The only other person who got off on Broadway was a woman wearing white nurse's shoes. She ran up the stairs, and, having nothing to do at the time, I followed. As we approached the street, calls of "Jane, we thought you'd miss the shuttle," drifted down the hollow subway tunnel." Ten pairs of nurses' shoes were waiting on the street, waiting for the shuttle to University Hospital, waiting for Jane.
Fortunately for Jane, the shuttle came quickly. Fortunately for me too, because I felt a little weird about going into a pub at 9 a.m. in front of a bunch of nurses. But clearly that was my next step. If you stand at the subway entrance, without taking a single step you can see the Cornerstone, the Quiet Man, Triple O's, Cronin's and Ahmane's pubs. If you move at all, you can see more. And on every side of the pubs were the factories and the billboards.
From inside the factories the whirring of industrial productivity warned me that hard hats would probably be required. So the factories were out for exploration. That's all right, I like pubs better. Unfortunately so early in the morning, only two were open. In Cronin's pub the manager was chopping onions and watching Pep Rally Week on one of the game shows. In another, four men in logo t-shirts were polishing linoleum counter tops and floors.
This wasn't really what I had in mind when I decided to explore Broadway--I was looking for theater, my name in lights, big fame, big cars, or at least something slightly reminiscent of its New York namesake. Failing that, I thought the location might have appeal--South Station, I knew, was fairly near the water--maybe this stop, the next one further on the red line, would be the beach.
This place was decidedly blue collar, and clearly landlocked. And the pubs weren't even open.
Across the street, surrounded by the pubs, was a massive building, half gothic without the spires, half colonial without the shutters. OK, this might be something. The sign above the door said that visitors must have a pass from the school office. Clearly an invitation to roam.
I wandered in, but the Cardinal Cushing Catholic School for Girls still has hall monitors. I was stopped by an imposing lady in grey who demanded, "Do you have a pass?" Deafness seemed like the best defense, so I pretended not to hear her, smiled and asked "How long has this school been here?"
Nothing. Just another, "Do you have a pass?" I smiled again. Maybe a different question this time--"Who is Cardinal Cushing?" This time she pointed at a picture on the wall above her of the former Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing, and asked again, "Do you have a pass?" Clearly I was not going to avoid this question. I shook my head no, and she piloted me into the principal's office.
A grey lady in a bright red dress was standing in front of another picture of Richard Cardinal Cushing--this one was signed. She looked at my reporter's notebook and asked suspiciously who I was. "How long has this school been here?" I asked. I can repeat questions too.
Fortunately, the principal was more of a talker than the hall monitor. I not only found out that the school had been around since 1860, but when I expressed my surprise that a Catholic girls' school should be sitting inthe middle of a strip of pubs, the office burst in to laughter, the principal informed me that there were 16 Catholic girls' schools in the area, and one girl said, "Catholic schools are always in the middle of a strip of pubs."