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PAX East Bible

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Posts

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Considering the North End is now equal parts Italian, Brazilian and drunk college kids it's mostly now gone the way of NY's Little Italy. If you want to go there don't go somewhere without a good recommendation or you'll be paying for some doctored up Ragu. Personally, I prefer Erbaluce and Sorellina and don't feel like being in the North End is a prereq for good Italian in Boston.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I've lived in Cambridge/Boston for a few months now, there's good advice in this thread. I think I can add some stuff though.
    The T is a pretty good system for the most part. I know lots of people hate it, but it's better than where I came from (Cleveland) where there's no subway.

    As for other advice, I saw somebody recommend a weekly T pass. I'd definitely agree, it's a much better deal than a daily pass. You can buy one at any subway station, it's pretty easy. If you're only going to be using the T a little bit, then check to see if Charlie Cards are still free. I'm not sure if they are, or if you have to pay now, but they're much better than the Charlie Ticket (that's what they call it, it's pretty dumb). It's cheaper, reusable, and you can just tap your wallet to the receptor, since it's RFID.

    On the topic of food that's going around. Honestly, if you can't find good food in Boston, you're having some serious problems. North End is usually towards the expensive side, but I'm sure there you could find recommendations or just look on Yelp. Cambridge has Davis Square and Porter Square, which are packed with delicious fooderies. I actually haven't been to Central Square yet, but I assume it's similar. Try not to go to a chain restaurant, Boston's actually done quite well at keeping local businesses alive. I don't know if it will stay that way forever, but there's lots of great non-chain food throughout the Greater Boston area. Also, ice cream. New England consumes some giant percentage of the world's ice cream. There's so much great stuff in the Boston area, and no crappy Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbin's in sight. Popular spots are Toscanini's near MIT, JP Licks throughout Boston, and Lizzie's in Harvard Square. I was about to recommend Herrell's in Harvard as well, but apparently that location is closing. I believe there is at least one other in the Boston area though.

    And if you're driving, I wish you luck. It gets pretty decent once you get used to it, but you won't get used to it in 3 days. I'd recommend a GPS, but mine has been simply wrong on more than one occasion (said to go left where it wasn't allowed, stuff like that). The streets are, as somebody else said, plowed cow paths. Sometimes the matter is made worse by traffic signals that make no sense and so on. There's also lots of one-way roads and rotaries/roundabouts. But on the bright side, if you can find your way to Massachusetts Avenue, you can probably find wherever you need to go.

    There's lots to do, but you'll probably be busy with PAX. But there's tons of touristy things to do and less touristy things to do.

    If you have a problem or get lost, you can usually ask somebody. I find Bostonians tend to be quite nice until they get into a car. Then there's issues, but hopefully you won't have to worry about that.

    And at least you won't be here during baseball season. Getting on a Green Line train when there's a Sox game usually involves being packed in like sardines.

    Kalgaroo on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited September 2009
    Kalgaroo wrote: »
    I've lived in Cambridge/Boston for a few months now, there's good advice in this thread. I think I can add some stuff though.
    The T is a pretty good system for the most part. I know lots of people hate it, but it's better than where I came from (Cleveland) where there's no subway.

    The RTA is crap that thinks it's great. It's even worse now that they cut some of the busses and reduced how often they run.

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    The only reason I ever used the RTA was going from one end to Tower City for baseball games when the Indians were any good. So it's been awhile.

    Kalgaroo on
  • _Pax__Pax_ Registered User
    edited September 2009
    devoir wrote: »
    Basic things that you should be aware of that are different between the US and other countries (particularly Australia, from a selfish point of view!). How does tipping work?
    That is actually a VERY good question for any international traveller to ask.

    The answer (forgive me if it's been provided already) is: in the United States, some form of gratuity is expected for almost all direct, personal service - especially in restaurants and bars / pubs / etc, but you should also expect to offer a tip to taxicab drivers, bellhops, or other people who give you direct, personal service.

    For a meal, the "going rate" is generally between 15% and 20% of your total bill. I know that may seem like a lot, but the way salaries work here in the U.S., your waiter or waitress relies on those tips to make ends meet; serves in restaurants and bars can be paid as little as $1 or $2 an hour for their base salary. If they don't get tipped, not only do they not get paid ... in some establishments, they'll actually LOSE money (because they are expected to tip the kitchen staff and/or busboy, in turn).

    And if you expect to eat somewhere more than once, you do NOT want a reputation as someone who doesn't leave a tip.

    Many establishments will add a mandatory tip for large parties - generally, the line is at 5 or 6 people. This is because, statistically, it's the large groups that're most likely to omit a gratuity (even among we natives). For example, in Disney World ... any dinner party of 6 or more, automatically has an 18% gratuity added to their bill.

    As a general rule when travelling ... If you're not sure whether or not to tip? Do so; you'll ofend fewer people, and even make a few EXTRA people happy.

