Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

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Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

Stickied 20/6. --hermaj

I figured some people from more far-reaching locales might be interested in coming down/up/through to Boston for our Independence Day celebration, since it's... kindofa big deal. It has many leatherbound books and smells of rich mahogany. How about it?

For those coming from the NYC area, Megabus is doing service from $1 + fifty cent booking fee; right now I see tickets for $5 each way on the 3rd and the 6th. Greyhound supposedly is running an inexpensive line on that same route but I didn't go into much depth researching it.

The thing about the 4th in Boston is that if you want really good seats for a group, you have to get there in a very timely fashion. The Boston Pops play at the Hatch Shell, where there's some very competitive grass space, and the concert is projected all around the river on big screens and megaphone-y things for people who don't want to show up at 9 am for a spot on the esplanade. In the past I've gone late in the afternoon and played a little chess, made a cherry pie, et cetera, but I never get a really good seat. Anyone up for staking out a plot this year? We can bring a whole lot more than chess.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

I'm definitely down for doing something on the 4th. I grew up in this area but have never been in Boston and seeing the fireworks on the Esplanade. Now normally for events like this I like to find secret ways to beat the crowd without fighting the crowd (you should ask me how I spent NYE in Times Square). I don't know if anyone else has any tricks to getting a good spot without just being early to the massive swarm. The only thing I know about is the for pay party on the Community Boating docks which is not really an option for a large group of us (plus I don't know if it is any good). Anyway, so if there is no better way, with enough people to keep it interesting I wouldn't mind camping out. Any idea how this would effect the celebratory consumption of dead cow?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby hendusoone » Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

Last year, I showed up with a bunch of friends at about 11 am, and we obtained a very nice spot right on the water... though it was a rather long distance from the Hatch Shell (approximate position marked on this google map). We had a beautiful view of the fireworks, though.

Consumption of dead cow would likely be difficult without significant planning and transportation of meat. I doubt we'd be allowed to have a cookout there, but I really don't know.

EDIT: Also, it was rainy almost all day, but not until after everyone had already left in the sunny morning without checking the weather. We played a lot of cribbage and 20 questions while sitting on a blanket getting wet. At one point, two of us went off on an Epic Quest for Fast Food, to get burgers for everyone else (they thought getting wet on the blanket would be more fun than walking to get food. They were very wrong). Despite the rain, it was a great time.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Sprocket » Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:26 am UTC

So wait, you WANT to go at 9AM and stake out a claim and play games and eat fuds and dance around like fairies for 12 hours until the show starts?....I'm game.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

I've done the esplanade expedition many a time. Cooking was not allowed and you'll have to google up some restrictions about what you bring in -- i think it's as easy as no alcoholic beverages, although I've seen many the creative camel back carrier.

I recommend getting there like Hendu said, sometime before noon and finding a good spot on the water, farther out from the central circle. If you plan on claiming a spot out there on the island, stick close to a bridge, or just stay put after the fireworks are over long enough for the crowd to do it's stampede thing.

As for fireworks, I've found the prime spot is on Storrow drive, slightly west of the esplanade where it's right next to the river. Fewer people, no trees in the way etc etc. I've had great success leaving the esplanade proper a little early to beat the bridge-cramming and improved my fireworks view in the process.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby jtniehof » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

FYI--the Longfellow will be closed to spectators on the 4th. Apparently there's a non-zero chance of it falling into the Charles with that sort of load...

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:45 pm UTC

I agree with Azrael—I don't really want to get there at 9:00 in the morning, and I'd rather have a seat near the river for good fireworks viewing than a seat in front of the hatch shell for the pops. I mean, it's a great orchestra, but it's mostly the same music every year, so I'm happy with megaphone-y speakers. So sometime a little before noon would be my preference.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

phew, much better. But either way sounds good. I wish I could play the violin. I feel like brining a violin to hang out before hand with people would be a good thing.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:25 pm UTC

CatProximity wrote:phew, much better. But either way sounds good. I wish I could play the violin.

...lin ...lin

CatProximity wrote:I feel like brining a violin

...lin ...lin

CatProximity wrote:to hang out before hand with people would be a good thing.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby grotjam » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:55 am UTC

This sounds like excellent fun. I'd been considering going down to Washington, as I've always wanted to see the fireworks down there, but I should probably spend my first fourth a third way sane withing a few miles.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby MissingDividends » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

sparkyb wrote:The only thing I know about is the for pay party on the Community Boating docks which is not really an option for a large group of us (plus I don't know if it is any good).

