From Downtown Crossing to the Massachusetts State House, these common Boston destinations are so overrated. Instead, beat the tourist crowds and visit these hidden gems recommended by a local Bostonian. Save yourself some time and money as these are all free to enjoy and easily accessible via the MBTA.

The Berlin Wall
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German government has donated a handful of segments of the wall to different cities throughout the world. Lucky for us, Boston has two of them. One is in the JFK Library, but if you are not fond of the idea of paying the hefty admissions ticket of $10, the second location might be more appealing. The public garden, free to enjoy, offers a brief glance at history that left the world quaking.
How to get there: 1 Education Street, Cambridge, 02141
MBTA: Green line at Science Park Station

Graffiti Alley
Often looked down upon as a taboo form of art, the urban “Graffiti Alley” is nestled between a bar and a retail space in Central Square. When walking through this alley, it definitely turns heads. Nicknamed “Kaleidoscope Alley,” transparent colored glass from above refracts light that displays on the pavement below, complementing the wall graffiti of local artists. 
How to get there: The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Pearl Street
MBTA: Red line at Central Station

Piers Park 
One cannot fully appreciate the beauty of something unless they step back and admire the masterpiece. At Piers Park, you can view our ravishing city from across the Boston Harbor. Stand on fresh grass as you gaze at our city that gently dips into the horizon, causing a slight reflection. The sight is unlike any other.
How to get there: 95 Marginal Street, Boston, MA 02128
MBTA: Blue line at Maverick Station

Highland Park
Resembling a Disney castle, this tower rests upon a hill in the middle of Roxbury -- a place you would least expect to find it. Hidden amidst thick foliage, the park itself is a hidden gem, perfect for sitting and enjoying a nice book. It is so hidden, in fact, that it is not even listed on Google Maps. Satisfy your inner child and visit this medieval-styled architecture.
Where: From the intersection of Columbus Ave. and Cedar St., turn up the hill at Fort Ave. 
MBTA: Orange line at Roxbury Crossing Station

Norman B. Leventhal Park
Within the Financial District is a relatively small park that provides a tranquil setting enjoyed by young teens and corporate professionals alike. This quaint setting is perfect to soak in the rays or stop and smell the roses. It provides a nice escape, while still in the proximity of the bijou shops nearby.
Where: 50 Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110
MBTA: Orange or red line at Downtown Crossing Station

Boston Anthenæm
This hidden gem is often overshadowed by its more extravagant counterparts such as the Boston Public Library in Copley. Resembling a Harry Potter platform with 10½ numbering on the bright red welcoming doors, the inside of the library is magnificent. The architecture mirrors that of a chateau, with grand pillars and bookshelves that reach two stories high. Although a large portion of the library is available to the public, other wings remain only accessible to paying members. This experience definitely provides insight on how the more affluent class lives.
Where: 10 ½ Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
MBTA: Orange or red line at Downtown Crossing Station

Rooftop Garden
Quietly hidden from street view lies an oasis above the concrete jungle. This rooftop garden sits nearly five stories high, offering views of the bustling city below for a great escape from the stress that accompanies the city life. At such an elevated height, this garden gives an unobstructed view of the the scenic skyline while basking in the flora of the garden. 
Where: 90 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142. The garden is on the top floor of the parking garage.
MBTA: Red line at Kendall/MIT Station

Skinniest House in New England
Built out of spite by a brother who wished to block his sibling’s view, the ‘Skinny House’ is narrow yet has a grand presence. Settled between two brick colonial style houses, this pale green house is sure to stand out. Along the Freedom Trail, it marks a historical pinpoint on the colonial setting that once engulfed this city.
Where: 44 Hull Street, Boston, MA 02113
MBTA: Green line or orange line at North Station 

Kelleher Rose Garden 
Those fond of the intrinsic beauty of nature will surely enjoy this hidden gem. This garden is the epitome of sweet desire, which explains why many newlyweds choose to join in matrimony amidst the fragrant aroma of the budding roses. Despite many paying a hefty price tag to hold this as their wedding venue, it is free to visit for passersby. 
Where: 73 Park Street, Boston, MA 02215
MBTA: Green line at Northeastern Station

Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine
Come for the statue; stay for the view. The journey itself is half the fun as you trek up some stairs nestled between thick foliage from the trees along the side. As you walk up, the roar of an airplane’s turbine signify its departure or arrival, adding excitement. Up at the Shrine, a 180 degree view lays atop the hill as the treat for your journey including the Logan International Airport and the view of Boston. As I look upon the airport below, it makes me ponder what else lies out there, beyond this city we call home.
Where: 120-150 Orient Ave., Boston, MA 02128
MBTA: Blue line at Orient Heights Station 
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Every time I sit on the sleek seats of the 28 bus that heads towards Ruggles Station, I pass the Northeastern University dining hall. With its spotless windows and seemingly comfortable red furniture, the dining hall at any given time is either a bustle of smiling faces or a small coalition of concentrated ones.  
Northeastern reflects a level of prestigiousness that makes it distinct from other colleges and universities. With a 28 percent admissions rate coupled with rigorous academics and a “diverse” campus, it is among the more selective universities in the country. However, walking across the street presents a different picture. 
When you walk across the street, you come across a housing development made entirely of bricks, piled up on top of each other like Legos. The very presence of these apartments are inherently paradoxical to the pristine image Northeastern projects. Here, the truth becomes clear—24.6 percent of the young people who live in the neighborhood of Roxbury live in poverty according to research done by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in March of 2014. The location of Northeastern University also presents a problem. To any person with a WiFi connection: If you look up Northeastern, the school’s website states that NU is located simply in Boston, not Roxbury. 
When you put a microscope on NU and Roxbury,  an insidious truth about where we live comes to light. These two places are near each other, but might as well be universes apart.
The looming question is: How did we get here?
I spoke with Marisa Luz, Campus Engagement Coordinator for Northeastern Crossing. Northeastern Crossing is an organization that specializes in curating relationships between Northeastern University and the neighborhood of Roxbury. A native of Roxbury, she described the neighborhood she once grew up in as “a very vibrant community.”
A graduate of Northeastern, she described her alma mater as a place that was very active in the community and afforded her a set of experiences that she still carries with her to this day. When asked about how the expansion of Northeastern has affected the local community, she addressed the fact that some people might feel encroached by the expansion of the university. She told me that the big beautiful campus that Northeastern has become known for wasn't always like this. She said that when she attended Northeastern 20 years ago, it was a commuter school, and they only had a few buildings while the rest of the land was made up of parking lots.
I went to do more research on this subject, and I found a disturbing trend. According to Northeastern’s own college catalogs, tuition in 1985 was $11,538.50. Considering that there were a myriad of scholarships available (115), a Northeastern education was something a middle class person could afford. However, by 2005, tuition shot up to an expensive $39,902. The scholarships that they offered in 1985 practically disappeared—by 2005, only five scholarships were  available, four of which were merit-based. 
For a lot of people that live in Boston, a Northeastern education is practically out of reach. That sentiment is especially true for the people of Roxbury. Even though Northeastern Crossing has programs such as Afro Flow Yoga and regular meetings addressing the community's concerns about the university, how much does impact does it really have on the community? It's of my opinion that it doesn't bridge the divide that much because even though the community voices its concern about the university expanding, these expensive structures end up being built anyway. Northeastern is prioritizing the wrong things. They are much more concerned with their college rankings than improving the quality of the education that's being offered. This comes at a hefty price: they are trying to become prestigious while isolating people who could really benefit from their education. The ironic thing is Northeastern created the problem that it is hoping to solve with Northeastern Crossing.

