Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Melange

Here's a picture of the United First Parish Church of Quincy, the "Church of the Presidents," taken from the sidewalk in front of the Old Burial Ground. It doesn't have the delicacy of churches in Europe made from marble or sandstone. It looks like the granite it's made from.

In the comments, tjl mentions the long tradition of quarrying granite in Quincy. It's over now, the quarrying, but every once in a while my firefighter cousin has to fish dead swimmer's bodies or abandoned cars out of the defunct and flooded granite quarries.

There are other notable things about Quincy, too. One of the first, if not the first railway in the country was built to take Quincy granite to Boston. The first Dunkin' Donuts is there, too, which is much more essential to my worldview than any stone quarry. My father recalls that Dunkin' Donuts was a fellow with a canteen cart selling coffee to workers at the Quincy shipyard. He decided to make donuts and sell them too.

The shipyard is a parking lot now. Dunkin' Donuts is a multinational corporation. Such is life.

The statue of Abigail Adams is dappled by the big shade tree you see on the left in the picture. It a busy corner. If you look right instead, this is what you see:

Quincy has just the right amount of bustle for an urbanish place. The critical mass required to host ne'er do wells isn't there, and everyone looks like they have something legal to do and somewhere to go when they pass you by. I didn't lock the car when I got out to snap the pictures. Quincy was a Yankee place, and then a sort of Irish place, and now has a decided Southeast Asian vibe present as well. When you call the local hospital, you can press one for Mandarin Chinese, for instance. There are a fairly large population of Vietnamese here now. There's a substantial middle class African-American contingent here too.

In short, it's what everybody's always jawing about, and never quite getting around to trying: a safe, salubrious, interesting --but not too interesting-- place for the average person to live and work.

I bet Abigail would like that.

In the comments, where I find all sorts of unwarranted praise, I've discovered two other people talking about this topic. Here's Stubborn Facts riffing on our little corner of Quincy. All the words are spelled correctly, and they do not appear to be agitating for the repeal of universal suffrage, and I suspect they are kind to children and dogs and listen politely while their mothers speak to them, so why not give them a look? What could be the harm?

Also, commenter Jack seems to be enamored of this little corner of Quincy as much as I am. I clicked on his name and followed it back, and look: he's writing about it over here. Jack claims to be the same age as me in his bio, but I know it's not possible to get that smart that fast, so be on the lookout for any tall stories over there.

We wrote about the effects of anti-sprawl legislation, and the cognitive dissonance between trying to micromanage growth joined to the hip with a distaste for uniformity, and how it shakes out in those sprawly suburbs. Our friends over the formidable Ann Althouse's blog visited and opined in the comments here, and there. Well, we not only know everything, here at the Sippican Cottage, we predict it in advance.

Here's what Sippican said:

Because the thing they are trying to achieve isn't allowed, and you can't plan that which must arise spontaneously.My neighbor builds dock platforms in a barn and in his yard. I hear him banging away over there occasionally, or the sizzle of a welder. At night, I hear the coyotes ranging through the woods; but I also hear the pumps in the not-too-distant cranberry bogs. My neighbor grows herbs for sale to restaurants and a small local clientele. We're too spread out to comprise any sort of village, but the mixed use part is there, if imperfectly.Someday, somemone will complain about all that stuff, and zoning laws will be enforced, and the NIMBYs will triumph; and this place, where people say 24/7 they don't want sprawl, will have nothing but.Because they won't allow anything else to happen.

And here's the news story from today, from a few hours west of here in the Hartford Courant:

Town Gives Teen's Worm Business The Hook

It's useful when the world proves you right, in just the right measure, right away, so you can put down the burden of walking around with unrequited correctness and get on with your life immediately.


Janet said...

The first Dunkin' Donuts is there, too, which is much more essential to my worldview than any stone quarry.

Thanks for the belly laugh!

Who knows, I might even link to you in a post someday. In the meanwhile, you'll just have to make do with a permanent mention in the sidebar. ;o)

SippicanCottage said...

Hey Janet- If I remember correctly it should be a Tim Horton's fetish you should be indulging.

I'm incredibly lazy, but you and xwl will show up in my blogroll some day, I imagine.

The idea that there might eventually be enough sites to require alphabetical editing terrifies me.