Category: City

A ranking of Boston-area beaches

By Alex del Tufo

You don’t attend a coastal California school, but Boston has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to white(ish) sand and blue(ish) water. Here is a ranking of the top five Boston-area beaches. Starting close to home:

5. The BU Beach

Ha ha. But seriously, it could be worse. Conveniently located and technically near water, the BU Beach is a staple for students. When the sun comes out, it’s the best place on campus to lay out, play frisbee or, as the tour guides say, “close your eyes and pretend the traffic is waves.” But if you’re looking for some “real” sand and “real” waves, here are a few better options:

4. Revere Beach

Revere Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Boston area and is accessible by the Blue Line. Although the beach holds a reputation for being a little less than clean, it’s not hard to find a spot to relax along the extensive beachline.

3. Castle Island

An easy Uber ride — or a slightly less easy bus ride — away, Castle Island is a classic Boston beach. Not perfectly clear or blue, but a great place to cool off on a hot day. While you’re there, you can have a picnic on the grass by the harbor or visit the massive 17th century Fort Independence.

2. Walden Pond

Although not on the ocean, it’s impossible to deny Walden Pond is a beach. Approximately 20-30 minutes outside the city, Walden is a bit of a hassle to travel to, but well worth the work. Surrounded by pine trees with a sand beach along the entire perimeter, it’s the perfect place to escape city reality for a few hours.

1. Cape Cod

This may be a cheating answer as it’s not technically in the “Boston area,” but there’s no denying that the Cape is the best beach nearby. Rent a Zipcar for the day and journey a couple hours to Cape Cod. With perfect white sand and clear water, it’s the closest you can get to the California sunshine without the plane ticket.

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How to embrace the Freshman 15 and where to do it

By Alex del Tufo

You’ve heard the horror stories time and time again: yet another college freshman let their good health disintegrate after their first 2 a.m. slice of pizza. The “Freshman 15,” for many, is a brutal reality. Factors to take into consideration may include proximity to FitRec (good luck Warren residents), dining points left over to use for Domino’s delivery and number of weekend excursions. This would be an excellent opportunity to list a few sensible ways to keep your health intact, but that seems less fun to me. Instead, here are the best places to pack on the inevitable pounds — all on, or close to, campus. You may as well do it right.

1. Nud Pob

In my opinion, Nud Pob is one of the most underrated restaurants on campus. Often outshone by its neighbor up Commonwealth Avenue, Noodle Street, Nud Pob supplies some of the best Thai food in the Boston area. With quick service and impeccable proximity to Warren Towers, it’s perfect for a quick dinner if it’s past 9 p.m. or if the dining hall just won’t cut it. Although an excellent lunch and dinner location, Nud Pob will not satisfy your post-party hunger, with doors closing between 10:30–11 p.m.

2. India Quality Restaurant

The hidden gem of Boston University, or at least hidden to myself until halfway through my sophomore year, is India Quality Restaurant. Coming from a home that ate Indian takeout several nights a week, I was disappointed by BU’s Indian food options. It wasn’t until I discovered India Quality that my home-fueled craving was fulfilled. Although it’s on the expensive side for takeout, the food is high quality and consistently delicious. It’s an easy takeout option for any students in the Kenmore area.

3. UBurger

While not underrated nor a hidden gem, UBurger is worth it all the while. With locations in both Kenmore and West Campus, UBurger truly fuels any BU student. With incredible burgers, chicken burgers and to-die-for shakes (also known as “frappes”), UBurger can satisfy any need. But get it done early, because UBurger will have its doors shut if you show up for a late night snack past 11 p.m.

4. Sunset Cantina

This article would not be complete without a shoutout to the restaurant that single-handedly supported my Freshman 15 efforts. Sunset Cantina — and their infamous XXL nachos — is a perfect place for a late night snack with friends. Piled high with one hundred toppings and a slab of sour cream, the nachos may not be impressive cuisine, but they sure satisfy the craving.

2013 in review

2013 was a year of tragedy, triumph and new beginnings. Here is a look back, in chronological order, at the stories that impacted BU students and the entire city of Boston the most this year.

Winter Storm Nemo prompts cancellation of classes, snowball fight, arrest

Freshman Anthony Barksdale II dies after being medically transported to hospital from function at Allston house, Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity suspended, alcohol policies at BU reformed 

Jack Parker retires after 40 years as men’s hockey coach, is replaced by former BU player and assistant coach David Quinn

Women’s hockey team reaches Frozen Four, falls in national title game

BU cuts varsity wrestling program

Explosions rock Boston Marathon finish line, BU student Lingzi Lu dies, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev captured after daylong manhunt shuts down Boston

BU student Binland Lee dies in off-campus house fire

Gender-neutral housing approved by University

Boston celebrates as Red Sox clinch World Series title at home

Martin Walsh wins mayoral race over John Connolly, becoming first new mayor of Boston in 20 years

James ‘Whitey’ Bulger sentenced to 2 life terms in prison

Mayor Thomas Menino to chair initiative at BU in 2014 following end of mayoral term

For a look at some of the images of 2013, click here to view our album. 

Snow My Gosh!

By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
@sabrina_katz

Snow day in Boston, just like a “white Christmas.”/PHOTO VIA Flickr user wei²

I knew that coming to a city like Boston for school would be a great opportunity to meet plenty of people my age, learn about a historical city and become independent from my parents.

One thing that especially appealed to me was the idea of getting to see snow all winter long. I’ve certainly seen snow before on a couple different accounts, but seeing it snow more than once in an entire winter is completely new to me.

Sure, it’s hard to give up the mild winter season I’m used to in the South, but the Boston snowfall feels like magic. I always thought the song “White Christmas” was a far-fetched hope, but it turns out, it actually does happen in Boston!

There’s really nothing like opening your dorm blinds and seeing the streets covered in patches of white. That was my first experience in snowy Boston. It feels ethereal, especially to someone who’s not used to the temperature dipping below 40 degrees the entire winter season.

When I was able to go outside (I finally got to break in my brand new snow boots!), the snow was still falling. During my first few moments, I just stood there on the sidewalk: breathing in the crisp air, feeling snowflakes fall onto my coat and soaking up this lovely winter day.

Unfortunately, after walking in it for two minutes, the snow became less phenomenal. The flakes were getting in my face and blinding me, I didn’t have a hat to protect my hair from getting snowed on, and taking out my iPod to listen to some music was a big no-no.

Turns out, snow is just like rain! You don’t get soaked right away, but when the snow melts on you, it feels just as unpleasant as the wet stuff in the middle of summer. Looking around at the other students walking down Commonwealth Ave., I thought to myself, “Those people with umbrellas don’t look so dumb after all!”

My first snow day in Boston is definitely something I’ll remember for a while. It wasn’t all pleasant, but it represents the kickoff for all the other snow days I’ll get to experience during my time here. For future reference, I’ll know just how to enjoy the winter weather: by staying inside, sipping on some peppermint tea, and enjoying the snowy view from a comfy spot.

Best Places for Ice Skating in Boston!

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

Just another way to de-stress from finals week./PHOTO VIA Flickr user R..D

Winter is here! Even though classes are about to end and we’re about to venture into that dark abyss called study period and finals week, there’s still time for one last hurrah of the semester. Take a study break and go ice skating instead!

Here are some places to go ice skating this winter:

1. Walter Brown Arena at FitRec  As BU students, we have this arena right at our fingertips all year long! All you need to do is head up Commonwealth Avenue.  Admission and skate rentals are free to BU students.

Pros: Everything is free to BU students! Who doesn’t love free things?

Cons: Hours vary and are limited, and recreational skating hours end on the last day of classes. If you rent skates, you are also not guaranteed to find a pair in your size, depending on how busy the arena is when you go.

Pro Tip: Even if you don’t get a chance to go here this semester, this location is definitely one to keep in mind for those first few months of spring semester.

2. Boston Common Frog Pond  The Frog Pond is Boston’s most popular place to ice skate. While you’re in the area, you can go shopping with friends or grab a bite to eat before heading over to the rink! To get here, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street and walk to the Boston Common. Admission is $5, and skate rentals are $9.

Pros: Its location! The Frog Pond is set right in the middle of Boston’s oldest and beautiful park and while you’re skating you have a great view of the State House and Beacon Hill. The Frog Pond is an all-around fantastic place to have a skate date with friends or your significant other.

Cons: The price. If you don’t have your own skates, $9 is a bit of a hefty price, especially if you do explore the surrounding area and spend money elsewhere on your trip to the Common.

Pro Tip: College Nights are on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., where college students can get $2 admission by showing a college ID.

3. Kendall Square Community Rink – This is located in Harvard Square in Cambridge. To get here, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street, then switch to the Red Line and take it to the Kendall/MIT Station. Admission is $3 for students, and rentals are $8.

Pros: Great music, friendly staff and rental skates that are in good condition and fit like a glove all make this location one of the best to go to in Boston. It also tends to be less crowded than the Frog Pond.

What I Missed Most About Boston Over Thanksgiving Break

By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
@sabrina_katz

The grass is always greener on the other side./PHOTO VIA Flickr user araza123

After spending three months working at BU, I was more than ready to take a break. I was so excited to go back to Texas for a week that I never realized how much I would miss Boston, the place that had grown to be my new home.

Sure, by going to Houston I’d get to meet up with old friends, see my family, and visit the amazing Galleria (twice!), but by the end of the break I was pleased to return to school and get back to studying.

My little trip brought to mind all the things that Boston has offered me and showed what I truly miss the most about Beantown.

1. The T – Getting behind the wheel was a huge treat during my few days back home. But one thing I really disliked was always having to find a darn parking spot. Public transportation is basically nonexistent in Houston, so going to the shopping center a few miles away meant getting in the car, driving over there, and searching endlessly for the closest parking spot which was two lots over.

2. Having every type of cereal I could want whenever I wanted it – While sitting at home one afternoon, I began craving a huge bowl of Cinnamon Chex and Sargent Choice granola (if I could buy it by the box, I totally would). Unfortunately, the only cereal in my house was off-brand Honeycombs and my dad’s cheerios. But hey, I love cooking so I can’t really complain.

3. Being in the same vicinity as all my friends – If you didn’t know, Houston is one of the largest cities in America, with a circumference of about 60 miles. With friends from all over the place, it’s hard finding a good time to see a buddy who lives 20 minutes away. Here at school, if I want to meet up with someone, they’re just a quick text away. And if you’re one of those lucky souls whose house is down the street from their best friend’s, I tip my hat.

Over the break, my dad brought up an old saying: “the grass is always greener on the other side”, meaning you may not always be happy with what you have. But being away from school has made me those things more, so that when I got back it felt that much better.

But you know, I really wouldn’t mind going to Houston right now so I could wear my sundress and sandals and enjoy the 79 degree weather…

MUSE: North End for Dummies

By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
@bufoodist

What better way to eat your heart out?/PHOTO VIA Flickr user Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The North End: a tiny slice of Europe just a T ride away. You know it’s there, but the appeal of delivery and the unwillingness you have to get out of bed keep you from actually spending the $2 to visit Boston’s Little Italy.

The North End is actually a college student’s best friend. With delicious food at this price, you’ll never order Domino’s again. Or maybe you will but either way here’s our quick-and-dirty guide to eating cheap in the North End:

GET A LOAF OF BREAD: Bricco’s Panetteria

Hidden in an alleyway off Hanover Street, Bricco’s bakery serves up the best baguette in the North End. Crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside, still-warm-and-toasty bread is yours for under three dollars, and you know it’s fresh — you can see that heavenly ciabatta coming out of those fire-burning ovens as you order.

DRINK SOME COFFEE: Caffe Dello Sport

Caffe Dello Sport is one of the secret gems of the North End, with straight-from-scratch cocoa you can see those beautiful servers shave straight into your mocha. Make sure to visit Caffe Dello Sport on a game day (Italia, obviously) — the place is crawling with locals and it’s quite the scene. Grab a latte or a drink and enjoy that classic Italian American Ambiance.

EAT A CANNOLI (and not the one you think): Maria’s Pastry

Everyone’s heard of Mike’s Pastry. The line stretches around the corner, and the cannolis are good – but not worth an hour out of your day. Modern, down the street, now boasts a line that rivals Mike’s as the official Mike’s replacement. Maria’s, which rests on the edge of the North End, makes a chocolate-dipped cannoli that might beat Mike’s without the wait. And come December, don’t forget to pick up a homemade Panettone, an Italian Christmas tradition.

TREAT YO’SELF (and don’t break the bank): Giacomo’s Ristorante

Giacomo’s almost always has a line, but if you suck it up and eat like a grandma (as in, at 4 p.m.), you can get into Giacomo’s with little-to-no wait time, and trust me: it’s worth it.  At $16 a plate, you get more than enough of the most refined, silky, homemade lobster raviolis in a garlic cream sauce I dream about at night. Not to mention, all bottles of wine are $18 — and you can take those suckers home with you after the meal.

A Look At BU’s Amazing Race: What to Expect

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

The Filipino Association of BU participates in last year's amazing race./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

The Filipino Association of BU participates in last year’s amazing race./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

If you think you know Boston, think again.

Last year, I participated in Boston University’s annual Amazing Race, which is based off of the CBS reality television show of the same name. The event was exactly what it sounds like: one massive scavenger hunt and a race against time to find clues leading to a certain destination, and sometimes even completing tasks at those destinations to receive the next clue. The last team to arrive gets eliminated.

I was one of eight people that made up a team representing my favorite club, the Boston University Filipino Student Association. I was excited beyond belief to run around this amazing city we call home and (hopefully) earn a monetary prize for my club. But, there were some things I wish I had known beforehand – and that’s where I extend my knowledge onto you.

This year’s race will be held on Nov. 16. Here are some helpful tips and tricks on what to expect:

  1. Brush up on knowledge about Boston and the neighborhoods within it; bring maps and guidebooks if you can. These are vital, since all cellphones and electronic devices will be taken away the morning of the race. Having some sort of prior knowledge beforehand or a few resources you can turn to during the race will save you precious time! Be prepared to approach total strangers for help as well.
  2. Get a day pass for the T. You’ll be running all over the city, so you might as well save some money while you’re at it. A 1-Day Pass costs $11.00 and gives you unlimited travel on the MBTA. I highly recommend purchasing one before the day of the race.
  3. Bundle up – wear layers! Boston weather is highly unpredictable and you’re bound to get hot and sweaty at some point. Be comfortable but practical.
  4. Bring a small, light drawstring bag or backpack with you. Bring a small supply of snacks to keep you energized throughout the day (granola bars, fruit, etc.) and maybe a water bottle or two. You can also stash your guidebooks and maps in here! A couple of Band-Aids or a small first-aid kit never hurts, either.
  5. Get a decent amount of sleep the night before. Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll need all the energy you can get, so rest up!

And last but not least, expect to have fun and make a handful of memories!

Some of the most memorable tasks we had to do last year in order to receive the next clue included acting out a scene from a Shakespearean play, walking into an antique store and asking someone to draw a portrait of one of our team members, and making a cheer for one of Boston’s many sports teams at the TD Garden.

Last year, I only got four hours of sleep the night before, wore horrible shoes and sprained my ankle while my team sprinted to get to the next clue. Talk about a major fail on my part. But with the help of my teammates and at least a dozen piggyback rides later, we were able to finish at a decent time before getting eliminated.

To those of you participating in this year’s Amazing Race, I wish you the best of luck.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Talk about Inappropriate…

By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
@devondelfino

It’s always good to err on the side of sensitivity with costumes in mind./PHOTO VIA Flickr user vdrg dansschool

According to BuzzFeed, a woman identified as Alicia Ann Lynch posted photos of herself at work dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween on Twitter and Instagram. (In case you were wondering, no, she’s not from Massachusetts.) Needless to say, the backlash has been extreme.

