‘G’ is for Grandma

Grandma’s got it going on; riding the G’s at age 81

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Grandma was a really good sport about taking an excursion day with Alex.  There are only 3 G’s, so we thought this excursion might not be too much for Grandma to handle.  First stop for Alex and Grandma was Government Center.

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Government Center holds a special sort of place in Alex’s heart.  He was very excited when the new Government Center opened in March of 2016.  He begged me to go opening day but we just couldn’t get there that day as it was a busy school day.  So we made an excursion 3 days later from Salem to Boston just so he could see Government Center.  It was very shiny and new and exciting.  Completely worth the trip.  This is him in 2016 on that March day with a smile as bright as the new station:

Alex Government Center

After Alex and Grandma stopped there in March almosr exactly a year later, next up was Green Station  (which is ironically not on the Green Line but rather the Orange).

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The 3rd and final stop on the G’s was Grigg’s Street. There is no station sign for Grigg’s on the Green Line and they felt like they wouldn’t have enough time to get out so Alex quickly snapped this shot (which isn’t much to look at):

We decided to do a re-take of the street sign a month later when we travelled the H’s and we were close by:

Here are Grandma’s short notes from her ‘G’ excursion day:

Bus arrives 8:16. Such diversity on the bus! A few are on their way to work. Our bus ride was free! Traffic slow.  Dirty windows on bus observing green street lights. Row apartments painted pastel colors. Took green line train C branch to Cleveland Circle one stop to Government Center. Just about everyone on cell phones! Then took blue line one stop to state street. Orange line at State Street standing room only!  Cute baby by me! On our way 10 stops to Green St. Somalian man and I exchanged smiles! Very slippery underfoot when we got off train. Alex helped me walk. Orange line back to Oakgrove. We have 3 stops to Roxbury Crossing. Stopped at Butterfly Falafel restaurant for coffee and baklava. 


[Grandma loves butterflies. Her passion is studying them, raising them and educating others about them

At Roxbury Crossing we are on our way to Harvard Station. We got off at Harvard Ave and walked to Grigg’s Street. Boarded a green line B train 15 stops to Park Street. We boarded a D train to Government Center, then an E train to Haymarket. Haymarket bus home.

The “G day” excursion took them about 6 hours on a cold and brisk March day.

Conclusion: Gosh, Golly, Gee. Grandma is pretty great.

Dashing through the D’s

Who knew Dudley was a diamond in the rough?

Exploring the D subways on D-Day was a last minute decision. A dash out the door and we were off!

(Alex and I continue to do our alphabetical excursions but I’m a bit behind in posting them. I do plan on catching up the blog to our alphabetical travels this summer.)

President’s Day was designated “Riding The ‘D’s Day” at the last minute. My days off and work holidays are limited so I wasn’t sure I could spend another day riding around in buses and subways. But, laundry piles and grocery shopping were the boring alternative, so off we went on 7:40am commuter rail train from Salem to North Station.

Alex had everything all planned out again.  He knew that President’s Day had a modified schedule and that we needed to follow Saturday schedules that day. (I still can’t figure out how he just knows these things. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to check.)

Our first “D” stop was Davis Square in Sommerville which is the 2nd to last stop on the Red Line. His plan was to take the Green Line from North Station to Lechmere and then board Bus 88 to Davis Square.  (Personally, I would have headed straight up the Red Line, but what do I know?) I’m still not a huge of fan of buses but I’m starting to get used to them from these excursions. The thing I liked best about taking this route was going through the Sommerville neighborhoods. From the huge “Sanctuary City” banner proudly displayed on Sommerville High School, to the smorgasbord of ethic restaurants, cute shops and trendy coffee houses, it was a fun and interesting ride. Once again, I resolved to myself that I must get back to Sommerville soon to try out one of these fantastic looking places.

At Davis Square we took the Red Line down to Harvard and then boarded Bus 1 to the Hynes Convention Center. We entered a brand new bus with shiny plastic blue seats and bright yellow handles.  Alex’s face lit up. He was very excited about the new bus design. It was quiet, clean, and mostly empty at 9am so I enjoyed the ride too.

Bus 9 (brand new!)

When we reached Hynes Convention Center we headed up the Green Line D train to Dean’s Road. This ride up towards Brookline had one of the most diverse Boston demographics I’ve experienced yet.  People of all colors, incomes and ages seemed to get on and off that train.

After we arrived at Beaconsfield, we walked to Dean’s Road, which is another one of those stops without a sign. We got a picture of him standing by a road sign instead of a subway sign.

