Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get out of Town!

Yes, as you may have surmised based on yesterday's teaser, the newest entry on design in the city of Boston is...  Leif Ericson (who will be referred to intermittently as "Viking-Man").

First Question: Where is he? Leif Ericson can be found at the very end of the Commonwealth Mall (towards Kenmore).

Second Question: Who is he? This is an excellent question. Walking down Comm Ave, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who is not directly associated with Boston and/or American history. Even at a quick glance, it's easy to see that the vast majority of  these immortalized (and heftily carved) figures are wearing outfits that range from the colonial to the slightly more recent. That is, until travelers stumble upon the figure at the end (or beginning) wearing plated armor. That hasn't been in vogue for, what, centuries? Unless it's about to make a comeback, in which case, Leif totally rocks it.

Aside from his ability to "make it work" (potentially copyright Tim Gunn), we still have to beg the question why someone so seemingly out of place has become a permanent structure in the city.

Well, the answer may just surprise you...if only because it still doesn't make any sense.

After extensive research (read: Wikipedia and the sources it cites -- so consider all info sourced to the Wiki listing), it is apparent that our good friend Mr. Leif, the Viking-Man, has left a big of a legacy. Long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Erickson and his fellow Norsemen sailed to North America (almost 500 years before, to be more precise).

That said, it is generally agreed upon that Leif was born in Iceland, though it seems that this is inferred and not factually known. He also traveled to Greenland, Norway, and the currently Canadian regions of North America. In any event, the landmasses that are Greenland and Iceland had both been found by Vikings before Leif was born.

In addition, Leif didn't land in Boston! It has been suggested that Leif landed in Newfoundland. I tried to Mapquest directions from Boston to Newfoundland, but the site "had trouble" finding me a route. No doubt Leif did, too.

So, why is he here? I'm not too sure on that one, but his history is definitely interesting.

And so is his statue -- especially when dramatically back lit.

I like his stance -- mostly because I remember taking a series of photos posed just like him at the beach. Symbolically, yes, he is looking at Newfoundland. I think. Literally, though, I think he is focused on Fenway (and the current 6-3 Sox-Blue Jays game), or thereabouts.

My favorite part of this statue would have to be the pedestal on which it stands. This is obviously because it's a tiny, top-heavy boat. I have a friend who works with such buoyant travel devices, and I'll double-check with him, but I'm pretty sure that it would never float -- nor would anyone be able to stand tall atop it, even the first explorer to reach these shores.

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