    On the other hand, if the service is truly BAD ... do not hesitate to speak to a manager (especially for large parties). Politely explain why you do not wish to offer a gratuity; most restaurant managers will be very understanding, if your complaints are reasonable and presented calmly.

    _Pax_ on
  • devoirdevoir Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Thanks for that, _Pax_. I'll try and keep it in mind. It should definitely go into whatever compiled guide we end up having.

    devoir on
  • _Pax__Pax_ Registered User
    edited September 2009
    devoir wrote: »
    Thanks for that, _Pax_. I'll try and keep it in mind. It should definitely go into whatever compiled guide we end up having.

    My pleasure, and here's what I was about to edit in, nwo that I've read the rest of the thread. Hopefully it's not TOO disjointed, but I'm a bit short on sleep right now ...



    Kalgaroo wrote: »
    On the topic of food that's going around.
    Also there're places like Faneuil Hall, that have a good, wide selection of food types within and in the surrounding area. Plus, shopping, especially if you feel an urge to go tourist-trap-souvenir-hunting.

    For non-locals? No, I can't tell you the right pronunciation of "Faneuil". None of us locals can even agree on which one is "right"! :mrgreen: But if you pronounce it "Fannel" - somewhat like "flannel" - most folks will know where you mean.

    You can get to Faneuil Hall via the Green Line (subway), getting off at Government Center; it's a short walk from there (maybe ... 150 yards / meters?) There're some other sights in the immediate area, too - the Holocaust Memorial (a perennial stop for me and my lady-love), the New England Aquarium, several historic sites tied to the American Revolution, and so on. :)

    ...

    For those willing to try driving around for food (and equipped, I sincerely hope, with GPS navigation), and struck by 3am hunger ... any "IHOP" (International House of Pancakes) or "Denny's" should be open pretty much 24/7. You may have to drive a bit to find one, though.
    And if you're driving, I wish you luck.
    For semi-locals - those close enough to commute to/from Boston each day - I strongly recommend driving in only far enough to get onto the T. From the north and west, Alewife Station, the REd Line terminus, offers free day-long parking in a multilevel garage, and once you're in the T system, it's just a matter of knowing what stop you want on what line, and figuring out where to change from one to the next.

    Speaking of which ... the website for the MBTA offers some good, comprehensive maps. You can view them HERE. The Hynes Convention Center is on the D branch of the Green Line ... the stop is, conveniently, Hynes Convention Center (just "Hynes" on the MBTA maps, sometimes).
    And at least you won't be here during baseball season. Getting on a Green Line train when there's a Sox game usually involves being packed in like sardines.
    ... no, it means being packed in so bad, you ENVY sardines. :)


    ...
    And there have yet to be problems with cosplay at AB and the city of Boston. Walking through an airport with wires sticking out of your shirt would be a stupid idea. Just don't be stupid and you'll be fine.
    One caveat to this: if your costume includes obvious weaponry, there are some pertinent laws you may want to not run afoul of, even walking down a public street FAR from the airport.

    If a fake gun looks like it might NOT be fake - that is to say, it's not OBVIOUSLY a toy or nonfunctional firearm - you will attract polie attention, and they may just take it away from you. So ... put it in a bag, and tape the bag securely shut.

    Bladed weapons over a certain very short length, which are sharpened on both sides/edges? Extremely verboten. If your toy/prop has an actual edge, or even just LOOKS like it does? Put it in a bag, and tape the bag securely shut.

    Better safe, than sorry.

    ...

    NON-PAX SIGHTS TO SEE:

    I highly recommend the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for any art-geek types. If you arrive ahead of the convention's start, in fact ... Wednesday Evenings tend to be free, after ~4pm or 5pm local time, for General Admission. (Well, "donation optional" if you can afford it). They have some great exhibits, and often something or other on special exhibit (which would still cost extra). They're accessible via the T, too.

    The aforementioned Faneuil Hall is also a good place to stop by, if you want to pick up some Boston-specific souvenirs.

    The New England Aquarium offers whale watches during the right season, but I'm not sure how soon that opens up. Might be worth looking into ...



    SirCuddlez wrote: »
    Taking the T from the Airport

    I imagine this will be useful to more than a few people. The T doesn't have a direct stop at the airport (unless you count the silver line but I'll skip over that), instead you have to take a shuttle to the stop. Once you collect your baggage from claim go outside and stand near the the marked bus areas (there will usually be signs on the pillars or something like that). Look for a shuttle that has either "All Stops" or that has "MBTA Airport Stop" on it. It will take you to the blue line "Airport" stop. From there you want to take the train in the Bowdoin station direction (inbound I believe). For most paxer's you'll get off at government center and transfer to the green line up to Hynes Convention Center (or Prudential if you're on the E line is close too). Here's some links that can explain it better than I can

    Yes.

