Road Trip: Boston (Updated)


This weekend I’ll be traveling to my beloved Boston to see a dance performance with my daughter. It’s about 85 miles away from home, so a quick day trip will do. Of course, I’ll have my iPhone with me, and I’ll share how I use it every step of the way. Watch for updates over the weekend and a wrap-up on Monday. I’ll see you in Boston!

Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Compfight cc

Update: Bad news. Tropical storm Andrea has cancelled our plans. One member of our party is stranded in LA and Boston is expecting heavy rain and 40mph winds on Saturday–not ideal conditions for walking around. Next time.

The goodness of Boston


Boston is a fantastic city. I lived there for two years and love it dearly. Today I want to focus on the stories of heroism and selflessness that are coming out of the horrible attacks at the marathon yesterday. I’ll be updating this post as I find more.

Some of best people I’ve ever known come from Boston. Stories like the following are not surprising at all.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” — Fred Rogers

Continue reading →

Historic sign causes controversy at future Apple Store in Spain

Residents of Madrid, Spain are concerned about the future of an old advertising sign. “Tio Pepe” overlooked Plaza del Sol for 76 years, before being removed from the roof of its building as construction began on a new Apple Store. The advertiser’s contract is scheduled to expire in June, and the building’s owners are not interested in renewing it. The sign has been in storage since its removal.

It sounds silly but reminds me of Boston’s Citgo sign. If it were to disappear, I’d miss it. Citgo agrees:

“Citgo holds an especially important place in Boston. The illuminated sign in Kenmore Square has become a landmark on the Boston skyline. It graces left field at Fenway Park and has seen thousands of athletes to the finish line at the Boston Marathon. It also serves as an excellent orientation point when people are lost in the city.”

In fact, the Citgo sign has overseen the birth of many Bostonians:

“At one time, the sign was visible from the maternity ward at Beth Israel Hospital, where mothers-to-be timed their contractions by its pulsing flash in the evening sky.”

When I moved to Boston in 1994 and didn’t know a soul, the Citgo sign was visible from my window. I used it as an orientation point when I was learning my way around the city. Walking towards it always led me home.

Good luck to Tio Pepe and all of its fans.

MBTA to launch iPhone ticketing system

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or MBTA, has announced a partnership with Masabi that will bring electronic rail passes to iPhones and other smartphones in fall of 2012. Customers will be able to purchases passes with their smartphones. MBTA employees will then validate the electronic tickets by scanning a special code on the device’s screen.

Those traveling with iPhones around Boston can expect a pilot program this summer, and if that goes well, an official launch in the fall.

[Via The Loop]

John non-stop

The first little person I ever met tried to sell me a T-shirt in Boston.

Having pushed passed the New England Conservatory students, noisy pizza joints and a one-armed pimp in a Members Only jacket (he must have been the last member), I stood before 98 Hemenway Street. That beaten-down building, which would close a year later, was my freshman dorm at Berklee. John stood on the stoop. “Want to buy a T-Shirt?” he said. It had obviously been silkscreened by hand. “Um, yeah,” I said.

I spent my first night alone, wearing my new shirt and watching David Letterman on a 13″ black-and-white TV. Actually, I only looked at the television. My mind was replaying the moment that I said goodbye to my parents at the Newbury Street Garage.

That was an astounding 20 years ago. Today I live on Cape Cod but my heart is in Boston. Whenever I visit, I take what my wife calls “The Nostalgia Tour.” We eat at Cappy’s, buy an iced tea from DeLuca’s (the only thing I could afford from that place in 1989), walk through The Fens and take the Green Line to Park Street.

We also visit the former site of Allson Beat on Newbury Street, in honor of John. He was what we used to call a “club kid” who lived the lifestyle 24/7. So we called him John Non-Stop. I think he lives in NYC today.

On Saturday I’ll travel to Cambridge to listen to iOS developers discuss their craft at Voices That Matter. Though I was born and raised in Scranton, PA, visiting Boston always feels like a homecoming.

And I still have the T-shirt.