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Bostowned.

Spring 2012

Bostowned. A new perspective on an old city.

Beautiful Eyes Why Men in Boston Think Cat-Calling is Ok It is a warm summer night. A group of college girls walk down Tremont Street toward the North End. They are all well dressed and have just gone out to dinner at Max and Dylan’s. They celebrated a fake 21st birthday for one of their friends. They are strutting down the street, talking and laughing. A group of men ride by on Hubways, Boston’s bicycle rentals. They whistle at the girls as they ride by. They speak french. The girls turn to look at them.----------A girl walks home from

working an overnight shift at Faneuil Hall. It is 4:15 AM. There is barely anyone awake at this hour in Boston. She sees a few homeless people sleeping against warm buildings. The garbage men are collecting piles of black bags on the side of the street. She thinks it is safe. As she walks by the men collecting

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MBTA Cuts

Big Dig

How Students Against T Cuts are acting against the MBTA cuts.

An insider look at the greatest and most controversial building project in Boston.

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Occupy Boston

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My piece on the occupy movement focuses on the individual people involved and the emotion behind an act of revolt. Page 5


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Spring 2012

Failure Finds Everyone at Some Point When it comes to failure, it is not a matter of “if” it is a matter of “when”. Failure is life's way of giving us the lessons school can never teach us. In my life, I have failed many times. While disappointing, failure is the one thing that helps me to believe that everything happens for a reason. High school was a chance for me experience rapid success and failure. A time to learn from my endeavors with little consequence, though at the time it seemed to be the end of the world. I learned about my limits and how far I could push myself. I also learned a great deal about taking responsibility for the mistakes I had made. A more memorable failure that I took a lot from was one that occurred my Junior year of high school. I was taking a class called Shakespeare Alive! with one of my favorite teachers and I was acing the class. I had a 98 average by the second quarter of the year and the third quarter was coming to a close. The only catch to the class was two required quizzes required to be taken by the end of the quarter. Since the only other graded assessments in that class were a test, and class participation, my grade weighed heavily upon those two quizzes. I am a procrastinator by nature, so of course I would push the quizzes off until I was under a lot of pressure to find the time to get the last quiz done before the grades closed. I was involved in various activities. I had club and organization meetings and rehearsals to go to. The only day I could go to take the quiz was the last day my teacher was accepting the quizzes. The day before the deadline I made an appointment for the next day to take the quiz. The only anchor weighing down my grade. When the day came to take my quiz, I went through the day normally, and when the final bell rang, I picked up my belongings and drove home.

The next day I woke up with the horrible realization that I had missed my only opportunity to secure another A+. I went to my teacher before classes started with the intention of sweet-talking my way to an opportunity to take the quiz that morning and salvage my grade. I walked into the room and was greeted by my teachers disappointed gaze. I knew immediately any attempts to bargain would be in vain. The grades had closed and mine was doomed. Instead of the 98 I was expecting. I received an 83 for the quarter which lowered the final grade for the class significantly. Since I did not receive an A for all four quarters, I was no longer exempt from taking to final exam. I also had to go through the day knowing I would have to go home and explain to my parents why I had neglected to complete a vital portion of my grade. I felt an enormous amount of shame. I remember wishing that I could go back and warn myself to remember to stay after school and take the quiz. I was full of regret and felt the consequences of my negligence. I had failed myself in what I knew I was capable of. At the time leading up to this point I was a severely disorganized person. I rarely wrote things down and when I did I would never bother to look back on what I had written to remember what I had been trying to keep track of in the first place. This incident taught me the power of organization. I began to write everything down, determined not to forget anything anymore. I never wanted to repeat such a silly mistake. To make such an easily avoidable mistake and suffer such devastating consequences because of it.

This experience also forced me to take responsibility for my actions. My teacher apologized, saying, “I really want to let you take the quiz but the grades have closed and there's nothing I can do!”. He felt bad at denying me one of the few assessments that make up the final grade. For a few seconds I was angry, but I immediately realized that it was not my teacher's fault that I missed the quiz. I knew that I only had myself to blame for not taking the quiz sooner or at the time I had promised to. I told him not to be sorry and I had failed to take the measures to remember to take the quiz. Instead of forever hating the teacher that had dared to deny me a grade, I handled the situation maturely. He appreciated the maturity and thanked me for understanding. Looking back, this is one of the first times that I owned up to and calmly processed a mistake I had made. I quietly accepted my fate and started planning how to prevent it from happening again. One of the worst parts about this ordeal, aside from disappointing myself, was disappointing my parents. They had believed me to be a studious person, not capable of forgetting something so major. Now their entire perspective had changed and I had left them wondering how I could have done something like this. I hated explaining to them how it slipped my mind. I hated hearing how that was not what they expected of me. 2 I had let them down. However with my newfound maturity, I

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; Bostowned. with my newfound maturity, I listened to their words and used it as motivation to make sure this situation never repeated itself. Failure has the potential to teach everyone something. What seems miniscule now was a major ordeal in my life then. My failure to complete an important part of my grade opened my eyes to personal responsibility. It made me realize how much I hated failing my parents expectations, and more importantly my own expectations of myself. This experience has motivated me to become a more organized student, which has helped me

Spring 2012 more organized student, which has helped me many times already during my time at Emerson. The long lasting consequences of this mistake that I made constantly motivated me to change the way I viewed the importance of my studies. I took school more seriously and procrastinated less, although I cannot say I have completely kicked the habit. Failure in this instance, and in all instances, has helped me to grow as a person and shaped me to be how I am today. By Erin Chadwick

All of the texts throughout this piece have to do with failure in some way. The authors chose to focus on the city of Boston for a majority of the pieces, including a few personal experiences. The authors realize failure is a part of every day life and is not spoken of often. They intended to bring a new light to failure and provide solutions to problems in and around Boston.