    Shuttle from Logan to the Blue Line, at the "Airport" stop. INBOUND train four stops to Government Center.

    Change to the GREEN line. And may god have mercy upon your soul for having to figure out Government Center ... ask directions, trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of grief. Gov't Center is the worst, most confusing stop in the whole system. You will be looking for a train that is marked (D) RIVERSIDE.

    The Hynes Convention Center is located at, conveniently enough, teh Hynes Convention Center stop. Fifth stop out of Gov't Center.

    _Pax_ on
  • dardordardor Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _Pax_ wrote: »
    SirCuddlez wrote: »
    Taking the T from the Airport

    I imagine this will be useful to more than a few people. The T doesn't have a direct stop at the airport (unless you count the silver line but I'll skip over that), instead you have to take a shuttle to the stop. Once you collect your baggage from claim go outside and stand near the the marked bus areas (there will usually be signs on the pillars or something like that). Look for a shuttle that has either "All Stops" or that has "MBTA Airport Stop" on it. It will take you to the blue line "Airport" stop. From there you want to take the train in the Bowdoin station direction (inbound I believe). For most paxer's you'll get off at government center and transfer to the green line up to Hynes Convention Center (or Prudential if you're on the E line is close too). Here's some links that can explain it better than I can

    Yes.

    Shuttle from Logan to the Blue Line, at the "Airport" stop. INBOUND train four stops to Government Center.

    Change to the GREEN line. And may god have mercy upon your soul for having to figure out Government Center ... ask directions, trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of grief. Gov't Center is the worst, most confusing stop in the whole system. You will be looking for a train that is marked (D) RIVERSIDE.

    The Hynes Convention Center is located at, conveniently enough, teh Hynes Convention Center stop. Fifth stop out of Gov't Center.

    Can't stress the ask directions bit more than enough. My first time stepping out of Logan Airport I got so lost (usually I drive to Boston). If anything, the airport personnel/shuttle drivers are really friendly. Let me know exactly where I needed to go, even told me when it was my stop to get off. The T wasn't a problem as I'm used to subway systems, and once again, people are usually willing to point you in the right direction. There are always less than friendly people no matter where you go. If you are really hesitant/shy, look for someone that looks like a student ;) Shouldn't be hard, you are in the vicinity of MIT, Harvard, BU, BC, etc. after all.

    dardor on
    I'll take a potato chip and eat it!
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _Pax_ wrote: »
    Yes.

    Shuttle from Logan to the Blue Line, at the "Airport" stop. INBOUND train four stops to Government Center.

    Change to the GREEN line. And may god have mercy upon your soul for having to figure out Government Center ... ask directions, trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of grief. Gov't Center is the worst, most confusing stop in the whole system. You will be looking for a train that is marked (D) RIVERSIDE.

    The Hynes Convention Center is located at, conveniently enough, teh Hynes Convention Center stop. Fifth stop out of Gov't Center.

    You go upstairs, stand by the sign that says BCDE and where they go and get on any outbound green line train because they (BCD) go to Hynes (which is actually isn't in the Con Center, you have to hang a left when you get out of the station bc you'll be on the Mass Ave bridge and take a left down Boylston St) or the Pru on E (which is in the same building as the Con Center, you get off and head up the escalators and take the first right across from the bookstore and follow that curve to the Hynes entrance). Govt center is pretty easy, one floor blue one floor green.



    Also, every T garage charges for parking. The MBTA website will tell you how much, but most are cash only.



    And the closest Denny's is over 20 miles out of the city and not all of our IHOPs are 24/7 so call ahead or check hours.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    If anyone is really that worried about getting lost driving or taking the T we could probably mobilize some of us who live in the city to meet you when you arrive at the airport/train station/I 90 to serve as mini guides. We could probably also get you Charlie Cards instead of tickets (you save a quarter a trip and it's easier to tap rather than insert and you don't even have to take the card out of your wallet to use or load it) and things like that.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited September 2009
    Pictures or Google street view links would be helpful, as well. Also directions from the Boston Back Bay Amtrak station as well.

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Back Bay is easy (Amtrak, COmmuter rail and Orange Line), exit on Dartmouth Street and make a right, follow that down a block or so to Copley, make a left and walk past Exeter St, Ring Rd, and the Prudential Center and the Hynes will be on your left, you'll pass the big Apple Store on your right.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • inkedcatsinkedcats Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I actually went to Boston a couple weeks before PAX, so from an out of towner's perspective, who hadn't been to Boston since being a fledgling geekling:
    - the Theater district is pretty aces in terms of location (I stayed at the Radisson and it was wonderful - the staff is great, the proximity to the T is fantastic)
    - The T is really not that complicated, and yes you should get a week pass vs going by day. Also yes, Gov't station is a bit WTFery, but read the signs carefully and you should be fine. Also don't panic, if you realize you're headed the wrong way, it's entirely easy to correct. In two days of heavy T use, I managed to head the wrong way only once (strangely enough, the Red Line).
    - Because the T is that handy, you don't have to walk much if you don't want to or your swag bag is too loaded. You should walk about anyway some.
    - foodwise Legal Sea Foods is not that bad! Yeah. I know, chain. Good for a speedy dinner.
    - The Arboretum is cool and super easy to get to if you like that sort of thing, not sure how the weather would be in March for tromping about outside much.
    - I do recommend the Aquarium if you've time for it.

