Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mbta’

Nate Homan recently wrote a good human-interest story for the free subway newspaper, Metro. It’s about one of Boston’s subway musicians, a blind woman.

Michelle Abadia sits at Harvard Station early each morning that her T performer permit allows, strumming her guitar and singing to an audience she cannot see.

“ ‘Music was my passion from an early age. I don’t have a memory without it,’ Abadia said. ‘I am told that I was helping tune the piano when I was three.’ …

“She lost her sight to congenital cataracts at the age of 4 after six unsuccessful eye surgeries. She has started a GoFundMe page hoping to earn $20,000 to fund her musical career and to help pay for medical bills. …

“She earned a double degree in language studies and music in Boston College, and went on to earn a master’s in French literature and International Latin American Studies from Tufts. After that, she earned New England Conservatory master’s for vocal performances.

“Now she is trying to earn a living as a musician, after teaching Spanish at several colleges in the area and working as an interpreter in courtrooms.

“ ‘The commuters are half asleep, and I don’t know how effective I can be in brightening their days, but some people say the I do,’ Abadia said. …

“ ‘For anyone who is blind wants to be a musician, or anything, I would tell them to follow their dreams,’ Abadia said.”

More here.

Photo: Metro.us

Read Full Post »

I’m leaving a job that has been a great fit for me and starting at another organization. Although I’m really looking forward to new experiences after 10 years, there are a few things I’m likely to miss …

an unusual number of really nice co-workers, the building’s art collection and landscaping, subway musicians, the weary dignity of homeward-bound commuters, sunrise over Boston Harbor, Styrofoam sheep floating in Fort Point Channel, a vast array of food trucks, the farmers market, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, conversations on the commuter rail, the conductor with the circus-announcer’s voice, a commute that allows me to read …

and this view.

120315-sky-over-boston-harbor

Read Full Post »

When the MBTA subway system decided to rebuild the stop called Government Center a couple years ago, it began a search for the artist who created the original murals there to see if she would like them back, and if not, if she would be OK with selling them.

It wasn’t easy to find her.

As Malcolm Gay writes at the Boston Globe, she was baking pies as part-owner of the Pie Place Café in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

“ ‘I got a phone call one day,’ [Mary] Beams explained, ‘and a voice I didn’t know said, “How does it feel to know that all of Boston is looking for you?” I had no idea what to say.’

“Beams, it turned out, hadn’t disappeared at all. An animator who had been a teaching assistant at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and whose work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, she’d simply left the art world …

“With her blessing, the MBTA plans to hold an online public auction of the artworks, giving Bostonians a chance to own a piece of the city’s history.

“The online auction and display of murals will run Oct. 20-29, with a kick-off event at the state Transportation Building at 10 Park Plaza on Oct. 21. … The event will be something of a homecoming for Beams, who left Boston soon after completing the murals. She has never been back.

“ “I am so curious to see them again,’ she said. ‘I’ve gone on and lived this whole other life. But to be able to confront something that you made 35 years ago and ponder what they’ve been through? It’s quite amazing.’ ”

Pictures of the murals — and more information on the artist — here.

Mural by Mary Beams, for sale at Skinner

Read Full Post »

Let me tell you about these photos.

I first noticed the shoes of the gentleman riding the subway. Then the white suit, the pocket hankerchief, the bow tie, and the hat. I was concentrating so hard on taking a photo surreptitiously that it didn’t occur to me to check out what he was reading. Somerset Maugham? Proust? William Dean Howells?

You never know what photo ops you might see on the MBTA, and I hope to get adept at taking pictures unobtrusively.

Next we have a fanciful teapot in the window of the Lacoste Gallery.

Moving right along: dappled shade on Summer St., Boston, near South Station; and a row boat for rent in Fort Point Channel.

Today’s Dewey Square excitement was a labor rally for striking airport workers demanding a $15/hour minimum wage. Lots of speeches. I photographed a T-shirt and a Boston politician. The politician had such an energetic speaking style, the photo came out blurry, but I’ll add it if you want it.