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The year was 1964 when over 73 million Americans tuned in to The Ed Sullivan Show one fateful evening. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison took the stage that night and proceeded to change the world of music. 50 years later, My Chemical Romance came out with Welcome to the Black Parade, an icon of its era. Both, despite having wildly different sounds, are considered rock ‘n’ roll classics. Rock has seen more change than any other genre since its conception in the late ’50s—from suits and ties to skinny jeans and eyeliner, things have gotten pretty odd for the voice of a generation.
Although rock was born in the late ’50s, the genre found its soul in the 1960s. The melodic bliss of songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “I’m a Believer” provided a strong start to an era of musical expression like the world had never known before. 
Contrasting the soft sound of the ’60s, the ’70s gave way to one of the loudest bands of all time—Queen.  Their biggest song, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” spans several distinct sections: an intro, a ballad, an opera, a heavy rock segment and finally a reflective conclusion. The flamboyance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” defined the ’70s and pop culture as a whole. Queen is well known for shaking up the rock genre and laying the groundwork for glam rock and the sound of bands to come.
Three words. Don’t. Stop. Believing.
 A fitting follow up to the unique sound of the ’70s, the ’80s hit the ground running with such hits as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” possibly the catchiest song of all time, and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” Bon Jovi’s ballad about a hard life worth living.  The decade provided a bridge between the different sounds of the ’70s and ’90s while still forging its own way.
The ’90s gave birth to many popular rock bands such as Blink-182, Weezer and possibly the greatest band of our generation, Green Day. With such classics as “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around,” Dookie is exemplary of pop-punk greatness.
Another large rock movement of the ’90s was grunge. Headed by Nirvana, the grunge movement provided a bridge between hard rock and post-punk rock subgenres. Nirvana’s best known song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is the epitome of this trend and the ’90s as a whole.
The new millennium led to a serious 21st century breakdown, as the world seemed to become a darker place than it had ever been. Green Day’s American Idiot preached about life in a post-9/11 society, where paranoia runs rampant and the nation is controlled by the media. The third track on the album, “Holiday,” represents this best, referencing the war in the Middle East and the aggressiveness of the Bush administration. New bands heavily influenced by the sound of the 90’s were able to forge their own voice. One such band is the late, great My Chemical Romance. Gerard Way’s deep lyrics about emotional pain and neglect rang true with many young people at the time, and MCR became a heavy influencer of the early 2000s “emo” scene. The music of this era reflected the unrest of the youth struggling to find their way in a world where everything isn’t meant to be OK.
With the splitting of MCR in 2013 and the departure of all but one of Panic! at the Disco’s original members, the golden days of 2000’s rock had officially ended. Fortunately, 2013 also saw the reunion of Fall Out Boy and the release of Save Rock and Roll. The album definitely lives up to its name, despite a very different in sound. “We’re at a time where… you could do two things,” said Pete Wentz, the band’s bassist, in a recent interview on “The Woody Show.” “You can really pander to people and have a bunch of Swedish guys write your songs—and there's a bunch of songs like that I really dig—or you could go and put put out some pretty authentic stuff.”
You can either write the same song over and over, or you can make something new and meaningful. This really symbolizes not only Fall Out Boy’s growth from Evening Out With Your Girlfriend to Mania, but rock’s evolution as a whole.
As a genre rock has survived by changing, adapting to the status quo and then twisting it to form something unique. People from all walks of life have changed it to say what they need to say and make something beautiful. To quote a personal favorite, “Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t noise pollution, rock and roll will never die.”

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Culture Club
Slamming the locker room door shut: Hypermasculinity is poisoning gender relations
When you hear the names Donald Trump, David Becker, Brock Turner, Derrick Rose, ‘Big Ben’ Roethlisberger and Darren Sharper, what comes to mind? They are all world renowned athletes and politicians, but behind the scenes all these men have one thing in common: rape culture, influenced by locker room talk.
According to  Urban Dictionary, locker room talk is defined as “any manner of conversation that society dictates be held privately—with small groups of like-minded, similarly gendered peers—due to its sexually charged language, situations or innuendos.”  As we enter the 2017-2018 school year, it is always important to ask the question: does locker room talk influence rape culture? 
Donald Trump introduced the phrase "locker room talk" to the mainstream media during the 2016 presidential campaign. Locker room talk can often perpetuate rape culture, which is “the society or environment where prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.
The American Psychological Association has claimed that last year's elections were one of the most stressful in electoral history. In 2016, The Washington Post released a recording of Trump saying “When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything...Grab them by the [explicit]. You can do anything." 
When the 2005 recording was leaked, it sparked mass controversy for Trump’s campaign. Trump deflected criticism of his statement by saying that his words were only locker room talk. Trump claimed to be “very embarrassed” by the comment, but dismissed it as “locker room talk, and it's one of those things.” 
Although this statement caused a mass outrage from the public, it started to raise questions about what locker room culture was.
When Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious woman in early 2015, many thought justice would prevail and the minimum sentence of 15 years would be met. Turner got three months instead, and the leniency of his sentence sparked mass controversy. The judge reasoned that any longer would have a “severe impact” on Turner mentally and emotionally. Outcry over the decision was heard over all platforms. Some claimed white male privilege influenced the ruling, while others alleged the judge did not take the case seriously. All true, but one overlooked fact about the case is the impact of rape culture on the decision. Turner, once a prospect for the Olympics, has been barred from ever competing in a swimming event again. As word spread about him being an athlete, many began to speculate about what locker rooms may have had to do with the heinous action committed.
 A Danvers student who wished to remain anonymous says he has often heard “slut shaming” and other derogatory comments in locker rooms. “While in the locker room you don't have to hold back on what you say,” he said. “Like you can just do a bunch of stuff that you can't do outside in the locker room.” 
Another student, recalling an incident where a classmate’s sexually explicit video was shared in the locker room, described the attention she got as “her wanting it” and that she “provoked the rape culture.”
“She was asking for it,” he said.
 Marblehead High School Varsity wrestling and football player Armani Dotson’s personal experience varies slightly when it came to locker room talk. “Being in a locker room, due to the closeness, people say things they normally wouldn't say out loud,” Dotson said. “I think it’s a lot less filtered in the locker room, and no one thinks about it because again we're in a locker room so no one is ever gonna figure it out.” 
“More than 55 percent of our locker room conversations are about women and they can often become derogatory,” added Dotson. “In the end, high school teenagers are high school teenagers. We’re all just dumb and trying to figure ourselves out.” 
 Dr. Jonathan Jenkins, a Psychiatry Outpatient Psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, instructor at Harvard Medical School and athlete, believes locker room talk is “a precursor to rape culture.” The ideologies we talk about in the presence of others can become our own, Jenkins said. If you dehumanize someone with your words, it's more likely you’re going to dehumanize someone with your actions.
“So if you speak about women in a possessive—the girl is mine, I’m getting her, I hit that, all that type of talk—the likelihood is you're going to then pursue women from a dehumanized standpoint,” Jenkins said. “And you're assuming you're going to get the backing of your boys who are involved in the locker room conversation.” 
Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of a social justice organization called Northeastern Sports in Society, hopes to fight hypermasculinity in locker rooms and provide new definitions of manhood and masculinity. Lebowitz believes that we as a society must stop tacitly approving the continuation of the male dominating power dynamic.
“Manhood doesn't have to be defined as ‘I can beat you down,’” said Lebowitz. “Manhood should be defined by kindness, respect for woman, [and] respect for each other.” 
Lebowitz states that his program “asks people to unpack their bias and rethink through a lense of empathy.” As we start to attack our personal bias, we will stop unknowingly approving locker room talk—and more importantly, rape culture.

