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South End Memoir

by Laurensius Abiprakosa Herianto

The South End area in Boston is a colorful and classy community. Being surrounded with Victorian Style houses, which . Surrounded with various form of art such as paintings, statues, street art, music, food and many more. But the highlight of journey for me was the food and music.



 SoWa Arts and Design Design District.

SoWa Arts and Design Design District.

The SoWa Art & Design District is a place and community fill with artist studios, contemporary art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, design showrooms, café’s and more. Though, to my surprise there weren’t that many people around. When I visited the neighborhood it's strange for such a vibrant community it was rather quiet, especially it was during weekend and it was still bright outside. Then again the weather has been rather cold lately, figures the area wasn't filled with a whole lot people.

Even with the place being somewhat empty, I could picture the community being more bright and colorful if it was during evening or maybe if there were any unique events being held there. For me that would be the best time to visit and explore the community.

I went to an art studio in the SoWa Art and Design District. There I met a couple of artist who have helped create a lively atmosphere within the community and district. Walking through the halls, I was surrounded with various of form of art, be it painting, sculpture, mural, fashion, ornaments, you name it and there’s going to be one inside that studio.

While, I didn’t really remember what we talked about with the artists there, I do remember that it had a relaxing atmosphere. Artist would interact with one another and it wasn’t mainly about art and projects, they would talk about their day, how was their vacation, any upcoming events. Looking at them had me thinking that they’re talking as if they’re at home. Sure they were working on their piece, but it felt more like a free space than a  typical working space.

Seeing the vibe of the studio reminded me of a saying “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. These artist made sure that they would give their all in putting their piece together, but would always remember there’s always time and room for relaxation with others.

Nearby the SoWa area there was a park and in that park I came across an enticing mural art. The piece is located at Peters Park, a small community park consists of playground for kids, another one for dogs, a tennis court, and a basketball court. The park itself is filled with people, especially people with their dogs. At the the time it was a sunny day, so it was the perfect time of the day to play with your dog. Watching them play around felt sweet.

 Mural Art at Peters Park.  "Reflect the Times,"  Gio Ortega

Mural Art at Peters Park. "Reflect the Times," Gio Ortega

So then the mural art is found at the tennis court. The art itself is put together in a Mondrian art style as the back ground, combine with a black woman covering herself with the American flag while being surrounded by pigeons holding chain. The art reminds me of Mo Willems style of art set in a more Jazz style combine with a bit of post realism. I can’t help it but to hear jazz music inside my head as I keep looking at this art.  By looks of it the Mural wasn’t that recent yet not far old. I asked the people around the park see if they knew anything about the mural. The answer was that, the mural art have been changing from time to time instead being renewed once every now and then. Though it started as a way to cut back on vandalism back in the 80s.

With that answer it shows just how everyone in community and neighborhood is contributing in bringing their idea and passion to life and display those ideas on a wall where the whole community could appreciate their diverse culture history . The title of the mural art coincidentally fits well with the theme, which is “Reflect the Times”.

After a while I started to get hungry and was thinking where would I want to eat, and definitely I wouldn’t want to eat at a simple place. And South End is surrounded with restaurant I never seen or heard in your regular neighborhood. So I wanted to take the opportunity where I could kill two bird in one stone. While I’ve already looked at the South End art in forms of painting, street art and sculptures, I wanted to find a place where I could eat with live music being played. So I've purposely made myself somewhat lost, in a way I could explore the area more while finding whatever restaurant that sticks out the most for me. 

On my way there, most of the venues around me are either a music center or a theatre center. I realized that I’ve entered the musical and live performance community and that is the Boston Center for the Arts. I saw people walking around carrying either musical instrument or props. Since it was still bright outside my guess was that they were either cleaning up or prepping up for later tonight performance. Now knowing that I'm in an area filled with venues with live performances and music, I asked the locals to see if there's any restaurant they would recommend. And most of them replied The Beehive, the Bohemian Eatery.

So I went to the Beehive and the place was crowded, but with good and stable amount of people. So the crowd was still manageable. I was able to get a table within a reasonable waiting time. The place had a very lively yet relaxing atmosphere, people enjoying their time and food, getting along while being accompany with live music. This was first time being there and I didn’t look up their menu beforehand. Thankfully, a waiter was able to go through on what he would recommend during brunch with his suave and lively tone of voice. Because of his smooth talking I had trouble in deciding what to order. 

In the end, I’ve decided to order the Poutine, since I somewhat of a sucker for any food that comes with melted cheese. As I wait for the food, a band comes on stage and perform jazz music, keeping me accompany was a cup of coffee. Everything felt smooth and upbeat. Even though I was hungry, the music manages to kept me away from that hunger as I enjoy both the live jazz and the coffee. My focus on waiting the food went straight to the music.

 The Beehive's take on Poutine.

The Beehive's take on Poutine.

The Poutine then came, and just by the looks and smell of the food I could tell that it’s going to be appetizing. How crispy the potato looks, how alluring the melted cheese were, and the fragrant of the gravy brown, just the perfect finishing touch. I’ve come across and ate poutine from various restaurant, and this poutine was a one of a kind of poutine. Having to savor the food while listening to live jazz, made the experience even better. It as if both things were complementing on each other. Although be it the food is quite pricey, I’d say that it’s worth trying it and revisit the place once a while.

Walking out from the Beehive being famished I felt satisfied. It started out with homey vibe from the interaction with the artists in the SoWa Art studio, followed up with mural art filled with cultural diversity and a build up to the atmospheric jazzy vibe, ending the trip a appetizing meal and lively music. 

Exploring the South End area was a fun journey. It was filled with vibrant and lively atmosphere, yet also relaxing. Being surrounded with various form art had me feeling be at ease for some reason. It is journey that I’ll be more than likely to revisit again.