Boston’s historic Seaport is reborn as the city’s newest attraction

A city skyline

In just over a decade, the once-abandoned waterside has become an architectural mecca and popular travel destination for the art crowd, says writer Osman Can Yerebakan

By Osman Can Yerebakan    Above image: Boston seaport by Kelly Sikkemaun (Splash)   Saturday 17 October, 2020    Short read

Waterfronts have long witnessed the birth of American cities. For Old World hope-seekers, they were the first vision of a new life over the horizon – later docked gargantuan carriers transferring the steel and concrete that would construct the American Dream. They have sheltered the misplaced, or even hid queer communities in search of intimacy. From Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing to New York City’s High Line, waterfronts have been both the windows and basements of industrialisation, disguised in silhouettes between towering skyscrapers they helped erect. 

In just over a decade, changes in city waterfronts have skyrocketed, adding vacant parking lots, crumbling railways, and abandoned warehouses into the cities’ established urban textures. I took my boyfriend and dog, Bagel, for a weekend getaway from New York to Boston – from one of the first American cities to rise through its waterfront to the other – to discover how this New England metropolis transformed its seaport into a sleek destination.   

Autumn’s orange and red foliage may not have appeared yet, but September is always generous with remnants of an August sun. After leaving behind a summer strictly dependent on rosé-centric, socially distanced picnics, an impromptu weekend away to Boston on the season’s tail end is our sweet escape, one crowned with vistas of postcard-charming Connecticut and Massachusetts towns along the way.
A skyscraper