I am fully on-board for funny, stupid Halloween costumes, after all, it’s about having fun. But, when someone takes an especially sensitive thing and turns it into a purely offensive mockery, I’m not okay with that.

Yet, there she is, smiling away at the so-called ‘hilarity’ of the joke she’s playing (but who is it meant for?). She clearly has no second thoughts about the costume and sees nothing wrong with it. In what way was this supposed to be funny? Maybe she forgot that people died, were brutally injured and lost loved ones; she may have forgotten, but Boston hasn’t.

And neither has the rest of the world, it would seem. Following the post, there have been countless tweets condemning her actions. Lynch’s Twitter account has since been suspended and she’s also lost her job.

In an e-mail to BuzzFeed, Lynch writes, “It seems as though my outfit was too soon, and will always be that way, it was wrong of me and very distasteful. My costume was not meant to disrespect anyone, ever. I am truly sorry to anyone that I may have offended or hurt with this.”

However, the backlash has gone beyond scolding to death threats toward Lynch and her family. Once again, the internet gives people the opportunity to do the wrong thing.

People like Lynch aren’t in need of brutality and death threats, they need to see the error of their ways and the cruelty that their actions inflict. Involving her family is just wrong: they are not her, she is an adult and is responsible for her own actions. They already have to deal with the fact that their daughter is under fire for what she did.

Come on people, can’t we do better?

MUSE: War of The Worlds – Revamped

By Brandon Kesselly, Staff Writer

Back in the day, many believed that this scene was occurring just outside their homes./PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a time where the Internet was inconceivable and television had yet to become the norm. All of your entertainment and other information came from word of mouth, newspapers and the radio.

You turn on your radio one evening, checking the stations for some music when you hear a story from a Carl Phillips in New Jersey speaking with a Princeton professor about a strange object that fell from the sky.

Phillips describes the scene, a creature emerges from the object and attacks everyone – civilians and police alike. You curl in a ball and worry as you hear the screams of death and strange noises. The pleading of the innocent falls on deaf ears. Only the professor survives, but out of cowardice, and he eventually begins to describe the creature as well as the incoming extraterrestrial invasion.

This very scenario is what Orson Welles put many listeners through on Oct. 30, 1938 when he debuted his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells‘ The War of the Worlds. For just over an hour, Welles had placed a spell on his audience, captivating listeners as they slowly heard the end of the world and the aftermath of the invasion as told by Princeton professor Richard Pierson.

Initially, Phillips interviewed Pierson about a series of strange explosions on Mars, but he denied the possibility of life on the big red planet. After receiving reports about the object, the two rushed to the scene of the brutal massacre by “heat ray”. Pierson is the sole survivor, and after a short interlude he begins to describe his life months after the initial invasion. The people he meets and with whom he interacts are interesting characters with thoughts of rebellion or submission, representing the schools of thought that would be expected to occur after an apocalyptic event.

On Oct. 31, 2013, the Regent Theatre hosted a live re-enactment of the original Welles broadcast, and it was one of the most interesting things to witness in this post-Google age. A projector was set up on a stage behind the cast members, who sat at their chairs with music stands, microphones and many hats. The sound crew was stage left, handling the volume and the effects as well. There was something oddly charming about the event even before it began. And then the broadcast occurred.

The performance of the broadcast was brilliant. The theater had an aura of a lecture hall, and the scenes were projected onto the screen as the cast splendidly performed their roles. A few changes were made from the original, such as reporter Carl Phillips being changed to Carla Phillips to reflect the voice actress.

The passion, comedy and overall delivery of every line and use of every sound effect made the show incredibly entertaining. It was funny when it needed to be, and creepy when the time was right. The effective acting was enough to make one forget that it was only an audio performance.

If you have never heard of War of the Worlds, I encourage you to find out as much as you can and to try to experience it as close to the original broadcast as possible. It was a worthwhile experience that was perfect for the Halloween festivities.