Tag Archives: picture

Liberty in Balance (+ a tangent about the remarkable story of the old Filene’s, Daniel Burnham, & the Millennium Tower!)

Liberty in Balance
Liberty in Balance: Down with oppressive parking restrictions of any kind!

I saw this at Downtown Crossing amidst the construction going on in the old Burnham building (Filene’s). I guess sometimes, when you’ve got a whole bunch of people living together, compromises must be made…

Anyway, more background on the construction: The Burnham (Filene’s) Building was designed by Daniel Burnham for Filene’s Department Store.  Burnham is the same guy that designed New York’s famous Flatiron building (near which uncouth men used to station themselves in order to watch ladies skirts lifting in the wind that whipped around it, a la Marilyn Monroe).  I haven’t read anything about impolite breezes caused by Burnham’s Boston work, but that is to be expected since Boston is a more genteel city than New York.

Source: Sgeulachdan http://www.flickr.com/photos/shywriter55/161651827 6 June 2006
Source: Sgeulachdan http://www.flickr.com/photos/shywriter55/161651827
6 June 2006

The Filene’s opened in 1913 to enormous crowds, but the building was actually built throughout 1911 and was completed in 1912, the same year that Burnham died.  Some might say Boston finished him off, but I prefer to think that once he’d designed a building in Boston he was able to look back at his life’s work with satisfaction and depart in peace.

Next to the currently-renovating old Burnham building, construction on the new Millennium Tower is slated to break ground on September 17, 2013.  Millennium Tower is going to be the tallest residential building in the city at 625 feet.  The builders, Millennium Partners, claim that it will be the 4th tallest building in Boston!  However, I’ve seen other sources say that it will supplant the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as the city’s 3rd tallest.


“Life Force” by David Bakalar

"Life Force" beside the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
“Life Force II” beside the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

This piece is called “Life Force II” by David Bakalar.  It was made in 1989 and it sits outside the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  David Bakalar himself is a pretty interesting guy.  His permanent outdoor sculptures are in cities around the country.  His background is in physics; he earned a B.S. and an M.S. in physics from Harvard in the late 40’s and a Sc. D. in physical metallurgy from M.I.T. in 1951.  After he completed his education, he ran a tech company (Transitron Electronic) making transistors for over 30 years.  Alas, Transitron folded in 1986, when it was unable to keep up with the advances in semiconductor technology which, for a transistor company, wasn’t cool.

Life Force 2


Bakalar actually has 7 sculptures titled with some version of “life force” scattered around the country at various universities and institutions.  It makes some sense that he would find the theme so alluring given that the artist spent a life and career on the cutting edge of innovation only to be undone by a new innovation in the field.

Bakalar didn’t begin his career as a sculptor until after Transitron folded.  I guess running a tech company requires a bit of one’s attention.  Either way, I like this sculpture.  So here’s a toast to maintaining a vibrant life force by allowing each end to prompt a new and beautiful beginning.Life Force 3


Seriously. We’ve got to figure out what’s going on with the robots.

This picture seems like a threat against the arms of all robotkind.
This picture seems like a threat against the arms of all robotkind.

In Brighton, outside a liquor store on N. Beacon St., this painting of a disarmed robot stands as either a threat to any robots who would take up arms against their human overlords or a call to arms by an underground robotic uprising guerilla group.  Previously, I had posited that a squashed robot in a crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue might be a failed alien invasion, but I think this eliminates that possibility. Continue reading Seriously. We’ve got to figure out what’s going on with the robots.

Who’s Squashing All of Boston’s Robots?

Boston's Squashed Robot: Memorial, Warning, Failed Invasion?
Boston’s Squashed Robot: Protest, Memorial, Failed Invasion?

I was crossing Atlantic Ave. today and saw something weird.  There’s a very squashed robot in the crosswalk.  But I don’t know why.  I have several theories. Continue reading Who’s Squashing All of Boston’s Robots?

City Nature: Bunny!!!

Bunny in the City
Bunny in the City

We saw this little fella in the park near our apartment and discovered that it is most likely either a New England Cottontail Rabbit or an Eastern Cottontail Rabbit.  According to this article in livescience.com, the New England Cottontail has recently been moving closer and closer to the endangered species list as it is outcompeted by the Eastern Cottontails that were introduced for hunting.  Of course, it’s always lovely to see creatures out and about and I certainly hope that this little guy is a true New Englander and not just an Eastern transplant like me, but it’s also sad to learn of a species in decline.