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I Hope She Doesn’t Read This By William Ayre

The smoke hugged her chapped lips as we looked at the map, pretending to be busy. A chocolate lab ran back and forth on the path. Clearly on a mission, his nose never left the gravel. We kept smoking, ignoring the dog’s tracksuit wearing owner. Lisa had little to say, and I was the same. While consumed with thoughts from the past we were stuck in the harsh reality of the present.. Years were spent in high school where we were almost together. It’s not clear if we started as friends or if the line had always been unclear. Considering one of us was always unavailable, we remained as close as was platonically possible. Yet, over time boundaries were pushed and progress came to be accepted. Comfortable, and insecure we grew lazy and avoided change--a perverse eventuality, waiting for a romance that would never happen. I waited for her to be single and then she waited for me. Our half relationship survived because it was low maintenance and unchanging. Neither of us had the energy to try something else and have it fail, until she did try something. She only weighed about as much as a twelveyear-old girl, but she could out drink me. With a full handle of cheap vodka she wasn’t afraid to keep pouring more in my glass. While I coughed and cursed after each swig, she drank gleefully. It was clear by the lack of uncertainty in her actions that she had become tired of waiting. She was almost successful. I was on top of her—or maybe she was on top of me—either way it was nothing new. It wasn’t the first time we had been pressed together on the floor, my lips on her skin. Starting at the base of her collarbone, I kissed my way up the side of her neck. I tried and failed to use my nose to part the long brown hair that blocked my path. Her hands slid up the back of my shirt, resting on

my skin. They began to roam and tense as my tongue found the curve of her ear. She went to kiss me, I pulled back. I didn’t not want to kiss her. I just didn’t want us to be drunk. It was fucked—a fact we were both trying to ignore. These were my thoughts as the smoke stole her lips, and hung in the space between her eyes. As we started to cut back through the maple birch forest the drone of our forced conversation fell silent to the cold sunlit day, and I began to think of that morning. Noon, that was when I was to meet her. It was a fiveminute car drive to the Northshire Bookstore, but the search for the used book section took ten. I walked in circles pretending to search for some unknown story. It helped distract me from my anxiety. Memories only served to remind me of the many times that I had failed her. I found her crosslegged, hidden on the ground in a section I had checked earlier on. She always sat on the ground, and it wasn’t the first time I had missed her. Like in the old days, we got lunch at Bob’s diner. She ate chicken fingers, and mozzarella sticks, and I would get the farmer Bob’s skillet—the usual. I brought two dollars in quarters for the jukebox. Lisa only played the oldies, which meant a set playlist at Bob’s. Unfortunately, the jukebox wasn’t working. The usual roar of Rocketman’s wail was silenced by the sizzle of hashbrowns on a grill and the hum of people. She told me about a guy at Vassar that she couldn't get along with. Lisa said she realized it was because she still had shit to work out with me, and he was taking the blame because he was also tall, 4 skinny and male. She was


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An Act of Rebellion A look at the Occupy Movement A crowd of Columbia students formed a current that ran through the station, collecting and pooling into the waiting train. Each seat now occupied, two words could be heard sung from one person to the next: mic check. This chant— that started at the 116th station—would soon become absorbed by the cries of hundreds of people gathered together in Union Square. Their voices coalescing into a rallying call that unified the protestors. This was the New York Student Protest that marked the start of Occupy Wall Street. On September 17th, 2011, thousands of people marched down 6th avenue to join and support the protestors in Zuccotti Park, and among that horde of college kids was my sister. My older sister Liz has always been more politically aware than myself, and she’s always had the right temperament to be a protester. On any issue— whether it’s trying to wrestle the remote from her hands or a discussion on the flaws of capitalism— she’s always been extremely stubborn and vocal about her opinions. Yet, she’s also a pessimistic

skeptic (like myself), which is why I was eager to find out how she got involved in such activism. Liz said the first protest she went to “was the New York Student Protests. I heard about it on campus. Back at the start, there was a general buzz that could be felt permeating throughout Columbia. This continued and kept growing until we were in Union square with thousands of people holding signs and playing mic check. The wave of sound just spread, which is amazing because you’re taking on the voice of the people—it was a way of unifying the movement and allowing for democratic speech.” Clearly on some level mob mentality had gathered these people together. I didn’t want to discuss the philosophy behind the movement before I understood what actually happened, so I asked,