The last three pictures are of a fake snake — perhaps intended to keep passersby from sitting on a resident’s stonewall — and grapes. The grapes were the most surprising thing that happened to me today. I must have walked past that fence twice a day for years and years, and I never noticed a grape vine growing there. Did someone drape it over the fence while I was at work?

Goes to show you don’t really have to go anywhere much to find surprises.

081115-shoes-bowtie-hankerchief-hat

081515-teapot

081415-dappled

081915-boat-rental-Ft-Pt-Channel

081915-labor-action-Dewey-Sq

81915-fake-snake

081915-neighborhood-grapes

081915-grape-close-up

Read Full Post »

The Red Line was telling people not to take the Red Line but to go North Station and walk. So I did.

Between Porter Square, Cambridge, and North Station, Boston, the young conductor sat down near me. I said, “How’s it been going for you?”

He said it’s OK, but he doesn’t like it when passengers start screaming at him like it’s all his fault. He said one day the train had to stop because snow was packed around a switch, and a passenger was angry with him. He got out in the snow, came back with snow up to his chest, and said, “I cleared the switch.”

He wishes passengers could take the same two-month class he took before he started. They would be amazed about all the rules and regulations. Our route passes through three track jurisdictions (I think he said three, maybe more.) At each one, the engineer has to ask permission to pass, and he has to write down the interaction in a book. Sometimes he asks the conductor to come help.

The conductor pointed out a light low down in the snow-covered track. Someone had dug it out. He told me that if the engineer can’t see a track light, he is obliged to treat it as malfunctioning and just stop.

I asked how long the conductor had worked for the system. He said he started New Year’s Eve. It’s been a real trial by ice. But he says he thinks it will get better and he actually likes it. I told him most passengers don’t blame the conductor for snow or aging train equipment.

The walk to work took longer than it should as the sidewalks were not equally clear. Charles Schwab did a lovely job with its sidewalk. Fidelity not so much. I’m thinking of switching my account.

Railroad track near my home.

012715-train-track-in-snow

Read Full Post »

110714-a-pigeon-that-I-pass-alas

 

When Suzanne was two, she and John used to watch a TV show with a theme song that went like this: “Stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon — now!”

One day we took the train to New York City, and in spite of the fact that Suzanne never saw pigeons where we lived, she took one look at the city’s official bird and started singing, “Stop the pigeon!”

So unlike many people, I have some good feelings associated with pigeons, and I am getting a big kick from the pigeons I photographed near city hall yesterday.

Someone with a sense of humor has decorated the barrier around the construction site for the  new Government Center T stop with pigeon portraiture.

110714-peeking-thru-pigeons

110714-stop-the-pigeon-now

 

Read Full Post »

Jose-Olivarez-MBTA-poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was always impressed when I saw a poem in the place of an ad in the New York City subway. Now Boston has caught on.

Martine Powers wrote recently at the Boston Globe, “Finally, Bostonians will have the chance to experience the pleasures of poetry on the MBTA.

“Mass Poetry [is] bringing poems to advertisement spaces on subway cars. The initiative, dubbed PoeTry, is part of the organization’s Poetry in Public Spaces initiative, which began last year, said Mass Poetry program director Laurin Macios…

“ ‘Contemporary poetry is barely taught in schools, and often when it is, it is taught in a very scholastic sense instead of an artistic one,’ Macios said. “People often grow up without ever realizing there is poetry out there that can speak to them, or that they can speak back to. …

“Each appearance of a poem includes a tearsheet on the corner of the sign, allowing passengers to take a copy of the poem with them if the spirit strikes them.”

One poem in the series, says Powers, “What Travels,” by Joseph O. Legaspi, takes place on a subway car. “What travels beneath their secret faces? What is train but transport to other lives?” More at the Globe.

See also http://masspoetry.org.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Poem: “Bulls vs. Suns, 1993,” by Jos
é Olivarez

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: