Memorial for a Downed Cyclist

While riding over the I-90 footbridge this weekend, I came across a memorial for Kirsten Malone, a young woman killed on Saturday when she was struck by a car, apparently in the area where the down ramp meets the frontage road–not the safest interchange for bikers. I assume the bike painted white and chained to nearby telephone pole was installed in her honor.

Kirsten Malone, 29; artist, ‘The Faux’ singer, keyboardist (Boston Globe)

The Burger King Mooring Stone

Today as I made my lunch, I began craving French fries and, giving into temptation, I made my first visit to the Burger King about a block a way, the first time in my five years living in the neighborhood. I also took advantage of the whole in the parking lot fence for the first time, cutting across the adjacent parking lot to Allston Street. As walked the block toward Burger King, I was reminded of the mooring stone that resides on the edge of the parking lot. I took a picture of it a couple years ago while running the Roots program and I’ve been meaning to include it in the WhereProject for some time.

I made a mental note of it, but it wasn’t until I got back home that I realized that I didn’t remember actually looking at as I walked by–literally within feet of it. It could have been moved or painted pink, for all I know. So my perception of that stone today was entirely mediated by a digitized photograph I took two years ago and by the impulse to add it to this current website. Somewhere along the way, I forgot to actually see what was in front of me. I’ve seen also seen mooring stones these up at Halibut
Point State Park. Historian
Catherine A. Corman comments on these same stones in a Common-Place article:

The site was home to crusty New Englanders who employed
increasingly mechanized machinery to wrest granite–grainy,
hardened, molten magma made of quartz, feldspar, and hornblende–from
the ground. As early as the late seventeenth century, farmers and fisher
folk using iron hand tools crudely cut wheels of the stuff to serve as
mooring stones, slabs of rock combined with sturdy tree trunks that they
sunk in harbors to tie up boats.

But why is this thing in a Burger King parking lot and how did it get there? How would I even
research this? Perhaps this would be a good excuse to go to the Brighton Historical Society.

Rat Art

If you walk around Allston Village, the neighborhood of Boston where I live, you may notice the graffiti and street art that appears on walls, lampposts, sidewalks, and just about any other public surface. No doubt these contribute to the slightly dumpy feel the neighborhood has, but they also can provide ongoing, dynamic commentary on what it means to live in this particular corner of the city.

A few days ago, I was walking through my neighborhood and noticed this image of a rat spray painted on the sidewalk. Bizarre, I thought. Why would someone take the time to create a stencil of a rat and then spray-painted it on a random section of sidewalk? Someone clearly has too much time on his or her hands. Or this person’s sense of humor is just absurd enough to make them represent our neighborhood’s rat problem in this form.

Noticing this painted rat out of the corner of your eye fairly accurately recreates the experience of having a large rodent sprint across your path on a humid summer evening–a flash of dark movement, a gasp of surprised disgust, a quickening pace, a heightened sense of alertness. But in this case the surprise turns quickly into a chuckle as you realize, with relief, that it’s only an ironic attempt to represent the wildlife inhabiting this corner of the urban landscape.