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; Bostowned. “There was a protest led by the New School, which meant that there were even more people than usual. They had this plan to occupy a building, but it wasn’t working out so everyone joined together to start marching and chanting down 6th avenue. We marched down west Broadway, all the way to Zuccotti Park. We actually stopped traffic, it was really amazing.” “So you would describe the atmosphere as electric?” I inquired although I could already tell the answer by the level of the excitement in her voice. “It was really beautiful. I’ve never experienced anything like that. It felt really organic and intuitive; everyone knew what needed to be done. For example, we had to start forming chains of people in order to shut down traffic and the only way it would work is if we constantly had people filling in the chain. The chain had almost no gaps.” My sister gained momentum and confidence as she kept talking, and while I didn’t want to interrupt her, I needed to guide the conversation into a different direction. That’s why I asked Liz why they were marching—I realize now it was a broad question, but I wanted her personal perspective on the motivation behind the marches. “There were so many different purposes for why we marched, but I think mainly it was to exercise discontent on a massive scale. Occupation becomes a really serious and powerful way to demonstrate your presence. Prompting people to think, well we wanted to make the government accountable for the way things are.” Holding the government accountable for the way things are seemed unrealistically idyllic to me at the time, and still does. My pessimistic nature—now having seized control—had to ask, “But Liz, can you actually see the Occupy movement going all the way and actually getting what they want?” Liz hesitated a second before saying, “I don’t know where it can go. At its heart it’s a socialist movement, the only thing they can argue for is revolution and radical change for the system. That’s of course the most radical possibility for the group. I think most people— myself included—are just satisfied that it’s raising political consciousness.” Before I was able to ask what she thought about the failures of the group, she said “The bad stuff about

Spring 2012 The movement is that it’s really hard to communicate anything tangible to people who don’t buy it. These people think we’re just a bunch of hippies; which makes us easy to dismiss.” “What about communication within the group?” I said hoping to delve further into the failures of the group. “At the meetings it takes so much time and patience to decide anything. We have to listen and consider everyone’s voice, and it gets hard to pay attention for that long. It’s the disadvantage of a true democracy. You really lose momentum without a centralized leadership.” It was hear that our (first) interview also lost momentum. Having no more readily available questions, the conversation turned more personal and unrelated to the Occupy movement. As we continued to catch up about our day to lives I kept wondering under what conditions would cause people to interrupt the rhythm of their daily lives and actually do something? It was four-thirty on a Monday, February 1st, 1960 when four college students sat down at a lunch counter and changed history. The store was Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. It had two counters: one a standup snack bar—intended for blacks—and another counter with seats for white customers. Each college student there was a freshman from North Carolina A&T, a local black college. On the second day the protest grew to over thirty people, and by the day after that another fifty had joined. On Saturday it had reached six hundred people and had begun to spark other sit-ins across the country. The Greensboro fours act of defiance was effective because it exposed racial segregation—a policy that while completely visible, went unseen[1]. What made David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, and Joseph McNeil into the Greensboro four? According to Malcolm Gladwell, in his article Small Change, these four students were terrified when they sat down at the counter and the only reason they didn’t fold under pressure is because they were friends who were all personally connected to the issue. Gladwell supports these claims with research done by Stanford sociologist Doug McAdam on high-risk activism. This research suggests that part of the reason these people had the strength to succeed is because they were all from the same dorm and two of them were roommates who had gone to high school together. The article argues that this “strong-tie” phenomenon can be seen in any social revolution. Here Gladwell argues that 6 because of the Occupy movements’ dependence on technology (twitter, facebook etc) it will never become a successful revolution.


; Bostowned. successful revolution. While the Occupy movement does utilize technology to organize and gain its support, it’s not the foundation of the organization. It’s founded on the basic principles of direct democracy—they seek to give the people a voice. In addition my sister described the camp in Zuccotti park as having, “this non-capitalistic community. You didn’t need any money; people gave you food, clothing, a place to sleep; it was because they cared.” An important difference that I see between these two social revolutions is that the Occupy movement has no one clear goal. They’re fighting against corporate malfeasance, ecological destruction, a corrupt government and the list goes on. This means that each protestor has a different reason for being there, and according to Gladwell is therefore less committed to both the cause and his fellow activists. While I agree that a “strong-tie” connection may be positively correlated with the devotion of an individual to his cause, I see no reason that this also means technology has no place in social activism. Jonathan Dentler—a friend of my sisters and a graduate of Columbia— in his article “What Progressive Activists can Learn from Germany: Stuttgart 21” explains how an activist group in BadenWürttemberg utilized technology to successfully make a difference. The conflict was a project that was introduced in 1994 that planned on replacing a “16-track above-ground terminus station with an 8track underground through station and a massive diversion of the main through-line through hills that surround the city. The idea was to free up prime development sites in the city.”[2] I won’t go into detail about the controversy that surrounded the project from its start (except that it was put on hold until 2007) instead I’m going to discuss the actions that were taken to stop the project. A foundation called the “Park Defenders” was created that share concerns and an organizing style similar to the Occupy movement. Its 30,000 committed activists were able to be organized quickly and efficiently by online forums in order to out-maneuver their competitors. Its supporters sponsored a statewide propaganda campaign with buses passing through towns to raise awareness. Before the buses arrive though the Park Defenders made sure to have activists already at each of the stops. Despite this construction still began in February 2010. In Sept police violently dispersed protestors with “heavy use of water canons and pepper spray.” Nine days later a mass demonstration of around 63,000 people mobilized

