Tag Archives: Boston Guy

Temptation Tuesday

Past Temptation Tuesday Posts

Men in kilts

I have to admire his matching shorts.

Previous Men in Kilts Posts

Monday morning mancandy

If this is what the guys in the office looked like, I’d be counting down the days ’til the office reopens. 

Boston neighborhood profile: Back Bay

View of Back Bay and the Charles River from Cambridge

If you’ve visited Boston, you’ve probably spent time in the Back Bay. It is a centrally located, afluent neighborhood with some of Boston’s most iconic buildings, busiest streets, best restaurants, bars and shops. It is chock-full of office buildings, hotels, retailers, restaurants and of course residents.

In the late 1850s the Back Bay was built from reclaimed land from the Charles River basin to accommodate the city’s growth so this is one part of town that won’t be on the Freedom Trail but it has plenty of history. The neighborhood was built for Boston’s well-to-do families who were looking for more space. Unlike older neighborhoods, this was built on a grid with intersecting streets running north to south in alphabetical order (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon Street, etc…). The massive landfill was completed by 1900 and wealthy families flocked to these new Victorian brownstones like The Gibson House, The Ames Mansion, and The Ayer Mansion to name a few.

Boston Public Library McKim Building

About The Back Bay: Back Bay is one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods in America and while it is home to nearly 20,000 residents, it really serves as a commercial center, as well as a playground for tourists, day-visitors and residents from all over the city. Residences dominate the streets closest to the Charles River and Esplanade (Beacon Street, Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue). Shopping and dining options take center stage on Newbury and Boylston Streets and as you move further south larger, commercial buildings designated for hotels and office space dominate the skyline along St. James Avenue, Stuart Street and Huntington Avenue.

When you visit the Back Bay, leave your car behind, because parking is scarce and expensive. The neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, but if you don’t want to walk the MBTA’s Green Line runs down Boylston Street with three stops in the neighborhood (Arlington, Copley and Hynes) and the Orange Line Back Bay Station is across from the Copley Mall. While many books and movies use the Back Bay as a backdrop, Boston’s Back Bay in the Victorian Era is worth reading to learn about the neighborhood’s history, the people who helped build it and the many prominent familes who moved here in the mid- and late-1800s.

Boston Public Garden

What to do in the Back Bay: If you like architecture, you’ll love the Back Bay. The neighborhood has many churches built in the late 1800s (e.g., Christian Science Church, Trinity Church, and Arlington Street Church to name a few). These aren’t on the scale of Europe’s most famous cathedrals but they do enhance the streetscape and are beautiful. However, my favorite building is the Boston Public Library (a.k.a. the BPL). I love the original McKim building (1895) and the “new” addition that opened in 1972 as well as the many rooms inside but my favorite part of the library is the Italianate courtyard. It is a wonderful place to relax and grab a coffee.

However, I think the most photographed building in the Back Bay is probably I.M. Pei’s Hancock Tower built in the 1970s. It’s mirror reflection of the original Hancock Building (now the Berkeley Building) captures the spirit of Boston; modern, bold and forward thinking but proud and mindful of its past. Pei intentionally designed the Hancock Tower to reflect the (original) 1947 beaux arts Hancock building, ensuring we remember and learn from our history. If his design and architecture looks familiar it is because Pei would go on to become one of the most admired architects of the late 20th century. He would famously go on to create the glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris.

The Back Bay has some of the city’s most beautiful parks. The homes lining Commonwealth Avenue look out onto the Commonwealth Mall, which is decorated with sculptures on each block and framed by large elm trees. I think it’s most beautiful in the summer and in December when the trees are full of tiny white lights. It is also the narrowest part of Boston’s chain of parks referred to as the Emerald Necklace. From the Mall, you can stroll up to the Public Garden, which is the oldest part of the Back Bay and where the marshland was first filled. It is the nation’s oldest public garden and dates back to 1837. Then there is my favorite park in the city, The Esplanade, which stretches beyond the Back Bay and has paths for walking, jogging and biking. There is always something happening here and it is an idyllic setting for a jog, a picnic with friends or in my sister’s case, a marriage proposal.

