Boston Query for Marite

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Boston Query for Marite
By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 11:41 pm: Edit

M; Do you know anything about the Boston Institute for Languages? S home from Beijing and is thinking about taking a night course in Mandarin so that when he returns to China next summer he doesn't have to start over. Thanks in aniticipation....

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit


I'm sorry I don't know anything about the Boston Institute. Your S could take courses at the Harvard Extension School. Here are the courses offered this coming fall. The numbers at the end are enrolment caps (30) and currently registered students (0).

Term CRN Course
Number Sec Title / Instructor Day, Time Location Type* Enroll
Limit Current
Fall 10026 CHIN E-1 Elementary Modern Chinese I
Raymond D. Lum MTh, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Vanserg Hall 25A 30 0

Spring 20022 CHIN E-2 Elementary Modern Chinese II
Raymond D. Lum MTh, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Vanserg Hall 25A 30 0

Fall 10027 CHIN E-30 Elementary Modern Chinese III
Yu Feng TTh, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Vanserg Hall 29 30 0

Spring 20023 CHIN E-40 Elementary Modern Chinese IV
Yu Feng TTh, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Vanserg Hall 29 30 0

Fall 12153 CHIN E-50 Intermediate Modern Chinese I
Nien-Hsiang Chen TTh, 7:35 - 9:35 pm Vanserg Hall 24B 30 0

Spring 22009 CHIN E-60 Intermediate Modern Chinese II
Nien-Hsiang Chen TTh, 7:35 - 9:35 pm Vanserg Hall 24B 30 0

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit

Thanks for all that info!! That's an interesting possiblity. Will they hold the class if they don't get the numbers?

Wonder if it's a good idea to add a class for a freshman? Maybe try an individual tutor for 90 minutes one night a week to start fall term? Look into H next term or following?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:27 am: Edit


Your S already knows some Chinese right? He should take a placement test to find out his level. Is he going to college this fall? Where? There may be other colleges in the Boston-area that offer Chinese, too.
If he wants more info about the Extension courses, he could try to contact the instructors. I expect that there must be some minimum enrolment for a class to be held, but the fact that no one has so far registered does not mean anything. Classes don't start until around September 20 or so.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

Thanks! Yes, he thinks he has a 150 level--between 100 and 200.

He's going to BU in a few weeks but won't take a language course. Should get credit for this past summer since it is the same program BU uses--although we didn't know that going in.

BU limits the number of courses a standard freshman can take. Wisely. And I've tried to learn Mandarin in a week in week out non-immersive classroom situation--deadly--for beginning levels anyway.

Boston Language is right next to BU. He can meet one on one with a tutor for 90 -120 minutes a week---specifying a tutor with Beijing accent even. Easily cancelled during exams etc.

BUT, he and I are both intrigued about the H Extension school possibilities for next term or next year. BU doesn't offer night courses for Mandarin. Amazing how many ocurses H offers. They must have takers...

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:03 pm: Edit

Marite, while we're on the subject, it's been many years since I've spent time in Boston/Cambridge. As my daughter will now be in school near by it's time to explore again. We will be spending a few days there next months before school starts. Any must sees? Any suggestions for where the locals eat?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:11 pm: Edit

Mom101, us locals tend to eat close to home since there are good pockets of restaurants all over. Prime areas within route 128 are: North End, Columbus Ave/Tremont street, Harvard Square, Coolidge corner in Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Waltham (believe it or not!) etc.

Where will you be staying? How will you be travelling? What interests? BSO, MFA etc. are first rate and worth a visit. If you like classical in general, that opens up a lot of possibilities. Sports? Outdoors?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:26 pm: Edit

We're actually debating between staying in Cambridge or Boston. My inclination is to do Cambridge this first trip because of all of my fond memories of Harvard Square. We'll have a car and are happy taking the T. We love cultural activities and great restaurants (by which I mean great food as opposed to fancy, though a fancy restaurant with great food is good too!). I want to explore the North End again so any suggestions there appreciated. And anything of note on the regular trek we'll be making from Boston to Concord NH is of interest.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:46 pm: Edit

Massdad; As intro to Boston, I want to buy Redsox tickets for S, his best friend at Tufts and S's Japanese roommate. Found a bunch of offers on Craigslist Boston. Can't afford a yankees game lol, thinking about the game on the 20th. What do you think about $60 per ticket for Section 24??
(Infield, but up on top deck)
Is that fair?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:02 pm: Edit


