I run in a trance. I'm barely aware of the mechanics of running, though a little twinge from my left hamstring is a reminder. I ignore the cones blocking off what looks to be a construction site. But, just outside Winthrop Square, I'm stopped. It's a movie set. I'm told that it's the new Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds movie. I jog in place and, eventually, filming stops and I'm let through. The square is quiet, with traffic diverted elsewhere, but, a few blocks away, business proceeds as usual.
When I was last in New York, I found a movie set near Grand Central. Vanderbilt Avenue was blocked off and transformed into New York of long ago.
|Extras waiting in line for the craft service table|
But back to Boston. I arbitrarily decide that I want to run to the South End. No good reason. I just do. I pass New England Medical Center and I cross the Pike. I have no destination and I unintentionally run in a circle, crossing the Pike again on Arlington Street. The view of Bay Village is not unfamiliar to me but it's still extraordinary -- red brick rowhouses with slate grey mansard roofs against the blue glass of the John Hancock skyscraper. It's as if someone Photoshopped Boston and saturated the color.
I spend a little time in Bay Village, finding my way to Park Plaza. I have no idea how far I've run. I'm not paying much attention to my watch or to stoplights... I run when there's no walk sign and I find myself running in place at a street corner, my mind wandering, when I do have the walk sign.
I run these streets to know them. In a few weeks, when someone mentions Herald Street or Winthrop Lane, I will know it. I run to see one neighborhood fade into the next and to find the connections between them. And I run because Boston is at its best today. There is so much happening, so much being played out on our streets and sidewalks. Outside Cheers, there was a bride in a huge, poufy dress, with white plastic sunglasses. Her bridesmaids, dressed in primary colors, carried sunflowers. In Bay Village, a shopper returned home by bike, with a Brooks Brothers shopping bag stashed in his basket.
I intend to trace Arlington Street to the river. But, looking down St. James, I see the corner of the Boston Public Library peeking out and I want to get closer.
And I'm off again.