Post-‘Boston Calling,’ the City Still Stands

Thank goodness Boston's first attempt at fun was a success.


Photo credit: Jason Schwartz

I checked the papers: the city is still here. We had a rock show on City Hall Plaza—a two day rock show!—and there was no rioting, no chaos, and from what I could tell, really just minimal littering. I haven’t even seen any reports of Beacon Hill residents being kept up past their bedtime. There were rumors of some rumbling in the Granary and King’s Chapel Burying Ground, but, despite their best efforts, none of our forefathers actually made it all the way up out of their graves.

Having fun is not exactly something that always comes naturally here in Boston. So it is, frankly, a relief that the Boston Calling Music Festival went off so well this weekend, even with less than ideal weather. Getting into the festival was easy, lines were never a problem (at least so far as I saw), and everything ran smoothly and on time. The music, of course, was great, but probably the biggest surprise was City Hall Plaza. Most days of the year, it’s an awful space—more windswept brick tundra than the gathering place its designers must have envisioned. (These were the same people who thought building City Hall as an inverted Aztec cement pyramid was a great idea, so … yeah.) After all, prior to this weekend, the plaza’s most memorable musical moment was Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft dancing:

As it turns out, though, having a giant barren open space in the middle of the city is great for concerts. One of my friends put it this way: “It’s like they found the perfect use for a useless space.” Granted, the acoustics weren’t the best, but that’s nitpicking. Anyone who finds a decent use for City Hall Plaza, even if just a few days a year, deserves a medal. Which, I suppose, means that Mayor Menino—who, unfortunately, is due for more surgery this week—deserves some credit here too. You would be justified in wondering why it took so long for something like this to happen, but hey, at least it finally did. And really, I’m just way too tickled by this picture Hizzona posted to Twitter to criticize him today. He looks like the Galactic Emperor staring out over his minions or something.

My initial reaction to hearing that the festival organizers are planning a Boston Calling part two for September was that it was too soon to be doing this again—that it’s better off as an annual event. But what the hell, I’m all for two more days of good use for City Hall Plaza. We’ve got years of fun to catch up on.