Boston: Ten Things I Hate About You
There's a lot to love about Boston. There are always things that seem to bug us, though. Here are ten of my favorite hates.
There are plenty of things to complain about in Boston, but I often feel as though it’s all I do. So, to get these things off my chest and stop sounding as if I’m a broken record, here are 10 things that bug me, that I won’t complain about again. For a while.
- Trash / recycling pick-up: Ross Levanto on Beacon Hill points out there is trash and recycling left street-side in some neighborhoods for as many as one hour out of every four during the week. (From 7 p.m. until midday, the next day.) This is the trash problem. As does he, I think we should consider reducing the number of curbside pick-ups. It seems counterintuitive, but it just might work.
- Leveling of streets and sidewalks: If you’re pushing a baby carriage, use a cane to walk or are in a wheelchair, navigating Boston’s “historic” streets is an immense challenge. The brick sidewalks provide a bumpy ride, but the real issue is that the sidewalks aren’t level and going from curb to street often entails walking into a gaping divot of a hole. DPW, please help!
- Fun: Yes, we’re puritan and Brahmin by nature; this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. What about having more events, such as a wintertime street ice-skating contest or an inter-collegiate intramural series on the Boston Common? Someone’s even suggested a Formula 1 race on the streets of Boston (?!). Events similar to the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, which (beyond having an unfortunate name - ‘Beantown’) draws thousands of residents and visitors.
- Reliable public transportation: Having 24-hour public transportation seems to be a pipe dream. We can improve the MBTA, however, by expanding the use of applications to gather and disseminate route information and schedules. The T should add QR bar codes to all bus and subway stops so that “waiting for a bus” will be a thing of the past.
- Police foot patrols: Put beat cops in the Back Bay, on Charles and Tremont streets and at the Pine Street Inn. Crime is down in the city, but incidences increase during the summer months. Could we use police cadets to give residents, businessowners, and tourists some additional peace of mind? Summertime is crime time, let’s hit the ground running.
- Summerthing: Growing up in the suburbs, I’d always hear about Summerthing, a city-run program for the youth of Boston. There were events on Boston Common and in each of Boston’s neighborhoods. By expanding events in the summer, we can help reduce the risk of future generations turning to lives of drugs and crime, and eliminate social unrest. Plus, it's lots of fun.
- Sports bandwagons: Finally, a bad season for the Red Sox. No, I don’t hate the Red Sox; I love them. But, 'round about 2004 (specifically, October 27, 2004), things took a turn for the worse, after everyone got on the Sox bandwagon and people started being smug. Can we go back to when we used to love going to Fenway on a Saturday afternoon so we could spend three hours in the sun and enjoy the game, not the results?
- Boston Common abuse: My pet peeve. I hate the idea of marring the beauty of the Boston Common with restaurants and a carousel. The appeal of it should be enough of an attraction. For-profit endeavors do nothing but segregate sections of it for the benefit of the few. The city should find the revenue in its budget to keep it clean and safe.
- Dogs off leashes: Contrary to common belief, there are no ‘off-leash’ sections of the Boston Common or the Public Garden. Or anywhere else in Boston, for that matter. Do I love dogs? Yes. Do I love arrogant dog owners? Not so much.
- Flip-flops: As Bostonist put it so eloquently several years ago, when you walk around in flip-flops, you’re basically walking around in dog poop. Many dog owners don’t pick up all the dog poop (which qualifies as a corollary to peeve #9, above). So, if you’re wearing flip-flops, you’re walking in it. The streets and sidewalks of Boston are filthy with germs. Do yourself a favor. Wear shoes or sneakers. But, if you must wear them, at least follow these rules.