Off the Blue Line

By Alyson J. St. Amand and Stephanie Vosk

Looking for a little culture combined with some fun? Well, Boston has plenty of both. It is essential part of living in Boston to know how many places are only a train ride away. In this first addition of the new “Subway Series”, insight is provided into some dollar bill adventures right off of Boston’s blue line train.

Located on Northeastern’s campus, the Ruggles stop on the orange line is only six stops away from the State stop on the blue line. More commonly, students can access the blue line by taking the train at the Northeastern T stop on the green line and traveling inbound on Huntington Avenue. After seven stops on this line, a student finds him or herself in the culture and excitement of downtown Boston at Government Center.

Upon exiting the station, follow the crowds and take a minute to read the letters or admire the pictures submitted by grandparents, kindergartners, teenagers, mothers and fathers from all over the United States that have contributed to a memorial reminding all of the tragedy last September. The innocent pictures from the youngest contributors can be the most inspiring.

Travel down the steps of the center and across the street to come face to face with the historic Faneuil Hall where town meetings were held protesting the Stamp Act in 1765. Today this hall holds community meetings and high school graduations as well as a post office and various shops. Become a part of “Beantown” culture and purchase some Boston baked beans souvenirs.

Bring some extra cash because nearby Quincy Market features many premiere restaurants including The Rack, McCormick and Schmick Seafood Restaurant and the Jazz Cafe. There is delectable but perhaps expensive shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch, The Gap, American Eagle and others.

Up the stairs inside the food court of Quincy Market, visit what Improper Boston Magazine voted Boston’s Best Comedy Club in 2001. The Comedy Connection will feature such known highlights in the upcoming month as Dave Attell, featured Sept. 27th to the 28th, Brett Butler, on Oct. 11th to the 12th and Pauly Shore from Oct. 18th to the 20th. Every Thursday, the club features Frank Santos, the R-rated hypnotist. For more information, call 617-248-9700 or visit www.comedyconnectionboston.com.

From Government Center, Bowdoin is the only stop due east on the blue line and stops are only made during the week. “Walk Right In” Tuesday through Friday from 11 to 4 to see an exhibition of shoes from the eighteenth century to the present, a display that is part of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) Gallery at One Bowdoin Square. The nearby Harrison Gray Otis House will also provide an insight into New England’s history. The other alternative from Government Center, within walking distance of Quincy Market, but also one more stop to the West, is the State Street station.

Approximately 30 feet from the T exit are the doors to the Old State House, a museum of Boston History. A student can obtain a ticket to the museum, which includes a sound and light show of the Boston Massacre, for $4. Combination tickets for the Paul Revere House are also available.

Across the street, there is a visitor center containing information and maps of places to visit in and around the city, as well as a sit-in audio/visual program in the center.

Also within walking distance, the next stop on the line is the Aquarium station. From seasonal whale watching, to the IMAX theatre to the Aquarium itself, there are a multitude of things to do for all ages. The IMAX theatre will be showing “Cirque du Soleil,” a spectacular 3-D experience, starting Sept. 26. Every Wednesday night is college night and students can purchase cheap tickets for $6 after 6:00 p.m. For information on ticketing contact 1-866-815-IMAX or visit www.neaq.org.

Heading into East Boston, the train makes its next stop at Maverick. While the area is void of clubs and high class restaurants, Piers Park on Marginal Street is the perfect place to bike, boat or watch outdoor movies.

Convenient to the traveler, Logan Airport is the hot spot for Northeastern students looking to fly home or take a hard-earned vacation. Cheaper than a taxi and less stressful than traffic, the T provides easy access to free shuttle buses that will deliver passengers to each terminal. In regards to the stairways, be sure to pack lightly!

If leaving the Boston area is not a student’s plan, they can check out the Wood Island stop. Just a short walk to Day Square, Jeveli’s Dining, Boston’s oldest Italian restaurant, is a notable choice. Try the broiled seafood platter or stick with traditional pasta dishes. The square also offers other dining and shopping experiences.

Find out why the blue line gets its name by traveling one more mile to Orient Heights. There, you can check out the first of the Metropolitan District Commission, MDC, beaches in East Boston. Constitution Beach is a publicly accessed beach that also has a view of the airport.

“MDC owns approximately 30 miles of salt water beaches that run basically from the North Shore to the South Shore,” explains Jay Lachance, a spokesperson from the MDC. The subway line that runs along this coast is given its blue name for this reason.

Two minutes from the beach is the Suffolk Downs station. The highlight of this area is the Suffolk Downs Race Track that opened its gates in 1935. Free shuttle buses will run to the horse races every ten minutes. Grandstand seating is $2 and Clubhouse seating is $4.

The next blue line destination is Beachmont. Located in East Boston and mostly residential, this area does maintain a picturesque Belle Isle Park. This park holds events such as “Arts in the Park” and an established group works to preserve the wildlife in the area.

The last two stops on the blue line are Revere Beach and Wonderland. Both of these stations provide easy access to two more popular MDC beaches. Revere Beach, directly across from the Revere Beach stop on Revere Beach Boulevard, is America’s first public beach, and will be celebrating its 107th anniversary in 2003. Short Beach on Winthrop Parkway is another place to lay out a towel.

The Wonderland stop is also home to the Wonderland Greyhound Park. Racing information can be found at www.wonderlandgreyhound.com.

“What’s unique about the [blue] line is it travels along the ocean and it also takes people to and from the airport,” states Lydia Rivera, press secretary for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

Bob Potter, an employee of Old Town Trolley Tours and a 1949 Northeastern alumnus agrees that “the most interesting thing on the blue line would be the airport.” He added that the Suffolk Downs Race Track and New England Aquarium may also be of interest to others.

Traveling the blue line all in one day and experiencing the many exciting locations may seem a little pricey. For the college student on a low budget, the $6.00 visitor day pass is suggested.

Whether the trip is a dollar bill adventure or an all day pass, a ride on the blue line provides the culture and history of downtown Boston, a getaway trip to the beach, and affordable sight seeing beyond the Northeastern walls.

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