Sunday, May 5, 2013

Boston, Reverence and Revelry (Revere too)

I was actually scheduled for this layover long before the bombings occurred.  Now I was to arrive nine days after the vicious terror bombings of APR 15th.  It was a beautiful Spring day and though still chilly, a great day for a walk.  Our hotel was one block from the site of the second bomb.  I took a circuitous route, walking towards Copley Square and avoiding Boylston Street as I would walk back that way.  The city was alive with blossoms of spring and lots of tourists.  There was a reverence in the air and by the time I got to Copley Square, the mood quickly changed as I neared the makeshift memorial created there by the people.  Everywhere were "Boston Strong" signs and the somberness of those walking among the memorabilia was so reminiscent of NYC after 9-11 near the site of the twin towers.  The street had just been opened the day before and the sites were no longer cordoned off.  
Site of first bombing near the finish line.

Second Bombing site
I continued my walk and was able to see the second site.  I kept walking on Boylston street with Fenway Park as my destination.  I had been there once, many years ago to see a game.  I actually lived outside of Boston after graduating from college.  Boston is a great town and on prior layovers, I was able to see Old Ironsides and the commons, as well as eat at a terrific oyster bar.  The Summer Shack is across from our hotel and I can highly recommend it for oysters.  As I got to Fenway, there were preparations underway for that evenings game.  I relaxed and decided to get a "Tasty Burger," enjoying it at a table outside.  My stroll back was easy as I took in the sunshine, the sights and noted some places to try for future visits to Bean Town, a great place to go, especially in the Spring and Summer months.                                            

Copley Square & Memorial in the background

Statue of Paul Revere

Tasty Burger & Fenway Park In the Background

Under the "Green Monster" on Lansdown St.

Memorial memorabilia

NYC and Eataly

On approach to LGA
OK, What can you write about NYC that hasn't already been written?  We are put up in a downtown Manhattan hotel, near West 35th street.  It is easy walking distance to everything, really.  It was a beautiful Spring day, temps around upper 60's.  My goal was to put a couple of "checks in the block" so to speak and to do some things that I had not done on prior visits to New York City.  Going to the top of the Empire State and checking out Times Square at night were two of those things, but my priority was, of course, food. That is how I found myself walking to Eataly, ( ) the pantheon of Italian foods this side of the Atlantic.  It was founded by Oscar Farinette, Joe Bastianich, Lidia  Bastianich, Mario Batalli, and Adam and Alex Saper.  For me, my real discovery of Italian food was when I was stationed in Naples, during one of my Navy assignments.  I was the Officer in Charge of a Helicopter detachment that provided support services to the Mediterranean Sixth Fleet.  We were housed in a tourist/camping complex that also had one of the most popular restaurants in the area.  It is here where I had my first taste of Mozarella di Bufala.  I was hooked.  Naples (not New York as some like to say) is where pizza was born.  Combine the chewy, blistered dough with a perfect Marinara sauce and real buffalo mozzarella and you have pizza perfection.  That is what I had here at Eataly.  That and the delight of simply "touring" the place and seeing all that it has to offer in Italian gastronomic delights.  Having "checked that off and spending over an hour here, I then set off to continue my exploration.   I decided to wait in the lines for the Empire State tour.  They were long, but I could see that they could have been longer.  It took a lot of patience from me to stick it out, since my views of the city as I fly into LGA are pretty fantastic (and free), but this was one of the "checks in the block" that I was determined to get.  If you can tolerate the crowds (and NYC is all about crowds), then it is still worth doing.  From there I walked to Times Square, checked that off and then dragged my self back to the hotel, where I poured myself into bed, exhausted and fulfilled.   
Eataly, in the Flatiron district
The Flatiron Building

Empire State Building

View from the top

Times Square