Spring 2012 In opposition. Finally in March 2011, state elections were held and the ruling right wing party was replaced (for the first time in 58 years) by a coalition between the social democrats and the Green Party. By focusing on one important issue, the Green Party was able to change the political climate of an entire region. Here is simply one example of how technology can aide social activism instead of hindering it, as Gladwell would argue. Returning to the Gladwell article, he argues that the Occupy protestors aren’t as committed as previous activists because they are organized as a network that relies on the use of blogs and other forms of social media. He says that while these networks are enormously resilient and adaptable in low-risk situations they lack the “strong-tie” connection that is needed for people to truly devote themselves to a cause. I think that if this was the case the occupy movement would have already died out. Instead we find clear examples of people standing up and resisting even if it means they might be injured or arrested. November 2011, in Greenway Park Boston, 141 people were arrested for protesting. The protest had started in Dewey Square (the initial campground of Occupy Boston) and it wasn’t until it spread to Greenway Park that the police felt they had to take action. It was reported that the police were particularly hostile in dispersing the protestors. Protestors were quoted saying they had “aggressively manhandling women” and had “brutally attacked” protestors in general. [3] In New York there are consistent reports of protestors being arrested and hassled every week.[4] It is clear in my opinion that the average person is unsatisfied with the way our government operates. With the rise of technology people who might not have been bold enough in the past now have the opportunity to voice their opinion. This is how I view the Occupy movement—it is the expression of hundreds of thousands of individual voices in one group effort. Of course in the beginning it’s going to seem like an unorganized hopeless mess, but that’s just because it’s the start of something new. The Occupy movements’ dedication to direct democracy is the reason why the movement will continue to evolve and grow alongside its members.

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STUDENTS AGAINST T CUTS By Renee Deschene

If you live in or around Boston, you definitely use some sort of public transportation. Whether it be hopping on the T to get to North Station, taking a bus to visit a friend, or using the commuter rail to go home for a weekend. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the organization that runs public transit, has accumulated some serious debt over the years. It all started in 2004, when the Big Dig failed to succeed. Some portions of the T Green Eline still have not fully recovered. Consequently, the debt has only increased since then resulting in $375 million of debt by the end of 2011. Because of these major financial deficits, the MBTA has proposed several scenarios in which to save money. In December 2011, two proposals were brought forth to the public. One proposal included an extreme hike in fare increases and a few cuts to bus lines and certain stops on the T. The second proposal included just the opposite, with less hikes on fare prices and more cuts to bus routes and T stops. Both proposals cut the commuter rail on weekends and after 10pm on weekdays and a complete cut of the Green E-Line on the T. Clearly this upset a lot of people within the community. Boston is heavily populated with college students. College students are always looking for the cheapest, easiest ways to get anything because of the high cost of living in a city and very little income. So, inevitably, students strongly oppose the T cuts. Because of the strong community of opposers, Zach Tucker, a BFA Stage Management major at Emerson College, created the group Students Against T Cuts. This organization was established to unite students that were angered by the MBTA proposals. The cuts are extremely detrimental to students. Besides the hike in fare prices, the cuts in transportation lines will be a big hit. The Green E-line T goes to schools such as Northeastern, Mass Art, and Wentworth. Without a T reaching to these areas, these students will not be able to travel around the city in a cheap, easy way. The Museum of Fine Arts stop is also on the Green E-Line. A lot of students throughout the city are required to attend the MFA at least once for an assignment. Without the T stopping there, the MBTA will lose a lot of business and students will not be able to complete assignments unless they take a more expensive alternative, a cab. Cutting the commuter rail on weekends is also a big hit. Many students that go to school in Boston are from Massachusetts and use the commuter rail to go home

on weekends. Without it, kids that live a few hours away will have no way of getting home. When people think about the commuter rail being cut, they think about people not being able to get into the city to get to their jobs. While this is true, people also won’t be able to get out of the city. People that are stuck in Boston without a car will no longer be able to take weekend vacations in some of Boston’s surrounding areas. This will cause a loss of business in both the city and suburbs. The proposals set forth were created by the MBTA because they have to save money somehow. The MBTA views their only option as cutting a lot of programs that many people in the city use. Tucker and his organization are doing the best they can to have their voices heard. He says, “ [We are] getting people to call and email their state representatives and state senators and make their voices heard. The T at t this point can’t do jack about it, they’re so far in the hole, their hands are tied. We have to go above them and either get the state to get rid of some of the debt, or find a new revenue source for the T, or a hybrid of those.” About 600 students total are involved in the cause. Many of them attend schools that are on the Green E-line such as Northeastern and Mass Art, but other schools are getting involved too. At Emerson College where the organization was founded, there are about 25 active members. Tucker is a little disappointed at how difficult it is to get students involved, but he knows they still care. He hopes more people get involved. One of his major arguments is that these scenarios only fix the debt problem for one year. Right now they are facing a 200 million dollar deficit, next year it will be 250 million, and the year after that 300 million. Assuming hat they put the cuts into place this year and it works, they will only have to increase the cuts more and more in years to follow. Tucker works extremely hard and is clearly passionate about this cause. He has created a website and a twitter handle (@StudentTCuts) to keep students informed about the latest information regarding the issue. As a result of his organization, he hopes to see some major changes in the way the MBTA runs their public transportation. For now, Tucker hopes to get more students involved and start making some serious strides toward recovery for the MBTA. 8