Restoration Hardware Boston in the Back Bay

Shopping in the Back Bay: Newbury Street is a favorite destination for shopaholics and window shoppers alike. Many luxury brands and art galleries can be found at the start of the street with more ecelectic shops (like my personal favorite, Trident Booksellers & Cafe) and musicians busking for tips in the blocks that follow. If the weather isn’t cooperating, walk over to the city’s only downtown malls (Copley and Prudential), which are adjoined via a pedestrian walkway over Huntington Avenue.

Shops open and close with a speed that can make your head spin. Rising rents and online shopping has been the demise of many independent shops. I still miss Boston’s LGBTQ bookstore, Glad Day Bookstore in Copley Square, but there is always a new shop opening and there is something for everyone. Need an ancient fuse for your apartment that hasn’t been rewired since the 1970s? No worries, head over to Economy Hardware on Mass Ave. Need a statement gift for someone who already has everything? Go to Simon Pearce or Shreve Crump & Low. Want to grab a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party later this week? Bauer Wines has you covered. There are also more clothing, shoe stores and salons than I could possibly list covering every trend and budget from Valentino to T.J. Maxx.

Sonsie Boston photo from TripAdvisor

Restaurants in Back Bay: This neighborhood has everything you could want from cheap eats to some of the priciest meals in the city. It would be difficult to do this neighborhood justice in a single post, but I feel compelled to share a few places I enjoy.

If you’re more of a cheap eats diner, head over to the stretch of Boylston Street just west of Massachusetts Avenue and join all the Berklee music students at the fast casual dining options set up along this stretch of Boylston. If you’re willing to stand in line (there is always a line), probably the best noodle shop in Back Bay is Santouka. While it isn’t a “cheap eats”, it is still on the cheaper end for dining and their all-day breakfast menu makes the Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury a personal favorite. However, many people come to the Back Bay to eat outside and for years Sonsie has been the place to see and be seen. However there are a great many cafes and restaurants that offer streetside dining like Atlantic Fish Co., Stephanie’s on Newbury and Piattini to name a few.

For a more romantic setting, I love the hidden Mexican restaurant, Casa Romero’s private patio garden, or reserve a table at La Voile. For a finer dining experience Deuxave (French), Uni (Sushi and Asian), Sorellina (Italian), Grill 23 (Steakhouse) and the Fairmont Hotel’s Oak Long Bar + Kitchen (American) in Copley Square are all great options. A newcomer to the Back Bay dining scene, scheduled to open in June 2021, is the rooftop restaurant and bar, Contessa, at the newly remodeled and branded Newbury Hotel. The restaurant is gorgeous and the expectations for the food and service are high. It is worth putting on your list of places to try this summer or fall.

Although I’m not one to spend a lot of time discussing sweets, the Back Bay has something to tempt everyone. For me it is a small independent chocolatier based in New Hampshire with a shop in the Back Bay called L.A. Burdick. When I am in the Back Bay I try not to walk within a block of this cute shop and cafe, because I inevitably find myself buying something. In the winter I rationalize the calories by purchasing the best hot chocolate in the city to keep me warm.

Bukowski Tavern in the Back Bay

Favorite Bars in the Back Bay: So many bars have come and gone over the years and recently, the coronavirus has driven a stake through the heart of many long-standing bars. It is my hope that those remaining establishments will be able to pull through. Similar to other residential neighborhoods, most of the bars in the Back Bay are also restaurants so places like Sonsie, Oak Long Bar + Kitchen and Grill 23 (all previously mentioned) are popular places in part due to their large bars to grab drinks with friends. However, if you’re looking to sit outside, there are only a few bars that have patios. The best option is the Loews Hotel restaurant and bar, Precinct. Their large sunken, lounge-like patio with comfortable furniture is a popular place to meet up after work for a drink.

One of my favorite dive bars in Boston is (ironically) located in a parking garage. Bukowski’s Tavern, named after a German-American poet, is the only bar I regularly visited when I lived in the Back Bay that remains open. Back then, if you hesitated ordering a beer the Irish bartender would spin a wheel on the wall behind the bar (you can see it in the far right in the photo). Whatever it landed on was what you received. This happened to me once, and I was stuck with a $20 specialty Belgian beer. I never again hesitated.

