Even on the Red Line, man with no shoes attracts attention

A man with no shoes on the Red Line

The past few days, morning commuters on the Red Line have noted the presence of a well dressed man who just happens to not be wearing shoes.

Andrew Coates, who took this morning's toe shot, wonders:

Is this a new holiday? No shoes day on the Red Line?

Megz warns men: Go shoeless only after a visit to your local salon:

Guys have gross feet and don't get pedi's, if they did it's different. Some do.

Dan K. wonders:

What's really worse: riding without shoes, or riding without gloves?



    Free tagging: 


    Oh, I see

    Anybody who is noticeably different from anybody else is a defacto attention whore?

    You really need to get out of the city, state, country more often, dude. Berlin would put you in a coma.

    It's called growing up and

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    It's called growing up and being an adult instead of a precious little special snowflake. Get a basic understanding of hygiene and put on some damn shoes.

    Basic understanding of hygiene

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    Which is why we were born with shoes?

    Feet are pretty secure from predation, so long as you don't cut them up with pedicures.

    But, hey, ignore evolution and fail to actually research the subject. Go ahead.

    Uh oh

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    Looks like our barefoot friend also forgot to permanently install the prim and proper Boston Stick up the Ass! How could anyone employ him without that!

    on being a grownup...

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    Or people could grow up and mind their own business. Why does anyone care what kind of shoes, if any, other T riders are wearing?


    I find this critique amusing coming from someone who referred to marathon runners as "precious" last week. Because, you know, the act of running 26 miles makes them different from everyone else.

    MBTA floors are so clean they

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    MBTA floors are so clean they harbor absolutely no biological or chemical hazards to bare skin.

    Said no one

    You youngsters are funny

    I take it you weren't around when all those Dirty Old Boston pictures were taken. Now there isn't nearly the level of things like glass and sharp metal wreckage strewn around (way for pathogens to invade) nor the pure volume of bodily fluids.

    You realize that they didn't used to even clean the T - at all?


    > You realize that they didn't used to even clean the T - at all?

    Anything to back this up? Seems rather improbable.

    Were you around?

    Seriously? If they did have cleaning crews, they never actually cleaned the stations. I asked my then boyfriend, whose dad was higher up at the T, and he just laughed. I remember seeing the same puddle of barf dry up and blow away during a two week period at Park St. in the 1980s. There was nearly ALWAYS glass on the platforms at Kenmore, and pretty much any other station in the inner reaches of the system. Garbage was collected now and then, but not often enough in the summer. The only clean stations that I ever saw were from Harvard outbound on the Red Line.

    Then again, I just don't get germaphobia on the level displayed here. "Getting a pedi" is a common route for infection, actually. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/06/14/pedicure-or-ped...

    First world problems, I guess.


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    I <3 Bowdoin Station for this reason.. it always looks like its in pristine shape. It looks like no one ever uses it (and most don't)

    Floor so shiny and clean, you want to eat off of them (but won't)

    The Best Connection From Blue Line To Red Line Towards Cambridge

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    After getting off the Blue Line at Bowdoin, cross over and walk down the other side of Cambridge Street to the Charles/MGH Red Line Station.

    There's less pedestrian traffic to walk behind, and far fewer driveways or cross streets that you have to stop and wait at. Plus, it's just a more pleasant walk; lots of small shops and restaurants instead of large buildings; it's actually faster and much less stressful. The pedestrian experience is very different, walking on the opposite side of Cambridge street!

    Cambridge St

    The side which you said is the "better" side of Cambridge St is mostly original. The other side wasn't a uniform edge, and urban "renewal" blasted away the buildings lining the street to make the width of the street constant. That, as well as the whole West End being ripped to shreds -- that didn't help at all.


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    ...for my ignorance but is this all one station? Which one(s)? Is the tunnel the Orange tunnel at DTX?


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    Ah yeah, I think I was there once in all of the 25 years that I have lived here. That explains it.

    Only been to Bowdoin once

    also in 25 years of living in Boston. And that was only because I was intrigued by the idea of passenger operated doors. There is hardly any reason for anybody to use that station, especially when it's so often closed.

    Passenger Activated Door Buttons At Bowdoin Station

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    The passenger activated door buttons for Blue Line trains boarding at Bowdoin Station seem like an odd and overly complicated solution. The reason for doing this at all is because only four cars of a six car train can fit on the outbound to Wonderland platform. Trains stop there with the first two cars pulled into the tunnel, and passengers may only board the last four cars.

    Instead of designing the trains so that the doors on those first two cars simply don't open, none of the doors open automatically. Passengers must press a flashing button to open each individual door. People are often bewildered by the buttons, which need to be pressed rather firmly to work. Sometimes they'll just stand there waiting for the doors to open, and the conductor has to use the PA system to tell people to "press the button!"