Boston Language sounds intriguing. It is convenient to BU and flexible. It should be no problem lining up someone who speaks with a Beijing accent. The issue will be someone who can actually teach. Many native speakers don't have an idea about what foreigners find difficult. Since your S has the basics, it should be easier. So I would suggest he try out the Boston Language Institute first. If it proves unsatisfactory, he can switch to Harvard Extension next Spring.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:19 pm: Edit

cheers, the only time I've been able to afford Sox games is when someone invited me to their box. Since the games are perenially sold out, if the seats are together, the price is not too bad. And, section 24 faces east, so you'll have no sun problem. BTW, list is 44/seat single game, so the markup is not that bad.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit


I hesitate to recommend restaurants to NYers or to West Coast people. But here are a few possibilities:

Rialto in the Charles Hotel. The chef, Jody Adams, is a local celeb.
Upstairs on the Square (it used to be Upstairs at the Pudding until it had to relocate).
Bombay Club and Penang in the Harvard Square Galleria. Roka for Japanese food.
Absolutely stay away from the Hong Kong restaurant in Harvard Square.
Legal Seafood in Kendall Square (other locations also). Its clam chowder has been served at several presidential inaugurations.
Jasper White's Summer Shack.
East Coast Grill (hard to get into as it does not take reservations)
Helmand in East Cambridge serves Afghan food (it's owned by Karzai's sister).
Elephant Walk (Cambridge and Brookline) serves French and Cambodian food.
Spices in Harvard Square (Thai food).
In Boston, Lala Rokh serves Persian food.

For places to see:
the MFA. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. the Fogg (Harvard).
the USS Constitution.
The Science Museum (it currently has an Omnimax show on The Lord of the Rings).
Outside of Boston: the Old North Bridge in Concord and the Concord Museum.

Hope this helps.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:36 pm: Edit

Massdad; thanks, will go ahead and purchase. Boys should have a great time.....


Bit of a risk, that. And it isn't cheap. But all the same, probably best alternative for this semester. Think H next term would be good, good for CV etc. He has a few friends going to H so it would be a good excuse to get over there. What is best way from BU? Bus or bike??

Good used bike ideas??? Should I ship the bike with him???

Also, off subject, is the restaurant 'Fire and Ice" still going?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:41 pm: Edit

Fire and Ice is indeed still going. I think there are several locations.
BU to Cambridge is only 10-15 minutes by car but 45 mns by T because of having to change at Park Street in order to cross the river. I don't think there is a direct bus from Kenmore to Harvard Square. A bike would be good in good weather, but when it snows or rains it may not be a great idea! I'm sure your S will be able to buy a bike locally if he wants one. No need to ship.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

He'll be happy to hear about F n' I.

25 min walk on foot then? Biking not a big thing for students because of weather?

Taxis, are they expensive? Easy to find--or do you have to order?

Do you happen to know where H women's soccer team plays? He has a standing order to attend all games, lol.

Ohmygosh, thank you for all of this--it's so helpful. God bless the internet!

Found out that his room has nice Charles River view and nearest (I think) wash and fold laundry is under the highway on Beacon Street--(having pity on the roommate from Japan here.)

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:03 pm: Edit

Marite made me nostalgic. Upstairs on the Sq was my favorite birthday dinner place, and I lived at Legal's. Mike's Bakery in North End. Don't forget Faneul Hall for a taste of everything, and a booth outside sells 1/2 price seats for theatre.
I'm printing the list for next visit.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:07 pm: Edit

Theatre...S is a theatre fan. Any especially good shows in Boston this fall? (No musicals)

By Caseyatthebat (Caseyatthebat) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:14 pm: Edit

I certainly enjoyed my visit back to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. It is on the water at Columbia Point, which makes it particularly enjoyable for those of us who are landlocked.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:17 pm: Edit

Thanks Marite. I love Legal Seafoods so I'm sure I'll like the others, too. Do you vote for Cambridge over Boston? I'll have both my 14 and 17 year olds, neither of whom has seen Harvard. Is the Charles the best hotel? What Boston hotels do people like?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:25 pm: Edit

Theatre: Haven't looked that far into it. Apart from the theatres in downtown Boston, there's also the Huntington and the American Repertory Theater. But we're more concert goers ourselves.
I've just booked tickets for the Ig Nobel Prizes ceremony on Sept. 30 in Sanders Theatre for S and his dad. Should be really fun.

