Urban Exploration: The Watertown Branch

Many people who live near and commute through Cambridge, Watertown, and Waltham have noticed potions of the essentially abandoned Watertown Branch railroad. Vanshnookenraggen PhotoBlog has an interesting series on the Watertown Branch, located here, which includes decaying train tracks, puddles, bridges, and oodles of neat graffiti.This whole line is easily accessible at various points, as it passes right through very active parts of the local community. Be sure to check this series out - it's quite worth it!


Posted byMike Prescott at 3:02 PM 13 comments  

I'm Not "Lost" -- Not Yet, Anyway

I'd just like to let you all know that I haven't gotten "lost" in my explorations -- I've just been preoccupied with several projects.

I'm currently working on a new site for myself as an artist. It will feature various photographs, prints, graphic art, writing, and other things I've done over the past several years. I'm excited for the finished product, but getting there is quite the task!

I promise to have a new update this weekend, and thank you for your patience! For anyone running on Monday, good luck and stay dry! (The latter might be near impossible, though!)


Posted byMike Prescott at 9:43 PM 0 comments  

Non-Photography in Boston

One of my favorite urban photographers whose work I've explored online is the talented Nitsa. Her work focuses largely on New York, but she has ventured to many cities around the world, including Boston, and captured some stunning images of our beautiful city.

Nitsa's idea of "non-photography," or photography without rules, has earned her much praise and support, and she has published several books of her work, including one describing her non-photography process.

As a fellow urban photographer, I appreciate and share many of her strategies. She urges street photographers to ditch the special gear, instruction books, and calculations, and just get out on the street and shoot.

The end result is an array of incredible images, many of which feature "accidental" content, that will inspire many others to capture their favorite city.

Check out Nitsa's Boston gallery, or visit her Main Site.

Posted byMike Prescott at 10:33 AM 1 comments  

The Mt. Auburn Cemetery

One of the most picturesque and non-urban locations in Cambridge can be found in the Mount Auburn Cemetery.

The historic landmark, celebrating its 175th anniversary, offers spectacular floral scenes and tree-lined paths.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the cemetery, however, is the historic architecture. From its oldest structure, the Egyptian Revival gateway, to the Washington Tower, which offers memorable views of the city, one could spend a day just marveling at the historic buildings and scupltures.

The Cemetery is easily accessible via the MBTA's charming Route #71 or #73 Trackless Trolley routes, which run out of Harvard station on the Red Line. Take the bus to Aberdeen Avenue, and cross Mount Auburn Street to enter the cemetery.

For more information, including upcoming events and tours, you can visit the Mount Auburn Cemetery's website.


Top photo from MountAuburn.org

Posted byMike Prescott at 9:26 AM 0 comments  

The LRV: Beginning and End

I've finally posted photos of the last run of the LRV on the Green Line. The photos are part of a new virtual exhibit at the Boston Transit eMuseum, entitled "The LRV: Beginning and End."

The exhibit explores documents and photos relating to the 1970's launch of the vehicles, from design specs to testing photos. I plan to also add video of the last run in the near future.

You can check out the full exhibit at The Boston Transit eMuseum, or look specifically at the last run photos here.

You can also check out the newly renovated TransitHistory.


Posted byMike Prescott at 11:28 AM 1 comments  

Forgotten Boston

The folks over at the wonderful website, Forgotten New York, have a short but jam-packed page of Boston goodies. From old ads painted on the sides of buildings to a peculiar ten-foot-wide house, they've got a sampling of everything "forgotten" in Boston.

Among my favorites are the lamppost mailboxes on Beacon Hill, and the great "Street Scenes" featuring the pre-renovation facade of the Opera House. This page and its information are several years old, but the content is still quite interesting.

Check out Forgotten Boston for some great photos and some great ideas on some urban exploration trips of your own!

P.S. -- An update with photos from the last run of the LRV is coming. Stay tuned!


Posted byMike Prescott at 11:53 AM 2 comments  

New Developments on the LRV Farewell

Once again, I've got an update to the Light Rail Vehicle "farewell."

