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Boston, Free and Easy (and Campus-Oriented)

"Joyce, this cookie is as big as your face," one M.I.T. business student said to another, as they pounced on the oversize chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin treats left over from a lunchtime lecture on the Chinese economy.


Tuition for the M.B.A. program at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management is $52,900 a year, so perhaps students deserve bountiful free desserts and guest appearances by the likes of Yue Chim Richard Wong, a professor at the University of Hong Kong. But do tourists? Apparently so. I just strolled in the door -- no one asked for ID -- and had a seat and a cookie and enjoyed the show. Though I felt like a trespasser and a mooch, I wasn't: the event, like so many others at Boston-area campuses, was free to the public and listed as such on the M.I.T. events page. (You didn't have to know much about China to enjoy the lecture, you just had to be someone who follows the news.)

麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院(Sloan School)MBA课程每年的学费是52900美元, 所以学生们也许有权享用免费的点心和参加名人客座,比如香港大学的王于渐(Yue Chim Richard Wong)教授就到此进行过演讲。但是游客们也能享此待遇吗?当然可以。我走进教室,没有被要求出示证件,坐下来,吃个曲奇,听一场演讲。虽然看起来我好像是擅闯校园,还占了便宜,但其实不必紧张:这种活动和波士顿其他校园的活动一样,都是对公众免费开放的,活动日程都列在麻省理工学院的网页上。(即使不太了解中国你也能听懂这个讲座,只要平时关注新闻就行了。)

Over the next few days, I attended a classical piano recital, a demonstration by top Catalonian chefs, a museum exhibition on English history, a college soccer game with one of the top 10 teams in the nation and a nutty tour at Harvard. It was all free - or at least payment-optional -- and the crowds at most were post-grad to graying. (Should you think you're too old for this, the suggestion for this post came from my 81-year-old dad who has been known to haunt plenty of events like these.)


Every touristy city has free attractions: Google the city name and "free" and you'll get lists of art galleries and farmers' markets and fireworks. But Boston takes it to an extreme with its dozens of college campuses that are to a surprising and admirable degree open to everyone.


To some extent, it is energizing just to walk around campus surrounded by (and eavesdropping on) students who are so "wicked smaht," as Bostonians might say. But there are also endless events to attend, listed on online calendar pages for colleges and universities like Harvard, Tufts, Boston University, Boston College, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. Fliers posted around campus have even more.

波士顿人可能会说,在一定程度上,哪怕只是在“怪才”学生成群的校园里走走(顺便偷听他们的谈话),也足以激发你的活力了。但是那里也有无数的活动可以参加,这些活动都被列在大学的在线日历上,包括 哈佛(Harvard), 塔夫茨 (Tufts),波士顿大学( Boston University),波士顿学院( Boston College), 伯克利音乐学院 (Berklee College of Music) 以及新英格兰音乐学院(New England Conservatory)。校园里张贴的海报上的信息更多。

An obvious way to start your mostly-free Boston trip is with a campus tour. Though these tours are usually directed at incoming students, you can go without a high school junior in tow. Even better, take the unofficial "Hahvahd" tour, given not by the admissions office but by Trademark Tours. I did, accompanied by a crowd of international visitors divisible into two groups: those who spoke enough English to appreciate the goofy humor of our guide, an 18-year-old first-year student named LuShuang Yu; and those who didn't. While our guide had half the group groaning at her ship-related puns about Widener Library (named after a class of 1907 student who died on the Titanic), the other half happily snapped pictures. (The tour is nominally free, but you're a more iron-willed frugal traveler than I am if you can resist the plea for a $10 donation at the end.)

要开始这几乎免费的波士顿之旅,最佳的选择就是校园游。虽然这些活动通常是面向新生的,但你也不必假扮成一个高中生的样子。更棒的是,你可以参加非官方的“哈佛游”(“Hahvahd” tour),这可不是招生处举办的,而是这个网站:Trademark Tours。我和一群国际游客被分成两组:英语不错的人和不说英语的人。我们的导游是一个18岁的名叫于露霜(音译:LuShuang Yu)的大一新生,有一种傻乎乎的幽默 。我们当中有一半人为她讲的威德纳图书馆(Widener Library)的历史而感叹(以一个在泰坦尼克号事故中丧生的1907届的学生名字命名 ),另一半则在开心地拍照。(整个活动是免费的,但他们在活动结束时会请求你捐10美元,如果你能抵抗住,那你就是一个意志比我更坚定的更节俭的游客。)

Though I could have downloaded a tour of M.I.T. to my iPhone, I set out on my own before the China lecture, since I just wanted to see the Stata Center, which is instantly recognizable as the work of Frank Gehry. The center's interior, interesting enough for its quirkily chaotic colors, materials and floor plan, is also filled with displays memorializing Building 20, the famously ramshackle lab it replaced, and notorious pranks engineered by M.I.T. students.