Taxis: They're not plentiful as in NY. They're also more expensive. I always order. In Cambridge you have to order a Cambridge taxi. In Boston, you have to order a Boston taxi. There are generally taxis in Harvard Square but I don't know about Kenmore or places closer to where your S will be living.

Getting from BU to H: He could walk to the BU bridge and take a bus from MIT to Harvard. I haven't done that myself and don't know how frequent the bus would be in the evening.

Soccer: Not a sports person; can't tell you where the H women's soccer team plays. The only thing I know about is the crew, because you can see it practicing on the Charles. But info should be available on the Harvard website.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:38 pm: Edit


People like both the Charles and the Inn at Harvard. In Boston, there are plenty of nice and rather expensive hotels, none of which I have set foot in, since I'm local. You could go to either the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons. There's also the Copley Plaza, the Marriott, and a slew of others.

I have avoided the North End since the Big Dig began, so I don't know how things look like there any more. But it does have some lovely restaurants.

Casey is right about the JFK Library. For 14 and 17 years olds, it's a perfect place to visit. And it has a wonderful view. Your two kids might like to visit some of the Harvard museums besides the Fogg. There's more to Cambridge than Harvard. You can show them the cannons on Cambridge Commons and take them to Brattle Street (Tory Row) where loyalists lived while the colonial troops were housed in Harvard dorms. Also show them the MIT museum. It's a lot of fun. They should try to get into the Edgerton Lab. You may want to take them on the Freedom Trail. Go to the Union Oyster House (the oldest in the country) and Faneuil Hall.

Have fun.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 08:35 pm: Edit

A while ago I saw a Boston restaurant on the food network that was either a dessert only restaurant or close. Anyone know the restaurant?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

Finale is the dessert only restaurant. I believe they now have a store in the Holyoke building near Harvard Square.

Staying in Cambridge, especially Harvard Square (Charles and Harvard Innn) is good for Harvard, but not convenient at all for many other things. The biggest advantage for teens might be going to Harvard Square in the evening, but that could get old.

Most visitors that are using public transit tend to stay downtown or the back bay - Copley Square area. Both have a good selection of hotels, lots of good walks for the evening nearby, restaurants etc.

BU to Harvard? Take the 47 bus across the BU bridge to Cental Square, then the Red line to Harvard Square. You could also take the Green Line B line to Harvard Street and catch the 66 bus.

The North End is great as always and its fun crossing the last bits of the big dig to get there. If you go to the north end, you should really follow the freedom trail (red bricks) to Copps Hill burying ground. From there, walk toward the harbor, out of the cemetary, down the steps and across the street toward the Harbor. There's a park along the harbor, old folks playing bocce, and a wonderful walkway along the harbor, with great views across the water to the Constitution a few hundred yards away. It's great day or night. We've frequently had pizza there. Regina's (hard to find, impossible waits, but some of the best pizza in an Italian area) is a good source.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:30 pm: Edit

BU to Harvard by T: well, it's cheaper if you take the T the whole way... but it's fastest to take the bus (as described above) and then walk the 1/2 mile or so up to Harvard Square.

I used to walk to work--from my apartment in BU territory to my job across the street from Mt Auburn Cemetery. It took about an hour--4 miles and a lovely walk most of the time. Going home, I'd take the T from Harvard Square down to Government Center, get a drink with friends at Faneuil Hall--and walk home afterwards. Boston and Cambridge are two very walkable areas--if you like walking.

When I got to be a little less broke, I rode a bike for a lot of my commuting and social activities. I didn't actually get a car in Boston until I was 25--because I got a job 30 miles west of the city.

By Over30 (Over30) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit

I've been gone all evening and just came home to all of this wonder Boston/Cambridge information. I'll be there next week-end for orientation. We won't have much time but I'll pass some of this on to my son and keep the rest of it in mind for my next trip. Thanks!

By Cheers (Cheers) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 12:22 am: Edit

Thanks to all Mass advocates! Good suggestions ...