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Spring 2012

The Big Screw-Up Erin Chadwick Chances  are  if  you  have  made  a  trip  to  Boston  between   the  years  of  1 990  to  2008  your  commute  was    affected   by  the  Central  Artery  project,  better  known  as  the  Big   Dig.  A  simple  plan  twenty  years  in  the  making  turned   into  a  politically  charged,  scandal-­‐ridden  quest  to   expand  the  highway  systems  in  downtown  Boston.  In   the  twenty  years  it  took  to  complete  the  tunnel  and   artery  project,  the  process  endured  budget  hold,   construction  issues,  leaks  in  the  tunnels,  constant  bad   publicity,  general  incompetence,  and  even  the   accidental  death  of  a  civilian.  Through  the  mire  came  a   generally  unclogged  commute  for  drivers,  a  depressed   artery,  and  a  tunnel  directly  to  Logan  Airport.  With  the   project  complete,  the  only  reminders  the  citizens  of   Boston  and  the  surrounding  areas  have  that  the  project   happened  are  random  leaks  that  spring  up  in  the   tunnels,  the  premature  thawing  of  the  ground  below   the  site  (the  result  of  poor  planning),  and  the  constant   threat  of  tax  hikes  to  cover  the  debt  the  project  put   them  in.   The  planning  of  the  project  began  in  the  1960's  with   the  realization  that  a  tunnel  was  needed  to  connect   downtown  Boston  with  Logan  Airport.  By  the  1970's   there  were  plans  being  proposed  for  Boston's  highway   system:  “One  (idea)  was  that  the  tunnel  to  the  airport   should  not  go  into  East  Boston  but  should  go  directly   into  Logan  Airport,  and  should  be  just  a  two-­‐lane   tunnel,  one  lane  going  in  each  direction  and  it  should  be   for  buses,  taxis,  and  emergency  vehicles,  and  not  for  the   general  public,”  says  Alan  Altshuler,  currently  a   professor  at  Harvard.  Mr.  Altshuler  w as  formerly  the   Secretary  of  Transportation  in  Massachusetts  during   the  1970's  and  has  written  in  several  books  about  the   Big  Dig  Project.  He  w as  present  for  the  main  planning   of  the  project  and  has  debated  former  colleague  Fred   Salvucci  multiple  times  in  a  classroom  setting  over  the   costs  of  the  project.  He  w as  the  first  person  I   encountered  willing  to  be  quoted  talking  about  the   project.  Others  were  reproachful  at  the  idea,  mostly   due  to  the  current  legalities  still  arising  from  the   project.   There  was  also  a  second  plan  being  proposed.  “The  idea   also  emerged,  that  the  existing  Central  Artery  should  be   depressed,  only  for  about  a  mile  and  a  half.  There's  a   core  of  the  Central  Artery  through  downtown;  it  should   be  depressed,  it  should  remain  at  its  existing  scale,   which  w as  about  three  lanes  in  each  direction,  and   should  not  have  any  increase  in  capacity.  But  it  should  

it  should  be  for  buses,  taxis,  and  emergency   vehicles,  and  not  for  the  general  public,”  says  Alan   Altshuler,  currently  a  professor  at  Harvard.  Mr.   Altshuler  w as  formerly  the  Secretary  of   Transportation  in  Massachusetts  during  the  1970's   and  has ��w ritten  in  several  books  about  the  Big  Dig   Project.  He  was  present  for  the  main  planning  of   the  project  and  has  d ebated  former  colleague  Fred   Salvucci  multiple  times  in  a  classroom  setting  over   the  costs  of  the  project.  He  was  the  first  person  I   encountered  willing  to  be  quoted  talking  about  the   project.  Others  were  reproachful  at  the  idea,  mostly   due  to  the  current  legalities  still  arising  from  the   project.   There  was  also  a  second  plan  being  proposed.  “The   idea  also  emerged,  that  the  existing  Central  Artery   should  be  depressed,  o nly  for  about  a  mile  and  a   half.  There's  a  core  of  the  Central  Artery  through   downtown;  it  should  be  depressed,  it  should   remain  at  its  existing  scale,  which  was  about  three   lanes  in  each  direction,  and  should  not  have  any   increase  in  capacity.  But  it  should  include  a  rail   connection,  between  North  and  South  station,   something  that  rail  advocates  had  w anted  for  a   very  long  time.”  This  second  plan  was  a  radical  one,   and  many  w ere  wary  of  the  potential  risks.   However,  these  two  plans  were  the  foundation  of   what  would  come  to  be  the  Big  Dig.   The  initial  problems  came  with  the  plan  for  the   Central  Artery.  From  the  beginning  many  people   were  skeptical  about  taking  on  the  project.   Compared  to  the  tunnel  project  which  Altshuler   says  “wasn't  going  to  take  any  homes,  or  interfere   with  any  parks,  or  historic  sites,  or  jobs”,  the  plan   for  the  Central  Artery  had  many  flaws  and   unpopular  implications.  “The  depression  o f  the   Central  Artery  was  much  more  complicated.  First,   it  wasn't  clear  where  the  money  would  come  from.   Second,  there  was  great  fear  at  the  time  that  it   would  be  extraordinarily  disruptive,  and  that  the   construction  process  itself  would  be  enormously   disruptive,”  Altshuler  describes.  The  planning  for   the  was  being  treated  more  hypothetically  rather   than  actually  dealing  with  the  issues.   9  The  hesitance  on  the  part  of  politicians  only  came   because  of  the  Central  Artery,  however  as  Altshuler   describes,  simply  dropping  that  part  of  the  plan  


