Boston: Built on Water

I’ve always enjoyed looking at old maps of Boston that show how the coastline has changed over the past 400 years, as more and more “man made land” was created. I was just talking about this over the weekend with a few friends, and then today National Geographic put out a piece, “How Boston Made Itself Bigger,” with some great maps illustrating the changes. Here’s the simplest view, comparing 1630 to today: A few things: As a South Boston resident for 10 years, I’m getting tired of my mom telling me that when sea levels rise, I’m dangerously close to the water. Look mom, I don’t live in the filled in area! (and yes, I’ve checked the topographic maps as

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When do you go to the hospital after labor begins?

Two weeks ago Laura gave birth to our first child, Mason West Kornstein. Everyone’s doing really well, and it’s been a blast so far. As soon as Laura went into labor at 2:00 am early Thursday morning, she began tracking her contractions so that we could tell how things were progressing and decide when it was time to go to the hospital. By 8:00 am we were curious to better understand how quickly things would advance. The doctor had told us to wait until contractions were five minutes apart for an hour before coming to the hospital. That was fairly straightforward guidance, but we had no clue whether that time would come in a few hours or a few days. And we didn’t know

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Happy Passover

This year we held our 13th consecutive friends seder, now a long running tradition. We started at Chester Street in 2005, had a great run at D Street from 2007-2013, did three years at Athens Street from 2014-2016, and this year Mike and Tina held it down on Gold Street. While the format has evolved quite a bit, one thing that has remained consistent is that we never actually have it on one of the first two nights of Passover, when you’re “supposed” to seder. We originally would to wait until the 3rd or 4th nights, so that we could steal family leftovers. That led to the brisket showdown of 2006. Later we would hold it on the 7th and 8th nights,

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We’ve Reached Peak Brewery

From WBUR last week, the number of US breweries has now passed the five thousand mark: The number of American breweries topped 5,000 for the first time last year, with craft beer makers accounting for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to new figures from the Brewers Association. Just five years ago, there were only about 2,000 U.S. craft brewers, which the Brewers Association defines as small or independent beer makers. Last year alone, more than 800 opened for business. The history of American breweries is interesting. I did a small research project on the market in 2012 while in grad school, and the momentum that was just starting then has continued through today. The Brewers Association has a few well-made

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The Town of Framingham: 318 Big Years from 1700-2017

After a great 318-year run, I just learned that beginning next year, my hometown will no longer be a town. Framingham will become a city. For me, the main reason this is notable is that Framingham has long held the distinct title of being the “biggest town in the country.” It’s one of those things that everyone from Framingham learns at a young age, and then proudly repeats whenever given the opportunity. When two strangers from Framingham meet in some distant non-Framingham place, it’s often the first thing they bond over and share with anyone who will listen. Here’s an example. A few years ago I went to a bar in Palo Alto with my good friend Ed. We started talking to

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What about people at home?

From Bill Maher’s monologue last week: “Paul Ryan wrote a healthcare bill that somehow covered fewer people than just repealing Obamacare and replaced it with nothing, and it still wasn’t good enough for the Freedom Caucus. It’s like if you wrote a highway bill that made all the bridges fall down, and they said, ‘Yeah, but that only kills drivers. What about people at home?’”

East Austin, the ArModelo & Longhorn Caverns

I spent last weekend in Austin with a few good friends from grad school. We’re spread across the country at the moment – two in Boston, one in Boulder, and one in San Francisco – and decided to get together somewhere that (1) is fun and (2) had cheap direct flights for all of us. Austin delivered on both fronts, easy decision. Before continuing, I have to thank my amazing wife Laura, who encouraged me to have one last weekend away before our son arrives. So, a quick recap on some highlights. I’ve been going to Austin at least once a year since 2012 to visit Laura’s family, and I’m still excited to find excuses to go back. No other US city has Austin’s mix of

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Everglades National Park

I was in Florida visiting family last weekend, and took off one morning to go check out Everglades National Park. It was more interesting than I expected, and I only had a chance to see a small portion in Shark Valley, and some areas between there and the Gulf Coast visitor center. There were gators everywhere. In some of the swamps there were dozens swimming around. I’ll try the airboats next time. Here are some highlights: