Day: September 5th, 2006

Boston markets

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006 | All Things, Eats, Family, Travel

It was back to business as usual on Tuesday morning for J & J, but I played hooky for one more day. J chauffeured J and me from Cambridge into the Financial District, during which I got to observe a pretty amusing debate between them on the best strategy for navigating Boston’s infamous traffic-clogged streets. We pulled up in front of J’s building with a few minutes to spare. After dropping off my bags at her office, I set out to tour the area on foot, before three of us were to reconvene for lunch.

The shops were just beginning to open at the markets, and I had most of the area to myself, which really almost never happens in New York City, regardless of the hour. Here, Faneuil Hall with its distinctive gold grasshopper weathervane. The two-story Hall was built in 1740, but rebuilt in 1762 after a catastrophic fire destroyed most of the original structure. Since then it has served as a central location for Boston commerce and meetings, including organized protests against the British prior to the American Revolution, for which the Hall became known as America’s “Cradle of Liberty.” For almost a century, it also served as the chief food supply for Boston, on what was then the edge of Boston Harbor. The water was eventually filled in, and the Quincy Market building was constructed atop its place in 1826, creating much-needed additional commerce space in then rapidly expanding Boston.

Faneuil Hall

Today, the area which comprises Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market is known as Faneuil Hall Marketplace and attracts over 12 million visitors each year. And this summer, 13 of the 120 life-size cows on parade in Boston:


Faneuil and Quincy Halls

The Market is lined with food stalls, including Boston’s only Beard Papa’s Fresh ‘n Natural Cream Puffs shop. And coming soon: Dale and Thomas Popcorn (ne Popcorn, Indiana), purveyors of my favorite gourmet kettle corn.

Incidentally: the “Quincy” of Quincy Market is Boston mayor and Harvard University president Josiah Quincy III, a descendant of Col. John Quincy, who pronounced his name “quin-zee”, NOT “quin-see.” This same pronunciation applies to the town of Quincy, Massachusetts, and to the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams.

Beneath “Quin-zee” Market’s copper-domed seating area:

Quincy Market Dome

Quincy Market

I followed the Freedom Trail up to the North End, past the New England Holocaust Memorial, which was dedicated in October 1995. According to the website, the Memorial features six luminous glass towers, each 54 feet high, set on a black granite path, evocative of the six main Nazi death camps, the six million Jews who died, or a menorah of memorial candles. Smoke rises from charred embers at the bottom of each chamber.

Holocaust Memorial

Across the street, the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the United States.

Union Oyster House

Boston Stone

In the North End, I stopped in to tour the four public rooms of the Paul Revere House at 19 North Square, from which he set out on his Longfellow-immortalized Midnight Ride “on the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five”

Paul Revere House

Paul Revere House

The three-story house was already about a century old by the time its most famous resident moved in. It is the only surviving example of 17th century architecture in Boston, and almost all original. Some interesting facts about Revere: he was married twice during his 83 years: first to a woman who passed away shortly after their eighth(!) child was born – I’m conjecturing from exhaustion. Five(!!) months later, he remarried to a woman who bore him another eight(!!!) children. According to my tourguide, though, just 11 of his 16 children survived past infancy, so at any given time, “only” between five and nine children were living under that one roof.

Coffee and sfogliatelle from Mike’s Pastry Shop – at J’s recommendation. (Yum — thanks!)


More cows in Paul Revere Mall:


The Long Wharf in Boston Harbor, once the focal point of Boston’s booming shipping industry.

Long Wharf

Our meeting place for lunch: the Flour and Grain Exchange Building (1892) on Milk Street. The impressive, granite building served as the meeting hall for the Boston Chamber of Commerce during its first ten years. Its distinctive conical roof, rounded front masonry and tiered arches made it an easily identifiable landmark for me in the winding streets of Boston’s financial district.

177 Milk

After a quick lunch, J & J accompanied me and my too-heavy bags to South Station, where I hopped the Greyhound bus back to New York City (and to work, *sigh*)  Thanks for the hospitality!

Financial District

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