What to do, man dancing

Gay Life in the Back Bay: This neighborhood has many LGBTQ+ residents. Moreover, this is where many travelers opt to stay when they visit Boston because of its central location, proximity to points of interest and Boston’s traditional (if no longer) gayborhood, the South End. Gay bars, bookstores and other shops moved out of the Back Bay mostly due to high rents by the late 1990s. My favorite gay bookstore in Copley Square, We Think The World of You, closed about 20 years ago. The last gay bar I can recall in the Back Bay closed before that. However, on any given night you will see gay friends meeting for drinks at many restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. If you are visiting and would prefer a gay owned establishment that markets themselves to the LGBTQ community go to Club Cafe on the Back Bay / South End line.

If you happen to be new to Boston or planning a visit, feel free to reach out to me with any questions. If you are familiar with Boston’s Back Bay, recommendations and comments are welcome.

Scruffy Sunday

Previous Scruffy Sunday Posts

Saturday morning coffee

Enjoy your morning cup of Joe (or whatever you might like to call him).

Saturday morning comics

ADAM & ANDY is set in the fictional New England town of Woodfield, CT. You can learn more about Adam and Andy and purchase a copy of “the definitive collection of Adam and Andy” by visiting, adamandandy.com.

Click on this week’s comic strip to enlarge

Click here if you would like to see  the previous Adam & Andy

Furry Friday

Much thanks to BosGuy reader, John Flanagan, for sharing this photo as a suggested Furry Friday. I’m unsure who this handsome model is but he certainly is distracting.

Past Furry Friday

BosGuy brain teaser

riddle, exercise for your brainEach Friday morning I post a riddle to get you to think outside the box and exercise your brain. If you are stumped, share it with a friend or colleague and see if you can figure out the answer together.

Leave your answer in the comment section. I’ll approve responses later in the day to give people a chance to respond without seeing any spoilers.

This week’s brain teaser:      

There are four prisoners and they will be freed if one of them correctly guesses the color of the hat on his head. They can’t speak to each other, turn around or take their hat off.

Prisoner number 1 can see number 2 and 3’s hats. Number 2 can see number 3’s hat. Number 3 sees only a wall. Number 4 sees nobody. They know there are 2 black hats and 2 white hats and there are four prisoners. Which prisoner shouts, “I know the color of my hat” and how was the prisoner able to solve the riddle?

Like riddles? Check out past week’s brain teasers.

Getting to Provincetown

Traveling between Boston and Provincetown (a.k.a. Ptown) is easy. Driving is the most common form of transportation but it is the slowest way to travel between Boston and Ptown and can take much longer than ferry service or flying.


Provincetown High-Speed Ferry Service

Ferry service is a convenient way to travel. Two companies offer high-speed ferry service that is faster than driving (90-minutes) and have the added benefit of some amazing views. If you are flying into Boston, enroute to Provincetown, water taxi service is available as are the Blue and Silver Line subway lines.

Boston Harbor City Cruises: Provincetown High-Speed Ferry is the larger and slightly faster ferry service between Boston and Provincetown. The Salacia has a capacity of 600-people but it remains to be seen if any capacity restrictions may be implemented due to COVID-19. The 2021 Summer ferry service to Provincetown begins on May 16th. For more information visit the 2021 Boston Harbor Cruise Provincetown Ferry Schedule. The cost of a ticket is $95 RT or $63 one way (Mon – Thurs) or $98 RT or $64 one way (Fri – Sun).

Boston Harbor City Cruises is located at One Long Wharf, Boston MA and is accessible by water taxi (from Logan airport and other parts of the harbor), the Blue Line Aquarium MBTA station, and there is a Boston Blue Bikes docking station at Long Wharf. For more information visit them online or call them at 617-227-4321.

Bay State Cruise Company: Conveniently located in Boston’s Seaport District the Bay State Cruise Company offers a 149 person high-speed ferry with service between Boston and Provincetown 7-days a week. The 2021 Summer ferry service to Provincetown starts on May 16th. For more information visit the 2021 Bay State Cruise Company Ferry Schedule. The cost of a ticket is $90/$96 RT or $61/$64 one way. The higher price is for peak demand departure times.

