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Travel Advice: Boston, New England and NYC

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Starting at July 24, I will travel to New England for three weeks. I'm interested in the Boston Area, the hills of Vermont, and the coast of Maine. I'll be travelling with a friend of mine by rental car, and we're on a budget (well, we have some money to spend, but the Boston Harbor Hotel would be overkill).

After this three weeks, I'll stay for two more weeks in new York City.

Unfortunately, I did not yet find time to read a travel book. Any travel advice (where to go, what to see, where to stay, etc) from the friendly AI people?

thanks a lot
post #2 of 31
Great time to come. Boston is "empty" what with all the college students gone for the summer (like 100,000 less SUVs clogging the streets).

Boston is, however, a complete mess for road construction right now, so drive carefully and plan ahead. I'm not kidding, downtown it is often impossible to get from point a to b.

For shopping:

Charles Street near Beacon Hill: Many nice little shops, often expensive though.

Newbury street: Ultra-high end at one end, getting progressively trashier/affordable at the other - something for everyone and many cafe-seating restaurants.

Copley area: Several indoor malls and interesting places in general like Trinity Church and the Hancock tower (the moneyshot for tourists).

Boston Public Garden is nice. Not to be confused with the Boston Commons which is less so.

Cool thing is that all of the above are doable in a day and all near each other.

Food:

North End I won't say one place or another but take your pick, fantastic dining can be had on/off Hanover St.

For the worst service anywhere, with authentic totally Bostonian asshole attitude, go straight to Pizzeria Regina. Marvel at how the pitcher that serves four actually costs more than four individual drinks - plus you need to do the work of pouring. Go figure.

Canolies at Mike's Pastries. Do it.

Drive and park there only if you are a "made man", terminal, or stupid. Use the large parking lots nearby instead of the street.

The ill-named "Tsunami" restaurant in Brookline near Coolidge Corner is simply the best sushi I've ever had in America. Go before the name alone puts them out of business.

The Druid Pub in Cambridge is THE best (i.e proper) Guinness, although hope you don't go on trivia night (why my Irish brethren like that crap is beyond me).

And ideally will have just visited Punjabi Dhabi a few stores down for the most authentic Indian food anywhere (not a fancy restaurant at all, everything is on cafeteria trays and you won't care! It's packed usually but just go upstairs.) Makes my Indian friend say: "Jesus Christ this is so good!". Your clothes will reek of spices after, though. Both in Inman Square.

The Faneuil Hall area is the tourist trap. Okay I suppose, I never go there though. There is an aquarium nearby. Museum of Science near Cambridge is ok too. Don't forget the MFA Museum of Fine Arts and Gardner museum. And the old wing of the Boston Public Library is worth a peek.

Bunker Hill monument has sadly been eclipsed by the idiotic and competitive pyramid caps of the nearby Zakim bridge, which says "Nyah, nyah, you're just a filthy old obelisk, we're a shiny hard-working bridge". Anyway go inside the monument for a chilling reminder of the Masonic cult that runs this world. (A huge masonic symbol statute is at its center.)

Arnold Arboretum is a nice place to fly a kite or just chill, with a great view of the Boston skyline.

And the Boston side of the Charles can be quite lovely at times. (Sad that it is also the point of two major roads though). You'll need to go over to the skinnier/noisier/less shaded Cambridge bank to get nice pics of Boston though.

And Chinatown (not big at all) has some cool shops and good food tucked away but that's more trial and error. "Pho Pasteur" is an excellent Vietnamese chain around Boston for those big ass bowls of soup. Delicious.

The Porter Exchange mall at Porter Square Cambridge is packed with Asian/mostly Japanese restaurants. Convenient to Harvard if you visit there.
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post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for all this information - I'm sure it'll help us having a good time.

Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
The Druid Pub in Cambridge is THE best (i.e proper) Guinness, although hope you don't go on trivia night (why my Irish brethren like that crap is beyond me).

And ideally will have just visited Punjabi Dhabi a few stores down for the most authentic Indian food anywhere (not a fancy restaurant at all, everything is on cafeteria trays and you won't care! It's packed usually but just go upstairs.) Makes my Indian friend say: "Jesus Christ this is so good!". Your clothes will reek of spices after, though. Both in Inman Square.

Sounds like a good plan to eat spicy Indian food and then extinguish the fire with Guinness -- lots of it.

maybe we'll go to a ball game (the Red Sox vs the White Sox) when we're there, but it's expensive like hell. We'll see.
post #4 of 31
In Boston, don't go to the "combat zone". Lousy expensive strip bars, got mugged, cop said "well, you shouldn't have been there" when I told him my teeth were knocked out.