; Bostowned. describes,  simply  dropping  that  part  of  the  plan   was  not  politically  feasible:  “One  of  the  reasons   that  this  project  was  able  to  go  forward  was   because  of  a  very  broad  political  coalition,  in   support  of  it,  and  that  included  environmentalists   …  (If  there  was)  any  attempt  to  scrap  the  Central   Artery  part  of  the  project  and  just  build  the  tunnel   part  of  the  project,  they  would  have  opposed  it   they  would  have  litigated  against  it,  and  they   almost  surely  would  have  prevented  it  from   happening.”  The  plan  for  the  highway  project  was  a   package  deal  simply  because  environmentalists   were  lobbying  hard  for  the  depression  of  the   central  artery.  Should  they  cut  the  ambiguously   costly  and  poorly  drawn  out  part  of  the  plan,  they   would  have  lost  a  large  part  of  their  political   backing  for  the  entire  project.     These  problems  in  the  early  planning  during  the   1970's  were  an  enormous  indicator  of  the  political   division  and  critical  miscalculations  that  w ere   going  to  arise  in  the  future  during  the  official   planning  and  later  on  during  actual  construction.   The  project,  w ould  be  plagued  with  thousands  of   leaks  in  the  tunnels,  resulting  in  a  lot  of   unprecedented  costs.  The  project  also  ended  up   including  a  tunnel  going  through  the  Seaport   district,  “And  that  ended  up  adding  another  billion   and  a  half  dollars  to  the  cost,”  Altshuler  describes,   almost  nonchalantly,  however  he  does  say  that  it   was  the  solution  to  several  problems.  These   problems,  like  most  of  the  others  that  ended  up   inflating  the  costs,  w ere  not  foreseen  and  had  to  be   dealt  w ith  immediately  to  prevent  any  more   inhibitions  in  the  construction  process.     Mr.  Altshuler  then  goes  on  to  describe  how  he   would  often  be  asked  to  debate,  in  classroom   settings,  the  issue  of  the  cost  of  the  Big  Dig  w ith   Fred  Salvucci.  He  states,  “Salvucci  would  talk  about   the  historic  cost  of  the  project,  and  I  w ould  just  say,   'These  costs  are  totally  unbelievable.'  I  didn't  know   how  unbelievable,  but  I  knew  that  the  cost  that   they  had  been  talking  about  did  not  take  a  lot  into   account,  and  was  not  adjusted  every  year  for   inflation.  So  the  cost  being  talked  about  publicly   was  clearly  unrealistic.”  Altshuler  is  essentially   saying  the  public  was  being  misinformed  of  the   escalating  costs  of  the  project  which  w ere  quickly   rising  but  w ere  not  being  closely  kept  track  of.  The   facts  were  being  blatantly  obscured  and  this  was   skewing  the  public  view  of  the  project,  though  it   was  common  knowledge  of  the  amount  of  setbacks   being  experienced.  Local  news  stations  were  not   about  to  let  these  stories  slip  by  unnoticed.  The   Boston  Globe  w as  especially  vocal  about  bringing  

Spring 2012 Boston  Globe  w as  especially  vocal  about  bringing  to   light  updates  and  developments  in  the  construction.   They  aimed  to  keep  the  public  informed  of  the  quickly   rising  costs,  as  well  as  the  ridiculous  unprofessionalism   occurring,  something  Altshuler  interestingly  skirted   around.   With  the  project  d one  and  the  costs  still  rising  due  to   repairs,  the  only  thing  left  to  do  now  is  figure  out  how   to  pay  back  the  money  owed,  and  ask  w as  it  worth  the   disruption  in  traffic,  the  costs  and  even  the  accidental   death  of  a  civilian?  I  asked  Mr.  Altshuler  this  very   question,  and  he  responded,  “First  of  all,  I  think  that  the   disruption  that  you  talk  about  was  vastly  less  than   anyone  imagined  because  there  w ere  new  construction   techniques  discovered  along  the  w ay  and  these  made  it   possible  to  keep  the  elevated  artery  open  during   construction.  Nobody  thought  that  w as  possible  in  the   1970's.”  Altshuler  made  sure  to  get  across  that  the   planning  in  the  70's  was  extremely  different  from  the   final  product.  He  then  goes  on  to  say,  “I  d on't  think  it   was  worth  the  money  it  any  cost  analysis  way  …  I  think   what  you  can  say  fairly  is  that  if  the  politicians  of  the   Commonwealth  had  known  w hat  it  was  going  to  cost  in   terms  o f  state  and  local  dollars,  they  w ould  never  have   allowed  it  to  happen.”  Politicians  assumed  the  project   would  be  almost  entirely  federally  funded,  but  d ue  to   the  major  setbacks,  Congress  w as  discouraged  from   allowing  anymore  federal  money  to  flow  into   Massachusetts  for  the  project.  This  meant  that  the  state   was  going  to  have  to  bear  the  brunt  of  the  cost  with   money  it  didn't  have.     And  what  about  the  woman  driving  to  work  that  was   killed  by  a  concrete  slab  the  fell  from  the  ceiling  of  one   of  the  tunnels?  Altshuler  says,  “It's  true  that  someone   got  killed  in  the  tunnel.  It's  also  true  that  about  35,000   people  each  year  get  killed  in  automobile  accidents  in   the  United  States  and  we  keep  driving.  And  a  few   people  were  killed  in  the  construction  as  well  so  that   was  a  tragedy,  but  I  d on't  think  I  would  evaluate  the   project  on  the  basis  o f  that.”  Altshuler  is  correct  in  that   evaluating  the  project  on  a  single  accident  would  not  be   an  accurate  analysis,  however  it  is  that,  in  conjunction   with  the  billions  of  dollars  over  the  budget  taxpayers   are  now  expected  to  pay,  the  constant  news  of  more   leaks  in  the  tunnels,  the  reports  of  misconduct  among   the  companies  responsible  for  heading  the  project,  and   now  the  news  of  miscalculations  in  the  thawing  of  the   ground  that  most  people  believe  this  project  to  be  one   big  massive  screw-­‐up. 10


