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Day 37 - Goodbye New York

Finally it was time to move on and to start the return trip to the West Coast. At this morning I had to get up really early in order to catch the first North-East Regional train to Boston departing at 6.55 am from New York Penn Station. After a quick shower and finishing packing I left the apartment at 5.30. My hosts were still sleeping so I had already said goodbye to them the evening before. The cat however was already awake and came to say goodbye. It felt a bit sad to leave, I really had a nice time there and could have easily stayed another week. I got down to the subway station and took the 5.41 A train to 34th Street / Penn Station where I arrived about 30 minutes later. I bought some breakfast and went then to sit and wait for a while in the Amtrak waiting area. At 6.45 the gate of train 190 was finally announced and I rushed in order to still get a good seat. Boarding went quick and I was lucky as I got a nice window seat. The train left New York Penn on time and I was curious which route it might take and whether I would get to see Manhattan one more time before heading out to the north. The train went through a long tunnel and when it finally reached day light I exactly knew where we were. The train went through a tunnel under Manhattan and the East River and reached the daylight in Long Island City just meters from the MoMA PS1 which I immediately recognized. Then the train took a long turn to the left and amazing views on Manhattan just opened up. I could see the entire island and all the skyscrapers in beautiful morning light. Once we had left New York behind it was time for breakfast. I had my last New York bagel with cream cheese, something I definitely will miss. The train then entered Connecticut and I kept enjoying beautiful views of lakes and nice little towns by the tracks. After an hour the train had its first stop in Stamford, CT.  Further stops followed in New Haven, CT, Old Saybrook, CT, New London, CT before we entered Rhode Island. The scenery became even more beautiful as we were crossing large bridges with nice views on the lakes on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right. In Rhode Island the train stopped in Kingston, RI and reached then Providence, RI. Finally we reached Massachusetts and Boston stopping briefly at Back Bay Station before finally pulling into Boston South Station. We got a little delay of about 15 minutes in the end because of some track works between Back Bay Station and South Station. I considered first to check in the bag for next day’s train but decided then to keep it with me and so I started walking the short distance to the hostel about 800 meters from South Station and closely located to Chinatown. I arrived early and my room wasn’t ready yet but I could store by luggage at the hostel which was convenient. I went for lunch first as it was almost noon. After lunch I walked the short distance to Boylston station where I entered the metro. After I had purchased a ticket I got on the green line train until the next stop at Park Street. There I transferred to the red line which took me right to MIT at Kendall/MIT station. Clouds were forming up so I hurried to photograph the building which I wanted to see the most and which had been one of the main reasons to visit Boston. The particular building in question was one of the MIT dorms, called the Baker House, which had been designed and built by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. I have been following Alvar Aalto’s work for quite some years which is also subject of another blog I am currently writing. It didn’t take me long to find the building as it was very distinctive in its shape and easy to spot on the map. I had seen many pictures because the building had been considered as one of the masterpieces of Alvar Aalto’s work in the United States. Unfortunately the time had shown it traces on the building and it didn’t look anymore as shine as on the photographs I had seen that were mainly from the 1950s when the building was new. Still I was able to get some good shots of the building. Entering the dormitory was unfortunately not possible as only tenants and their guests had access to the building. I walked back alongside the river bank which gave a nice view of downtown Boston. At some point I turned back to the MIT campus and had a closer look at the other buildings and structures. I really liked the campus and its architecture. After browsing through the MIT shop I got back on the metro red line on Kendall/MIT in order to get to the next top rank university just two stops away, Harvard. I discovered the various parts of the campus scattered around Harvard Square. I began with the oldest parts the actual Harvard College and had then a look at the newer parts, the Harvard Science Center and Law School. Next I headed down John F Kennedy Street in order to see the School of Government. Finally I went to see the Harvard Business School which was the most interesting department for me as my major is in business. Parts of my research is based on theories developed at Harvard Business School and it was interesting to visit the actual place where those had been created. Also the buildings themselves were really beautiful, almost like an old English castle. Before getting back on the metro I still got some refreshments and I was considering buying one of those Harvard T-shirts which in the end I didn’t. I might rather stick to my UCLA T-shirts, a university I actually had been studying at. I took the red line back from Harvard station to Downtown Crossing where I got on the orange line that took me right to Chinatown station, only two blocks from the hostel away. Finally I was able to check-in and to get my things into the room. I didn’t stay long but went instead out again in order to still see a little bit of downtown Boston before it was getting dark. I walked along Washington Street into the center. The sun was already low but I still got some nice pictures of some of the high-rise buildings. I went to see the Old State House and the Faneuil Hall Market before heading down to the water front and the Long Wharf. The view of the harbor just before sun set was really beautiful and I stayed for quite a while just enjoying the scenery. I felt really tired and didn’t want to walk back anymore, instead I took the metro blue line from Aquarium station and changed at State to the orange line that took me back to Chinatown. I got some groceries before I returned to the hostel. I took a shower first before having dinner in the common area of the hostel where I got to know a few other travelers. Around 9.30 pm I felt so tired that I went to sleep. 

Departing New York

Arriving at Boston South Station

MIT dorm designed by Alvar Aalto

Downtown Boston




Harvard Business School library

Modern Boston

Old State House

Faneuil Hall

At the Boston waterfront

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