my upstairs neighbors left for the weekend around noontime. steve has a house on martha's vineyard while paul has a place in marblehead. i was surprised to see them leaving together, figured they'd spent the weekend apart at their respectives second residences in preparation for the impending hurricane (which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, at least for greater boston). i just wonder if my roof will leak but i'm starting to suspect that the roof is fine but my neighbor is making it sound worse than it is so i might pay a portion of the sky lights replacement cost (with money i don't have).
one reason for cutting through allston-brighton was i wanted to figure out a bike route to victoria, where our relatives were treating us for dinner later tonight before they return to china on monday. traversing brookline would allow me to do a bit of naturing at hall's pond sanctuary and amory woods (never knew it existed), a 5 acre piece of wilderness in an otherwise urban environment. i also wanted to sample more of the southwestern corridor, trying to find a bike route to roxbury for the caribbean carnival parade tomorrow. more than likely i won't be going by bike because it's going to rain, but i just wanted to see if i could do it. finally, the southwestern corridor ends at forest hills, i could take check out arnold arboretum while i was at it, haven't gone all year.
i rode my trek 800, because it's lower in height and therefore easier to stop. to get across to allston-brighton i went over the lincoln street pedestrian overpass that goes over the mass turnpike. it looked familiar, but i can't remember when was the last time i used it (might be never, or might be relegated to the murky preblog memory depths). even the last time where i could've possibly traveled across the overpass (when julie and i went to the allston super 88 for lunch) i went the longer route instead over the BU bridge.
i went down highgate, to farrington avenue, to ashford street, where it seemed like a gauntlet of college kids moving back in for the semester. taking a right on babcock, i was out onto commonwealth avenue, victoria just on the corner.
onto commonwealth avenue i traveled east in the direction of boston, taking a right at the WBUR building, onto st. paul street. i didn't see any town delineation signs but i knew i was in brookline. this street is familiar to me because i saw at least one condo here when i was searching for a place to buy. at the time i was looking exclusively in cambridge, but started branching out to other towns when i couldn't find anything.
down st. paul i came across a large park. could this be hall's pond sanctuary and amory woods? i brought along my NFT boston guide and checked the maps. knyvet square. there were a few people sunbathing, reading, and working off laptops. i took a drink of water and continued on my way.
hall's pond sanctuary and amory woods were actually nearby, and i could've gotten to them by diagonally cutting across knyvet square had i known. instead i got onto freeman street and found the sanctuary/woods that way.
hall's pond sanctuary wasn't that interesting. the idea of a little wilderness oasis in the city seems very romantic, but the place itself wasn't all that inspiring. a boardwalk wrapped around the pond, which can be walked in about a minute. i saw some languid squirrels scurrying in the bushes, and the pond itself had a few turtles and some dragonflies. armory woods was nearby but i decided to skip it.
i retraced my steps back to freeman street and rode south on powell. crossing beacon street, powell became kent. here was longwood mall (2.5 acres), supposedly this is the oldest grove of european beeches in the US, although not being a tree scientist/historian, i wouldn't be able to tell the difference. the trees themselves didn't seem to be all that big though.
continuing southwards, i had a hard time finding longwood avenue. i went down kent street as far as parsons field (shared between northeastern university and the town of brookline) before i stopped to check the maps. one reason longwood avenue was hard to find is because there are no street signs for it. i cross that intersection 2 more times before i realized that was what i was looking for. heading eastward, the avenue crosses the emerald necklace cutting southeast across the longwood medical area. google maps bicycling direction didn't have this as a preferred route for obvious reasons, since there isn't any dedicated bike lanes, so i basically had to fend for myself between lanes of car traffic. the one time i remember being in longwood was to buy a used espresso machine several years ago. i saw the prestigious harvard medical school for the very first time, impressive with its academic quadrangle.
from longwood i went northeast onto huntington avenue. i was trying to find an entrance to the southwest corridor, but got slightly off course and headed up to ruggles station, where i knew for certain the corridor cut across. instead of riding north like last time, i headed south (southwest actually), in the direction of jamaica plain.
when people in the past used to speak of the southwest corridor, i'd just nod my head and pretend to know what they were talking about when i really didn't. but the corridor makes bike commuting for people who live southwest of boston so much easier than having to navigate through all the streets. the path essentially runs parallel to the orange line, the trains themselves can be seen and heard on the tracks below. while the minuteman bike trail can get quite monotonous, the southwest corridor runs through places like mission hill and roxbury so there's always people around and things to see. here and there playgrounds or community gardens would dot the pathway nearby.
although the corridor extends a bit farther, i got off at forest hills. i parked my bike on a rack, making sure to secure both wheels after noticing some completely stripped bike frames nearby. i went inside and found a little push cart vendor and got something to drink. after resting a bit, i went west on the arborway to get to the arnold arboretum. the total distance of the route from my house up to this point was more than 9 miles, but it took me more than an hour and a half to get here.
i've been meaning to come to the arboretum since spring, to see the flowers. this late in the season however there wasn't much flowers to be had. i've been here via MBTA, via car, via motorcycle, not never via bicycle. riding the arboretum made it seem smaller. i went as far as the spiraling hill before leaving.
home at that point seemed like another world away. the problem was i knew how to get to forest hills, but i wasn't really sure what was the best way to bike back. i couldn't navigate back through longwood and brookline because i only memorized the route for one direction. so all i could basically do is just followed the southwest corridor, knowing it'd eventually take me to back bay station, and from there i'd somehow navigate through the streets of boston until i got to the charles river.
from mass ave station (orange line) i began the backbay stretch of the southwest corridor, very posh, manicured community gardens, flowers and butterflies everywhere, a lot of people just outside enjoying the weather. i even came across some knit graffiti at the intersection of the southwest corridor and belvidere street:
i finally realized that the back bay station i've seen from clarendon street (big and impressive) is the same station from dartmouth street (small and lowkey). i've lived in the boston area for quite some time and am only figuring this out. i went northwest up dartmouth street towards copley square where there was a farmer's market in progress along with some live jazz music. i kept on moving north and east until i got to the pedestrian bridge across storrow drive at the intersection of arlington and beacon. once i was on the charles river bike trail the rest was easy.
instead of just following the charles river bike trail all the way to harvard square like i usually do, i crossed over into cambridge from the long mass ave bridge by MIT, just because it was a shorter route to my house. there was a lot of congestion on mass ave directly in front of MIT, as the result of two cars colliding into each other. fortunately it's easy to cut through road blocks on a bike, as i made my way up vassar street to hampshire-beacon, a straight path home.
i ran into susan on her way to get groceries. we had an interesting chat, she told me about taking a knitting machine class at RISD. 9 students total, all ladies. i never even know such a device existed, maybe at an industrial factory level, but to have a consumer version to use at home? that was something new. i told her about the knit graffiti i saw in boston, and the ones i knew about at the intersection of kirkland and beacon (are they still there? haven't noticed them recently).
the return trip was longer in terms of distance (9.8 miles) but actually shorter in terms of time since i didn't make any stops and i got back in about an hour.
i rested for a few hours before leaving the house at 6:30 to get to victoria's in allston-brighton by 7:00. i took the road bike this time. since i'd gone there earlier, i had the route all figured. i even found a great parking spot, a meter right in front of the restaurant. normally i'd just use the u-lock but i brought a security cable as well, after seeing so many stripped bikes in boston. my aunt and uncle arrived right when i was locking up my bike. bing bing's father came out of the restaurant to greet me and said they already got a table inside. my parents arrived later, along with my sister, my 2nd aunt, and my great uncle.
we were there to eat lobsters, something that bing bing's parents had never had before. the food kept on dolly, there wasn't enough space on the oversized dolly to fit everything. there was another large table of asians sitting next to us. bing bing's boyfriend asked me if i knew their ethnicity, since he was having a hard time figuring it out. "filipinos," i told him. if you don't know, it's most likely filipino. my father left early to take my great uncle back to his place. after dinner i was the first to leave, biking myself home.
before i went to bed i used an opteka pre-moistened sensor swab to clean the dust on my camera CCD, in preparation for the photos tomorrow. it actually worked pretty well.