By Over30 (Over30) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit

Bostonians, we'll be staying at the Cambridge Marriott and moving him in to MIT. We'll need dinner for 2 nights, any suggestions? Walking/riding the T is fine, and we'll have a car so if it's not too far driving would be ok, but I'd prefer someplace close to campus or hotel. Thanks

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit

Legal Seafood is quite close at 5 Cambridge Cenet (617-864-3400). Best NE clam chowder.
Not too far, but you'll need a car, Helmand, 143 First Street (617-492-4646). Very popular, Afghan food (owned by Karzai's sister).
Mary Chung on Mass Ave (popular with MIT students).
Royal East on Main Street Chinese.
Next door is Salts (617-876-8444), tiny restaurant but nice food.
There are quite a few ethnic restaurants in Central Square, including an Ethiopian and a Tibetan one.
In Harvard Square (one stop from Kendall Square), there's a slew of restaurants.
Sandrine (French) on Holyoke Street, Spices (Thai) Pho Pasteur (Vietnamese) on Dunster, Rialto in the Charles Hotel; Upstairs on the Square; Bombay Club in the Harvard Galleria on JFK Street, Penang (Malaysian (also in the Harvard Galleria).

This is just a small sample. You won't run out of restaurants! Oh, and if your S is interested, the Ig Nobel prize ceremony is scheduled to be held at Sanders Theater (Harvard) on Sept. 30. Tickets can be purchased through the Harvard box office. I've got some for my S.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 04:29 pm: Edit

Addition to restaurant list: The Blue Room, 1 Kendall Square. 617-494-9034. Lots of grilled food, very popular.

By Over30 (Over30) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 04:49 pm: Edit

Thanks Marite. And I'll tell him about the ceremony. Sounds like an outing MIT students would enjoy.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

It's a joint Harvard-MIT event. He also can google the Annals of Improbable Research from which the Ig Nobel prizes are drawn.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 08:17 pm: Edit


I had friends playing on the teams but they graduated last year. Too bad, I could have offered a direct contact. This may, however, help you for the soccer games.

Women Soccer page at Harvard.

Unless they changed, the games should be played at Ohiri Field.

Directions to Ohiri Field.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:10 pm: Edit

Marite, I owe you a sincere THANKS! for mentioning the Ig Nobel awards--I wouldn't have noticed otherwise that they're on my son's birthday! So we now have the ultimate gnurd's evening planned: dinner at Harvest followed by the Ig Nobel awards, for our son and a few friends. It's his 18th birthday, so we're making a big deal about it.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit


Terrific! I'm sure he'll enjoy both dinner and ceremony. S & Dad will be going.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Thanks Xiggi, I will forward the page to S via email. Good luck to u in California!

Marite et al: Is there a continuous bike path along the river? Just bought S a bike off of Craigslistboston...

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 06:12 pm: Edit

Cheers, not sure, especially about the Boston side of the river. There may be along the Esplanade, which is quite close to BU. There are bike paths going into Arlington and beyond from our side of it. That's what my Ss and Dad tend to take. On sundays, spring through fall, parts of Memorial Drive are closed to car traffic so that people can bike and roller skate, etc...

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

Where do the paths to Arlington start?

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit


Check out this link: it's the official guide to Boston-area bike paths.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 06:37 pm: Edit

Great resource, thanks!

By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit


As a regular cyclist (I commute to work by bike 8 months a year and do regular weekend rides), I would not even bother looking for bike paths in the area. There is a path along the south side of the Charles river, but it has more bladers and pedestrians than cyclists. If I want a sloooow ride, it's nice. If I want a quick trip, I use local streets and share with the cars. On the Cambridge side of the river, there's not even a usable path, even though several guides, including the link above, show one.

Anyway, strangely enough, given the crazy drivers around here, riding on streets is not that scary, if you stay off the trunk roads. Most of the traffic is moving pretty slowly, and they're pretty tolerant of bicycles.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:27 pm: Edit

Massdad; Thanks for that tip. Did find out that S bought himself a bike in Beijing and cycled everywhere so I shouldn't bother with the

By Rhino (Rhino) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Cheers asked for language immersion programs. You should defnitely go for the Rassias Method immersion programs, founded at Dartmouth. Contact them in Hanover NH 603-643-7674.

Great immersion programs around the year ,some at Dartmouth, some in other cities. probably good for SAT and AP prep.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 04:15 pm: Edit

Thanks Rhino. He's interested in keeping up his beginner's knowledge so that he can go back to Beijing. The Boston Language Institute is a good fit for the first semester at least. We'll see about the harvard program the second semester. Depends if he rows etc...

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