Driving in circles

I saw an article recently that the famed Jimmy's Harborside Restaurant next to Fish Pier in South Boston is closing at the end of the year, but it will return as part of a major new development among many major new developments in Boston's much-ballyhooed Seaport District. For uninitiated, Jimmy's Harborside, like its chief competitor a block away, Anthony's Pier 4, is a famed old-school surf and turf fine dining restaurant with a dining room that looks through 12-foot tall windows onto Boston Harbor. The lobby is lined with photographs of Kennedys and other famous folks who have dined there, and the interior evokes a time gone by.

After reading the news, I spread the word around the family and it turns out that my in-laws had a gift certificate hanging around. My mother-in-law suggested her husband and I use it this weekend while she was in New York shopping with Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving. So we did. The food and service were great, even though the dining room was mostly empty. We were 20 minutes late for our reservation, and it didn't seem like a problem at all. In fact, we probably didn't even need a reservation.

So, how does this relate to driving? Well, it's the driving that made us 20 minutes late. My father-in-law and I got on 128 South near the Westwood Amtrak station and started heading towards 93. There was a ton of traffic from the Patriots game heading north, but we soon learned that it wasn't just volume slowing us down. There was a four-car accident at Granite Avenue in Milton holding everything up. It was gone by the time we got there, but the backup ate up all of our "get lost time." Whenever using a new part of the tunnel system downtown, I always build in some get lost time because it's inevitable, and we needed it tonight.

Invariably, ever since the major portion of construction started about nine years ago, the roads have changed so frequently they seemed to move around more than the staircases inside Gryffindor Tower (see the first Harry Potter movie to get the reference). A northbound road can change to a southbound one in a flash, or it could disappear altogether. In tonight's example, we took the new ramp to South Station, which ends at Kneeland Street almost about where the old offramp for South Station used to. We drove straight ahead a couple of blocks and then tried to turn right onto Surface Artery, but the right took us only to a downramp into the tunnel. Our next chance to get out was for Storrow Drive. We took that exit and emerged near Leverett Circle and had to come back around by the TD Banknorth Garden, left on Causeway and right onto North Washington. We wended our way through the still maze-like Surface Artery until we got to Congress Street where we were permitted to turn left and enter South Boston.

All in all, the roads were very well marked except for the point where tried to get onto Surface Artery and instead turned down into the tunnel. I'm used to these little impromptu adventures, but I think it wore my father-in-law down real quick. He's not a fan of Boston driving as it is, and this was no welcome mat. He said more than once that he can't wait to see it when it's done, and I don't know if he intended that to mean that he, like me, can't wait for the Big Dig to be over.


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