Since moving to an apartment on Boston Harbor I start and end most business trips with a water taxi ride to and from the airport or train station. It’s actually quite comfortable, even in the current frozen tundra of Boston. Travelling as much as I do, I’ve met a dozen or so captains on these boats, including the youngest skipper and–I am guessing–the oldest, Captain Al, pictured below.
Al has piloted all manner of watercraft on Boston Harbor since starting his career in 1958, at age 19. For example he’s captained tugboats hauling jet fuel from Maryland to Searsport, Maine. It was a trip that took two weeks onboard. I was struck by how often Al mentioned the three daily hot meals served on the tug. I guess that would be one of the only distractions during that long time at sea. Al also owned a large passenger party boat for 38 years and says, “I only made money when the Tall Ships were in.”
Al says he thoroughly enjoys the stress-free Boston Harbor Cruises water taxi job and that he “doesn’t miss the drunken people.” Al must have been a good advertisement for the life of a captain as one of his five children is also a tugboat captain. Looking at one of those hardworking craft from onboard the water taxi Al said, “When those guys show up for work they have no idea what they will be doing on any given day.”
Toasty inside the water taxi, Al remarked on the “pancake” ice on the Harbor, saying he’d never seen it here before in his career. Given that this is the second coldest Boston February since record keeping began, his claim holds water. (Pun intended.)
I thought I’d share a few more photos of this winter phenomenon, which is on track to be the snowiest winter—ever–in Boston. For perspective, in the last three weeks we accumulated more snow than Chicago has ever seen in an entire season. Ever. And at 96” of snowfall so far we are really not sure where we will put the additional dumping expected this week. Our narrow streets were never built for this. But they sure look as pretty as a postcard.
It’s hard to overstate the difficulty of keeping office operations open. Most of our team takes the subway or bus and it has had unprecedented closure days. Some of us park in our building’s lot but the spaces are about 1/3 covered with snow. The balance of team members park on Somerville or Cambridge streets but there are absolutely no spaces cleared. There are huge mounds lining our streets, each of which shrouds a buried car. Fortunately, other than shoot Grommet videos, 95% of what we do can be handled from home.
Update: the above photo went a bit viral when our son submitted to Barstool Sports–it was their top post for the day. Then the Weather Channel asked permission to use it.
Yes the streets look as pretty as a postcard, but I am glad I am not in a wheelchair, elderly, or pushing a stroller (I saw one mother getting all kinds of encouragement from strangers as she battled down Charles Street on Beacon Hill), or–worst of all–shovelling.
Underground parking is the best invention–EVAH.
Update on 2-18: I like this new map of our subway system. Only underground trains are running for the next 30 days, and not that reliably. I am going to go thank my team (again) for battling in to the office.
Another couple updates on 2-20:
- Great photos on BuzzFeed of the reality of this place.
- Advice on whether a flamethrower or a microwave mounted on the front of a car is a better solution, practically-speaking.
Another update on 2-24:
The maintenance guys in our building must have a sense of humor because they left me a “present” when they came to clear a trench between the windows and the wall of snow. Yes indeed I have a snowman staring into my 7th floor bedroom.