There’s a kind of poem to remember what the weather light on the Berkeley Building means:
Steady blue, clear view
Flashing blue, clouds due
Steady red, rain ahead
Flashing red, snow instead
Now the only exception to this is flashing red in summer, and that means that the Red Sox have been rained out. But that’s what that light on top of the tower is all about. I always think of that poem when I’m on the trolley and the tower comes into view. I don’t speak about this sort of thing too much, but it’s one of those little things that make me happy and proud to be a Bostonian.
I especially love seeing the light of the tower on a good spring night, while walking through the Public Garden and Boston Common, with a light fog to make the new flowers pop. The city is just so damn pretty then: warm and proper, but just a bit mysterious, too. And it works so well because of the scale of the skyline.
I’ve heard talk about putting up a couple of new glass towers. I hope that doesn’t happen. I suppose everything has to change, but I’d hate to see something so cockeyed. The scale of Boston is manageable. That’s what makes it so livable.
Here we are freshly in 1960. Boston is nearly two hundred years old, and the connection to history is still there at every corner. And yet you can go out to the corner store and get a bottle of milk anytime. To me that’s a livable city. It has problems, to be sure. But all those problems seem to be erased on a night like this, with a view of that magnificent tower.
I hope that doesn’t change. I can’t imagine the new poem. Glass and steel, rain real? It just wouldn’t be the same…
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