4 3 5

; Bostowned. garbage, one yells to her, “How you doin’?” the same way Joey would on Friends. ---------After settling into Emerson College, I decided I wanted to get a job. I am not an extremely well off individual nor a bum on the street – both of my parents went to college and have full time jobs – so I would consider myself middle class. Brian, the ferociously gay man that lives across the hall, agreed to go job hunting with me on Newbury Street. It was a warm October day, the sun shining in our eyes. We made our way across the Boston Commons and the Public Gardens up to Newbury Street. We walked up and down the road, looking for any signs that said “Now Hiring”. We stopped at iParty and a little organic lotions shop and picked up applications, but we weren’t really interested. As we finished our way down Newbury Street, I saw a tiny, pale-toned sign on the far corner of the Banana Republic window. Once I gained the courage to go inside and ask about it, the manager told me the application was online. At this point, I was super excited. Clothes are definitely something that I know about and I have always wanted to have a part time job at a retail store, which was impossible where I am from because the closest mall is an hour away. We walked back to the dorms together and I went into his room to fill out my application. Little did I know, I could apply to many Banana Republic, GAP, and Old Navy stores in the area using the same application. So I

Spring 2012 thought, “Why not? What have I got to lose?” Two weeks later, I had an interview at the GAP at Faneuil Hall and was hired the next day. Faneuil Hall is about 3⁄4 of a mile from my dorm building on Boylston Street so it seems ridiculous for me to spend a half hour’s worth of work to take the T; which will only bring me about half a mile closer to my destination. So I walk. I walk in the rain, in a snowstorm, and in the wind. It doesn’t bother me. And inevitably, every time I walk, there is a group of guys hanging outside Dunkin Donuts or the Beantown Pub. And inevitably, they yell out things like “Nice ass”, “Hey sexy”, or “Oooh boy look at her go.” And inevitably, I will ignore them and pretend I didn’t hear a thing. I’ve always wondered why men do think it is OK to act this way. Do they think it is an effective way to get women? Or are they just looking for some sort of reaction; an acknowledgement to reassure their existence? Or is it a way society has created to circulate self esteem? As a woman, I can only assume that men expect a response, possibly a conversation, that could lead to much, much more than a smile or even a hello.

But, maybe they don’t. Maybe they are just drunk and stupid and looking for a rouse in their night. But it’s hard for me to imagine any woman hearing a catcall and acting upon it. It’s certainly not appealing to me. And I would hope that the type of woman that would act on a catcall is the type of women that is not interested in a long

term affair. And if these men are trying to get a woman, whether it be for a relationship or a onenight stand, why do they think they will achieve that by yelling about parts of the body that women find derogatory and sexist? I will admit, it is a little flattering to hear a random stranger talk about the way I look. However, every time I hear a comment, I wonder how many women that guy has said the same line to in the past hour. It’s as if they stand outside of bars, chain smoking, waiting for women to walk by so they can say, “Look at that ass.” Does he really mean it? Or does he say the same thing to the woman walking twenty feet behind me? Regardless, I think women enjoy the attention. I just can’t comprehend men’s motives because in turn, they never actually receive any gratification. Most women just ignore them. As they continue to yell out derogatory comments, women brand them as sleazy scumbags. I don’t know why they would want that label. I guess I will never truly understand why men act this way. A girl is walking alone up Tremont Street. It is dusk, around 5:30 PM. She wears a long, puffy, ivory, down jacket. There is fur on the hood. It is cold out, so she wears a rainbow striped scarf tightly around her neck. She doesn’t carry any bags in fear of looking vulnerable to predators.

Continued… 11


6 7

; Bostowned.

Spring 2012 a grimy old man commenting on how my ass swayed from side to side. He was a genuinely, nice, clean-cut gentleman, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, complimenting me on a part of my body that didn’t symbolize sex.

She advances toward a group of men. I always get nervous when I approach a group of men. I know that most have good intentions and could care less if they see another stranger walk by, but it just takes that one guy to stuff you into an alleyway and have his way with you.

Before walking through the group, I told myself I was going to ignore anything they said and just keep walking. The moment passed by so quickly I only had a chance to smile. I wish I could have thanked him. I wanted to acknowledge his act of kindness.

