Amidst laundromats and auto-glass garages of east-side JP, you’ll find more than just that dead-of-winter house party, to which a roommate once dragged me despite fierce reluctance to the promise of stale beer; there’s also a cemetery.
MBTA: Bus #s 42, 22, 29, 44 & 48. Stony Brook & Green Street stations/Orange Line.
A tiny bakery on the corner of Washington and Green, Canto 6 is run by pierced kids with a "no bathroom use" policy. The cashier offers soft-humored bail banter as he sends me across the street to the police station to use their toilette. When I return from that weird experience, he makes me a cold ginger lime ricky, and I order an almond cocoa nib shortbread—both portable, and for only three bucks. [3346 Washington St. 617.983.8688]
Forest Hills Cemetery
To escape the chaos of urban toil, take a shaded stroll through Forest Hills Cemetery and search for the headstones of Anne Sexton and E.E. Cummings. Miles and miles of walking; there’s really nothing like a little solitude with the deceased. I could have written a poem about the quiet I experienced there, but I chose not to. [95 Forest Hills Ave. 617.524.0128. [[http://foresthillscemetery.com/|foresthillscemetery.com]]]
Skippy "we sell gospel" White’s is truly run by an affable dude named Skippy White, who happened to be helping a customer locate the Soul Train theme song recording when I ambled in. I wouldn’t call myself a church jams fan, but I do like Ray Charles (Skip’s fave), and a selection of blues records for under $10. Also a great place if you collect oddball cassettes that no one’s listened to since 1982. [1971 Columbus Ave. 617.524.4500]
A proprietor emerges from the small sea of checkered tablecloths under whirring ceiling fans. "Who are you to take a picture of this place?" I tell him that I’m trying to let the people know about the bomb Dominican dollar menu. But because of our spoiled relationship, I can’t stay to have the delicious-looking tostones or platanos, avocado salad, or a malt bevvie, peach juice or Tamarind soda. [3160 Washington St. 617.522.7410]
An independent and academic peace lies over the open rooms in 826 Boston. Since this is a nonprofit writing tutoring center, I feel the camaraderie of my people and begin to compose these article blurbs as openings to novels. I briefly conjure great publishing projects to do with middle schoolers, and chat up the nice lady at the front desk. I could totally work here, especially when Dave Eggers hangs around. [3035 Washington St. 617.442.5400. [[http://826boston.org/|826boston.org]]]
Finally up into the big-girl stool in F.J. Doyle’s Pub & Braddock Cafe, a charming train station of a bar. The place is three echoing rooms deep and is full of whale-sized booths. There’s WWII propaganda and a clipper ship mural behind Keith, the bar manager, who is enormously kind and buys me a Sam Adams Brick Red. Look at me, hanging out with the "after-work" crowd. [3484 Washington St. 617.524.2345. [[http://www.doylescafeboston.com/|doylescafeboston.com]]]