Monday, June 23, 2008

Things you learn on a Duck Tour with your Mom

So yes, I took my mother and girlfriend on a Duck Tour, which get their name from the WWII DUKWs they cart you around in... and yes, I did some quacking (not entirely reluctantly, to be honest).

I could blame it all on my mom... gotta do touristy things when your mom visits, right? But the fact is, Anna and I saw a tour going around not that long ago and realized that we know almost nothing about the history of Boston... for her that's pretty excusable, but I went to college here and have lived here for probably 10 years and have never really been a tourist... and you gotta figure there are tons of interesting things I don't know about Boston.

Case and point... most of Boston is built on landfill.

That shows the original Boston peninsula with 1880 streets superimposed upon it. You have to click on that to really see it, but it's kind of crazy. The orginal streets are your sterotypical paved over cow paths of Beacon Hill and the North End and the 1880's streets are all straight and flat. This may be common knowledge to most people, but I found it pretty cool. Here's a simpler map blown up to all get out:

Knowing this, the Boston scenes of the Baroque Cycle make a lot more sense.

UPDATE: Here is a little animation that goes through the progression of the landfills. Crazy.