Sold out. (http://www.community-boating.org/4th.php)

I'd be up for either grabbing seats a ways away, or showing up early and getting close enough for good quality sound. (I think I'd prefer the latter as crappy quality music tends to bug me. Besides, I think we could find enough nerdy games to keep ourselves occupied for the wait.)

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby spi » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:43 pm UTC

I have been to the concert on the third three different times. With creative maneuvering I have managed to get a seat inside the circle both times and arrived less then a hour before the show started. I would highly recommend going on the 3rd to hear the Pops play and use the 4th to get a good view of the fireworks. You can't easily see the fireworks from within the circle.

I have done both the Cambridge and Boston sides of the Charles and I liked the Cambridge side better. You can arrive at a sane time in the afternoon and still get a very nice spot in front of the barge. The one year I did the Boston side I was on the island. The view there is no better then what you can view from the Cambridge side in my opinion and there are a ton fewer people.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Sprocket » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

Some people I know were talking about getting rafts and sitting on the Charles during the fire works.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Boxcar Aldous Huxley » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:48 pm UTC

I'd like to see the fireworks during my first summer in the area. I apparently can see them from a distance where I work, but I'd like to see them up close this time. Anyway, I'm up for either hanging out the whole day or finding a spot later. I may also be bringing along some friends, if I can find anyone else who wants to go.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby telcontar42 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:38 pm UTC

I would be interested. I've been to see the fireworks before and it was pretty cool. It would be nice to be meet up with people to hang out with while waiting for them.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Davis Square Rocks » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:21 am UTC

I've always found the Cambridge side of the river, in front of MIT, to be the best place to see the fireworks.

Advantages:
- easy access to many restrooms, drinking fountains, and vending machines
- many buidlings in which to wait out rain, if that happens
- small supermarket (LaVerde's) at MIT student center, open on July 4

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby hendusoone » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:55 am UTC

Do they have speakers on the Cambridge side?
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby jtniehof » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:24 pm UTC

hendusoone wrote:Do they have speakers on the Cambridge side?

We just use a radio in secret undisclosed location where the number of guests is sadly limited.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Azrael » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

Yes, there are speakers on the Cambridge side.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Rango » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:17 pm UTC

Last year I watched the fireworks from the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave), I wandered over as they were starting and had no problems. The esplanade looked like it was accessible at that point.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby ADXCKGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:43 am UTC

Eh? I have been late afternoon to early evening several times and gotten a spot with a good view of the fireworks, no problem. Right across from the boat once. It’s not like you have to be anywhere near the concert to hear well.
A two-person-sized spot, though, I guess the difficulty probably increases exponentially with party size.
sparkyb wrote:I'm definitely down for doing something on the 4th. I grew up in this area but have never been in Boston and seeing the fireworks on the Esplanade.
Never?
Sprocket wrote:Some people I know were talking about getting rafts and sitting on the Charles during the fire works.
That sounds like a horrible idea. For one, it’s probably not allowed. For another, I wouldn’t want to fall in. It may be technically safe for swimming but I still wouldn’t actually want to do so.

So if we meet up, how? Do we pick another location and then go from there to the river?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:49 am UTC

ADXCKGuy wrote:
sparkyb wrote:I'm definitely down for doing something on the 4th. I grew up in this area but have never been in Boston and seeing the fireworks on the Esplanade.
Never?


Not that it matters but... When I was young we just went to the fireworks that my town did at the lake. My last couple years before college I worked there. In between I was either at sleepaway camp or on vacation. I haven't been back living in Boston for the last 8 years.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:14 pm UTC

Did anyone else notice that there's something that looks like a fireworks barge on Google Maps' satellite image of the Charles? Do you think that's from July 4th some previous year? Anyway, it gave me an idea. I created a map where we should all be able to drop pins to suggest possible viewing locations and arrival times. I thought this might aid in the discussion. 2 days away... You can see the map below. Post your pins and lets discuss.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=105582668083754085256.0004510d7109721ca1892&t=h&ll=42.3568,-71.083131&spn=0.011607,0.018797&z=16

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sophyturtle » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:01 pm UTC

I will now be in town for the 4th!
I have not seen the Boston fireworks in the many (2+) years I have lived here!
I want to seeeeeee
are there plans yet?
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:08 pm UTC

No, but we should really fix that. We need a meeting spot, a loose plan of who is bringing what, a headcount might be useful, a spot for sitting, blankets, games, comestibles, probably umbrellas and sunblock.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby MissingDividends » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:32 am UTC

I'm planning to go to the Pops concert tonight (although, looking at the forecast, that may change). Anyone else going?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:20 pm UTC

PictureSarah wrote:No, but we should really fix that. We need a meeting spot, a loose plan of who is bringing what, a headcount might be useful, a spot for sitting, blankets, games, comestibles, probably umbrellas and sunblock.


