Some of you may have been wondering why the last month and a half has been silent here at (T)he Adventure. There are two big reasons why:
1: At the end of June, my wonderful job had a bunch of end of FY12 cuts which included me. They made the decision AFTER I spent $110 on an Inner Express pass. This also leads into…
2: I’ve started grad school which has made wanting to write about my travels a little hard. I’ve been traveling just that putting words to screen has been hard with greater concerns.
That said, the one upside to not working is being able to get content for the future and the huge perk save for the street-running portion of the E branch of the Green Line is Bowdoin, an enigma wrapped in a riddle under the guise of a subway station. Bowdoin is so special, it gets nights and weekends off! It also has a confusing name for non- locals; as a kid I pronounced this “Bow-doin” not knowing about the silent “O”.
If you’re coming from the North, Bowdoin can be a bit of a challenge to find. It’s lone entrance and (T) globe face southbound and are in fact easier to see from outside Government Center one station away. The entrance itself is a brutalist shaft that is easy to mistake from something else given the surroundings on the east side of Cambridge Street. Going underground, save for the CharlieCard machines and the new faregates Bowdoin looks much as it did in the 70’s and even in comparision to Government Center it looks very drab and dated and lacks fun artifacts like the Scollay signs or the PCC/LRV murals.
The actual platform is Bowdoin’s saving grace. A product of a different time, it is an island that from the faregates gets wider in part because a turning loop is right past the station. It also is uneven in terms of length with the inbound side being about 50′ feet shorter than the Outbound side and unable to platform an entire 6 -car train. As a result, this is the one place the “open door” buttons on newer Blue Line trains can be used and with OPTO now standard it might be a good idea to have these be standard from here on out for future Red and Orange Line stock.
Plans are being made to close Bowdoin when Government Center is renovated with a new entrance being built between there and Bowdoin. A byproduct of this would hopefully be an extention under Cambridge Street to a new terminal under Charles/MGH connecting it to the Red Line. Frankly, that would be a better terminal than the current part-time timewarp of tentitiveness. Still, go see Bowdoin while you can!
Rating (1-10): 4
Ridership: I’ve used Bowdoin twice, recently I boarded with five other people (all of whom tourists) and the other time it was three others. Most riders work in the area with a smattering Blue Line riders headed towards the MGH complex.
Pros: The general…uniqueness of the station. And maybe some of the timewarp aspects.
Cons: Why did they just stop here decades ago? They should’ve just tunneled beyond Joy Street (across from the Whole Foods) and have had a Charles superstation ready 80
Nearby and Noteworthy: Calling Bowdoin truly pointless would be an insult to The Red Hat which has been around since the heyday of Bowdoin Square. Everything else is either somewhat closer to Park Street (see The 21st Amendment and 122 Bowdoin Street, where JFK lived before becoming president), Government Center or Charles/MGH. Otherwise, it’s slim pickings outside of the Department of Labor and half their offices are closer to Haymarket.