History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Destinations off the hill: the walking route to Kenmore

Edward M. Kennedy's funeral mass was said 29 August at the Mission Church. In many ways this minor basilica is a much more impressive building from the back than it is from the front.

In an earlier post we sung the praises of Fort Hill's location, briefly listing some of its nearby cultural, educational, and transportation options. Still speaking from the stance of a Fort Hill booster, this post will take a more practical slant and try to take a liability—poor transit options on the NNW to NW of Roxbury Crossing—and turn it into a benefit.

For the most part, the transit options from Fort Hill are particularly fine and varied. The Orange line is excellent for those going NE to the city center or SW to Jamaica Plain. The 19, 22, 23, and 28 buses serve reasonably well for those going S and SE to Dorchester. The 15 and 41 do a decent job when heading due E. At the best times of day the 66 is tolerable going W into Brookline.

But, the MBTA has nothing quick when one is heading N or NNW to the Longwood Medical Area, to the Gardner Museum, to MFA, to the Fens, or to Kenmore.

It is in this direction that the old libel against the T is so true: Should we walk? Or, do we have time to take the T?

When headed NNW, it is always best to walk or to bicycle. And, walking works just fine. Early last week (perhaps on the same day Iseut was collecting an oral history on the Mission Church Grammar School) we headed out to the Kenmore office of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. (Via the MBTA, we would have to take the 66 bus and change to the 65. Or, schlep in on the Orange Line, doing a walking transfer at Back Bay-Copley to head back out to Kenmore.)

Here is the route we took:
  • Tremont to Gurney, cut through the vacant lot to Smith, Smith to St. Alphonsus to Huntington.
  • Take the unregulated crosswalk just inbound from Ward Street to avoid waiting at the dangerous light at Longwood.
  • Then head inbound on Huntington to Evans Way and cut through the park to The Fenway.
  • Take either crosswalk over The Fenway (in front the Gardner Museum or further up in front of Simmons) and descend to the level of the Muddy River (see the great field of daffodils in the springtime).
  • Rise up from the river at Park Drive, taking your life into your hands at the crosswalks there.
  • Pass through the Field of Geese under which the Muddy River is buried.
  • Cross over to the north side of Park Drive at the crosswalk.
  • Then it's a straight shot through the snarling intersection at Boylston and up Brookline to Harvard Vanguard.
With one twiddle, Google figures it to be 28 minutes; we walked it in 20 with five minutes to cool down. (Google wants you to take Parker Street to Ruggles, when the back way up Smith Street is a much nicer walk.)

Walking this route is not only a practical mode to reach an appointment in Kenmore, but it is also an interesting walk. Here is a handful of briefly annotated photographs depicting what can be seen along this route as far as Isabella Gardner's unfortunate backyard.

The Maurice J. Tobin School is easy to miss, hidden behind the shade trees on Smith Street. This mural is seen from the playing fields on the east side of the school.

Not the best looking side of St. Alphonus Hall, as seen from the same playing field. At least it's been properly boarded up with plywood painted to match the stone. The worthies at RCC should take notice.

One hopes that this sign can be preserved. As few as five years ago, the internet was bereft of any hits for Pilate's Daughter; it was all Pilates all the time. Now Google yields a fair amount of notice for the search string. Perhaps John Clifford could tell us something from a first-hand perspective.

Every spring, the management company at Mission Main plants what becomes a tsunami of impatiens by season's end. The begonias don't do too badly either.

Devotion to Our Lady is laudably strong on Smith Street, with at least three effigies—but no blue bathtubs. The less laudable inflatable pumpkins, reindeer, and Santa Clauses are due to erupt anytime now. Chacun à son goût.

A view of the "new", formerly infamous Boston State College building viewed from St. Alphonsus Street. A middling building of its kind, we're hoping that auditorium is working out for MassArt, it's current occupants.

The former site of a grifty little gas station at the corner of Ward and St. Alphonsus streets, this park is a great improvement.

It's a shame about Isabella's carriage house, but we're hoping the trustees have made the right bet.

No comments:

Post a Comment