其实我原本可以在iPhone上下载一个麻省理工学院游的应用软件,但在中国讲座之前,我自己做了旅游规划,因为我只是想看看史塔特中心(Stata Center),这一看就知道是弗兰克·盖里(Frank Gehry)的作品。中心的内部设计很有趣:古怪而混乱的颜色搭配、材料的使用以及楼层平面图,大楼内部到处都是纪念“20号大楼”(Building 20)的装饰。20号大楼是由麻省理工学院的学生们设计的“恶作剧”(这里是部分恶作剧名单)——一栋外形看起来要倒塌的实验室楼,目前已被史塔特中心取代。

Taking the Green Line trolley out to the Boston-Newton border, I spent an afternoon taking in high culture at Boston College, in the form of a museum exhibition, a classical concert and (lowering the bar slightly) a turkey Reuben.


I almost skipped "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain" at the McMullen Museum, since it sounded deadly boring. But that was because I had no idea what antiquarians were. As it turns out, they were history buffs who, starting as far back as the 16th century, had the bright idea of collecting historical artifacts and documents, although they sometimes interpreted them in hilariously misguided ways. Some of those documents are on display, including a ledger listing everything owned by Henry VIII when he died, and a copy of the Magna Carta dating to 1225. (The exhibition ends Dec. 11, and opens again in February at Yale.)

我原本没打算去看麦克马伦博物馆(McMullen Museum)的“制造历史:英国的古文物研究者”的展览,想想就很枯燥,但也是因为我根本不了解古文物研究者为何许人也。事实上,他们就是一群历史爱好者,最早可追溯到16世纪。他们爱好收集历史文物和文件,但有时也会滑稽地做出错误的解读。一些历史文件在陈列展出,包括亨利八世(Henry VIII)去世时所拥有的所有财产的清单,还有1225年《大宪章》(Magna Carta)的副本(该展览在12月11日结束,来年2月将在耶鲁大学 February at Yale继续展出)。

The concert was a piano recital by Jeremiah W. McGrann, who directs the undergraduate music studies program at Boston College. "You know you're in trouble when the guy who's about to play the piano for you is also a musicologist, because he's going to want to talk to you about the music," Professor McGrann said. But contextualizing the pieces he played made the afternoon more interesting. Before playing pieces by Mozart and Clementi, for example, he compared their perspectives on the piano and explained how in December 1781, they performed for the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna in a piano smackdown. Who knew (aside, of course, from Wikipedia)? The music was nice (though I might have dozed off for a minute), but the setting, in an elegant hall with stained-glass windows, was even lovelier.

音乐会是杰瑞米亚·W·麦克格兰恩(Jeremiah W. McGrann)的钢琴独奏会,他也是波士顿学院音乐研究本科课程的主任。麦克格兰恩教授说:“如果要弹钢琴给你听的人同时也是一个音乐学者,那你就遇到麻烦了,因为他想要和你讨论音乐。”但是把他弹奏的作品放进历史背景去欣赏,让这个下午更加有趣。比如,在弹奏莫扎特(Mozart)和克莱门蒂(Clementi)的作品之前,他对比了二人对钢琴的看法,并讲解了他们在1781年12月维也纳的一场钢琴大赛中,为神圣罗马皇帝演奏的情形。 谁知道实情(维基百科 Wikipedia除外)?音乐非常美妙(虽然我可能在中间打了一分钟盹),但配以彩色玻璃窗的高雅音乐厅,给我的印象更深刻。

On my way to Boston College, I stopped at Moogy's, a sandwich shop and bar, for a turkey Reuben on buttery toasted marble rye, slathered with Russian dressing. (I passed on the $1 Busch drafts.) Moogy's is a 15-minute walk from campus, but I also found great deals on food closer to campuses - or on them.


It's an open secret in Cambridge (and on Yelp) that anyone can stroll into Harvard Business School and eat under the chandeliers in the Spangler Center's dining room. I was tempted into one of the most expensive items there: macaroni and cheese with boursin, chunks of lobster and vegetables of my choice for $11.50 ). It was truly luscious, and caloric - definitely enough for two with a salad. There are also slightly cheaper lobster-free entrees, as well as made-to-order sandwiches for $5.75, and a pay-by-weight salad bar with choices so diverse that a decade of the cumulative contents of my refrigerator could not match it.

