants & Protects Religious Freedom

Copley Square Sunday Jan 29th

We Demand Justice

First They Came for the Muslims and I Said NOT THIS TIMEFirst They Came for the Muslims and I Said NOT THIS TIME

Full set of photos may be seen here on Flickr.

Jan 222017

looking toward the stage
Looking toward the stage at the Boston Women’s March

About 175,000 gathered on Boston Common to hear Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Attorney General Maura Healey, Mayor Walsh, other elected officials, activists and musicians before the Boston Women’s March. One of about 675 marches around the world, with nearly 5 million participants, the Boston Women’s March was an amazing phenomenon. Here’s an aerial video of the huge Boston crowd shot by a local news affiliate. Although the official estimate was 175,000, event organizers say more than 200,000 souls were at the Boston march.

I arrived about a half hour before the event was scheduled to start and found one of the last open perches on the benches ringing the monument on the hill looking toward the stage (down near the corner of Beacon and Charles).  Not a bad place for photos, the monument was approximately in the middle of the huge crowd filling much of Boston Common.

Love Not Hate Makes America Great
Love Not Hate Makes America Great

We the People
We the People

Boston Women's March pre-march speakers about to get underway
10:45AM, Waiting for the Event to Begin

Misogyny, Racism & Ignorance Are Not Family Values
Misogyny, Racism & Ignorance Are Not Family Values

DicktatorWomen's Rights Are Human RightsSeven in a TreeColorfulBefore the Boston Women's MarchMonumental

The event started at 11AM and the march began around 1PM (the progression from cloudy morning to sunny afternoon can be seen in the two photos of the monument, above). Although the march through the Common, past the Public Garden and down Commonwealth Ave and back was short, the last marchers didn’t finish until about 4PM given the size of the crowd.

Commonwealth Ave is Bursting at the Seams
Commonwealth Ave is Bursting at the Seams

Love Trumps Hate
Love Trumps Hate

Long Shadows
Late Afternoon Long Shadows

Marching Down Beacon StreetMarching Down Both Sides of Commonwealth Ave
Orange Trump Voodoo DollFull set of my photos of the Boston Women’s March may be seen here on Flickr.

Dec 072016

Holiday Lights and Tree at Faneuil Hall_new final
Waiting for the Faneuil Hall Holiday Tree Light Show

The tree at Boston’s Faneuil Hall was lit before Thanksgiving. I stopped by to watch the Holiday Tree light show on my way down to Christopher Columbus Park to photograph the holiday lights on the trellis. Here are a few shots, all hand-held, of the Fanueil Hall Holiday Tree during the light show, which sees the tree’s lights cycle through multiple variations in sync with holiday music. I’m particularly fond of the lighting and composition of the top photo, shot before the light show started.


Blink light show on Fanieuall Hall Holiday TreeXmas Tree Light ShowChristmas Tree RedChristmas Tree Green

Faneuil Hall Holiday Tree

And finally, a couple of quick iPhone photos of the tree on Boston Common, with the State House and Park Street Church in the background.

Holiday Lights on Boston Common

Boston Common Tree with Park Street Church
Tree on Boston Common with Statehouse
Tree on Boston Common with State House

Dec 012016

Christopher Columbus Park Lit Up for the Holidays
Christopher Columbus Park Lit Up for the Holidays

A week ago, I took a walk after work down to Christopher Columbus Park to photograph the trellis lit up in brilliant blue for the holiday season. The park on Boston’s waterfront opened in 1976 for the Bicentennial and was part of development surrounding Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace area.  The park’s gardens, trellis, and fountains can be seen here in summer.

Christopher Columbus Trellis With Blue Lights
Christopher Columbus Trellis With Blue Lights

Despite the very chilly evening the night before Thanksgiving, there were quite a few people out enjoying the display.  Most folks were taking photos–primarily selfies with smartphones because of course.  But there were also some serious photogs with tripod mounted DSLRs, including the photographer in the shot below.  My photos here, btw, are all hand-held with my old Oly Pen m4/3 (which I now keep at work for just such excursions, while my Nikon DSLR and new Pen-F m4/3 sit waiting at home).

photographing the photographer photographing a guy in front of the trellis
photographing the photographer photographing a guy in front of the trellis

Columbus Statue and the Trellis in Decked Out with Holiday Lights

Nov 242016


A reminder. Taken on Thanksgiving morning eight years ago. Gave this guy a couple bucks on my way to Starbucks as my holiday day was getting underway. Took this photo from across the street on the way back.

Have a happy, safe holiday. Be thankful for all you have.


Nov 222016

The Whole Point (Edward Brooke Courthouse)
The Whole Point (Edward Brooke Courthouse)

I spent a sunny Sunday photographing the Government Service Center and a couple of nearby buildings in Boston’s Government Center area. I previously posted photos from this session featuring Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist masterpiece, the Government Service Center. This post features shots of the surrounding area.

