Top of the Hub.

After a leisurely extended weekend back in New Jersey visiting with family and friends, I had planned a quiet Sunday at home. Reading. Television. Netflix. Cleaning my apartment. Grocery shopping. More reading. More television. Repeat. I managed to relax until 11:00 am, when my wanderlust got the better of me. Despite having just driven 700 miles between Wednesday and Saturday, I was in the mood to hit the road again and see what else New England has to show me. This time, it was to an observation deck 50 stories above the ground with a commanding view of Boston and its surroundings. Add in a visit to an old “home,” a gorgeous library, and a perfect summer day, and we had the making of a wonderful adventure.

Completed in 1964, the Prudential Tower is one of two major skyscrapers in Boston. The 77th tallest skyscraper in the United States, the Prudential Tower (or the “Pru,” as the locals would say) is located in the Back Bay neighborhood. Located on the 50th floor of the Pru, the Skywalk Observatory offers a 360-degree panorama of Boston. A restaurant on the 52nd floor, Top of the Hub, gives you the same view while you eat gourmet cuisine. “The Hub” is one of Boston’s nicknames, given to it by poet, doctor, and Harvard professor Oliver Wendell Holmes, who called Boston “the hub of the solar system.”

Map of Boston. A pin is in the Prudential Tower, in the Back Bay neighborhood.
No rest for the weary! After driving to New Jersey and back, on Sunday I headed to Boston yet again.
View of traffic and the Boston skyline from the driver's seat of a car.
For once, traffic wasn’t so bad. And after driving back to Boston through gloomy weather yesterday, I appreciated the bright blue sky.
2012 Honda Accord coupe in underground parking garage.
DH, parked in an underground lot, far, far away from other cars. When people ask me why I park in the distant corners of lots, I like to tell them I’m “getting my steps in.” I keep the real reason to myself: I am doing my best to keep my car free of door dings and scratches. To each his/her/their own.
Boston Public Garden pond.
On the way to the Prudential Tower, I ambled through Boston Public Garden once again.
Interior of Church of the Covenant.
On my way to the Pru, I saw that Newbury Street was closed for traffic. For three days this summer, Newbury Street is pedestrian-only, turning this bustling street of shops, restaurants, and residences into an open-air market. As I was walking down Newbury, I stopped by the Church of the Covenant, a joint denomination of the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ. Church of the Covenant was my “church home” when I was in college and graduate school. Long a strong advocate for equality and justice, Church of the Covenant was one of the first churches to openly embrace LGBT members. That mission continues to this day: a large banner outside the church welcomes immigrants and refugees.
Stained glass window in Church of the Covenant.
A National Historic Landmark, Church of the Covenant features 42 windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The chandelier (in the previous photo) was designed by Tiffany for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Nighttime view of the Boston skyline.
From a previous nighttime excursion through Boston, the Prudential Tower is the skyscraper to the right of the image. The tower in the center of the Photo is 200 Clarendon Street (previously it was named the John Hancock Tower, which is how many people still refer to the building). The Charles River is in the foreground. I was not able to grab a skyline shot today, so hopefully this nighttime photo is not too jarring.
View looking upward at the Prudential Tower, from the base.
For someone who is scared of heights, a lot of my blog adventures sure do involve high places. The Prudential Tower is surrounded by other office buildings, hotels, and a large shopping mall.
Elevator view display panel indicating the 50th floor.
A small booth in the Prudential Mall sells tickets to the Skywalk Observatory. This express elevator takes you from ground level to the 50th floor in just about 15 seconds. Due to the change in altitude, my ears popped twice on the way up.
Panorama of the Skywalk Observatory.
I was surprised at how few people were in the observatory when I arrived. I was able to take this panorama of the corner where the north and west walls meet.
Binoculars mounted in the observatory.
Each side of the observatory has a viewing machines to allow you to look further into the distance.
Museum exhibit in the observatory.
A series of interactive exhibits tell the story of how the city of Boston came to be, and focuses greatly on the culture of immigration that has sustained the city’s growth.
Eastern view from the observatory. The Hancock Tower is in the middle of the image.
View facing east. The Hancock Tower is in the center of the image.
Southeastern view. Boston Harbor is in the distance.
The southeastern view. You can see Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay in the distance.
Western view.
View to the west. The large road in the center of the image is the Massachusetts Turnpike. Fenway Park is to the left of the Turnpike. If you look closely to the right of the pike, you will see the Citgo sign, which marks the beginning of my alma mater, Boston University. The Charles River is to the right of that, and far in the distance on the right is Harvard University.
Northern view. The Charles River is in the middle of the image.
The northern view. Directly past the Charles River is the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Northeast view. The Charles River is in the center of the image.
The northeast view. If you follow the Charles River to the east, you will eventually connect to Boston Harbor.
Southern view. A series of apartment buildings and businesses dominate the view.
The southern view, toward the Back Bay neighborhoods. If you look closely at the building at the bottom right, you will see a rooftop pool. An honest appraisal: I probably will never be wealthy enough to have a rooftop pool. But it is fun to dream.
Boston Public Library McKim building.
After leaving the Prudential, I stopped by the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library. Built in 1895 and modeled closely after a 15th century palace in Rome, the McKim Building is home to Boston Public Library’s research collection.
Interior of the Boston Public Library.
As with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the interior of the Boston Public Library makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to Europe.
View of the entrance to Boston Public Library.
At the top of the main stairs in the library.
Statues of lions at the mid-point of the main staircase.
These two lions that guard the stairs were given in honor of the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a unit that fought during the Civil War.
Bates Hall reading room.
Bates Hall, the main reading room of Boston Public Library.
The Abbey Room. Murals are on the walls. Tables with tablecloths are in the foreground.
Despite the Abbey Room being readied for a function this evening, I snuck in to grab a photo. The murals that run the length of the room, installed in 1902, tell the story of Sir Galahad’s quest for the Holy Grail.
Sargent Gallery on the 3rd Floor. Murals adorn the walls.
The Sargent Gallery on the third floor. The mural on the walls, Triumph of Religion, tells of the history of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity.

 

Copley Square. The Hancock Tower dominates the view.
Exiting the library onto Copley Square. The 200 Clarendon Street (the Hancock) towers over the other buildings. The church to the left of the Hancock is Trinity Church, an Episcopalian church that is a National Historic Landmark as well.
Washington statue in Boston Public Gardens.
Walking back to my car, and passing through Boston Public Gardens once again. The statue is of President George Washington.
View of odometer on Honda Accord- it reads 87701.
Several days of driving, and 88,000 is already fast approaching. DH continues to happily rolls on for mile after mile.

The Skywalk Observatory is open year-round, typically from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm. An adult ticket is $17, children ages 3-12 are $11, seniors 62+ are $13, students with ID are $13, and toddlers can enter for free. Active duty personnel can enter for free, and owing to my membership in a professional organization for my job, I also paid nothing to tour the Skywalk today. Boston Public Library is free to enter and is open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Friday and Saturday, and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Sunday. For only the price of parking, I was able to tour two amazing sites and spend a beautiful day in the city. If you are in Boston for the first time, the Skywalk Observatory is a great way to orient yourself to the city. Boston Public Library is an amazing building, and worthy of a visit. Thanks for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Top of the Hub.

  1. These places really do exist? That library…Bates Hall in particular… catches my eye. The architecture, colors, and magnitude are astounding. And I love that you used the word “ambled” as I have not seen it used in a long time, nor have I ever used it in my vocabulary. But I shall today! Thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

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