The final public run of these vehicles has been pushed back to Friday at 11:00AM. It will run out of Riverside station and make one round trip to Government Center. There might still be a run today, but the Friday trip seems to be certain, though the weather may make fools of us all! Check TransitHistory and The MBTA Forum for more.

I hope to have a new post late Friday with some photos of the trip. Once again, if you are available, it might just be worth your time! It's not every day that a transit vehicle fleet is retired.

I'll also have a new "regular" update soon, once I get this whole LRV thing behind me!


Posted byMike Prescott at 12:29 AM 11 comments  

Final Trips of the Green Line "LRV"

This is something that will soon be "lost" in Boston -- the late-1970's Boeing Light Rail Vehicle, which will be operating for the final time this Thursday.

The cars have had a long and sometimes troubled history, but they acted as the transition from single-car trolleys to modern articulated light rail cars in use today in Boston and around the world.

The final trip is scheduled for Thursday, March 15th. The train will leave Riverside station at approximately 11:00AM, make its way to Government Center, and leave at approx. 11:44AM for its final run to Riverside. Keep in mind this is a regular service trip and regular fares will be collected, however you're sure to see some "rail fans" with cameras and camcorders in hand!

UPDATE 3/14: The timing of the final trip is potentially changing. It may occur on Friday instead of Thursday, but should happen in the near future. I will update as soon as I hear more firm details.

If you are available at these times, the ride might just be worth it... This is the end of a true era in Boston's public transit!

I will have more, including photos, after the event.

You can check TransitHistory and The MBTA Forum @ TH for more updates.



Posted byMike Prescott at 11:34 PM 1 comments  

WHDH's Early Days Online

This isn't a physical attraction, but if you're into TV news at all (like I am), you might be interested to see an early version of WHDH-TV's website, still being hosted in its near entirety at boston.com (how exactly it ended up there I'm not fully aware).

Clicking here will send you to the site, which seems extremely antiquated and basic for a news site now, which feature live streaming video and interactive elements. Poking around, you'll find Sports scores frozen in 1996, as well as different featured reports. Of note is the lack of actual news on the site, perhaps due to difficulty in frequent updates, but I'd be curious to find out the real answer to this.

My personal favorite page on this site is the news team biographies. The staff at the station in 1996 are up to a variety of things today, from remaining at the station to moving on to national news networks and anchoring various news programs. Some of the names I can't remember, but others like Lester Strong and Cristine Caswell recall a past era in Boston journalism.

Also of note: the link to TIAC in the bottom right corner sends you to EarthLink, another sign of the times!

Check it out, and enjoy!

Posted byMike Prescott at 11:56 PM 3 comments  

Boston Blog Network

I'd just like to thank the kind folks at the Boston Blogs Network, and the authors of the blogs there, for welcoming me into their network!

I've already received some positive comments and have in turn discovered some really neat blogs at the BNN. I'll start posting links to those here as well, and will include them in the links listing on the bottom right of this page.

For starters, I'll suggest a visit to The City Record and Boston News-Letter, a very nice Boston historical blog.

More to come soon...

Posted byMike Prescott at 10:47 PM 0 comments  

Blog: Overheard in New York

If you've got time on your hands, head on over to Overheard in New York, where anonymous conversations overheard on the streets of New York are posted for all to enjoy. Really interesting and funny stuff, and you'll get lost in reading these!

Makes me think of things I've heard on the streets and subways of Boston...

Posted byMike Prescott at 2:20 PM 2 comments  

Walk the [Red] Line

Some of the most enjoyable, most accessible community paths in and around Boston have been constructed on or near rapid transit lines, as is the case with the Red Line Linear Park bike path.

Take the Red Line to Davis station in Somerville. Exit through the Holland Street headhouse, and you'll be right at the start of the short but enjoyable bike path.

