Follow the Rules… Or Else!

October 2, 2009 at 7:53 am | Posted in Around Boston | 1 Comment

To round out our week of Boston Public Garden exposé blogging, we decided to share some of the posted rules and regulations so your next visit can be law-abiding and hassle free. Factini – shaken, not stirred: as shown on the sign below, the rules are clear, concise and chock full of logic…
In case my Blackberry photo’s resolution isn’t to your liking, here are the rules – and our addendums – for your viewing pleasure.

Plantings should not be touched – That’s right, even passively. And definitely don’t touch the plants when using the active voice.

Sitting on grass permitted except where posted – as you’ll notice throughout the Garden, sitting on the lawn is also permitted except where posted, which is everywhere!

Use trash barrels – for…? Acoustics? Soup bowls? Phone booths? Specifics never hurt anyone.

Alcoholic beverages prohibited –especially for the drug dealers who do business in the Garden after dark. (Tom Cruise, please don’t use inflamatory statements on our blog! Not okay!)

Gambling prohibited – we’re talking to you, evil squirrels. Knock it off.

Walk your bicycle – it gets lonely and needs both the company and the exercise. But remember to keep it on a leash at all times!

Dogs on leashes only/clean up after your dog – I believe this is part of a poem, and the slash delineates a line break. So, apparently only dogs on leashes must clean up the poo of their dogs. The rest of us can encourage our pets to poo with abandon all around the Garden (except on the lawn/grass, where it is prohibited to tread).

Ball playing and other games prohibited – but that was cleverly crossed out, so apparently it’s okay now. Play ball!

Skateboarding and rollerskating prohibited – rollerblading and similar crazes ARE permitted.

Vending prohibited – move along now, machines. No one wants your junk food here. Go find an office or a strip mall, we want none of your kind in our Garden.

Walk-thru traffic only after 11:30 PM – and we don’t sell cheeseburgers at that hour, so order something else. Seriously.

Any questions? Ask the man on the horse…

In the Land of the Puritans

October 1, 2009 at 8:15 am | Posted in Around Boston | 3 Comments

For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Boston, consider this post a history lesson. Boston was founded by Puritans wishing to escape the persecution of Anglicans in England. Puritans were total sticks in the mud. You could wear any clothes you wanted, as long they were in shades of black and brown and completely unflatterring (unless you go for a man in a goofy Pilgrim hat). No dancing. Marathon church sessions with fire-and-brimstone sermons. Pretty much the life of the party.

Massachusetts has come a long way since the days of the scarlet letter, but it is still a pretty square commonwealth (no statehood here — we’re a commonwealth!). I mean, people panicked over a ballot question to allow grocery stores to sell beer. And don’t even think about buying anything other than gas and a newspaper on one of our mystical “blue holidays.”

So imagine my surprise and confusion when I saw this statue in the Public Garden.

Your eyes do not deceive. That is the portrayal of two boys frolicking. Naked. One apparently riding the other.

Are you speechless? So I was I, and believe me, that is a rarity. So I went on “The Goggle” to see what the internets has to say about naked boy fountains. Apparently it is called Triton Babies. Why? I haven’t the foggiest. And the “catcher” is missing part of his thumb. So there you go.

Leave those trees alone!

September 29, 2009 at 7:43 am | Posted in Around Boston | Leave a comment

In a similar prohibitory theme, the Public Garden is also very protective of its trees.

I totally understand this rule – some of the trees in the Garden, particularly the elms, are centuries old. And still others were selected within the last 50 years as a nod to the ornamental varieties of the Garden’s first seasons. Every tree is meticulously cataloged, monitored and cared for.

But here’s where I get lost…

Query: do the evil Garden squirrels know about this rule, and if so, do they even care? No! Perhaps it is time for a little citizens arrest maneuver (again, I find myself wishing I had a badge or cape or at least an official looking pad of tickets to write!). The squirrels abuse the trees and the people in the Garden! How many times have innocent Bostonians been pelted with nuts from the branches of these beauties by renegade rodents? Too many for me to count. How many holes have these selfish and violent squirrels burrowed into tree trunks? And how often have confused tourists been tricked into feeding these bushy-tailed rats even though that’s against the rules of the Garden, too? Shameful. And after spending yesterday atoning (Yom Kippur – all my heebs say yeah!), I can safely and smugly say they should be ashamed.

Actually, the trees are violent, too. “Falling” acorns? A likely story. People keep trying to convince me that it isn’t me they’re after, that this is “the season” for stuff like that. A likely story! Frankly, sometimes I wonder if those warnings about giving trees their personal space are more for our protection than theirs! (For the Potter-nerds out there, picture the Whomping Willow.) Maybe I should carry around a sign to protect myself from them!

Come to think of it, perhaps what’s really going on here is some sort of nature gang warfare: trees v. squirrels, or flora v. fauna. Maybe the trees aren’t attacking me; maybe they are trying to knock out the evil gang-bangin’ rodents, and our human (read: Sputnik-sized) craniums are just innocent civilian casualties caught up in a terrible turf war. Maybe the trees wish only to wreck the rodents, but we keep wandering into their combat zone – their turf, if you will.

I would still assert that the squirrels are actually aiming for innocent bystanders, but I suppose that’s a theory for another blog…

And so, dear reader(s), I wish you caution and safe travels should you brave the Public Garden. And remember, don’t give the squirrels or the trees any funny looks, avoid affiliated hand signals and symbolic colors, etc. This is the big show…


Olmstead Would be Proud!

September 28, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in Around Boston | Leave a comment

Have I mentioned that Sarah and I have a ridiculous commute that includes a two-mile walk each way? Once or twice?

On our walking portion of the day, we like to stroll (briskly) through the Public Gardens. It’s always a delight, what with the swans and homeless people and all. I like to gaze at the flora and fauna, so imagine my surprise when I saw this. In a public park.

Can you read that? It says “Please keep off the lawn.” In a park. A park for the public’s enjoyment.

I don’t know about you, but I always thought one of the joys of a public park is playing on the grass. I have fond childhood memories of picnic dinners at parks. Sitting on the grass. Rolling down hills. Playing a little ‘bee. Frolicking barefoot to feel the heavenly sensation of cool, green grass between my toes. Spinning until I collapse to be one with the Earth’s rotation. Wheeeeee!!!

But the Parks Department here has other plans. It wants our children to stay on the narrow asphalt paths and — gasp! — obey the stern signage. Some sections of grass are even sequestered by tiny, foot-high chains. Only toddlers would have a problem getting around those.

Whenever I see a closed door or a fence or a sing saying “No,” I am compelled to investigate. I’m like a cat in that regard. Have you ever noticed that cats are desperate to be on the other side of a closed door? And then of course when it sees there is nothing of feline interest, it gives you a dirty look for tricking it and saunters out. Hoodles, I digress. If I see a locked door with a sign saying “Keep out,” you better believe I’m going in. And you can probably guess how I feel about signs telling me to stay off the grass — especially when teeny fences are involved!

So kids, it’s time for a little civil disobedience. Consider it your history lesson for the day. Step over the fence. Walk on the grass (how do you think I got the photo of the sign?). Hell, roll on it for all I care. Go on, break this silly rule! Parks are for enjoying. Olmstead would have wanted it that way.


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