    inkedcats on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The theatre district is kind of ghetto though and there have been several shootings at clubs there so don't go at night for a stroll.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Driving in Boston is incredibly simple, especially in the Back Bay where the Hynes is since that area is on a grid system and partially alphabetized. Also between 93, 95, 90, 1, 3, and 9 it's really easy to get to Boston. On weekends there are lots of cheap places to park like South Station and 1 Intl. Place (cheap like $5 cheap). The commuter rail blows a big one and never runs on time so I wouldn't count on that for anything. For the more adventurous the Fung Wah is quick, cheap and dirty.

    The North End is vastly overrated so be careful with where you eat be careful where you go because most are just tourist traps, oh, and Regina sucks. If you want to pay way too much for a crappy slice form a dirty pizza joint because it's "Bostonian" you can but now you've been warned.

    I disagree with essentially every thing in this post. The Back Bay isn't alphabetized (Arlington, Berkley, Clarendon etc doesn't count), is only partially on a grid, and its driving once you get into the city that is pointless, inefficient, expensive and if you don't know where you're going (which you won't unless you're from here) frustrating as hell. Most of the Back Bay is one-way streets, and telling a bunch of people who have never been there (and likely aren't used to urban driving in the first place) that driving there is simple is not a good idea.

    There is no parking at South Station. One International Place has parking but is certainly not $5 and is often not available depending on whats going on that w/e and its about 2 miles away from the convention center. If they can find their way to the Common about a mile away, and there's space they can park for the weekend for $20 but again there's no point. Could you drive? Yes one wouldn't burst into flame. Is it a good idea? Hell no.

    The commuter rail is rarely not on time but since there's not going to be a whole lot of people unfamiliar with Boston coming in from Fitchburg I don't really see the point of mentioning that. And the Fung Wah only goes to NYC and unlike the commuter rail its never on time, and often breaks down.

    The North End is also great as long as you're not going into a dive just off Causeway or something. Its considered some of the best Italian food in the country for a reason.

    PantsB on
    11793-1.png
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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    PantsB wrote: »
    Driving in Boston is incredibly simple, especially in the Back Bay where the Hynes is since that area is on a grid system and partially alphabetized. Also between 93, 95, 90, 1, 3, and 9 it's really easy to get to Boston. On weekends there are lots of cheap places to park like South Station and 1 Intl. Place (cheap like $5 cheap). The commuter rail blows a big one and never runs on time so I wouldn't count on that for anything. For the more adventurous the Fung Wah is quick, cheap and dirty.

    The North End is vastly overrated so be careful with where you eat be careful where you go because most are just tourist traps, oh, and Regina sucks. If you want to pay way too much for a crappy slice form a dirty pizza joint because it's "Bostonian" you can but now you've been warned.

    I disagree with essentially every thing in this post. The Back Bay isn't alphabetized (Arlington, Berkley, Clarendon etc doesn't count), is only partially on a grid, and its driving once you get into the city that is pointless, inefficient, expensive and if you don't know where you're going (which you won't unless you're from here) frustrating as hell. Most of the Back Bay is one-way streets, and telling a bunch of people who have never been there (and likely aren't used to urban driving in the first place) that driving there is simple is not a good idea.

    There is no parking at South Station. One International Place has parking but is certainly not $5 and is often not available depending on whats going on that w/e and its about 2 miles away from the convention center. If they can find their way to the Common about a mile away, and there's space they can park for the weekend for $20 but again there's no point. Could you drive? Yes one wouldn't burst into flame. Is it a good idea? Hell no.

    The commuter rail is rarely not on time but since there's not going to be a whole lot of people unfamiliar with Boston coming in from Fitchburg I don't really see the point of mentioning that. And the Fung Wah only goes to NYC and unlike the commuter rail its never on time, and often breaks down.

    The North End is also great as long as you're not going into a dive just off Causeway or something. Its considered some of the best Italian food in the country for a reason.

    There is a garage at South Station, I park there for $6 when I take the Fung Wah to NY on weekends. So unless I'm parking in an invisible garage there is one. Parking is that cheap on weekends, it's where we used to send people to when I worked at the NEAQ because parking next to the NEAQ is ridiculous. Unless the marathon is coming through you'll be able to park there just fine, I've done it enough to know. It's not hard to drive especially since between Comm, Boylston, Memorial and Sturrow you can get anywhere. Telling people not to drive because it's hard and scary and crazy is stupid. If you want to drive into this you should and you shouldn't be worried about how totally difficult it's going to be because you haven't lived here for 5 years because Boston is apparently one big wacky city.

