There are 19 ‘B’ subway stops on the Boston MBTA, which is double the average. Why so many? Is it a British thing from colonial days? I wonder if the Brits have lots of B stops on the London Underground?
These are the thoughts that ran through my head when I boarded the 450 bus with Alex to Haymarket from Salem on a very cold afternoon late December. I took a half day off work during his winter school break to complete part two of the B’s.
After Boylston on the Green Line, we traveled the orange line to Downtown Crossing and Red Line to South Station. Alex was excited to be able to ride the commuter rail and we bought a ticket and boarded the Kingston/Plymouth train that departed at 2:47pm. We arrived at Braintree at 3:07pm.
My log read as follows:
- Walked over to Red Line platform and left Braintree at 3:12pm. Transferred to Green C line at Park St. Arrived at Brandon Hall at 4:30pm.
- Walked 5 minutes in Brookline to bus 66 after stopping for a bathroom break at a Mobil station. Bought a snack and boarded Bus 66 for Brigham Circle at 4:42pm.
- Arrived at Brigham Circle at 5pm and took the Green Line E to Copley Square where we took bus #9 to Broadway. Arrived at 5:40pm.
Surprise! Broadway station on the Red Line is Art Deco awesomeness. Who knew I’d see my son shining under the lights of Broadway tonight? For once, I was more excited than he was.
We entered the Red Line at Broadway station heading to Brookline Hills on the Green Line, after transferring at Park St. I was pleasantly surprised again as we walked to Brookline Village down Davis St. through a very charming neighborhood. I made a vow to myself that I would come back some day.
We decided to eat at a Turkish Restaurant in Brookline Village. As soon as we sat down to eat at 6:35pm, we realized we had a problem. We knew we had to get from Brookline all the way to Butler station in Dorchester, and then back home to Salem, but we were running out of time. Alex started to get nervous, but he had a plan. We rushed through our kebabs and optimistically left the restaurant at 7pm knowing that if we timed everything just right, we’d be able to accomplish our goal of completing the B’s that same night.
Then everything went wrong. Alex tripped in the dark on our way to the bus station and he skinned both knees and his hand. Luckily he was only slightly bleeding because I didn’t have any band-aids. Then we discovered that the bus stop we were heading to was closed due to construction. I tried to convince him that we should take the T instead, but when we looked up times and route possibilities, they had us returning to Salem too late. Alex got upset and started crying. We checked Google maps one more time and found an alternative bus stop. We quickly sprinted to the stop, with Alex limping the whole way.
But we made it. We boarded bus 66 at 7:15pm and transferred at Malcom X bus stop to bus 28 towards Mattapan Station. I noticed the changing demographics in passengers as our bus traveled across Boston into Dorchester, and our faces gradually became the only white ones. Alex doesn’t even notice these things, as he’s too interested in the bus stops along the way.
We arrived in Mattapan at 8pm. The Mattapan trolley looks like something straight out of a 1940’s Depression movie. It’s amazing that these historic trolley’s still run so regularly. We waited 9 minutes in the cold, dark station. It felt like an hour. Finally, the trolley came and stopped at Butler. Our plan was to have Alex hop out for a second so we could take a picture, but the Butler station sign was on the other side of the tracks! It was pitch black outside, so we couldn’t see the sign anyway. We both felt a bit defeated. All that drama to get to Butler, and it was too dark to see or snap a photo. We ended up taking a picture of Alex on the dark trolley, pointing to Butler on the map.
We then boarded the Red Line at Ashmont to start our long trip home. It was 20 degrees on this chilly December night, and a guy got on wearing no shirt, while loudly and passionately arguing with himself about politics.
We had been so worried about running out of time, yet ended up 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled bus back to Salem anyway. We rode elevators at Haymarket station to kill time. Alex loves elevators, (I’m not a fan, especially in subway stations where I have to hold my nose). Neither of us wanted to wait outside, so it seemed like as good a plan as any. The bus finally came and brought us back home around 10pm.
I collapsed into bed that night, but fell asleep with a smile on my face.
All 19 *bleeping* B’s were done.