Bay State Cruise Company is located at the Seaport World Trade Center Marine Terminal on Seaport Boulevard. It is easily accessible by water taxi (from Logan airport and other parts of the harbor), the Silver Line World Trade Center MBTA station, and there are two nearby Boston Bikes docking stations. For more information visit them online or call them at 617-748-1428.

Flying to Provincetown

Cape Air is the only airline to offer daily flights between Boston and Provincetown. With a flight time of approximately 25 minutes this is the fastest way to travel between Boston and Provincetown.

The planes used by Cape Air are tiny but reliable and the Provincetown airport is a 10 minute drive to the center of town. Cape Air also provides flights to Provincetown from White Plains, NY, Saranac Lake, NY, and Portland, ME (but not with the same frequency).

For information about flight times and fares or to book a flight visit Cape Air.

Bus service to Provincetown

The most affordable way to travel between Boston and Provincetown is bus service. It also happens to take the most time (approximately 4 hours), but for those on a budget it is hard to beat the price, which fluctuates but can cost as little as $20 each way. Click the link to learn more about bus service to Provincetown.

Vintage gay

The grainy photo makes it difficult to see the photo but they appear to be on a boat or by the water and very happy together. Despite the aging photos spots and deterioration, it is easy to see that they appear relaxed and happy. Anyone have a clue when this photograph may have been taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

Previous Vintage Gay Photos

This week on Instagram: toddsanfield

Todd Sanfield is a Detroit native and pharmacist turned model and clothing designer with a killer physique. His Instagram account has 280,000+ followers. I initially became aware of Todd Sanfield via Twitter years ago and featured him as a Temptation Tuesday in 2014. Ove the years, he’s worked many photographers but it was his collaboration with Kevin McDermott and the book they published together, Virgin Island (click the link to see the 1-minute teaser), that really put Sanfield on the map.

As you might expect from someone who looks like Sanfield, his IG account is filled with shirtless photos of him modeling bathing suits and underwear from his clothing line. Depending on your personality this will seem like soft porn or trigger an eating disorder. Either way, following Sanfield on Instagram will trigger a reaction. The guy knows how to take a photo.

You can follow this week’s featured account on Instagram here, and you can check out previously featured IG accounts here.

Caption this photo

gay, Eliad Cohen, handsome

Hopefully the Cinqo de Mayo inspired photo above and the caption I’ve shared below will inspire you to offer up one or two of your own. Leave a funny caption as a comment, and I’ll approve it for readers to enjoy.

“Cinqo de Gayo”

Book review: Sweet & Low by Nick White

Sweet & Low by Nick White is a collection ten short stories set in the South; with most in the Mississippi Delta. Each story focuses on an important and defining moment or series of moments in the main character’s life. Often poor and with little opportunity, the characters bear little resemblance to who I usually read in books but White does an excellent job bringing them to life.

Most of the short stories include an LGBT character, which is a good reminder that all gay men don’t live in cities or suburbs, nor are they all wealthy, despite what you see portrayed on television. The opening story, The Lovers, provides insight into several of the themes that run through all the stories, touching upon struggle and loneliness. My favorite story was perhaps one of the saddest. The Exaggerations is told by a nephew abandoned by his mother and raised by his aunt and uncle. The final paragraph of this short story is perhaps White’s best in the entire book.

Fans of romantic comedies or happily ever after endings will find this book tough to get through. Many of the characters aren’t all that likeable. A good example is, Pete, in Cottonmouth, Trapjaw, Water Moccasin, but most are misguided, lonely, and self-involved. The best example of that might be Forney’s mom in the short story the book is named after, Sweet and Low. Told through the eyes of Forney, she appears to want nothing more than to pick up her once aspiring country music singing career after the unexepected death of her husband, and she can’t be bothered with her only child who she has little connection or love.

If you enjoy reading before going to bed, the short story format is ideally suited to you. In 20-30 pages, White weaves a story full of depth meaning at defining moments of each main character. While I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, their stories still resonated and is why I would recommend reading this book.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book and open to supporting local bookstores, try one of the links I’ve shared. The links below will take you right to the book so you can order it online in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you can check your local library for a copy of this book. Here is a link to the BPL copy for Sweet & Low.

Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square
Porter Square Bookstore in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe in Back Bay

Temptation Tuesday

Past Temptation Tuesday Posts