    Also, the Common is a straight shot up Boylston to the Hynes, if they can't find their way walking in a straight line they have bigger issues to worry about.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • undeadundead Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I do apologize if this was already posted.
    As a veteran of all the other conventions in the Boston area, there are a few things here that visitors should be aware of:

    1. The weather. Pax is in March. To relate, let's just say it's not, I say again, not unusual to see snow in April. You may want to take this into account when picking outfits to wear.
    2. Unlike another major convention in the area, where PAX runs in March, the Red Sox should not be playing at Fenway. They play a major part in getting to the convention or around the city when they are in town as the trains are filled and wait is hours to get onto one.
    3. Unlike the rest of the known world, the streets here are not in a grid patern. Walking is bad and driving can be impossible unless you know exactly what lane you are supposed to be in. Study your maps and please, for those on the convention committee, if you would be so kind as post directions on the site, it would help a lot, I'm sure.
    4. The MBTA maps are about to get a makeover. Remember, the colored lines are subways (except silver with is a bus line) and the grey lines are major bus routs. It really isn't that difficult to get around if you take the time and study the map. One thing you do have to remember, though: the way the subway tells you which way it's going is by saying if it's going into or out of town (meaning Boston). This can be a problem as it means the same train will go into and out of town on the same trip. Know the maps, and the Hynes is on the green line.
    5. Remember, the last subway trains are usually around 12:30 (I'm not exactly sure of this but it's between midnight and 12:30). Also, this is not a 24-hour town. Most of the city shuts down at 7pm. The area the Hynes is in may have stuff open until 2am, but in most cases nothing is open past 2am.
    6. It's expensive here. Yes, you can get deals on food at the supermarket (there is one connected to the mall via the walkway), but resturants can be expensive. Plan a budget and stick with it.
    7. I say this due to something that happened at another convention in the area. The rules for weapons here are considered by many from out of state to be draconion. Also, if your costume is showing any naughty parts (I don't think this a problem at a gaming con but I've been to other cons where it would be), don't wear it. If you are stopped by the police on your way to the convention, please stop and answer their questions, less you spend the convention in jail rather than at the convention.
    8. If you would like to attend a smaller convention to get a feel for how conventions may work, there are 4 leading up to PAX in the Boston/Cambridge area. The major gaming convention in this area is in Mansfield, also taking place before PAX. There's also a smaller gaming con that runs in Worcester before PAX.
    9. That brings up the final post. Traffic is legendary here. If I'm going to that major gaming con, I have to leave 4 hours ahead of time to get there for 1:30 (never mind that the convention is only 30 minutes outside of Boston). If you're driving, better to play it safe to leave and arrive early than not take the traffic into consideration and get to the con late. Note that not all traffic jams are as long as 4 hours but some have lasted longer.

    I've been on con 101 panels as I've heard many a horror story about people that did something they shouldn't of or spent too much money and couldn't get home. Plan things out before you get to the convention and stick to that plan and you'll have more fun than you would otherwise.

    undead on
    As I am, so shall ye be.

    Yahoo group GCIACST
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    undead wrote: »
    5. Remember, the last subway trains are usually around 12:30 (I'm not exactly sure of this but it's between midnight and 12:30). Also, this is not a 24-hour town. Most of the city shuts down at 7pm. The area the Hynes is in may have stuff open until 2am, but in most cases nothing is open past 2am.

    Some of the stations have the time posted there, I know Govt Center does and I think Kenmore does as well. Cabs aren't too bad and if you split one they're pretty affordable. The most I've ever paid is $20 give or take (including tip) from Downtown to Allston and that's a good ride.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    PantsB wrote: »
    Driving in Boston is incredibly simple, especially in the Back Bay where the Hynes is since that area is on a grid system and partially alphabetized. Also between 93, 95, 90, 1, 3, and 9 it's really easy to get to Boston. On weekends there are lots of cheap places to park like South Station and 1 Intl. Place (cheap like $5 cheap). The commuter rail blows a big one and never runs on time so I wouldn't count on that for anything. For the more adventurous the Fung Wah is quick, cheap and dirty.

    The North End is vastly overrated so be careful with where you eat be careful where you go because most are just tourist traps, oh, and Regina sucks. If you want to pay way too much for a crappy slice form a dirty pizza joint because it's "Bostonian" you can but now you've been warned.