Boston City Hall, designed by architects Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, is one of the best known examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States. Completed in 1968, the new City Hall replaced old City Hall, “one of the first buildings in the French Second Empire Style to be built-in the United States and now one of the few that survive” (which I featured in a recent post).

City Hall Shadows

And here are a few shots of the area around the Government Service Center, including the adjacent Edward Brooke Courthouse, designed in the late 1990s by the same firm that designed Boston City Hall more than thirty years earlier (now Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood).

walk up out of the shadows
walk up out of the shadows

Hurley Walkway and Courtyard

Staniford Twilight

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr.

Nov 192016

almost pueblo-like in the sun
almost pueblo-like in the sun

I spent a sunny Sunday photographing the Government Service Center and a couple of surrounding buildings in Boston’s Government Center area.  This post focuses on the Government Service Center. In part II, I’ll post some shots of the surrounding area.

Architect Paul Rudolph’s Government Service Center consists of two separate, but connected buildings: the Hurley Building and the Lindemann Mental Health Center. It’s the most misunderstood building in Boston. Many consider it (wrongly, IMHO) to be the ugliest building in Boston.

One of Rudolph’s masterpieces, Boston’s Government Services Center, with its distinctive “corduroy concrete,” ranks high among the best examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States (even eclipsing Boston City Hall). Designed and constructed a couple years after Rudolph’s Yale Art and Architecture Building tour de force, the Hurley/Lindemann building was never completed according to Rudolph’s original design and vision. Construction of this high rise portion was never realized.

Hurley Silhouette
Hurley Silhouette

Lindemann from the plaza
Lindemann from the Plaza

Unfortunately, the Government Service Center has suffered from years of neglect. The northern corner of the building has long been fronted by a hideous chain-link fence enclosing a make shift parking lot in place of the landscaped park in the original design. Within the past five years, many external stairways and other means of access to terraces and other intriguing spaces have been blocked, closed off by (more, ugly) chain-link fences. This wikipedia photo gives you a glimpse of one such unique area, as does this Droid Hot Spot commercial from 6 years ago, posted below. I’ve kicked myself for years not photographing Rudolph’s Government Service Center when access to all the external spaces and stairways was still open (and when deterioration of the buildings was a bit less pronounced).

Hurley Stairs and Columns

The FrogRudolph's Lindemann Facade
Rudolph’s Frog and the Lindemann Facade

Lindermann Mental Health Center StairsLindemann connects to Hurley

Lindemann Mental Health Center Stairs and the Lindemann Building Connects to Hurley

I’ve been defending Brutalist architecture for years, and attempting to convince fellow Bostonians of the importance and charms of Rudolph’s Government Services Center (typically to no avail). But, Brutalism is back, baby! Well, sorta. See this recent New York Times “Brutalism is Back” article, including:

Brutalism is undergoing something of a revival. Despite two generations of abuse (and perhaps a little because of it), an enthusiasm for Brutalist buildings beyond the febrile, narrow precincts of architecture criticism has begun to take hold. Preservationists clamor for their survival, historians laud their ethical origins and an independent public has found beauty in their rawness.

And a couple of years ago, the Boston Globe published this piece, The dream behind Boston’s forbidding Government Service Center including:

In recent years, appreciation for Rudolph’s work has rebounded, especially among young architects. His Yale building, after a fumbled reconstruction and decades of neglect, was magnificently restored in 2009. But his Government Service Center is now only a shadow of what he envisioned. The complex was conceived as a moving, celebratory place, but mistreatment has made it resemble a prison. Yards of wire fencing overzealously fence off walkway walls now deemed too low to protect pedestrians. Parked vehicles have eroded the surface of the beautiful plaza at Staniford and Merrimac.

See also this recent Guardian article Save Our Brutalist Masterpieces.

Hurley angle
Hurley Angle

Looking through Lindemann to Saltonstall and Ashburton

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr. More photos of the Government Service Center may be seen here in this Flickr set by Kelviin, who also administers the Art and Architecture of Paul Rudolph group on Flickr.


Oct 162016

Gallery Doorway
gallery doorway

A second set of shots, this time featuring only color photos, from a walk through Boston’s South End on a glorious October day with my soon to be retired, five+ year-old Olympus E-P3 (in favor of a recently ordered Pen F.) Part one, featuring only black and white photos, may be seen here.  The full set of photos may be seen here, on Flickr.


a charming South End cornera charming South End corner

And here is a selection of a few South End neighborhood favorites, featuring the petit robert bistro, the South End Buttery cafe and restaurant, and Cafe Madeleine, a French patisserie and cafe with the best Pain au Chocolat in Boston—conveniently located just a few blocks from my house.

petit robert bistropetit robert bistro

South End Butter in buttery late afternoon sunlight
Neighborhood gems Cafe Madeleine and (bathed in buttery sunlight) South End Buttery

Long shadows on Montgomery off Dartmouth
Long shadows on Montgomery Street

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQuintessential South End

Villa Victoria Ramón Emeterio Betances Mural
Villa Victoria Ramón Emeterio Betances Mural