Luckily, I was young, and my braces held the teeth in, so they just popped back in their sockets when I got back to Canada.
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post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
In Boston, don't go to the "combat zone". Lousy expensive strip bars, got mugged, cop said "well, you shouldn't have been there" when I told him my teeth were knocked out.

Luckily, I was young, and my braces held the teeth in, so they just popped back in their sockets when I got back to Canada.

Phew. That sounds like fun. Well, happened to me in Zurich, Switzerland as well, so I know what you're talking about.

So any place to go out without beeing mugged / tortured / killed / whatever?
post #6 of 31
Please, the so-called combat zone at this point is a piddling little street with the odd club or porno store and some dingy alleys. Safer than anywhere in New York's 5 boroughs. Plus, there's no reason to go there unless passing through on the way to the theater district via Chinatown.

Other than that to me "combat zone" is "that scummy place dad used to go to on the weekends when I was 10 in 1977" and has no modern associations.

Pay it no mind.

Downtown Crossing is just one big highschool corridor though.
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post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
Please, the so-called combat zone at this point is a piddling little street with the odd club or porno store and some dingy alleys. Safer than anywhere in New York's 5 boroughs. Plus, there's no reason to go there unless passing through on the way to the theater district via Chinatown.

Other than that to me "combat zone" is "that scummy place dad used to go to on the weekends when I was 10 in 1977" and has no modern associations.

Pay it no mind.

Downtown Crossing is just one big highschool corridor though.


I guess thay my info is 15 years out of date, it is good to know that things are better now.
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post #8 of 31
John covered a lot, but i figured I'd throw in some more...


Quote:
Boston is, however, a complete mess for road construction right now, so drive carefully and plan ahead. I'm not kidding, downtown it is often impossible to get from point a to b.

First off, Boston is always under construction. Second if you aren't from here, don't drive here - we'll only get pissed at you. Our roads and highways don't make any sense, and we'd rather just not explain it. You don't need a car anyway since most of the places you will be going are within walking distance. What looks like a long trek on the T (subway) is probably an easy 5-10 minute walk. And remember this isn't New York, we are all expected to be drunk and passed out by the time the last subway leaves downtown - at 12:30.

Also to check out: The waterfront, walk from Government Center through Faneuil Hall and across the street. The parks and pier area is a really nice place to just chill in the afternoon sun and breeze. Have a picnic and watch the jets land at Logan across the harbor. The Esplanade on the Charles is also a nice area for a walk. Downtown Crossing, Newbury Street, and Coply are the big areas for shopping.

Another good day trip is to the harbor islands. You can take a ferry out to an island and spend the day there. George's Island (I think) has an old fort you can walk around. Another option would be a whale watch out of the harbor - if you're into that kind of thing.

Other tourist things you may want to do: Ice cream at JP Licks (Newbury Street), Red Sox Game (good luck getting tix), Mike's Pastry, Cheers, Swan boats in the public garden, duck tours, harvard square, etc.

Standard destinations of interest outside of Boston: Cape/Islands, Lexington/Concord, Salem (not that exciting, really, unless you like history), Gloucester/Rockport (awesome little fishing communities up north, nice shops and restaurants, good day trip).

Someone mentioned the "Combat Zone." This area is mostly gone and really nothing to worry about. The most dangerous area of the city you could probably find yourself in is the Fens (at night), or the "ghettos" behind Northeastern. Even then most of the city is relatively safe.

I can't say much for Vermont or Maine since I only go there to ski.
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post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the advice.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dogcow
First off, Boston is always under construction. Second if you aren't from here, don't drive here - we'll only get pissed at you.

Well, Boston seems really to be a traffic nightmare. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 2 sums it up pretty much. So I'll have to find a place where I can get home by public transport or foot.

Cape Cod is really crowded in August, isn't it? Is it worth going there?
post #10 of 31
Put it this way, we've paid a dollar a handful of times now to get onto the Mass Turnpike at Allston at night to head to downtown Boston only to find that it is closed after the tolls, so you have to get off at the first exit. No signs, no warning, no refunds.
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post #11 of 31
Western Mass and the Berkshires are very pretty.
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post #12 of 31
What type of things are you looking to do in NYC?
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trick fall
What type of things are you looking to do in NYC?

I haven't made any plans yet (too much work here ). It's my second visit to NYC (I was there in spring 2000), so I know the place a bit.

I'm not so interested in typical tourist things such as the Statue of Liberty, I try to feel the pulse of the city. I'm a hobby fotografer, therefore I'm looking for a lot of interesting motives.