    I disagree with essentially every thing in this post. The Back Bay isn't alphabetized (Arlington, Berkley, Clarendon etc doesn't count), is only partially on a grid, and its driving once you get into the city that is pointless, inefficient, expensive and if you don't know where you're going (which you won't unless you're from here) frustrating as hell. Most of the Back Bay is one-way streets, and telling a bunch of people who have never been there (and likely aren't used to urban driving in the first place) that driving there is simple is not a good idea.

    There is no parking at South Station. One International Place has parking but is certainly not $5 and is often not available depending on whats going on that w/e and its about 2 miles away from the convention center. If they can find their way to the Common about a mile away, and there's space they can park for the weekend for $20 but again there's no point. Could you drive? Yes one wouldn't burst into flame. Is it a good idea? Hell no.

    The commuter rail is rarely not on time but since there's not going to be a whole lot of people unfamiliar with Boston coming in from Fitchburg I don't really see the point of mentioning that. And the Fung Wah only goes to NYC and unlike the commuter rail its never on time, and often breaks down.

    The North End is also great as long as you're not going into a dive just off Causeway or something. Its considered some of the best Italian food in the country for a reason.

    There is a garage at South Station, I park there for $6 when I take the Fung Wah to NY on weekends. So unless I'm parking in an invisible garage there is one. Parking is that cheap on weekends, it's where we used to send people to when I worked at the NEAQ because parking next to the NEAQ is ridiculous. Unless the marathon is coming through you'll be able to park there just fine, I've done it enough to know. It's not hard to drive especially since between Comm, Boylston, Memorial and Sturrow you can get anywhere. Telling people not to drive because it's hard and scary and crazy is stupid. If you want to drive into this you should and you shouldn't be worried about how totally difficult it's going to be because you haven't lived here for 5 years because Boston is apparently one big wacky city.

    Also, the Common is a straight shot up Boylston to the Hynes, if they can't find their way walking in a straight line they have bigger issues to worry about.

    There's no South Station garage. There's garages near South Station, but no garages run by the MBTA, any of the bus companies or officially affiliated with South Station.

    And you aren't thinking this through. Yes, if they know Boston well enough to know where everything is and how to get there driving in Boston is manageable. I've lived in town or within 10 miles of town my entire life. I've worked three blocks from South Station, gone to school in town and drive into town about once a week.

    I've also brought many people around town from other places and its confusing as fuck for them. You can say "its a straight line from the Common to Hynes" and you're pretty much right if you mean the Gardens and not the Common. Its also irrelevant if they don't know how to get to the Gardens or what Boylston is. And if they try to drive from the Common onto Boylston they might have a couple issues. Unless you think knowing which streets are one way and which ones become one way and which ones take you over to Cambridge should be a prerequisite for attending PAX East, its just going to get people lost and frustrated.

    Without someone to who knows the city, it makes no sense to drive inside the city unless you have to. Its far better to take a train into South Station, jump on the Red Line for 2 stops to Park, and walk from Park or transfer to the Green or take a plane in from Logan go Blue Line to Government Center and transfer to the Green. Not only is that more simple and cheaper than driving in and parking for 2-3 days but its directions that apply to everyone instead of telling people to find parking in the city whose streets don't make sense to most people and then telling them to walk to the convention center when they don't know where the convention center is (and might not even know where they are)

    PantsB on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The Garden is across the street from the Common, you still walk in a straight line if you want the pretty view or you can walk on Boylston right to the convention center, again, still ridiculously easy.

    The one way streets are pretty much every other street which is pretty common in a lot of cities and isn't exactly overwhelming. Maybe I just give these people more credit than you but it's not hard to get from any of Boston's major roads to where the Convention Center is. Especially if you get these magic things called directions.

    Also, while the garage is privately owned it's still attached to South Station. You take the elevator from the parking lot on the roof to the bus station directly.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I've created a very rough, first version of a google map of POIs, hotels, etc. I only marked the nearest bar and restaurant to the convention center, but there's plenty of others you can see for yourself. Here's the link:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=112278009920016738797.000474562d1d6dd96e54b&z=17

    Goose! on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Goose! wrote: »
    I've created a very rough, first version of a google map of POIs, hotels, etc. I only marked the nearest bar and restaurant to the convention center, but there's plenty of others you can see for yourself. Here's the link:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=112278009920016738797.000474562d1d6dd96e54b&z=17

    There's a Shaw's/Star Market on the corner of Ring and Huntington that I believe is 24 hours and they have a hot food and salad bar that isn't bad. Also, Huntington at that spot is where the Duck Tour boats line up.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Oh dang, maybe we should do a Duck tour!

    Usagi on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    If we get enough people we can get our own boat. And usually request a driver. Sven and Hardley are the best.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I've updated to add that plus a couple of other lodging options (Hostel, Eliot Hotel)

    Goose! on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It'd be roughly 1,000 after tip and taxes for our own duck boat and it'd seat 36, so it's be about $28 a person. We can also arrange for pick up and drop off at a different location than the Museum of Sci or Pru. If we get enough interest in this we'd want to book at least a month out.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited September 2009
    You should suggest this for the PAX East Magical Mystery Tour.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    That would be so much fun, a whole Duckfull of PAers - and even better if we could get Khoo or G&T to participate. We'll bring it up at the planning meeting of planning for sure.

