On Wednesday I began my exploration of Cambridge, a separate city from Boston which is easy to reach using public transportation. At around 8:30 a.m. I took the Silver Line to South Station and transferred to the Red Line. I got off at Harvard Square around 8:56 a.m. I wore my grey sweater because it is light enough to take off and tie around my waist when it starts to get too hot for a sweater. And I took my small shoulder bag with my power bank for recharging my smartphone since I would be far from my hotel.
I emerged near the Church Street and Massachusetts Avenue intersection and walked down Brattle Street. I took photos of the Brattle Theater and walked all the way to Loeb Drama Center before heading back to Brattle Square. Next I walked down Mt. Auburn Street and located the record store, In Your Ear, and the Harvard Lampoon building. Then I located the Grolier Poetry Book Shop and the Harvard Book Store to take photos of those establishments.
Finally I entered Harvard Yard and found the statue of John Harvard which was surrounded by tour groups, mostly Asian tour groups. I found the Harvard Science Center and Sanders Theater north of Harvard Yard and went up Oxford Street to find the Harvard Museum of Natural History. This was my first use of my Boston CityPass. They tore out the ticket and gave me a little metal pin.
At the Harvard Museum of Natural History I saw their famous glass flowers. I saw their dinosaur fossils and the only mounted Kronosaurus. There was an exhibition hall full of glass cases with stuffed animals. The skeletons of whales were hanging overhead. There was another room of horizontal glass cases filled with mineral samples. Harvard appears to have a very extensive collection of minerals.
After seeing everything at the Harvard Museum of Natural History I entered the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology which is connected to it. You don’t need to pay anything extra to see this other museum. The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology features an exhibit of weapons and armor. I saw their colorful Day of the Dead altar and the Aztec stone monoliths. On the forth floor I saw some Javanese puppets from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology featured the the Harvard Adam and Eve, statues of a nude man and woman considered to be the average or typical male and female body. On the first floor I saw the Hall of the North American Indian which had some totem poles and models of canoes and lodges.
After leaving the museums I walked around Harvard Square some more and took photos of Raven Used Books, Club Passim and The Sinclair. I then went to Grolier Poetry Book Shop where I asked for Edward Hirsh but they had nothing by him. They actually seemed to have a very poor selection of poetry books. They mostly stocked slim volumes by poets you’d never heard of. Eventually I found Selected Poems by Stephen Spender which was the only name I vaguely recognized. But the sales clerk seemed to think this was an excellent choice, as if I had found the one real poet in the lot. Next I went to Harvard Book Store which actually had a better selection of poetry. I bought District and Circle by Seamus Heaney and the play Smokefall by Noah Haidle.
I had lunch at Daedalus where I was seated at the bar. I ordered the Grilled Spicy Steak Salad – marinated spicy steak with baby greens, tomato corn salsa, crumbled blue cheese with citrus vinaigrette. And for dessert I had the cobbler apple; peach and raisin cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream.
After lunch I walked a long ways down Massachusetts Avenue, taking photos of the establishments I encountered. Eventually I reached Central Square and stopped in at Pandemonium Books and Games where I bought the book Children of Lovecraft edited by Ellen Datlow. I’ve become more interested in weird fiction after reading The King In Yellow, tales about a mythical play which drives men mad or otherwise leads them to a supernatural doom. The idea that a published play could have such power is amusing to me. I took photos in the Graffiti Alley next to Central Kitchen where two artists were working. And I located Central Square Theater since I was going to see a play there tomorrow night.
Eventually I reached the MIT Museum which I decided to visit a day early since I was there. I paid $10.00 admission and climbed a set of stairs to the second floor. I saw the Robots & Beyond exhibit which featured MIT’s pioneering work in Artificial Intelligence. I also saw two special exhibits; The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramo´n y Cajal, György Kepes Photographs II, and Gestural Engineering: The Sculpture of Arthur Ganson. At the museum book store I bought the small book Machine Learning by Ethem Alpaydin which is one of their MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series.
I walked around the MIT campus and found the Jaume Plensa’s Alchemist statue. I then saw the Great Dome and took photos of some more public art on the MIT campus. Then I located the List Visual Arts Center, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. When I came across the Kendall Square Station I decided I was too tired to go on so I took the Red Line back to South Station.
I made a reservation at Blue Dragon for 6:30 p.m. I ordered a pina colada which was mostly ice and Pork Belly Baos with Seasonal Kimchi which turned out to be two small pork sandwiches using some kind of gummy wrap. On the way back to the hotel I took a few photos of a distinctive Fort Point building with the Boston Wharf Company Industrial Real Estate sign on its roof.