Facing away from the road, you will see a brick paved path going toward the nearby residential neighborhood. This is the Red Line Linear Park, constructed with the subway extension from Harvard to Alewife in the 1980's. This path runs almost entirely above the Red Line tunnel, so you'll come across some emergency exits and ventilation grates here and there, which add to the interesting scenery.

Not too far into your walk, you'll come across the North Cambridge Carhouse, home of the small but popular trackless trolley fleet that covers routes in Cambridge, Watertown, and Waltham. (See image above, from Google Earth)

After crossing Massachusetts Avenue, continue on the path, soon veering to the left to weave through the Russell Field athletic area. Take a sharp right and you'll see the Alewife station complex directly in front of you!

At this point, you can re-enter the subway at Alewife (there are restrooms and a Dunnkin Donuts inside), or you can continue, on the brick path, under Route 2. Walk around the subway entrances and through the "busway", making your way onto the Alewife Station access road on the other side (see image to the left, also from Google Earth). Take a right, and you'll soon run into another bike path which crosses the Alewife Brook. This path will lead you back under Route 2 and on to the Minuteman Bikeway, one of the most poopular in this area, which travels through Arlington, Lexington and on to Bedford. Enjoy!

Posted byMike Prescott at 10:28 AM 4 comments  

Tasty Bread in Brookline

One of my favorite local bakeries is hidden away among houses and side streets in Brookline, and wouldn't be discovered by the average passer-by. Locals know, and love, Clear Flour Bread, and I'm sure you will too after a taste!

The small, easy-to-miss storefront is located at 178 Thorndike Street in Brookline, within easy walking distance from Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Street. Once inside, you'll find a very small browsing area filled with as much breads, pastries and other goodies as is possible. From fresh-baked cookies to breads from around the world, Clear Flour Bread offers upscale selection with down-scale prices.

Breads vary by day, as they bake on a rotating daily schedule (found here). Stopping by before a holiday will ensure a treat, as they cook up different variations of their recipes, and holiday classics, just for the occasion. Visit their web site at www.clearflourbread.com for more information.

Clear Flour Bread is accessible via the Green Line's B/Boston College branch. Take the trolley to the Packard's Corner stop, walk "outbound" on Comm Ave about two blocks, and take a left. The bakery will be on your right at a 5-way intersection, in a one-story retail building (see map). Enjoy!

Images from Clear FLour Bread and Google Maps

Posted byMike Prescott at 11:09 AM 5 comments  

The "Fun" of Logan Airport

Going to Logan is typically a chore reserved only for those unfortunate enough not to fly out of another regional airport, but I often find enjoyment out of just meandering through its corridors. Granted, current security regulations have placed large amounts of the facility "off limits" to those without tickets, but there is plenty to see and do outside of the security lines.

Grab a Silver Line bus out of South Station and take the quick ride out to the terminals. Getting off at Terminal A lets you walk in a loop around the airport, starting either by walking to Terminal E over the footbridge/moving sidewalks, or heading to terminal B through interior and exterior walkways.

If you're hungry, or want to browse some shops, Terminal C offers the most to the non-flying crowd, with several food counters (Burger King, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, pizza), shops (Borders Books, Staples, Hudson News) and a restaurant (Sam Adams).

If you like watching plane action, check out a neat, somewhat hidden concourse between Terminals B and C, complete with rocking chairs and large viewing windows. The footbridges between the terminals and central parking also provide some neat views.

Enjoy, and see you out and about!

Images from Massport.com

Posted byMike Prescott at 12:50 PM 70 comments  


Welcome to "Lost in Boston," a blog though which I hope to "find" and expose Boston's hidden jewels, from parks to small businesses to remnants of yesterday.

One of my favorite activities is to wander the streets of Boston, with no particular purpose, and find things that most would walk past, or never see to begin with. I have shown life-long Boston natives things they had never seen, and so I hope to show you some of the lesser known things that make Boston, "Boston."

And if you've arrived from somewhere else on the web, be sure to check out my website and other blogs, at www.transithistory.org. The genre of public transportation history is actually quite similar to that of this blog.


Posted byMike Prescott at 9:27 AM 0 comments  

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