If NYC is the city that never sleeps, Boston is the city with a strict curfew—one dictated by the limited operating hours of the MBTA, the public transit system that everyone loves to hate. However, a recent announcement may keep Boston awake a little bit longer: the T will be extending its hours, allowing those who rely on public transportation to get home after a late night to stay out a bit longer.
In 2001, the MBTA implemented a “Night Owl” service that ultimately flopped. Rather than keeping the trains open late, they were replaced by late-night buses, which were unreliable and difficult to track without the smartphone technology that we appreciate today. The service went largely unused, so the MBTA shut it down. Now, we’re being presented with a great opportunity to utilize the T late at night—but if we don’t use it, we run the risk of losing it again.
Ted Mosby of How I Met Your Mother warns us that “nothing good ever happens after 2 AM”. While his advice may be wise, now that the MBTA is extending its operating hours, Boston-area students can find the good things that happen after 2 AM—here’s some ideas on things to do “after hours” in Boston!
Late night flicks. Get the popcorn ready for a night (or early morning) at the movies! A short jaunt down the C line, the Coolidge Corner Theatre shows midnight movies every weekend, including the popular so-bad-it’s-good cult hit The Room. If you’re willing to venture downtown and dust off your fishnets for an evening of sheer weirdness, the Full Body Cast of Boston presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the AMC Boston Common every Saturday night—costumes and audience participation encouraged. Or, if you can’t wait for the next installment of your favorite movie series, hit up a midnight premiere at one of Boston’s cinemas. (Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One anyone?)
Nightlife. If you’re over 21 and sick of nearby watering holes like Mary Ann’s and Cityside, burst out of the BC Bubble and hit some bars in the city! The Publick House in Washington Square is legendary for its selection of beers. If you’re willing to venture further into the heart of Boston, check out Drink, a “modern speakeasy” on Congress Street. Plus, who doesn’t love those BC-exclusive events at Wonder Bar, Arc and Who’s On First? Now that the T will be running until the early hours of the morning, you can stick around till last call at these popular spots without having to break the bank paying for a ride back to BC. [Note: As the author is still underage, she looks forward to being able to take her own advice in one month, three weeks, four days, twenty-three hours and forty-two minutes.]
Visiting other schools. My freshman year, I went to visit a buddy of mine at Tufts, which was a ton of fun–but having to pay $40 for a cab back to Chestnut Hill at the end of the night wasn’t. Those days are over! The Boston area has dozens of colleges and universities, and chances are you have at least one friend from high school/summer camp/the online dating site of your choice who goes to another school. Check out how the other half lives—make plans to visit a friend at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, BU, Northeastern… the list of T-accessible universities goes on and on, and there’s tons to explore in the other college neighborhoods (Davis Square? Mission Hill? Intriguing). And once you’ve visited your Boston-area buddies, return the favor and invite them to come and visit BC (if they don’t mind the long ride down the Green Line)!
Good eats. What’s a late night out without a late-night snack to cap it all off? Skip the trip to Lower and get your munchies off the beaten path–there are tons of places open late around the city to satisfy your cravings. Tasty Burger, an iconic Boston-area chain, keeps its Fenway and Harvard Square locations open into the early morning (Fenway until 2 AM, and Harvard Square until 4 AM [!!!]). Both offer a “Starvin’ Student” special: a beer, a burger and fries for only $10 with your student ID! If you’re cavorting around the Financial District in the wee hours of the morning, stop off for some nosh at the South Street Diner before heading home—it’s open all night.
We’re all excited that the T is running late, but if the service doesn’t get used, it’ll be cut just like the Night Owl buses. Though obviously students and those who enjoy their nights on the town will benefit from a few extra hours of T service, it’ll also benefit those who work late-night or early-morning shifts and keep Boston running behind the scenes. It’s important that we make it clear to the MBTA that maintaining this service is a priority and that keeping the T open is a worthwhile investment. So remember, when you’re enjoying your late-night fun, be civil, keep it clean, and pay your fares!