在坎布里奇有个公开的秘密(Yelp网站上也写着),任何一个人都可以随便进入哈佛商学院,在斯潘格勒中心(Spangler Center)餐厅的吊灯下吃饭。吸引我的是那里最贵的食物之一:芝士通心粉配法式乳酪、大块龙虾以及蔬菜,一共是11.5美元,堪称人间饕餮,热量充足。再加一份沙拉,两个人吃已经足够。还有便宜一些的不带龙虾的主菜、仅售5.75美元的自选酱料三明治,以及按重计价的沙拉吧。沙拉吧的食物极其多样,我的冰箱在十年里存放过的种类恐怕也达不到这个数量。

Another night, my frequent travel companion Jon Chapman (last seen in this column adding roasted ants to trail mix in Colombia) joined me at Grendel's Den in Harvard Square, where any $3 drink purchase grants you 50 percent off the entire food menu from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Sunday to Thursday. He ordered broiled salmon with rice and vegetables (no ants this time) for $5.25; I had shrimp and Gorgonzola with Malaysian sambal sauce over pasta for $6. I dragged Jon to Oggi Gourmet afterward, since it was Monday and LuShuang the tour guide had clued me in on the Monday evening special: a margherita pie for $5.95, plenty for two people -- even for two people who had not already eaten full dinners.

又一晚,我的旅伴乔恩·查普曼(Jon Chapman)(他最近一篇发表在本专栏的文章写,在哥伦比亚的什锦干果里面是要加烤蚂蚁的)和我一起到哈佛广场的 Grendel’s Den 吃饭。在那里,每周四到周日下午5点到7点半,购买任一3美元的饮料,就能获得全单半价的优惠。 他点了烤三文鱼配米饭和蔬菜(这次没有蚂蚁了),售价5.25美元;我点了虾和戈贡佐拉干酪配马来西亚辣酱意粉,售价6美元。饭后我又拉着乔安去了Oggi Gourmet,因为那天是周一,露霜导游之前提醒我说周一晚上有特价:玛格丽塔派只卖5.95美元,而且是两个人的份量——即使把这个当正餐吃也够了。

Our eating had not yet ended: we were off to see "Mixing the Unmixable," part of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' "Science and Cooking" public lectures. Half cooking show, half science class, this immensely popular series attracts lines that snake through the halls outside the auditoriums where they are held.

我们的吃货之旅还没结束,体会了一次“最不搭界的混搭”:我们去听了哈佛大学工程及应用科学学院的《科学与烹饪》(“Science and Cooking”)公开讲座。一半时间是烹饪表演,另一半是科学课。 这场异常受欢迎的系列讲座吸引了众多听众,队伍都呈S形排到演讲厅外的楼道里了。

That night, the presentation was on emulsions and foams, and David Weitz, a physics professor, took us through the formulas and the science behind the topic using terms like "dispersed phase" and "surfactant." Then the chefs Nandu Jubany and Carles Gaig of Spain showed how cooks whip up such things; meanwhile Professor Weitz had an assistant put the chefs' concoctions under a microscope shown on a wide screen above the stage, bringing the diagrams he had shown us to life. At the end we all got to taste an emulsion in the form of Mr. Gaig's romesco sauce, spread on small pieces of bread and passed out to the audience in abundance.

那天的演讲是关于乳液和泡沫的,物理学教授大卫·维兹(David Weitz)用“分散相”(dispersed phase)和“表面活性剂”(surfactant)这样的术语给我们讲解了公式和这个题目背后的科学。然后,来自西班牙的厨师南杜·胡巴尼(Nandu Jubany)和卡尔斯·盖格(Carles Gaig)展示了烹饪如何激起这样的反应;同时维兹教授让一名助理把厨师做出的混合物放在显微镜下,并显示在舞台上的一个大屏幕上,让我们看到真实的图像。最后,我们尝了盖格做出的乳状物,他称之为romesco酱(一种混合了杏仁、榛果、大蒜、橄榄油和辣椒的西班牙特色酱汁。——编注),他把这种酱涂在小块的面包上,传给了观众。

The next night, before attending a concert at the Berklee College of Music for $12, I went to a Boston University soccer game versus Boston College, now ranked number 10 or 7 in the country, depending on the poll you look at. It's $5 to watch from the stands, but free if you walk left past the gates and stand along the railing beyond the southwest goal, under high-rise dormitories.


It was near Boston University that I had my cheapest meal, at Lower Depths, a bar on Commonwealth Avenue known for its beer selection and its hot dogs. It sells Fenway Franks on a buttered, toasted bun for $1, a tiny fraction of what they go for at their namesake ballpark down the street (and, I might add, half the price of a far inferior version sold on the streets of New York).

在波士顿大学附近,我在Lower Depths吃到了此行最便宜的一餐。这是一家在联邦大道上的酒吧,以其品种众多的啤酒和热狗而闻名。涂黄油的烤Fenway Franks热狗(波士队红袜队主场名为Fenway Park,这个球场卖的热狗被叫作Fenway Franks热狗。——编注)只卖1美元,比起街尽头球场里卖的热狗,他家的价格简直便宜得不像话(我还要补充一句,纽约的有些热狗比起这家,又差又贵)。

The hot dogs also come with endless toppings options for a dollar each, including one that stuck out at me: peanut butter. The bartender said it was the most popular, and offered to eat it himself if I didn't like it. Not only did I like it (sort of), it made me something of a celebrity among the customers sitting around me.


I skipped dessert, though: the menu didn't offer my Boston area favorites -- free cookies as big as your face.

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