Nightlife is not that important (although I would not say no). I plan to visit a few museums, haven't yet decided which ones.
post #14 of 31
Sorry I didn't get to this sooner. While you are inevitably downtown in Soho you might want to grab some pizza at Arturo's The best neighborhood to go out in and also just to walk around in is the Lower East Side. Plenty of bars and restaraunts. For Mexican I like to go to the hat which as long as the cops aren't around will also serve you a margarita to go. Another place I really like over there is the Pink Pony

If you like catching live bands you might want to check out Arlene's Grocery or Sin-e

Since you are in to photography I would suggest taking a walk over the Williamsburg Bridge or if you are less adventurous the L train to Bedford Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. This is another interesting area to walk around and eat, shop and drink. It is also the scene of many photo shoots because there is some really good shots to be had over by the water. Lots of cool industrial buildings. This would probably be considered the hippest area in the city right now.

Oh, if you want one really good drinking and dancing session I'd highly recommend a Thursday, Friday or Saturday at the Bulgarian Bar otherwise known as Mehenata

One museum that I think is a little off the beaten path for tourists is the Cloisters

That's all for now. If you let me know what area you are staying in I might have some restaurant recommendations.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the tips so far, I'll compile them into my travel plans.
post #16 of 31
Lots of good advice on NYC and Boston. Only thing I would add is don't skip Fenway, if you are gonna see a baseball game then that is the place to do it.

Outside of there my main recommendation would be to head up to Acadia NP in Maine. Nicest scenery of the North half of our Atlantic Coast by far. Enjoy some yummy lobster as well while you are up there. Forget Cape Cod, it might be a nice place to live but it is overrated as a tourist destination. Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is also a nice stop and of course Ben and Jerry's factory in Vermont can be fun and quite tasty. Nice thing about New England is that it is so small that driving is quick and fast. There are some Western states which are bigger than the 6 states and NY combined.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Only thing I would add is don't skip Fenway, if you are gonna see a baseball game then that is the place to do it.

I saw a yankees game last trip to NYC - tickets were plentiful and cheap, but the fans were a bit drunk and rude to the away team.
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post #18 of 31
Yep. IME the Boston fans were knowledgeable and enthusiastic like the New York fans but much more civil. I'm not one to blush or find an usher after an occasional off color remark or even if a fan wishes to share with an opposing player some information on that player's sister and her acumen at fellatio well then so be it. But the obnoxious fan ratio was way too high, there was enough rudeness, crassness and loudness at Yankee Stadium that it hurt the experience. I wasn't offended at all, I mean whatever, but at some point it gets tiresome especially when it is not creative and it so it detracts from the fun of the game. I much preferred the cult of victimization of Red Sox fans over the absurd arrogance of Yankee fans as well but that is just a personal predisposition and one that may no longer apply after last year. I mean a lot of that is just NewYorkyness, take or leave it but I'd leave it myself. I also liked the miscellaneous oddities of Fenway as well, saw a triple off the ladder in left and so on. I'd rank Dodger Stadium ahead of Yankee Stadium too in terms of places to see the game (not just the stadium). Worst two fans I ever saw were a pair of Mets fans at a Diamondbacks game although that one ended nicely as they tried to fight the cops when it came time to be arrested and that was a battle that the lost decisively which I didn't mind so much.
post #19 of 31
Wow as someone who goes to fifteen to twenty Yankees games a year I'd have to say that the worst behaved people I've encountered in the Bronx were wearing Boston hats. I'm usually in pretty decent seats, but I've sat up top and never felt at all uncomfortable. The bleachers could be different though.
post #20 of 31
Well as always your mileage may vary. Some parties in any Red Sox Yankees debate are probably not truly neutral either but I'll claim Swiss citizenship for this issue. Of course being accustomed to New York's culture might give someone a different perspective as well as you would be acclimated shall we say to a certain way of speaking.
post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 
I don't think I will be much offended by the language used by the fans; as an owner of an all season ticket of the ice hockey team SC Bern I'm used to quite a lot of interesting stories about players, their habits with certain liquids, their mothers sexual activities and so on... I think I can handle it
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
Please, the so-called combat zone at this point is a piddling little street with the odd club or porno store and some dingy alleys. Safer than anywhere in New York's 5 boroughs. P

don't take this as an insult but that is complete and utter bullshit.

