|Looking west from the BU Bridge at dusk, 4 July 2013.|
In 1976, the Bicentennial was a huge deal. As it should have been.
I was in Fort Smith at my grandparents' house. We'd had a sort of family reunion and all the kith and kin had assembled for a big visit.
That night, us boys were going to go out and hustle girls; I remember the girl's name I was interested in, Cheryl -- she had zero interest in me.
But before that great washout, I remember seeing a televised event from Boston. Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops orchestra at a bandshell overlooking the Charles River. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever were stirring, and I remember an aerial shot of boats on the Charles near the concert site and an unbelievable fireworks display.
It was very... American.
Last night I thought of all those things as we ventured out to get a view of the amazing spectacle. Storrow, which runs immediately adjacent to the concert venue, the Hatch Shell, was closed in either direction. I don't know if this is SOP or just something implemented since the Marathon attacks. Memorial Drive was closed, too, as was the Mass Ave. bridge. That bridge would be the best place to watch, but we knew unless we wanted to camp out for several hours, that was going to be a nonstarter.
So we opted to try and get on the BU Bridge just a bit further upstream. Our plan was to snag parking on Comm Ave and walk to the bridge.
It worked perfectly. There was plenty of parking after 8 p.m. and the bridge was a few minutes' walk. Once there, the east side was crowded but we could have managed. The West side was wide open and we had our pick of spots. Perfect.
Throw in a nice breeze and it was an inspired choice. Beginner's luck.
The only drawback was not being able to hear the music, but as for a vantage point, it couldn't have been much better. In future years, if we do this again, this is a good spot.