    I don't see why it couldn't have been designed so that the conductors could control the doors. Of course, no passengers are supposed to be in the first two cars at all, but I suppose it could happen.

    ( Hmmm... now I wonder: if an errant passenger was in one of the first two cars stopped inside the tunnel, could they press the flashing button on the inside of the car and open the doors anyway? )

    Bowdoin Station has been open full-time ever since the Callahan Tunnel construction began. It's supposed to stay open for at least two years while the new Scollay Station is being built. (old Government Center)


    ( Hmmm... now I wonder: if an errant passenger was in one of the first two cars stopped inside the tunnel, could they press the flashing button on the inside of the car and open the doors anyway? )

    Yes, they could.

    I don't understand why they don't just open all doors anyway. Theoretically, nobody should even be in the train at all, so nobody should be able to press the button and walk out into a wall.

    Also, these buttons should be used at ALL stations. That way, you can close the doors when you're on standby and it's -10 degrees with a howling wind. If anyone shows up to board, they open their own door.

    Not life-threatening...

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    ..but several times I got warts on my feet in grade school and my doctor theorized it was from walking around the school gym and pool locker rooms barefooted. Despite the pool chlorine too.


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    I wouldn't want my shoes stepping in any of the possible mucks that you might find on the T. You can always put them back on when you get where you're going.

    The New Shoe-Free Trend

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    I've noticed this trend in many places lately. I know a lab at MIT where none of the students wear shoes. Maybe there's more to it than meets the eye (or nose).

    Personally, I just wouldn't recommend doing it on a dance floor. Shirtless, perhaps; shoeless, not a good idea.

    Terrible Idea

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    Unless it's maybe a computer lab, going bare foot is almost certainly against any safety protocols.

    The lab I worked at at MIT didn't even allow sandals. But then that was genetics and blood and other human related stuff. I even had to get extra shots.

    perhaps, but they're still breaking MIT protocols

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    Just ftr, I've known plenty of people in the MIT community who prefer to go shoeless (one long time associate in particular whose nickname is actually based on this preference). While not exactly common, it's not surprising to see the occasional shoeless person in some places (the MediaLab, the School of Architecture and Planning, etc). Happy hippy nerds!

    Technically however, MIT's Environmental, Health and Safety protocols require protective footwear (which in some situations might just mean 'something with a sole') pretty much everywhere. After all, 'potential electrical hazards' are nearly ubiquitous at the Institvte.

    Practically speaking, it's the call of whoever is responsible for the space in question (ie lab director or PI, or the prof whose offices you're in, etc).

    No, Not If It Isn't An EHS Monitored Room

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    You are correct that the Environmental Health and Safety Department has strict regulations, but only for certain rooms at MIT. Common areas, classrooms, and working offices that don't have any particular hazards are not subject to that kind of special monitoring.

    All the professors I know, don't care what someone wears when they're working in their office or walking around MIT; what's going on in someone's head is much more important. The "No Drama" dress code is one of the things I love about the Institute!
    (but personally, I'll keep wearin' shoes)

    EHS policies not room specific

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    EHS Office policies apply to not only every room at MIT, but to the outdoor areas on campus, and some even to affiliated off-campus housing that is not owned by MIT.

    Perfect example - Perennially cold office? Space heater, right? Don't be surprised when the EHS office sends someone from Facilities around to unplug that sucker.

    Of course, many of the policies apply only in a limited number of cases (regs on fume hoods aren't going to come into play in 26-100 or the offices of the math dept). But fwiw, I know plenty of MIT professors who would not allow their people to be shoeless in the office.

    (Like I say every morning when I get up... I Have To Find Penny-loafers!)

    Electric Space Heaters Are Permitted, But Not Propane Heaters

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    Space heaters are discouraged at MIT, and it's important to try and have the room temperature adjusted through the normal heating and air conditioning system first. However, there are many cubicles and office spaces on campus that some people find just too cold to work in comfortably. If used carefully, electric space heaters are permitted and sometimes actually issued by the MIT Facilities Department:

    Different rooms have different levels of safety regulations. For example, food is allowed in most places at MIT, but not in a room where chemicals are present. EHS evaluates each location separately and comes up with specific guidelines for different places; all hazardous work areas are inspected on a regular basis to make sure everything meets regulations.

    Other areas just need to conform to the standard Cambridge building and fire codes. I don't believe there's anything that regulates footwear in public places. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if at Harvard the professors were judgmental and fussy about shoes, but not so much at MIT, and certainly not in every department!


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    OSHA wouldn't have an issue with this? I know.. even tho many companies allow it.. that you aren't even allowed to wear open toe'd shoes at places. Why? because it leaves your foot open to have something dropped on it, which would turn into a OSHA issue.