Count me in for one. I have a blanket or two I could bring (crappy ones, but that's why I only use them for sitting on outside). I can probably bring some games or whatever too. Set at the very least is a July 4th camping out waiting for fireworks tradition of mine.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:08 pm UTC

The weather is predicting early showers and late showers. Everybody be sure to come equipped with rain gear, or at least a waterproof bag to put your stuff in if you bring stuff for funtimes.

As for location, I'm going to plan on being at the river at noon. I propose we meet on Memorial Drive between Ames Street and Wadsworth Street, since there's some open space and the barge should be near there. I will bring a bedsheet to spread out, a deck of cards, a righty glove and a hardball. Maybe other stuff as it occurs to me. And something edible. I feel like blueberry pie, but we'll see what happens.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby PictureSarah » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:16 pm UTC

If my avocados are appropriately ripe, I will make five-layer dip (refried beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese and olives), otherwise, I will make something else.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Sprocket » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:52 pm UTC

I of coruse will bring cheese, and some subtle wine. Can we bring blunt wine? Unless Davean shows up with better cheese...then I will throw my cheese into the river and hope it doesn't cause a great brie flood.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:52 pm UTC

Okay, I've put a placemark on the map where Bakemaster suggested, since he was the first to actually name a particular place and time. If you think a different place/time would be better, tough cookies. You should have suggested one before he did. :-)
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:34 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:I propose we meet on Memorial Drive between Ames Street and Wadsworth Street


Is that just a meeting place or was it decided that Cambridge side is superior?

EDIT1: Oh, and I've invited a couple other people that I've met recently that didn't have other plans. They aren't forumites (yet) but are xkcd fans so I think they'll fit in ok.

EDIT2: Does anyone know what the bathroom situation will be? Are there ones around there? Maybe in an MIT building? Do we need/have someone with an ID for access?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Azrael » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:01 am UTC

sparkyb wrote:EDIT2: Does anyone know what the bathroom situation will be? Are there ones around there? Maybe in an MIT building? Do we need/have someone with an ID for access?
Lots and lots o' porta Johns.

I will be on the Boston side with familial types. If I feel like making the trek, I'll text someone whose number I already know.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:22 am UTC

Azrael wrote:Lots and lots o' porta Johns.


Even on the Cambridge side?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:36 am UTC

Why would there only be porta Johns on one side of a river that is clearly not a Möbius strip?
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby ADXCKGuy » Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:15 am UTC

As someone who doesn’t know any of you offline, how would I find you? Is anyone bringing a big sign that says “xkcd”?

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby sparkyb » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:14 am UTC

I look like my avatar. gmalivuk and PictureSarah do if you use your imagination a little bit. Sprocket only if you have some serious drugs :lol: . I don't know if anyone else has a better answer.

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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby ADXCKGuy » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:58 pm UTC

sparkyb wrote:I look like my avatar. gmalivuk and PictureSarah do if you use your imagination a little bit. Sprocket only if you have some serious drugs :lol: . I don't know if anyone else has a better answer.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby Boxcar Aldous Huxley » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:08 pm UTC

I'll be there in from noonish to 2:00ish (and possibly later in the evening), bringing cheese, crackers, chocolate, and some sunscreen (i.e., what I can fit in my backpack). I'll be wearing my recently acquired "Stand Back: I'm going to try science" shirt, so people can hopefully recognize that.
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Re: Boston, MA — 4th of July 2008

Postby ADXCKGuy » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:10 pm UTC

Boxcar Aldous Huxley wrote:I'll be there in from noonish to 2:00ish (and possibly later in the evening), bringing cheese, crackers, chocolate, and some sunscreen (i.e., what I can fit in my backpack). I'll be wearing my recently acquired "Stand Back: I'm going to try science" shirt, so people can hopefully recognize that.
What basic color is it? Hopefully I can eliminate 50+% of the field of possibilities with that information...

Maybe you guys can recognize me instead? I am short, have long hair, kinda bushy, usually in a ponytail, and I wear a classic Casio Water Resist Alarm Chrono( calculator watch).


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