– Ethan Weil
We began our first (and only) full day in Boston with an early wake-up and a quick breakfast at the hotel. After a short drive, we arrived at our first stop, Walden Pond. The first thing that struck me as we walked past the pond was how calm and peaceful the surroundings were. It was refreshing to be in nature after recently experiencing the hustle and bustle of New York.
We eventually sat by the water and had a discussion about Henry David Thoreau and Transcendentalism. We passed around a list of several of Thoreau’s notable quotes that we read and discussed. I had heard of Thoreau before starting this trip, but like most of the group, I’ve never read his works. Simply being at Walden Pond and listening to an excerpt of Thoreau’s “Walden” was an incredible experience that really helped me understand where his beliefs stemmed from.
From Walden, we headed to Harvard Square in Cambridge. We were given time to explore the square and eat lunch.
After Harvard Square, we got back on the bus and drove into downtown Boston to meet with Steve Schnapp from United for a Fair Economy. Schnapp and his organization work to educate the public about the reality of income inequality in America. Our group has already discussed this issue in several cities, most recently in Zuccotti Park, when talking about Occupy Wall Street. This meeting was entirely different-for the first time, we were shown statistics that detail how the top 1% of people in America possess about 40% of all wealth. I knew income inequality was a key issue in our nation, but it was shocking to see how much money could be put to better use for the working class. Because our group is mainly drawn from the upper middle class, the presentation opened our eyes to the effects of income inequality. We will hear an opposing view on Friday when we meet with the Heritage Foundation.
Immediately after our meeting, we walked along the Freedom Trail and talked about historical landmarks from the colonial era, including the spot where the Boston Massacre took place.
We ended our walk at Faneuil Hall, where we stopped to get dinner. After dinner, we walked through Little Italy to get desserts from Mike’s Pastry. On the way, we stopped at Boston’s Holocaust memorial, which was right past Faneuil. We discussed how Faneuil Hall represents democracy and freedom, and only when our backs are turned on democracy, horrible events like the Holocaust can occur. One of our locals, Jen, explained how the memorial was built to us.
After a long day, Mike’s was the perfect way to end our time in Boston.