    While I agree with you

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    I've written HR policy in the recent past, and we were informed by our company's insurance carrier and by OSHA inspector themselves that open towed shoes and flip flips are not allowed in work environments due to a drop hazard. However, it was up to the company's policy and HR staff if this is a liability that the company wanted to take on or not (as many companies allow flip flops)

    If you think OSHA doesn't get involved in trivial matters like opened toe'd shoes.. think again. All it takes is one report to OSHA or a workmen's comp claim for them to come in and inspect, as my previous employer did. (which is how we got inspected because an ex employee filed an report with OSHA stating our office was unsafe)

    makes sense

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    coz walking on city and especially underground surfaces in bare feet to prevent soiling of shoes makes more sense than wearing shoes to protect and prevent soiling (and disease-ing) of one's feet. ok.

    Foot Glove

    All I can imagine is he's one of those folks taking on the whole "natural" walking thing. But they invented those foot glove shoe things for such purposes.

    (Sorry for the very technical terms, here, clearly I'm very invested in the idea)

    Plantar's Warts

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    I even get shivers looking at those Foot Glove people.. nothing stopping from a few shards of glass or a nail to cut thru those.

    I don't think I'd walk around barefoot period (I don't even like to do it at the beach anymore). You're asking for all sorts of fungi and stuff. When I was a child, we (both my sister and I) got Plantar's Warts on our feet several times. No idea where they came from, but was told by the foot doctor NOT to walk around barefoot anymore as the bacteria was on the floor and we just kept infecting each other over and over again. And if you've had plantar's warts, they are a BITCH to get rid of. This is why I don't walk barefoot anywhere anymore.

    As a kid I refused to wear

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    As a kid I refused to wear shoes from the day school got out until school started again. Made back to school shoe shopping interesting for my mother.
    I've had Plantar's warts and just assumed it was from no shoes, then again I remember a time when both siblings and I all had Platars at the same time. Someone more knowledgeable can tell me if it's viral or something.

    Thank goodness for Compound W.

    There was a time

    ... when kids simply did not wear shoes in the summer. I had one pair, worn only for places that required them (no shirt no shoes no service). My MIL, who grew up in the 20s and 30s in Boston, never wore shoes in the summer months at all. Kids typically didn't because most people in her neighborhood were too poor.


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    Not a science person.. :) Virus is correct.

    And yes thats exactly what my dad did, he took a pen knife to our warts and peeled them off.

    See above

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    was told by the foot doctor NOT to walk around barefoot anymore as the bacteria was on the floor

    See above. I had similar experiences in grade school.

    Also, warts are caused by a virus, not bacteria.

    in davis

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    at the beginning of spring, when it was still really cold, I saw a girl walking barefoot through Davis Square. A couple days ago on my street, I crossed and nearly stepped in a smushed rat carcass, same color as the pavement (grey) except for the bloody bits so it blended in and wasn't easily noticed. Now, if I'd been walking barefoot .... barefoot is a no-brainer in the city.


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    FYI, no-brainer colloquially means "obviously correct decision" not "only something someone with no brain would do".

    gotta agree with Dan K.'s tweet

    If I let myself think about the germ encampments on T straps and grab bars, I get the icks. Though I wouldn't want to be barefoot on the Orange Line, at least I don't eat with my feet.

    Used to do that, stopped.

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    I used to occasionally ride the T barefoot, but don't anymore. I didn't stop because of health concerns, but because it makes all the crazies talk to you.


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    Is why I happily went back to the west coast: idiots like you who can't mind their own business make Boston suck harder than a penis pump.

    mind yours

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    Why is this even a story? He's not breaking any laws. I wish sometimes people will mind their business. Him not wearing footwear is no threat to you.

    It's novel and different

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    That makes it news, at least under the definition that I use, which includes both stuff that You Need to Know (like, say, a change in the tax code) and stuff that is Quirky and Unusual. If you browse the site, you'll see I'm a big fan of oddball stuff. This is definitely oddball stuff.

    Fifty seven comments

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    Most declaring that the world will end if one person doesn't wear shoes on the T.

    The bare feet aren't the story here, the reactionary ignorance and judgy stupidity is.

    Great clip, from Serial Mom

    The offender is played by Patty Hearst (yep, that one), the punisher by Kathleen Turner, written and directed by John Waters. Cool concert scene featuring L7, too, and Traci Lords in one of her rare legit film roles.

    But I wasn't alluding to the fact they the pants are white-ish; it's that they're cheap-looking, untailored, khaki-whatsis pants. That's dressed, but it ain't well-dressed.

    I'm afraid...

    ... I wear pants like that in warm weather -- but not when going bare-footed (which I am not ever really allowed to do, per my podiatrist).

    I routinely wear

    khakis, jeans, corduroys, and other untailored slacks, too. My industry went casual-Friday-every-day decades ago. But casual is still casual. In my mind, well-dressed equals tailored clothing.