Even when an event becomes an emergency, Americans can always come up with a couple of memorable words to describe it quickly. “Social Distancing” is just one good example. At first, Social Distancing sounds like a contradiction in terms, or an outright oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp”. After all, “social” is a word that implies getting together, not keeping your “distance”.
But Social Distancing is much more than some kind of courtesy. Right now, with the onslaught of Coronavirus, Social Distancing is an important way to hold on to your own health, as well as something that prevents the spread of Coronavirus to others. Keeping a distance between you, your friends, and maybe even the members of your immediate family is essential. A separation of six (6) feet or more between people is currently recommended, because that puts you beyond the spray that could result from a sudden cough or an uncovered sneeze.
In South Boston, we are blessed (yes, blessed!) with an incredible mix of outdoor spaces. You and your family and your friends can get out into this mix of local scenery and enjoy each other’s company while easily staying six feet apart. Walk, jog, swim or play tennis.
You may have doubts about the weather after the very chilly temps last Sunday and Monday. Well, Spring arrives tomorrow! Oddly enough, due to no Leap Year in 1900 coupled with a Leap Year in 2000 because it was divisible by 400, this is an unusually early Spring – the earliest since 1896, 126 years ago. And the weather this coming weekend will be quite warm, but (perhaps) punctuated with rain and clouds.
We took a quick walk (well, actually it was fairly slow) around South Boston ourselves earlier this week. Walking over from Dot Ave. and beginning near Kosciusko Circle at the James Brendan Connolly statue, we ambled around Saunders Stadium and then across the multi-purpose Moakley Park. The springy but tough surface on the Saunders quarter-mile oval is for running of course, but is also an ideal (believe it or not) surface for pushing a baby carriage or kid’s cart. Moakley Park has playing fields of all kinds, along with asphalt paths and undesignated grassy areas to, well, to just walk around.
The beachside walkway around Old Harbor/Dorchester Bay is wide enough for walkers, joggers, bicycles, and whole families. At all times, the views of the Curley Center, Carson Beach, and the nearby Harbor Islands are distractingly beautiful. The walk past the Curley lets onto M Street Beach (if you’re looking) and goes over to the treed area by the yacht clubs. After that comes Marine Park, the anchor, Uhlman Bandstand, and the Causeway that encircles the half-mile square jewel we call Pleasure Bay. There’s really no other walk that compares.
Closing the loop takes your journey along the half-mile of Butler Park – a novel concept in green area layouts. From there, it’s across First Street to Chris Lee Field and up the stairs into M Street/Medal of Honor Park. Meditate on the 25 names engraved on the locally funded and built Vietnam Memorial, while your children enjoy the nearby playground. Traverse Medicine Wheel’s No Man’s Land in back of Excel High – a most stunning example of what homegrown talent can create – and as a fitting final to your Social Distancing, cross over onto Dorchester Heights, where the monument salutes General Washington’s and America’s very first victory on the original Evacuation Day, March 17, 1776.
Please note that we covered only around half of South Boston’s scenic walkways in our 4 or 5 mile trek. We will, in additional articles about Social Distancing, take you along the channeled waterway and classic red brick buildings of Fort Point, and then on over to the delightful Harbor Walk and the huge new developments within the South Boston Seaport District. Urban Walking – six feet apart, of course – is the next great pastime to be enjoyed within the borders of South Boston. By the way, 82% of our borders are salt water shorelines of all kinds.