Dean's Road

From Dean’s Road we took a Green Line C train and rode to Park Street. We walked the Winter St. Concourse tunnel to Downtown Crossing and snapped a few more pictures. It’s really amusing for me to see how much Alex enjoys things like the connecting tunnel between the Red/Orange and Green lines at Downtown Crossing. I see a neglected and dark tunnel that desperately needs updating. He sees an interesting concourse leading to more stations.

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At Downtown Crossing we rode the Red Line one stop to South Station and found the Silver Line platform.

We boarded Silver Line SL2 ( I had no idea there were 4 different Silver Line buses with different routes) but Alex knew exactly which one to take to get us to Design Center. I’ve never traveled in this area of South Boston before but it was really cool area to see, especially along the shipyard waterfront. I couldn’t get any good shots from my phone but we passed a lot of stacked shipping containers like this image I got off Google:

Ship yards Boston

We decided to get off the bus at Courthouse and get and an early lunch at Shake Shack. We had passed it on “C” day so both of us thought it would be fun to get burgers and shakes. Because it was early, we were practically the only customers at Shake Shack and it was the perfect reward for a day that was going very well. We only had one D stop left and it was only 11:30 am.  I guess I’d get home in time for laundry after all.

We re-boarded the SL2 and rode to South Station where we transferred to the SL4 after waiting at a bitterly cold bus stop, thankfully equipped with self-timed heaters.  We traveled the SL4 all the way to Dudley Station in the middle of Roxbury.  Dudley is a huge bus station that connects 17 MBTA bus lines, including 2 Silver Line buses. Alex gets just as excited about bus stations as subway stations so he couldn’t wait to get out at Dudley and explore.

Here, in the most unlikely of places, my jaw dropped.  I had ZERO expectations of liking a bus station in the middle of Roxbury. But, here I was, standing with my mouth open in awe and fascination at the incredible architecture of this historic building.

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While I walked around in wonder taking photos, Alex followed while excitedly rattling off bus routes numbers that left this station  We must have made quite a pair. We looked so strangely out of place that a police officer actually approached us and asked if everything was okay.

I had to look up the history of Dudley.  Per Wikapedia, Dudley Square MBTA station first opened in 1901 as part of the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy, a predecessor of the MBTA.) It is reportedly one of the best-preserved BERy stations remaining. The Beaux Arts/French Renaissance structure was designed by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1985.  They actually took the entire station and lowered it 12 feet in 1993. Here are some historic photos of it before it was lowered into it’s current spot.

 

I’m so pleased they saved the architecture of the station when re-designing.  And the fact that it was once a subway station but is now a bus station? Fascinating.

Dudley.  Who knew?  D Day did not disappoint.

 

It’s about the Journey. Not the Destination

Why my son Alex and I are riding the “T” (MBTA Boston subways) in alphabetical order

How far would you go for a child? Would you get up at 4:30AM on a dark, frigid morning and bring him or her to hockey practice? Stand in the cold rain for hours during a soccer tournament? Drive a hundred miles to a dance competition? How about volunteer countless hours as a band parent? Little league coach?

Then don’t judge me.

My kid’s ‘thing’ is public transportation. Prior to having him, there is no way I would have ever dreamed of taking subway trips ‘for fun.’ Subways and buses were a necessity to get to work and most of time, I cursed them for being too crowded, too late, or too dirty, just like everyone else I know.

But now, the best way of spending quality one-on-one time with my son is by riding the ‘T.’ The T is Boston’s MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), and my son Alex is obsessed. He loves the schedules. And the maps. And the trains. And buses. He loves planning how to get from A to B. He loves the announcements calling off each station and connection. (Check the ‘About’ section for more about Alex.)

Seeing and experiencing his excitement while planning these trips is worth the hours that a big part of me would still rather spend anywhere else. We plan together. We connect. That’s not always easy with him, so I cherish every moment. I love it because he loves it. What parent could ask for more than that?

Join us as we embark on a crazy journey to visit every subway stop within the MBTA system in alphabetical order. He’s a smart kid (a real smart-Alex), and he tricked me into it. (Find out how on A day!) But I’m committed now.

If we average about 6-8 stations a day it will take us 15- 20 days total. If we average 8-10 of such days per year, it will take us 2-3 years to complete this list:
wikipedia.org/List_of_MBTA_subway_stations

He might be in high school when we reach the last subway stop: World Trade Center.

Is it too much to start dreaming about that last stop now? Maybe we’ll be met with cheers and balloons and I’ll get a mom-of-the year award. Or maybe I’ll get a high-five and a big smile by an exceptional kid.

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