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Culture Club
Turn down the flame: Roasting not as innocent as it seems
People bully for one reason. “I have something over you, and I’m gonna use it to make you feel bad,” explained Michelle Gormley, Director of Education for Boston vs Bullies.
Over the years, bullying has changed a lot. Kids used to view bullying as something wholly negative. It was the image of the big fourth grader demanding lunch money from the tiny, scared third grader. Now, being mean has become a joke, known as roasting. Roasting is a competition to see who can say the most hurtful things. Now it’s so funny to clown someone while screaming “BOY!” along with wild hand motions. Recorded videos of roasting, some with celebrities, gain millions of views. Something that was once so serious and meaningful has just turned into a joke, and now some people barely even think twice about it or what it could lead to down the road.
What has bullying turned into?
There are three types of bullying—physical, verbal and social. According to the US Health Department, 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically, and 43 percent of students experience cyberbullying.
This explains a lot about roasting. Roasting has become so popular that it’s not even considered bullying to teens. Nowadays, teens will roast anyone about any aspect about themselves that there is to criticize, no vendetta needed. It’s all “just for fun.”
Roasting captivates bystanders, and those bystanders won’t do or say anything because they’re oblivious to the fact that roasting is still bullying. Despite all the moments of silence we spent feeling guilty about the people we hurt or didn’t stand up for, it's just a room full of overflowing cries and laughter because “it’s just a roast.” 
Recent statistics show that revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings. School safety plays a very significant and essential role in school. The students safety is always what matters first and foremost. But what do the adults really try to do to help stop the drama or violence in the school?
As a kid, my friends and I always liked the anti-bullying organizations when they came to educate. But what did they really teach, besides repeating “Bullying is bad!” and hanging posters around the classroom?
Some organizations fail and there is always a reason for everything. Boston vs. Bullies believes it takes a team effort. It can’t be a one time thing, it takes persistence and value.
Even with all the programs and organizations, it takes something deeper to stop bullying. It isn’t enough to just say “stop.” My gym teacher once said people were put on this Earth to help each other. There is a lot of help, but there is also a lot of hate. Like Dai’zah Davis, 11, of Roxbury explained “ Bullies don’t depend on themselves, they depend on other people.They want hate because they can’t do what they want.”
Will bullying ever stop? It’s a question I can’t answer, and maybe you can’t either. And that’s okay.

“God put us on this Earth for different reasons. To be free and live our lives,” said Davis.
Michelle Gormley may have worded it best, however. “I think a little of it is human nature,” she said. “Unfortunately it’s not a disease like polio, where you can just eradicate it. But I think just because you’re dealing with the human mind there’s gonna be a fraction of the population that is going to act mean. The more knowledgeable you are, the better off it’s gonna be.”


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