Paula Goldstein

An hour to kill in Boston, with Lorem Ipsum's creator Margot Boyer-Dry

Paula Goldstein
An hour to kill in Boston, with Lorem Ipsum's creator Margot Boyer-Dry

US-born Margot Boyer-Dry is a culture writer: the author of Lorem Ipsum, a newsletter about what's cool and why. One reader called it “a thematically tight digest of bleeding edge culture that is a joy to read,” and she hasn’t been able to describe it better. In fact, "Maybe he should write it instead" suggests Margot jokingly.

Although her life as an adult has been that of a hip Brooklynite, Margot grew up in Boston -perhaps one of America's most stereotyped cities. Because the entire point of our "an hour to kill" session is to break with assumption and show that we are all much more the same than different, I asked Margot to tell me about the place she left behind rather than the one she adopted.

Tell me what it's like getting around Boston. Is it easy or hard? What is the feeling of the city? Is it fast paced and aggressive, or easy going? Is it hard to navigate? Do people say hello? What would people not expect to find in Boston? What is the stereotype?

Talking about Boston as a current New Yorker feels like a minefield, but it seems like people's idea about Boston is that it's boring and unsophisticated. But 1. the accent is a miracle, and 2. talk to me about hometown pride. It's not just about sports (but go Sox!)-- Bostonians love their town, and that's beautiful.

Also, don't forget that Boston gathers some of the world's smartest people. One thing I’d never recommend in New York, but will tell you to do now, is to chat people up in public spaces and find out what they do. Stay on the lookout for the old-Cambridge vibe of crunchy-but-highly-educated-and-eccentrically-dressed older people; see if you can get them to tell you stories.

What is your favourite street in Boston? If you had an hour to fill between appointments on this street, where do you go? What do you do there? Eat food, visit a store or two, a park, a cosmetic treatment, meditate?

Mass Ave is the place to be (that’s short for Massachusetts Avenue). Follow it from Davis Square through Porter to Harvard Square and beyond (stop and chill on the Cambridge Common), or even toward Arlington in the opposite direction. Perfect for walking along and following your nose. You can stop into The Middle East for music at night, Life Alive for daytime hippie food, or Simon's for coffee. Simon’s is where you’ll find me. Situated just between Harvard and Tufts, Simon’s is a real neighborhood place that gathers a wild cast of characters daily, some of whom are studying crazy stuff and others have just been around forever. Simon himself may be fermenting kimchi in the café fridge at any given time, but don’t ask about it.


If you have time to go somewhere else, what do you recommend? 

Cambridge, Cambridge, always Cambridge. My go-to is Harvard Square; with unlimited time I’d stop into the Coop to Snoop books, J.P. Licks for ice cream, then Leavitt & Pierce, an old-timey smoke shop, followed by a walk along the Charles (which can lead you to MIT if you want a change of pace). But I also hear there’s a Shake Shack now, if you prefer to learn nothing new.


Do you walk between places? Or take a car? Subway? What is transport like in Boston?

Walk if it's close; bike if you're enterprising; subway if it goes where you're going. Otherwise, car.