don't try to defend your city by making baseless remarks about another's
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by ColanderOfDeath
Yep. IME the Boston fans were knowledgeable and enthusiastic like the New York fans but much more civil. I'm not one to blush or find an usher after an occasional off color remark or even if a fan wishes to share with an opposing player some information on that player's sister and her acumen at fellatio well then so be it. But the obnoxious fan ratio was way too high, there was enough rudeness, crassness and loudness at Yankee Stadium that it hurt the experience. I wasn't offended at all, I mean whatever, but at some point it gets tiresome especially when it is not creative and it so it detracts from the fun of the game. I much preferred the cult of victimization of Red Sox fans over the absurd arrogance of Yankee fans as well but that is just a personal predisposition and one that may no longer apply after last year. I mean a lot of that is just NewYorkyness, take or leave it but I'd leave it myself. I also liked the miscellaneous oddities of Fenway as well, saw a triple off the ladder in left and so on. I'd rank Dodger Stadium ahead of Yankee Stadium too in terms of places to see the game (not just the stadium). Worst two fans I ever saw were a pair of Mets fans at a Diamondbacks game although that one ended nicely as they tried to fight the cops when it came time to be arrested and that was a battle that the lost decisively which I didn't mind so much.

1. Red Sox fans are the only ones who will go to a concert and start a chant of Yankees suck. this is both obnoxious and retarded
2. Red Sox fans have a false arrogance that is also obnoxious
3. Red Sox fans are just as obnoxious at a ballgame and just as drunk and crude. ESPECIALLY when going to a game at Yankee Stadium.
4. Red Sox fans and Bostonians in general have a severe inferiority complex (see example above)

It goes both ways man. Both stadiums are filled with assholes.

And Dodger Stadium can not compare to Yankee Stadium for one simple but major reason....history. Dodger Stadium has next to none.
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
Do I read from the above that I should no go to a ball game with a Red Sox and a Yankee fan?
post #25 of 31
Yeah, they tend not to be too friendly. Or even handed in their assessments. But whatever.

Bronxite, we'll just agree to disagree. Only that I would say is in response to:
Quote:
3. Red Sox fans are just as obnoxious at a ballgame and just as drunk and crude. ESPECIALLY when going to a game at Yankee Stadium.

I think in general the people who would follow their team to a road game where the atmosphere is going to be contentious are usually people who are adversarial or are at least comfortable in an adversarial situation. I would agree that those sorts of fans for all teams can be just as obnoxious. For home fans it is a different story and situation.

You are right, Dodgers Stadium doesn't have the history of Yankee Stadium. But to say it has next to none is a bit off. The Dodgers have had plenty of great players, great teams and they've been involved in their fair share of playoff and World Series games over the last 40 years. Aside from that history isn't everything. Candlestick has more history than SBC, Veterans Stadium has more history than whatever their new stadium is called, Three Rivers had more history than PNC etc. The old Tiger Stadium had a ton of history but it was a dump. There are a lot of htings that come into play in judging how good a ballpark is. To each their own but that is my opinion. Yankee Stadium is up there but I still rank it #3 behind Fenway and Dodger Stadium out of the stadiums I've been to.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by ColanderOfDeath

You are right, Dodgers Stadium doesn't have the history of Yankee Stadium. But to say it has next to none is a bit off. The Dodgers have had plenty of great players, great teams and they've been involved in their fair share of playoff and World Series games over the last 40 years. Aside from that history isn't everything. Candlestick has more history than SBC, Veterans Stadium has more history than whatever their new stadium is called, Three Rivers had more history than PNC etc. The old Tiger Stadium had a ton of history but it was a dump. There are a lot of htings that come into play in judging how good a ballpark is. To each their own but that is my opinion. Yankee Stadium is up there but I still rank it #3 behind Fenway and Dodger Stadium out of the stadiums I've been to.

the dodgers are nobody without their brooklyn years taken into account though.

and dodger stadium is a rather bland ballpark IMO. but i respect yours as well. everyone will have their bias opinions, much like I do.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
the dodgers are nobody without their brooklyn years taken into account though.

Hmmm. By what standard?