    Usagi on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    They let passengers drive on the river, I'd love to get a pic of Khoo driving one of these.


    Oh wow, I'm looking on the site and it doesn't look like Sven is there anymore. Bummer, he was a riot. The Japanese women would go nuts over this 6' 4" man in his 60s wearing a fur skirt.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited September 2009
    I don't know if they would show up, as there's a lot of stuff for them to do during the week leading up to PAX.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    _Pax_ wrote: »
    And if you're driving, I wish you luck.
    For semi-locals - those close enough to commute to/from Boston each day - I strongly recommend driving in only far enough to get onto the T. From the north and west, Alewife Station, the REd Line terminus, offers free day-long parking in a multilevel garage, and once you're in the T system, it's just a matter of knowing what stop you want on what line, and figuring out where to change from one to the next.

    Speaking of which ... the website for the MBTA offers some good, comprehensive maps. You can view them HERE. The Hynes Convention Center is on the D branch of the Green Line ... the stop is, conveniently, Hynes Convention Center (just "Hynes" on the MBTA maps, sometimes).

    Small correction here, parking at Alewife is not free. It costs $7 to park all day, cash only. I should note, that's not a bad price for the Boston area by any means. You'll 100% without a doubt be paying more to park downtown.

    And on that note, you should check to make sure a place accepts credit cards before planning to use one. You probably don't need to ask at a chain, but some local places either don't accept them, or require you to spend a certain amount to use one. I'm not sure how common that is throughout the country, but I've noticed it here much more than other places. Again, probably because there's less chains here than elsewhere.

    I also second Faneuil Hall. I always pronounce it like Nathaniel (but with "F" instead of "Nath," obviously), but that or "Fannel" or something should be fine. Lots of good, cheaper food (but remember to check for credit cards), and some really talented street performers. There is a lot of skill there, and they all work for tips. Stay and watch a show or two if you have the time, they're really pretty great.

    This is what I usually do when I take people around Boston:
    Take Red Line to Park Street. Get out at the park and show them around the Public Gardens/Swan Boats/Boston Common. If they want to see the Cheers bar, I'll take them, even though it's kind of heresy. Quick note on that, you really don't need to go inside unless you want some Cheers swag or something, the outside steps are really all you need. Right outside of there, they have a map of the "Cheers tour," which takes you from that Cheers bar, to the other one in Faneiul Hall. The other one is completely irrelevant, don't bother. But it is a handy map that will take you from there, past/through some of Boston's historical buildings and landmarks, and over to Faneiul Hall. From there, you're very close to the waterfront and aquarium and stuff. Sometimes they have little concerts over near the waterfront too. And you'll be near where they dock whale watching tours. As somebody else suggested, those are pretty cool if they're out. They'll take you out to the ocean and...you'll see whales. It's neat. I'm not sure if they'll have them yet in March, since that could very well by quite cold and the ride is kind of cold in the summer as-is.

    Kalgaroo on
  • YoshipantsYoshipants Registered User
    edited September 2009
    More Suggestions of Non-PAX Things To Do In Boston:

    If it does end up snowing while you're here, go for a walk around Beacon Hill. Jesus christ, gas-lit lamps lighting up snow-covered cobblestone streets lined with pretty houses? You cannot go wrong.

    Take a walk across the Harvard or Longfellow (the bridge the Red Line goes over) bridge over to Cambridge, preferably as the sun is setting (or rising, depending on where the day takes you). So very pretty. Though it might be cold and windy and hellish in March; I didn't get here till this May, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Stroll along the Esplanade, which is the pathway along the Charles on the Boston side.

    I echo the suggestion to hit the Museum of Fine Arts! I managed to spend at least four hours there a few months ago and only covered the Asian/Egyptian wings. Must Go Back, and soon. Any locals want to come with me? :) (seriously, I'm looking for people to hang out with.) The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is also interesting, if only for the gorgeous courtyard. The collection is ok, if you're into hodgepodges of collected artwork.

    I would totally take a Duck Tour with you guys!! Count me (and my husband) in if it happens!

    And in response to Vision's statement that we might be able to organize guides to get people from the airport or other places to destinations, I would be willing to volunteer my time. Let me know what's needed!

    Yoshipants on
  • Trisha LynnTrisha Lynn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    2nd Commandment: Any person who says they're from New York, Connecticut, or Montreal gets shot in the dick.

    4th Commandment: What is it, your period? You also will get shot in the dick.

    What if you're female, on your period, and from New York?

    Note: I am a Cookie Brigadeer. Do you really want to shoot me in my metaphorical dick?

