Setting: halfway through the semester fall 2009; me and a few girls chilling in my room with smoothies (study break!)
"So what are your favorite places to go for food here?"
I went into my general spiel, talking about different places for Italian, my favorite cheap eats, and then asked if they had been to Bartley's (a burger place in Harvard Square where all the burgers are named after political figures...they also have fantastic Lime Rickeys and sweet potato fries).
A junior chimed in, "Oh, I've never been to Harvard Square."
My jaw nearly dropped to the floor.
"But it's just up the street! About a mile! And you could take the 1 bus, or the T...or even walk!"
"Yeah...I just haven't had time."
Now, the culture here at MIT might be a bit extreme, and I know that the mindset some of the students have here during classes is very different from the American concept that many things to learn in college happen outside the classroom. (read: eating burgers instead of studying).
But at the same time, to know so little of where you live is just preposterous to me. It's crazy.
But there is the other side of the issue in how much people our age want to travel: backpack in Europe, see the Andes, go on a cruise, see the Taj Mahal, etc...but at the same time have no idea what is just down the road.
So, a take on Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District" is "Better Know a T Stop" --my journey through Boston to show off the sights, especially those that are a little less familiar to the average Bostonian. I'll travel to these stops, take a lot of pictures, browse the local establishments, hopefully find something delicious to eat...and talk about some of the local history.
(an important note: I am not making money off of this endeavor - this is purely for knowledge and learning)
So, the first stop was MIT's library in order to find some nonfiction historical reading about Boston. I picked up a couple of books, and the first one has been a bit of a dud (it was written by a woman in the 1960s, and she went on a tangent about the lack of sexualization of Puritan girls, which is not exactly what I want in terms of Massachusetts history). There's also a great resource in the MIT Libraries flickr pool:
I'm excited to for the spring and summer so it finally gets warm enough to wander around Boston all Saturday afternoons, looking at buildings, enjoying the sights---I want to really get to know my city better.