I would say the most obvious way to measure who is somebody and who is nobody in a team sport is by team success. World Series Victories from 1958 on:

#1.Yankees 9
#2.Dodgers 5
#3.A's 4
#4.Reds 3
#4.Pirates 3
#4.Orioles 3
#4.Cards 3
#8.Mets 2
#8.Tigers 2
#8.Marlins 2
#8.Blue Jays 2
#8.Twins(/Senators) 2
#13.Red Sox 1
#13.Angels 1
#13.Diamondbacks 1
#13.Braves 1
#13.Royals 1
#13.Phillies 1
#19.Devils Rays 0
#19.Rockies 0
#19.Mariners 0
#19.Rangers(/Senators) 0
#19.White Sox 0
#19.Cubs 0
#19.Indians 0
#19.Nationals(/Expos) 0
#19.Astros 0
#19.Brewers 0
#19.Padres 0
#19.Giants 0

Another stat, World Series Appearances from 1958 on:

#1.Yankees 16
#2.Dodgers 9
#3.Cards 7
#4.A's 6
#4.Reds 6
#4.Orioles 6
#4.Braves 6
#8.Red Sox 4
#8.Mets 4
#10.Pirates 3
#10.Twins(/Senators) 3
#10.Phillies 3
#10.Giants 3
#14.Tigers 2
#14.Marlins 2
#14.Blue Jays 2
#14.Royals 2
#14.Indians 2
#14.Padres 2
#20.Angels 1
#20.Diamondbacks 1
#20.White Sox 1
#20.Brewers 1
#24.Cubs 0
#24.Nationals(/Expos) 0
#24.Astros 0
#24.Devils Rays 0
#24.Rockies 0
#24.Mariners 0
#24.Rangers(/Senators) 0

I think that is a pretty good history for the years since they've been in LA. Obviously the Yankees are in another class but aside from them the Dodgers have been as good as anyone. They rank #2 out of 30 teams in World Series victories and in Pennants. First among all NL teams in that span.

Also, when you talk about their Brooklyn history, a lot of that is based on baseball nostalgia more so than reality. Certainly they won a lot of pennants and they did so at a rate similar to that while in LA with 13 in 74 when they were in Brooklyn versus 9 in 47 years in LA. But for the most part their glory years in Brooklyn consisted of a lot of mediocre teams and then the decade with the great Post WW2 teams which pretty much always lost to the Yankees, 55 excepted of course. There are a few seasons that were exceptions but the Dodgers basically sucked for the 40 years until Durocher took over as manager in the early 40s and that history for most of their time in Brooklen tends to be glossed over. In the 37 World Series from 1903-1940 (minus 04) through they appeared in a grand total of two World Series and lost both and that was at a time when there were only 8 NL teams. In if you look at the first 35 seasons for which the World Series was held, ie prior to Durocher being hired in 39, the Dodgers finished in the bottom half of an 8 team league, so 5th or lower an amazing 80% of the time with 28 of those 35 years having second division finishes. So IMO their "glory years" in Brooklyn are greatly a function of people missing an era when baseball was king and the Dodgers were lovable runners-up, ala the Red Sox, but that perception ignores their Washington Senator-esque history for most of their time in Brooklyn.

Five of their six World Series victories have come in the LA span even though they currently have been in LA for 46 seasons (47 years minus 94) versus 54 seasons (03-57 minus 04) in Brooklyn during which time the World Series was held.

Historical side note, only four teams, the Cubs, White Sox, Indians and Giants, have existed for that entire span and not won a World Series. Of course the Cubs and White Sox are frequently mentioned as losers and everyone knows how bad the Indians were for the 4 decades prior to their revival in the 90s but the Giants don't seem to get much attention in this regard. If I had thought about it it would have occured to me but until seeing the numbers I didn't realize that they hadn't won since the 54 Series when they beat the heavily favored Indians.

Quote:
and dodger stadium is a rather bland ballpark IMO. but i respect yours as well. everyone will have their bias opinions, much like I do.

As you say, everyone has his or her own opinion. I still liked Dodger Stadium better.
post #28 of 31
Hey, my band will actually be playing at Sin-e on August 17th so come on down and have a beer......
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by ColanderOfDeath
Hmmm. By what standard?

I would say the most obvious way to measure who is somebody and who is nobody in a team sport is by team success. World Series Victories from 1958 on:

perhaps it is a difference in views from coast to coast. As a New Yorker, the Dodgers are nobody and the only thing anyone respects of them is when they were from Brooklyn.

They have been mildly successful in Los Angeles. By mildly I mean, they have been successful yet not really consistent. They also benefit from being in a traditionally weak division of the national league.

The Yankees are legendary for their pre 60s years. I feel the Dodgers are legendary in their own sense for the same reason and NOT because of their Los Angeles days.

But yes, at least the Dodgers did better after relocation than the Giants :P
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trick fall
Hey, my band will actually be playing at Sin-e on August 17th so come on down and have a beer......

Hmmm... why not? Where is it and any info on the band (music style)?
post #31 of 31
There is a website for the show here There is an old song of ours up, but our new stuff is much better. The other bands are actually pretty freaking cool too. Anyway something different and fun to do in NYC.
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