|Annual Meeting 2016 Boston Guide|
Thank you for attending the 2016 Annual Meeting. Here are some tips on how to get around, what to see in your spare time, and other useful information. Enjoy!
We are indebted to local member Bhamati Viswanathan for her many contributions to this guide. Bhamati has kindly offered to act as an information resource for attendees, so seek her out!
HOW TO GET AROUND
The Boston subway system, or “the T,” is loved and cursed in equal parts. On the one hand, it is quite extensive, fairly well-priced, and works decently. On the other hand, it is notorious for its age, creakiness, tendency to break down during snowstorms, and highly publicized labor issues.
T Stops Closest to the Hyatt Regency:
A CharlieTicket (the name comes from the song “Charlie on the MTA”) is $2.65/ride. A CharlieCard gets you a cheaper rate ($2.10/ride), free transfers to local buses and discounted transfers to express buses but can only be purchased in certain locations.
The lines are color-coded, and the trains are either “inbound” or “outbound.” It’s confusing, so it’s easier to look at the final destination, which will be noted on the platform and on the train car. You might want to visit the MBTA Trip Planner as well.
Buses: there are local and express lines. All MBTA buses and many T stations are accessible. Please check www.mbta.com for details.
The T runs from roughly 5am to 12pm, so late-night partiers be warned! Taxi options include using Uber or Lyft, going to a taxi stand or hailing one from the street, or calling a taxi company such as:
RESTAURANTS AND ATTRACTIONS AROUND THE HOTEL
Downtown Crossing isn’t the most scenic area, but it is adjacent to the Financial District and a stone’s throw from the up-and-coming Seaport, Boston Common, and Atlantic Avenue. There is superb shopping and eating to be had. In addition to Macy’s and other chains, there are the old and venerable stores of Bromfield Street, such as a lovely pen-and-ink store and the Watch Hospital, which is truly an institution. And the following bars and restaurants are close by:
No. 9 Park
There are several steakhouses within a 20-minute walk of the hotel.
Grill 23 (very pretty)
Smith and Wollensky's - Back Bay (famous)
Smith and Wollensky's - Atlantic Wharf (famous)
Davio's (more than just steak; top-notch food/service)
Capital Grill (not as close but always popular)
WE DON’T WANT IT TO RAIN, BUT IF IT DOES…
OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS TO VISIT
This fun area can be reached by the Silverline bus or more easily by walking across the Congress Street Bridge. Although most of our participants may feel they are not in the right demographic for the Children’s Museum, it is an architectural joy. From the wooden pathway in front of the museum, enjoy the river view. Two places to stop: Drink, where the bartender will customize a cocktail based on your preferences, and Row 34, one of the hottest restaurants in town. Many businesses, including some of our best law firms, are situated in the Seaport, and new buildings and restaurants are cropping up daily. One highlight is the Institute of Contemporary Art (see Museums), which has a spectacular facade and views. Recommended restaurants include DelFrisco’s, Blue Dragon, Sportello, Committee and O Ya (best sushi, but breathtakingly expensive).
If you walk back along Northern Avenue, passing by the Convention Center, you can grab a bite at Flour (best pecan buns, yummy sandwiches, and freshly baked treats in town). Looping back by Northern Avenue adds a lot to your walk, so if you aren’t up to it, pick up a Silverline bus at the Convention Center.
One of Boston’s most famous and charming neighborhoods, Beacon Hill is home to many of its elites. John Kerry’s house is on Louisberg Square -- look for the Secret Service car parked not-so-inconspicuously outside his residence. Charles Street, the main artery running through the Hill, is lined with cute antique boutiques and clothing stores. There are several coffee shops, including Tatte, and a wonderful independent chocolate maker, Beacon Hill Chocolates. Panifico, at the end of Charles Street, has first-rate pizza, breads, and pastries. Next door is a J.P. Licks (the JP stands for “Jamaica Plain,” where it originated), which has some of the best ice cream in Boston. All of Beacon Hill is beautifully maintained, and its architecture -- brick Federal townhouses with wooden shutters and lovely stoops, austere Adams houses and stately Georgian homes -- reflects the early aspirations of the American upper class. Look for hidden gardens (garden tours held by private residents are among the most popular diversions in the city) and elaborate, well-tended window boxes.
There are many good places to eat in Beacon Hill, but this is not the center of fine dining. Bhamati recommends Figs for flatbread pizza (try the fig and prosciutto), 75 Chestnut, Grotto, Toscano and Lala Rokh (whose owners, the Binas, have done an immense amount for the city).
Figs by Todd English
Tatte Bakery & Café
A pleasant 30-40 minute stroll from the Hyatt, “Boston’s Little Italy” can be reached by walking up the length of Washington Street or Tremont Street to the government buildings — the I.M. Pei-designed plaza is seen by some as a pile of concrete Brutalism (renovation plans remains contested) — and then through Faneuil Hall and Haymarket, left onto the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and right onto Hanover Street, which runs through the heart of the North End.
The North End’s narrow, often cobblestone-paved (wear comfy shoes!) streets are dotted with cafes, boutiques, and eateries. You absolutely must try the cannoli at either (or both) Mike’s Pastries or Modern. Restaurants serve standard Southern Italian fare, most of it reasonably priced and reasonably well-prepared. The best seafood place in town, Neptune Oyster, has a world-famous lobster roll, but expect up to a three-hour wait. Also worthwhile: Giacomo’s (hugely popular, long wait), Mamma Maria (a bit pricier than many), Carmelina’s, the Daily Catch, Lucca, Prezza (less well-known, but delicious), Limoncello, and if you like pizza, Regina’s is terrific. Caffe Vittoria is beloved for its pretty interiors, and Thinking Cup has some of the best coffee in town.
Not-to-be-missed historic sights include Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church, Prince Street (for those of us of a certain age, you will be inclined to shout “Anthony!”, echoing the unforgettable Prince spaghetti commercial), the Sacred Heart Church, the Mariners House, the Copps Hill Burial Ground, and Christopher Columbus Park. As you walk through the Greenway, take note of the haunting Holocaust Memorial. On your way there or home, walk through the bustling Haymarket, with its vendors of all things edible and fresh. The newest addition, the Boston Public Market, has a delightful array of local fresh fruit and produce, local cheeses, fish, donuts, hand-made chocolates, gelato, and ample seating.
The Daily Catch
Back Bay streets are long and gracious, and each is special: Boylston Street leads past the famous Old South Church to gorgeous Copley Square, Trinity Church (peek inside for the stained glass, woodwork, and overall historic richness) and the Boston Public Library (definitely worth going inside; see Museums). Newbury Street is home to some of the most exclusive shops in the world. Commonwealth Avenue is flanked by tall, elegant buildings and dotted with touching memorials, including an especially moving one to firefighters. Marlborough Street is home to the French Cultural Center, a few private schools, and some of the most exclusive residences in the city. It is a delight to walk when in the residents’ gardens are bloom.
One amusing note: the cross streets in the Back Bay are surprisingly easy to remember. Named after landed Duchies of England, they begin with (the Duke of) Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, and so on. Notice that they are in alphabetical order and you’ll never have trouble remembering them again!
If you walk just past the corner of Beacon and Arlington Streets (the Public Garden will be just to your right), cross the street and pass over Storrow Drive by footbridge, you gain access to one of the prettiest walks in Boston: the banks of the Charles River, also known as the Esplanade. On one side, you will see Cambridge, and eventually on the other the domes of MIT. Farther still are the spires of Harvard. Pass the 1/4 mile “lagoon” (ride a gondola if you are so inclined!), or continue along the river until you reach one of the many bridges to cross over to walk back on the other side. Enjoy views of the fabulously fit rowers who dot the river, the many sailboats and windsurfers, and a host of loungers enjoying the great outdoors just steps from downtown.
The South End is one of the hippest, fastest-growing, and quirkiest places in Boston. Reach it by walking down Arlington Street, across the Pike, and further down Tremont, or take the Silverline bus from the corner of Tremont and Avery down Harrison Avenue to the first stop across the Pike.
The South End’s main streets are long, and many patches are/were quasi-industrial: Harrison, for instance, was the home of the Boston Herald presses and a still-working flower market. The press has now become home to the high-rise complex the Ink Block. Further down is SoWa (“South of Washington”), an outdoor market selling delicious treats, cute clothes, and other desirables oriented toward Boston’s “hipster” crowd. Construction vehicles, signs for impending condos, and stratospheric prices speak to the changes the South End continues to experience.
Some of the best eating in Boston can be found in the South End. Bhamati recommends Toro (fabulous tapas; it’s even better as the hour gets late, unusual for early-to-bed Boston); Barcelona (hot, hard to get a table); Gaslight (a lovely, large and reasonably priced French bistro); Franklin Cafe (American, casual, open late); Myers & Chang (fantastic Asian fusion; Joanne Chang, one of the owners, is the enterprising and charismatic chef who started an empire with Flour, the first of which was on Washington Street, long before anything else had come to this part of the city); Coppa (nose-to-tail charcuterie); Picco (brick-oven pizza, popular with local families); Stella (great Sunday brunch); Cinquecento (well worth the wait for the table); Gallows (excellent beer and burgers, but loud and packed); Orinoco (laid-back, Venezuelan);the Butcher Shop and B&G Oysters (small, always packed, and terrific); Wink & Nod (revolving chefs in an elegant setting; always fun to see who is on board, and there have been some great surprises so far); and Banyan (small plates, trendy). For a late nightcap with live music, the Beehive is geared to the 30+ crowd, unusual for Boston which, thanks to its many institutions of learning, tends to skew young. While Boston is generally very LGBTQ-friendly, the South End was one of its first gay-friendly neighborhoods. The rainbow flag flies high!
The South End’s terrific boutiques are highly individualistic. Try Sault (high-end men’s clothing); Crane & Lion (beautiful workout clothes for women); Pioneer Goods and Lekker Home (home goods); Follain (unisex skin and body care); December Thieves (one-of-a-kind finds in clothes, accessories, home decor); Mohr & McPherson (exotic home furnishings). Try Formaggio for the best cheeses, charcuterie, breads and jams, Flour Bakery (the original) for coffee or brunch, and the independent art galleries and rare bookshops on Harrison and Washington Avenues.
Myers & Chang
The Butcher Shop and B&G Oysters
Wink & Nod
Other Places to Visit
If you are planning to stay a few extra days, you will have the option to explore more neighborhoods in town or go further afield. If you wish to stay within easy reach via T, bus, and/or commuter rail, try:
The Friendly Toast
The Blue Room
Boston has some wonderful museums. Here are a few to check out.
Boston Athenæum (Beacon Hill)
Founded in 1807, the Athenæum is one of the country’s oldest independent cultural institutions. The Athenæum lends books, exhibits art, holds concerts and lectures, gives tours, and more, all in a what boston.com calls “the most gorgeous library you’ve never heard of.”
Boston Public Library (Back Bay)
Institute of Contemporary Art (Seaport)
Famous for both its collection and its Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed building, the ICA features what Time described as a “cantilevered glass expanse that hovers vertiginously over Boston Harbor.”
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Fenway)
Isabella Stewart Gardner (born 1840), premier patron of the arts, had a Venetian-palace-style museum built for her impressive yet intimate collection: Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Age 23, Titian’s The Rape of Europa, numerous Singer Sargents (including a well-known portrait of Ms. Gardner herself), plus Botticellis, Whistlers, a Sofonisba Anguissola, and textiles, ceramics, rare books, and furniture from all over the globe. Equally famous: the building’s lush courtyard and its unsolved heist of 1990, in which three men dressed as cops stole thirteen works.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Dorchester)
Museum of African American History (Beacon Hill)
Actually a group of sites, including two of the most nation’s important National Historic Landmarks: the African Meeting House, the oldest extant black church building, and the Abiel Smith School, the oldest still-standing public school built for African American children. Guided and self-guided Black Heritage Trail tours are also available.
Museum of Fine Arts (Fenway)
One of the world's most comprehensive art museums. Current exhibitions include “Visiting Masterpieces: Pairing Picasso,” “Megacities Asia” , paintings by Canada’s “pioneering modernist” Lawren Harris, “Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia,” “#techstyle.”
Museum of Science (West End)
See a man in a cage get struck by lightning (courtesy of the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator), walk through the Butterfly Garden, visit the Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni IMAX Theater, and engage with any other of the 700 interactive exhibits.
New England Aquarium (Waterfront)
Boston’s aquarium is world-class. Start four stories up and wind your way down the spiral ramp. Can you find Myrtle, the giant green sea turtle (NEA resident since 1970), making his way among the sharks, barracuda, reef fish, stingrays, and moray eels in the central tank? Don’t miss the other fascinating exhibits, like the Shark and Ray Touch Tank.
West End Museum (West End)
OTHER CITY SIGHTS
Boston Common, Public Garden and the Swan Boats
Boston Common is the country’s oldest park. The British camped out here; it was from the Common that they left in April 1775 to take care of those pesky colonists in Lexington and Concord. Today, the Common is part of the 1200-acre Emerald Necklace, a series of parks that winds through the city.
The Public Garden is the Common’s “groomed and formal younger cousin” and home to the world-famous Swan Boats. Treat yourself to a ride!
The Freedom Trail
Skywalk Observatory, Prudential Center (Back Bay)
Take in greater Boston: on a clear day, you can see up to 100 miles away.