    As for Boston, I was there in July and stayed at the Sheraton (I think) near the Prudential Center. It. Was. Awesome. The junior king suites have a fold-out couch in the second room and there are two huge plasma screen TVs, one in the "living room" and the other in the bedroom. The bathroom was tiny, though.

    I'll second the ease of walkability in and around Boston because a friend and I walked all the way to the park near "that Cheers bar" and back and it was lovely. The whole area itself reminded me of Soho in that there were all these great-looking restaurants and shops and the like.

    I also like the T for getting around--but since I live in NYC, I will always pooh-pooh it because it's not open 24-hours like ours is.

    I like the idea of doing a DUCK tour again because those things are just frickin' rad. However, I don't think I'd be able to get into Boston early enough for it because I have a demanding day job. Being able to take a 2 days off just so I can take the PAX East train in would be worrisome enough for my boss.

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  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Yoshipants wrote: »
    I echo the suggestion to hit the Museum of Fine Arts! I managed to spend at least four hours there a few months ago and only covered the Asian/Egyptian wings. Must Go Back, and soon. Any locals want to come with me? :) (seriously, I'm looking for people to hang out with.) The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is also interesting, if only for the gorgeous courtyard. The collection is ok, if you're into hodgepodges of collected artwork.

    I would totally take a Duck Tour with you guys!! Count me (and my husband) in if it happens!

    And in response to Vision's statement that we might be able to organize guides to get people from the airport or other places to destinations, I would be willing to volunteer my time. Let me know what's needed!

    I'd go to the MFA or whatever. I'm only here through October, but that's a month. I'm serious too. I don't know too many people here, since I've only been here a few months.

    Kalgaroo on
  • Mr P NutMr P Nut Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Have ready this through, and there is a great amount of awesome information here. I do have a question.

    My group and I are in southern Maine, and we know that driving and parking in Boston is a total pain in the ass. So we have decided to take the Nor'easter down. And we are looking a the Hilton Back Bay (member of the group is an employee of Hilton), what would be the best (most efficient, time and cost, wise to get us from North Station to Back Bay?

    Mr P Nut on
  • shugaraeshugarae Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    nerve wrote: »
    This is kind of a supply list question so I'll ask here. East coasters may get a kick out of it..

    So from what I was able to find the average temp in march is 40° and whether or not its sunny or rainy is random. Down here in SoCal 40° is like lower than the average temp you will encounter on the ski slopes. What kind of clothing am I going to really need out there ?

    I skimmed over the rest of this thread, and I don't think I saw a concrete answer on this...

    Here in AZ, the end of March is usually around 80-85 degrees, and people are getting ready to start using their swimming pools again.

    I have a various assortment of lightweight sweatshirts and a ski jacket that I haven't used in years. Will I need the ski jacket, or will a sweatshirt be enough?

    What about footwear? I have many pairs of sandles and a single pair of lightweight (mostly mesh for ventilation) running shoes... I'm guessing the sandles are out, but will the running shoes + socks be ok?

    shugarae on
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  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    The Orange Line goes directly between North Station and Back Bay. That's probably what I would do.

    EDIT: You didn't see a concrete answer, because we can't give you one yet. That time of year in the Northeast is unpredictable. Could be light jacket weather, could be snowing. We'll have to wait and see a bit. Definitely no swimming pool weather though.
    As for footwear, socks plus the running shoes will probably be okay. If you're one of those types that loves sandals, it'll be safe as long as there's no snow on the ground, but there could be.

    Kalgaroo on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited September 2009
    Um, you should bring whatever winterwear you have.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • KalgarooKalgaroo Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Oh yeah, I just thought of something worth mentioning. Boston uses British pronunciations of cities, so they're really weird and not what you expect. For instance:

    Peabody. Like the dog from Rocky and Bullwinkle, right? Nope, it's pronounced Pea-buhddy.
    Worcester is pronounced Wooster.
    Gloucester is pronounced Glouster.
    Woburn is pronounced Wooburn.

    It's probably not something you'll care about too much since those places are fairly out of the way, but something to keep in mind so you don't sound like a tourist.

    Kalgaroo on
  • _Pax__Pax_ Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Kalgaroo wrote: »
    Worcester is pronounced Wooster.

    ... you just reminded me of something: the Higgins Armory Museum.

    It is in Worcester, which is in the dead middle of the state - someting like a 90 minute drive from Boston, maybe more. Each way. So no, it's not close to where PAX will be held. And it can be a downright PITA to find, too.

    But if you're a swords-and-knights geek, a fantasy RP geek, a history buff, or just plain like swords, axes, armor, flails, and so on ... that museum is an absolute MUST SEE attraction.

    Just follow the link, keep inmind that what's on the site is only the barest tip of the iceberg ... and you'll see why I say that.

    _Pax_ on
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