Sunday, April 8, 2012

Southie Saint Pattys Day

Better late than never, here is how I celebrated the day after St. Patrick's day. In South Boston. With 750,000 of my closest friends.

 First... lets focus on that. I have a hard time visualizing numbers. I see them so much, that there is a gap between the idea and what 750,000 people actually look like. In other terms this would be 3/4ths of 1 Million people. Or... more than the entire population of the Tri Cities of Washington. Assuming that the average bus holds 40 people sitting down, and 60 people crammed in, that is somewhere between 12,000 -19,000 bus loads. Assuming average width of a human is 20 inches (you know, reasonable shoulder to shoulder width) that would make a parade route 118 miles long (with people on both sides...) which is almost as wide as the state of Massachusetts. So what does this mean? I took a commuter train from Burlington to North Station (also known as the basement of the Boston Gardens (also known as the home of the Bruins, Celtics and that day the regional hockey championship)) then the subway to South Boston. All of these trains were full... and it got worse with every train, where by the last leg of my trip, 3 'Big Red' standing room only trains passed me. When I got to the final station, there was almost not enough room to get off the train.

I emerged from the station to a bunch of people, and a bunch of police. Apparently, there is 0 tolerance for rowdy behavior (understandable). I walked down the parade route until I found a nice retaining wall with two guys standing there, and took my perch. From here I would survey the entire event. It is this point when I realized the scene. On the sidewalk curb were the families, small children lots of young faces. Jut behind them were the parents. Behind them was a ever flowing stream of people, then the 20-40 year old people who were already a little drunk (or still drunk from last night). Then me an the other -not so drunk- observers. Oh, yeah... and people standing on cars. And roofs. And hanging out of windows.
And the parade started. It was exactly what I would expect from a working class neighborhood with lots diverse people. There were floats and large groups of people for all of the major unions, there were the politicians shaking hands and throwing candy, There were reactors in full dress, from revolutionary to WWII. Just about all of them either driving tanks looking like a victory parade in Europe or firing off their muskets. And all mixed in were groups like the Ghostbusters (there were at least 40 guys, and 2 Ecto Ones) and a strong branch of the 501st Legion (Star Wars guys).

It was wonderful. I was glad that I tested the waters and saw some things. After a slow down, the last group was the city street cleaning crew... I thought it was a float for a little bit, but it was just this huge truck with a big vacuum hose flanked by two large street sweeps and force of men picking up everything. And the crowd dispersed...

I knew I did not want to get on the train right away to go back. That was going to be full. So I did some exploring. I didn't really know where I was, I knew I was South of the main city, so I crossed some train tracks in to a more commercial area and headed north. I found this great restaurant called The Intermission in the theater district and had a great hamburger. Then continued wandering north... and in no time, ended up at the Boston Commons. At this point I got really excited as I had been here before, and I knew where I was... also there was a T stop so I could go home...

To my left...
To my right...
I do love Star Wars

What parade would not be complete without a St. Patrick?


  1. That will be a St Patrick's Day to remember... your 1st exploring Boston! Thanks for sharing!

  2. next time wear your Cloak of Invisibility... maybe they'll let you walk too!