Boston lives after 2 am. It’s just a different city, more of a landscape than a community. The play of the lights, the empty streets, the solitary walkers and small groups of wanderers create an almost abstract feel, like something out of a David Lynch movie without the tone-setting soundtrack. The subway slumbers. The traffic lights change for ghosts.
Harvard Ave., 2:21 AM
On Thursday night, September 7, at the start of the first fall-season weekend, we sent out three reporters and three photographers to chronicle the night. Mike Miliard and photographer Mark Thompson did the Mass Ave crawl in Cambridge. Camille Dodero and lensman Matt Teuten worked downtown. And Will Spitz and Jimmey LeBlanc handled Allston/Brighton. What they found were three freshmen on their first city crawl, a stressed out Kosovo refugee on a Fulbright Fellowship at Harvard, a guy from Argentina who lamented the Blue Laws, a car accident, and a street cleaner who refuses to handle suicide scenes. That, and a whole lot of public urination.
2 AM–3 AM
2:04 It’s the first Thirsty Thursday of the school year, and Allston is buzzing with blitzed students and other late-night revelers. Walking down Glenville Avenue toward Harvard Avenue, there are open containers galore — people sitting on stoops and walking down the car-less street slugging from red Solo cups and beer cans.
2:07 Harvard Avenue between Commonwealth and Brighton — the heart of Allston — is an absolute frenzy of inebriates jumping on things, jumping on each other, shouting, running, and stumbling, both on the sidewalk and in the middle of the street. A guy motions in the direction of Redneck’s BBQ. “The pizza shop’s still open,” he slurs to no one in particular. “They got the best pizza, I’ll tell you that.” Outside International Pizza & Sub, a couple drunkenly make out while a friend snaps photos. A guy helps his half-conscious buddy down the street as a female friend trails behind. “He’s okay,” she assures us. “He’s actually getting married in two days.”
2:10 A dude in a David Ortiz T-shirt pisses on the side of Blanchard’s Liquors. I’m approached by a kid who asks, “You got any weed?” Sorry, man. “Where can we get some shit? I’m from out of town.”
2:16 Around the corner on Brighton Avenue, outside the Kells, sluttishly dressed chicks flip out at the sight of a camera. “Take a picture of meeee!” “Oooh, get us posing!” “Wait, one more!” A guy urges a cleavage-baring girl wearing a sombrero and a purple Miller Lite bead necklace — distressingly seated at the wheel of a car — to “take a breast out for the camera.” She doesn’t.
2:21 Walking back toward Harvard Avenue, as a girl yells ahead to her friends, “You go — I gotta find a place to pee,” we see the flashing lights of an ambulance and a fire truck. A woman is getting taken away on a stretcher as a group of worried-looking people watch. A guy who identifies himself as a witness gives us the lowdown: “A green Jetta clipped her and just kept going. It was probably going about 15, 20. A group of guys chased after it. She hit the hood, windshield, and bah-boom — on the pavement. The guy was hammered, 100 percent. She’s conscious but shaken up hard. She’ll be all right.”