Friday, February 13, 2015

Boston Strong - Boston, MA

So while I've been sitting out here in Weston complaining about snow and plows and shoveling, I forgot what the snow means for the "city" of Boston (I grew up next to "THE city" -- that's NYC, folks -- and came from a city of 11 million people most recently. Metro Boston has around 4.5 million people, but the actual city has less than one million pop). For Boston, winter 2015 is out-and-out warfare. 

As I have mentioned, we currently have around 6 feet of snow in Boston. And we've had it since late January. While I have joked about this quantity of snow, the stark reality is that there is nowhere else to put it. People are getting fines for not shoveling out their front sidewalk but where in the world would they put the snow? In Weston, our main concern is peering around the huge piles of snow and pulling out slowly in intersections but in Boston, you can't even move a car. Or possibly, you don't want to. 

I did some reading up on the Boston parking page, which has a whole page of Do's and Don'ts for snow. If you're interested, it's here at this link. The primary rule is that you cannot park on a major artery (as defined by the parking lord) during a snow emergency. For obvious reasons--emergency vehicles and snowplows have to get through somewhere. 

For smaller streets, they suggest people move their cars to local parking garages where apparently you can park free if you arrive within two hours of a snow emergency being declared, and leave within two hours of it being lifted. Which means you are going to be shoveling out the space in front of your house so that you have somewhere to park when you get booted from the garage (you won't want to overstay your welcome--parking garages in Boston routinely exceed $30 for a couple of hours of parking. There is not an overabundance of parking in cute ol' Boston). 

And this is where I start to be amused. If you shovel out a parking space, you have the right to park there for 48 hours. There is an ordinance for this. It's on the parking page for Boston. So if you have to leave your space to drive to work, or go to the store, what do you do? You leave space savers.  And these can be literally anything. If you want to be amused by what people leave to save their spaces, do a google search, or go to this link for 25 Things People Value Less than a Parking Space. 

(actually from Chicago)

Now, as much as this makes me laugh, you have to know that this is serious business, especially during a February full of snow. I have heard stories of people who ignore the space savers getting their cars keyed or windows broken.  And having shoveled for 20 of the last 23 days, I understand it. I do. I think we should all be glad that Massachusetts has strong gun laws because at the level of crabbiness that is rife in the "city" these days, people could die. Not kidding. 

I have to tell you that things are getting a bit rough with another blizzard expecting to dump a foot of snow here on Sunday. Our level of amusement is going down. And the level of danger is going way up. Several towns have canceled this week's school as they fight to get thousands of pounds of snow off of school roofs. Why do almost all public schools have flat roofs? I wish I knew. Must be cheaper to build--one of Weston's new schools (opened this year) has a flat roof. Those need to be cleared. 

Yesterday BH was at Home Depot where there were workers up on the roof clearing off the snow--flat roof.  Several building roofs have collapsed in the area. My brother's historic building near Boston Common had to hire snow removal trucks and men to take off the snow from the fifth floor flat roof--and you don't want to even consider that cost.

Teamworks Auburn roof collapse (photo credit: Auburn police)

Our public transportation has ground to a halt. All subways and trains were shut down for a day this week to get the snow off the tracks. It's crazy. I have to tell you that a lesser "major city" would have given up by now. So as of now I'm going to take the quotation marks away from "city" for Boston--we are definitely a city. Boston Strong, I think they call it. 

Folks, it's hairy out there. If you are in the Maine, Mass, RI, NH areas, please please be careful. I hope that Sunday's storm is the last of it for the season, but I don't have high hopes. 

And for those of you in warm places in the US, I suggest that now is not the time to make wisecracks. We're close to disaster level out here and I think you'll find that New England rarely mocks tornado, earthquake and fire destruction. You can mock us in mud season, promise.


  1. Is there an ordinance requiring Boston to import flanelinhas from Sao Paulo to work as space savers? I think that would be a win-win situation.

    1. LOL! Now that's a good idea!! I doubt the x million Brazilians here in the Boston area have thought about this...of course I can't imagine how you'll get the "pais tropical" folks to stand out in -4 weather, but at the rates they charge, they'll probably make more than me and sit in their imported car just watching the day go by.