She keeps her pace up, head down, and keeps on walking, repeating motivational phrases to herself. As I got closer and closer, my mind began to race. I was trying to calm myself down, repeating to myself, “Nothing’s going to happen. Just keep walking. It’s ok.” I made my way through the group.

After walking to and from Faneuil Hall about four times a week, I got used to the profane catcalling and I got used to ignoring it. That man said something that I will always remember. It wasn’t extremely significant, but it really made me sit and think about the whole catcalling ordeal. He said something nice to me.

She almost passes the group when one of the men speaks to her. STRANGER: You have beautiful eyes. I never expect much when I hear a random man on the street speak to me, but this guy actually said something nice. He wasn’t a poor man holding a cup, trying to make me feel good in exchange for change. He wasn’t

I Hope She Doesn’t Read This Cont… She was probably still mad about the time I stopped thinking, and called her a cunt. It was a wet Saturday day in early April. Tyler, Sydney, Lisa and I were in the back parking lot of a local golf course. We had a bag of synthetic, which is a kind of legal mixture that you can smoke. You spend a few hours on edge, confused, and paranoid. It’s horrible stuff. As we sat in the car, Lisa began to make fun of my girlfriend. It wasn’t hard to do considering she was emotionally unstable and not popular. She had done this in front of me many times before. We all started in the same AP English class senior year, but my ex transferred because Lisa kept messing with her. I

I didn’t know men like this still existed.

only looked at Lisa when she made Julietta break down. But that day in the car was poor timing. Julietta and I had been fighting, and it looked like we were going to break up. Lisa wasn’t the type of person to take these kinds of things into consideration. She kept pushing my buttons, so I snapped. What was left of my mind at that point thought it might sound like a joke: “Lisa... stop being a cunt.” She said it herself all the time, but I guess no one had ever called her that. It was definitely the first time I had ever used it. I thought how smoke always seems to hang heavier in silence. I didn’t bother to look up after I said it. I was as surprised as they were. The car ride back to the Northshire parking lot might have been more awkward if we were sober, either way no one said anything. There was a pause after we parked; I think Sydney and Tyler were waiting

The Big Dig in 2002 and then in 2007. 12


Bostowned.

Spring 2012

for me to say something. I had to get out of there, and I knew that I could say anything that would make a difference, so I said, “Listen, Lisa. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. You’re not a cunt.” I kept talking for awhile, until I told her I knew what I was saying didn’t matter, and then I left. Winter break was the first time we really sat down and talked after that day. We spent two years as past friends, and half a year hating each other. To be cliche, the good times outweighed the bad. I never meant to treat her badly, but I did. I was almost as fucked up as she was. We both had issues and that’s why we got along together. I like to think there was more to it than that, but I don’t know anymore. I use to be able to talk to her better than anyone. She was smart, funny, and damaged. We both never fit. But, she was even more damaged than I was. She had problems that I couldn’t help her with even though I tried. It was Sophomore year when she almost killed herself. I had talked her out of hurting herself the last few weeks, but I didn’t know how bad it actually was. I told a mutual friend a day or two before it happened. A day or two too late. I put myself in that position of responsibility. I should have told her parents, but Lisa said she would never speak to me again if that ever happened. It’s one of the biggest failures of my life. I promised to call Lisa that Friday night, but instead I fell asleep on the couch. I only woke up when my mom walked in to ask if I knew where Lisa was. It was one in the morning and she had been missing for a couple hours. My phone had multiple calls and texts. I didn’t know what to do.

We drove up and down West Road looking for. I tried to listen to the voicemails but they were angry and drunk. I didn’t blame her, but I didn’t have the strength to listen to them until weeks later. My grandmother was the person to find her in the morning. On the verge of hypothermia, she was found in my neighbors back yard. I cried on the street as they took her away. Looking back at what happened, it seems almost impossible to believe that this wasn’t the end of our friendship. I heard rumors that while Lisa was in the hospital she was yelling about how she wanted me and my girlfriend to leave. I wish I could say I had the nerve to see her, but I didn’t. I couldn’t see her after I had failed her. After this happened Lisa had to go to more counseling, and she actually improved a lot. It took awhile before we talked, but eventually things went back to usual. We were so use to using each other for support that it was hard to be apart. Things were different at Bob’s. I actually had self-esteem now, and didn’t hate myself like in highschool. We’re probably almost as damaged as we were in the past, except now we’ve reached a point of maturity where to talk about it would seem juvenile. No one wants to hear someone complain, because very few people have the time to actually listen to someone else. I wanted to listen to Lisa again, and she tried to make it like the past. Her smile felt familiar, but was shorter than it use to be. Yet, the experience wasn’t unpleasant. It felt like we were meeting again as new people.

About the Authors Renee Deschene

Renee is a freshman at Emerson College. She is majoring in Journalism and Marketing Communications. She has a passion for theatre and dance. She is a sister of Alpha Epsilon Phi.

William Ayre

William is a freshman at Emerson College. He is majoring in VMA – Film production. His focus is mainly on postproduction, but he also has a passion for writing.

Erin Chadwick

Erin is a freshman at Emerson College. She is majoring in VMA – Film Production. Her focus is mainly on postproduction and cinematography but she someday hopes to direct.


Bostowned.