This gallery offers changing glimpses of historic and magnificent Boston Harbor. These images are, top to bottom, of a gibbous, nearly full moon rising over the inner harbor; a small schooner sailing southwest past The Nubble channel (Rainsford Island on the horizon), and of the water surface in Gallops Cove.
Boston Harbor is one of the finest environmental stories in American history: once a neglected and polluted body of water, it is now clean enough to please even sensitive marine mammals like seals and dolphins. People too. This profound transformation is thanks to a heroic civic infrastructure project that created a state of-the-art waste treatment plant located on the tip of Deer Island. Here is an excerpt from a tribute to the Deer Island treatment plant, and other examples of municipal infrastructure, a piece that I wrote for The Atlantic magazine.
Dept. of Real Places
from the Atlantic Monthly
The newest aid to navigation along the New England coast is a cluster of ovoid structures that loom 130 feet tall, and rather perkily for such giants, on the tip of Deer Island in Boston Harbor. The eggs, as they are commonly called (and there are a dozen) cut a dashing, futuristic figure against the blue-green Atlantic: Rem Koolhaus meets the Jetsons meets Fabergé. One morning recently I was zooming to the top of one egg in an industrial strength elevator along with six visiting Sri Lankan engineers. As we stepped out onto a catwalk, our guide, a process engineer named Jeff McAuley, said of the egg below us, "This could blow up anytime."
He was kidding of course. We were perfectly safe, but McAuley was getting our attention about conditions deep inside the eggs. Sometimes mistaken by passing mariners for a luxury condo complex, the eggs are habitable only by micro-organisms. “They are like your stomach,” one of the engineers explained to me, adding in a polite fluster, “Not like your personal stomach, Madame, but the stomach of the human body.” Technically anaerobic digesters, these Big Berthas are the most dramatic feature of a new state-of-the-art plant that treats and dispatches the effluents of metropolitan Boston, handling the task so well that for infrastructure cognoscenti from around the world, Deer Island is all the rage—a must see destination.
To read more, visit
The Atlantic site