WEDNESDAY July 20 at Hotel Boston
I’m up at 7:45 and walk outside to catch the morning. Cool and fresh.
Our hotel is undergoing a name change. When I reserved our room it was Best Western University Hotel, Boston. Now, the sign says Hotel Boston. I’m surprised that name wasn’t already taken. In any case, it seems like a Best Western, two stories with surface parking and a Hotel Bkfst. I love that. I don’t want to DINE at breakfast, just give me coffee, some juice and something to get me started.
Another neat thing. Our hotel has a Front Porch. Nice place to sit on this perfect July morning and read USA Today. Our front porch has benches, tables and chairs — the only place to sit, since our room has only one chair. Why do they do that? We asked for another chair, but there is no such thing.
Today is our trip’s *reason d’etre*. Giants visit Fenway Park to play my beloved Red Sox. The Giants fall into the category of:
“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
My job took me to San Francisco, and the Red Sox chose not to go with me. They’re still the team I grew up with, and still beloved, though three time zones away and hard to keep in touch with. [Same deal for the Patriots.]
We’re meeting Hope and Dewey for lunch — speaking of the team we grew up with — Hope and Carol founded The Preschool Experience and were partners for 20 years. When the time came, they sold the business and Carol followed me to SF… lucky for me.
We met Hope n Dewey at Seasons 52 in Chestnut hill for lunch. It’s a restaurant created for upscale shopping centers; menu, food, decor and ambiance all reflect that and I must say that my scallops were superb.
UBERed to the hotel to hang out on the porch with Eric. We discussed plans for getting to Fenway Park and dinner.
How do you get to Fenway Park? On the T… always. Since our hotel is on Commonwealth Ave, and a piece of the Green Line runs right down the middle of Comm Ave, that’s a no brainer. As we walked on Comm Ave to the T stop, we picked up Clipper Cards at a corner store. $2.50 each, round trip.
Nice ride. This part of Comm Ave is lined with low rise apartment buildings and “Corner Stores” and people are sprawled across the occasional front stoop watching the trains go by as we watch them.
We could have ridden into Kenmore Square, but chose to get off at BU East. We had scouted a place to eat on the street leading from there to Fenway; Mai Mai, nice little Asian Fusion joint, flooded with light and inviting smells.
The signs give a sense of the place. We were looking for an early bite before the game… something nicer than the street fare outside Fenway — although that Fenway street fare is better than any ballpark food I’ve encountered.
The stuffing of the potstickers was not unlike the formed uncased sausage of my dinner at Fairstead Kitchen, but this sausage was formed by the potsticker itself. YUM
All we need to do now is walk a couple of blocks to Fenway around a corner and up Mountfort Street, a small street that I had parked on many times. We found ourselves in a conundrum. We stood on the corner of Mountfort at Beacon Street as it rises to the bridge going over the Mass Pike. Beacon is four lanes wide with a center median and no crosswalk. We had crossed at this corner before… 25 years ago. Carol balked — not so much at crossing 4 lanes of traffic, as going down the steep slope where Mountfort continues. Gimpy knee after all the SF hills. Alternatively, we could walk down to Kenmore Square and back up Brookline Ave to Fenway, at least six times farther.
While we were contemplating the traffic, Eric told a story about how his friend’s daughters abused their UBER privileges in a Boston suburb. The last couple blocks of their walk to high school was up a steep hill. There were times when they would summon UBER for that last bit of their journey.
I whipped out my iPhone and before I had completed my location, an UBER car came charging out of the very parking lot across Beacon. In a New York minute we were standing on the Lansdowne Street in the midst of the food scene outside Fenway.
We presented our precious tickets, found an elevator and were soon admiring Fenway Farms.
In the spring of 2015, Fenway Farms was planted, a rooftop garden on the third base side of the ballpark, above Yawkey Way. Produce and herbs grown in “Fenway Farms,” presented by Stop & Shop, Dole, Sage Fruit, and Fenway Park concessionaire Aramark, will be used in food products prepared at the ballpark this season, including the restaurant in the EMC Club.
Fenway Farms is sited on a 5,000 square foot roof above the Red Sox Front Offices. Previously an underutilized black rubber membrane roof, the space will now be used much more productively with an estimated 4,000 lbs of produce harvested annually.
Fenway Park is such a story. I was a witness to some of it. From 1970 to 1992 my kids and I — sometimes Carol — would grab the Riverside Line of the T and could be in Fenway in 20 minutes. Those were the days when you could walk up and buy tickets at the box office.
The park is located along Lansdowne Street and Yawkey Way in the Kenmore Square area of Boston. The area includes many buildings of similar height and architecture and thus it blends in with its surroundings. When pitcher Roger Clemens arrived in Boston for the first time in 1984, he took a taxi from Logan Airport and was sure the driver had misunderstood his directions when he announced their arrival at the park. Clemens recalled telling the driver “No, Fenway Park, it’s a baseball stadium … this is a warehouse.” Only when the driver told Clemens to look up and he saw the light towers did he realize he was in the right place.
Fenway Park is one of the two remaining classic parks still in use in major league baseball (the other being Wrigley Field), and both have a significant number of obstructed view seats, due to pillars supporting the upper deck. These are sold as such, and are a reminder of the architectural limitations of older ballparks. [wikipedia]
We moved to San Francisco in 1991 and lost track of Fenway for a while until 1999 when:
Red Sox announced plans for a new Fenway Park to be built near the existing structure. It was to have seated 44,130 and would have been a modernized replica of the current Fenway Park, with the same field dimensions except for a shorter right field and reduced foul territory. Some sections of the existing ballpark were to be preserved (mainly the original Green Monster and the third base side of the park) as part of the overall new layout…. The proposal was highly controversial, and several groups (such as “Save Fenway Park”) formed in an attempt to block the move. Discussion took place for several years regarding the new stadium proposal. One plan involved building a “Sports Megaplex” in South Boston, where a new Fenway would be located next to a new stadium for the New England Patriots. The Patriots ultimately built Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, their home throughout most of their history, which ended the Megaplex proposal. The Red Sox and the city of Boston failed to reach an agreement on building the new stadium, and in 2005, the Red Sox ownership group announced that the team would stay at Fenway Park indefinitely. The stadium has since been renovated, and will remain usable until as late as 2061.[wikipedia]
Here we are, way up top in an area only recently built as one of the final steps in the “completion” of Fenway Park. We’re in the “Giants Section” and looking down on the 37 feet high Green Monster, and when we look to our right and the press box, most of the seats we see up top didn’t exist back in the day.
Straight ahead of us, we have the beautiful “Moon over Bud.”
And here is our own private concession area with it’s own view of the landmark CITGO sign.
But what about the game??? The game was good — especially for Sox fans — as there was lots of action and scoring. Red Sox prevailed 11-7
The game was fun and exciting and the crowd stayed to the end. The Fenway crowd is fervent, but sophisticated and polite. Us guys in our Giants gear were greeted with respect and often with the quip, “See you in October.” We stood and sang *Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning stretch.
We were concerned about the crush getting out, but no worries… just follow the guy in front of you and don’t try to hurry, everybody moving at the same pace. The elevator left us in close sight of doors to the street and we shuffled down to Kenmore Square. We crossed Kenmore Square to the other side where it was less crowded and traffic moved west toward our hotel. An EZ UBER home.
Tomorrow – Kicking around Boston and Harvard Square