If you're in a relationship, Valentine's Day is reasonably okay — as greeting-card-company-manufactured holidays go. But what about when you're not currently involved? And in this economy? The hearts-and-flowers overload is enough to make you want to throw yourself off the Tobin Bridge, which our research has determined is the 11th least romantic place in Greater Boston. As it is, the Hub isn't exactly Paris when it comes to romantic nooks. But it does have plenty of options for lonely, dismal, alienating places around town, where you can sulk to your heart's content and wallow in misery — and maybe even pick up a great hot dog. (Don't worry: on that last point, it's not as if your nonexistent partner is going to complain about your brat-breath.) Herewith, the 10 least romantic places in Boston.
10.THE FORMER FILENE'S BASEMENT (Downtown Crossing) What's a better metaphor for the empty feeling at the heart of the lonely-hearts club this time of year than a once-promising, ginormous sinkhole, now overrun with vermin and lacking hope for the future?
9.BOSTON FLOWER EXCHANGE (540 Albany Street, South End) There's a place in Boston replete with delicate blossoms, where the scents of roses, lilies, and jasmine fill the air . . . and you can't get in unless you're a professional florist. Stand outside the barbed-wire fence, stare at the parking lot, and think about the futility of love.
8.WARREN ANATOMICAL MUSEUM (10 Shattuck Street, Longwood Medical Area) Imagine, you and your paramour could have been forever conjoined like the Siamese-twin fetus skeleton here. Nothin' says lovin' like a collection of "unusual anatomical and pathological specimens." (Likewise, nothin' says lovin' like "Longwood Medical Area.")
7.BABIES "R" US (12 Mystic View Road, Everett) Picture your life overrun with plastic landfill-stuffers — Car seats! High chairs! — bought at a mega-chain-store strip mall next to Route 16. Um, better to just end the engagement right now.
6.ALHODA MARKET (114 Blackstone Street, Haymarket) Tired of losing your heart on the metaphorical meat market? Visit a real meat market and buy yourself a new heart (perhaps a chicken's) for Valentine's Day. Or maybe just settle for one of the sheep's heads in the window.
5.THE URBAN DESERT OF PARKING LOTS ON NORTHERN AVENUE (South Boston) T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" may not have been written explicitly about this pedestrian-hostile parking purgatory, but he did describe it pretty accurately, nonetheless: " . . . where the sun beats/And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,/And the dry stone no sound of water."
4.THE PARK STREET T STOP ELEVATOR (Boston Common) This is the elevatorial equivalent of bad dive-bar-hook-up sex. It's hard to find, smells like urine and cheap booze, takes forever, and you're kind of hoping that nobody sees you there.
3.BOSTON SPEED DOG (42 Newmarket Square, Roxbury) Even a partner in the most rock-solid of relationships would be pushing the envelope by suggesting a date to a hot-dog truck in a parking lot. Good thing you're not in a relationship, pal! You can drown your sorrows (and make yourself unkissable) with one of the most delicious dogs on the planet. But don't go for the atmosphere.
2.GENERAL HOOKER ENTRANCE AT THE STATE HOUSE (Beacon Hill) Hey, we all know lobbying is a problem in state government, but isn't there a classier way to acknowledge it?
1.CITY HALL PLAZA (Government Center) In 1962, the City of Boston demolished 50 Scollay Square, the land of tattoos, greasy food, and the Old Howard theater, Boston's most notorious venue for strippers. In place of Boston's decrepit, vibrant Skid Row, ready to satisfy all your animal lusts, we now have . . . City Hall Plaza, the Fortress Round Your Heart. As B.B. King once sang, "The thrill is gone."