Out on the Town: East Boston

For the 18 months that I’ve been in Greater Boston, East Boston has remained a mystery to me. Besides rides to the airport there, I haven’t really been at all. In my mind, East Boston exists separate from Boston proper, regardless of its actual location within the city limits. This probably has to do with the perceived effort it takes to get there by train compared to other parts of Boston. This past weekend, I decided to reserve a day to explore East Boston and finally dispel the figurative fog surrounding it. I came away satisfied with both the ease of the commute and the area itself.

Getting to East Boston may seem daunting at first glance, but the trip is simpler than it looks. I walked to Davis Square and hopped on one of the shuttle buses currently replacing train service between Alewife Station and Harvard Square. This replacement is only happening on weekends until April 8, but it is a hassle nonetheless. One may avoid shuttle service by taking the MBTA 96 bus from Boston Avenue directly to Harvard. Once I got there, I took the Red Line inbound. The Red Line doesn’t connect directly to East Boston’s Blue Line, so passengers must transfer twice, either via the Green Line or the Orange Line. I chose the Orange Line out of pure novelty. After transferring at Downtown Crossing, I rode one stop to State Street before transferring again to the Blue Line, now headed to Wonderland. Finally, I disembarked from the Blue Line at the Maverick stop, ready to absorb East Boston.

I emerged in Maverick Square and was greeted by a large painted mural of the square on a building to my left. Walking southeast a few blocks, I discovered a pier with an incomparable view of downtown Boston across the bay. The bay itself was a beautiful teal hue, and I stood enjoying the skyline for quite a while. This is a very picturesque spot for those who would like a new Twitter cover photo.

After lounging around a while, I walked north on the East Boston Greenway to reach a branch of the Boston Public Library. With winter rendering the trees barren, the walking path didn’t have much to see, but I can tell that it will be beautiful when the trees have leaves. Despite the area being largely residential, there were still people everywhere enjoying the nice weather. Arriving at the library, I was shocked with the amount of interaction inside. There were kids everywhere; the library was running more than a few programs for them. Inside the small reading room, strangers who had come in at different times were whispering to each other. East Boston felt very community-oriented, which helped me to relax and enjoy my surroundings. On my way back to the T, two separate groups of strangers interacted with me. East Boston was a very friendly place, and I recommend visiting it to anyone who wants to experience an organic sense of community here in the city.