Missing Boston’s Dark Age-let

March 14th, 2012 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

We felt a perverse breeze of ease last night headed home. A tony, or at least expensive, Boston neighborhood — the Back Bay — was blacked out from transformer fires.

Bordering on schadenfreude, the feeling related to the two decades we lived in a subneighborhood, the Woodbourne area at the bottom of Jamaica Plain. There the ugly, stupidly at risk power lines and transformers above the street frequently shorted, blew up otherwise, or knew the wrath of falling trees. We had several blackouts annually, from a few hours to several days. Here an almost always electrically privileged swath of real estate was humbled.

We had just seen, heard, felt the emotionally, intellectually, politically powerful Ameriville performance downtown. (By the bye, for locals or immediate visitors, it’s through Sunday, 3/18, and a breathtaking 90 minutes that musical theater barely describes.) While we like to be public-transit folk, time and early morning rising dictated parking at the Boston Common garage near the theater next to Downtown Crossing.

The garage had power and we didn’t consider that as we paid upstairs in the new automated (electronic) system and exited using our ticket, now a receipt. I wonder now whether the massive underground car park has generators or what provisions they have for humanoids to appear like fairies to let drivers escape.

A block left on main drag Beacon was like the opening of a sci-fi flick. There were no traffic lights, no street lights, no house lights, no business lights. The cops were not yet at intersections, so it was first-come to each intersection, a social convention that in Boston neglects the Golden Rule. (Oh, and the subways were closed.)

Maybe two miles along Storrow Drive with only headlights produced that odd felt sense of a desolate highway in the rural South. Then at Fenway, left was black and gray, except for blue police cruiser lights. Right was the shabby, overbuilt commercial strip of motel, gas stations, bars and the trappings of not-quite-downtown.

It seems 13,000 Bostonians are without power down there this morning and may be so for a day. With all the businesses and wealthy residents, at least they’ll know they get five-star repair service.


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