Jacob Passy | A Bit Off
The park less traveled
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 01:10
With all of the work that comes up around this time of year for students, it’s easy to get caught in a daze. You stop noticing the posters and chalk everywhere on campus or even the places you haven’t been to in Davis Square.
After all, I know the feeling well. I have my blinders up almost 24/7 unless it’s a person or place that I want to see, and chances are, my mind is lost in my reading for History of Consumption or in my practice problems for the upcoming GREs.
To briefly reiterate my frustration: it kind of sucks to be senior.
One day, I found myself pacing listlessly at the mouth of the Davis Square T station — where should I go, what should I do? Well, I decided to hell with it all, I’ll take a walk in that park behind the T station. And what an eye opening walk that was — both literally and figuratively.
Most Jumbos only know of this park from brief glimpses as we step into the T station. But that’s just the problem. We’re in such a rush to get wherever it is we’re going once we step off the Joey that we lose sight of these things. For college students, life is less like a box of chocolates and more like a term paper — we want to know what we’re in for from the very start.
It turns out that the green space has a name other than “that park behind the Davis Square T station.” In fact, it’s called the Alewife Linear Park — or the Cambridge Linear Park when you leave the loving arms of Somerville. Its history speaks to two of Boston’s best attributes: the public transit system and the love of urban green spaces.
If the park has always seemed out of place to you, I assure you that you’re not crazy. It looks that way because, well, it kind of is that way. The park was created after the MBTA finished the reworking of the Red Line connection between Davis and Alewife, which ultimately moved the T underground. Therefore, whenever you are walking alone the not−so−winding paths within the narrow park, you are actually walking directly above the T.
In total, Alewife Linear Park stretches for two miles of relatively uninterrupted walking trails. Here and there, you’ll find a street — so keep on the lookout. But once you get past those streets, you’ll discover it can only be described as urban serenity.
You’re far enough from any major thoroughfare to hear the screeching of brakes and sounds of the city. But the houses that line the park remind you that you’re not so far from civilization. It’s a feeling I only feel in a handful of locations, namely New York City’s Central Park. In places like these I can feel like I’m away from it all, without actually venturing that far.
For those looking for a less introspective and philosophical experience, Alewife Linear Park will also serve you well. This time of year the paths are filled with gorgeous red and orange leaves. Because it connects to the Minuteman Bikeway, you’ll find plenty of people biking, rollerblading and jogging through the park.
I should caution that the park is one that should really be enjoyed in the light of day. The fog that can creep down on it at night is downright eerie. Nevertheless, walking through this park offers a wonderful break. But honestly, I’ll go back because it presents the perfect opportunity to refocus, so that other little treasures like this one don’t go missed.
Jacob Passy is a senior majoring in international relations. He can be reached at Jacob.Passy@tufts.edu.