Trouble in the City that Usually Sleeps: Overnight event at MFA proves too popular

The MFA is hosting the first of four all-night raves "mfaNOW" contemporary-art events that includes dancing and "food trucks and lawn games, live music and DJs, lectures, artist demonstrations, performance art."

Only problem is more people showed up than the museum expected/can handle and now some people are abandoning the line to get in - some after having spent three hours in line.

"Seems pretty unorganized," Bobby Main writes.

The MFA apologizes and tries to put a positive spin on it:

Apologies for the wait - we are working on getting everyone in. The good news is that we're open til 9 am.

Around 12:10 a.m., the MFA estimated the time to get in from the back of the line was 1 1/2 hours.

Steve Safran, whom we're guessing is nowhere near the Avenue of the Arts, opines:

New York: Explosion, people unfazed.
Boston: "We have to WAIT to sleep over in an art museum?!"

Not everybody was put off by the long lines. Gisele Ellis, who enthused:

Delighted to see @mfaboston brush off the stodgy stereotype and have an hours long wait for #MFAnow. Young people loving art!

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Comments

Im aware

I just get tired of people comparing a city of 8 million to a city with a population of 650K.

But hey, at least we have the Red Sox and Patriots.

How do you like them apples NYC?

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A fairer comparison

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Inside 128 is roughly equal to the area of NYC. That includes a lot more than 650k people, closer to 4 million, or about half the population of NYC.

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Why?

NYC doesn't include Newark, Jersey City, East Rutherford, Elizabeth, Yonkers, Hoboken and other surrounding cities in its population.

Why does Boston have to include surrounding towns?

New York Metro is about 20 Million people.

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Boston is so small due to our unusual history

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And by "our," I mean Massachusetts. Unlike in many other states, cities here can't just annex surrounding non-cities - those areas have to vote to join the city. Thanks home rule! In 1874, Brookline became the first town to reject annexation anywhere (even as nearby West Roxbury was narrowly approving it). And that pretty much was it for Boston growing the way other cities did - by annexation (except, of course, for the 1912 annexation of Hyde Park). So Boston's an anomaly among major American cities - it's the smallest big city as a percentage of its metro area - and maybe it's fairer to incorporate the inside-128 area in comparisons to other places.

Just sign me,

Historical Pedant.

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Sorry but I disagree

Boston is a fine and beautiful city. I don't need to justify its size. When people talk about Boston, they are not referring to Woburn or Canton.

Boston will never be NYC. It doesn't aspire to be like NYC. And I am thankful for that.

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Really?

It doesn't aspire to be like NYC.

Have you looked at the construction, trendy restaurants (people are actually excited about an Eatal?!), cost of living, etc. around here over the past half-decade?

Or the inferiority complex when it comes to baseball? ;)

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Whats happening in Boston

Is happening all over the world. Boston is not unique in that regard.

SF, London, Beijing, Dublin, Bangalore....

Just because we are going thru a growth spurt doesn't mean anything in relation to NYC

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20 million is NYC's CSA

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Combined Statistical Area.

Boston's CSA is around 8.2 million, making it one of the largest, in the top 10 easily, maybe top 5.

Unlike other places ,especially in the south and west, Most of the cities and towns in the metro area here remain independent, were never absorbed or merged into one huge city. Boston is roughly 48 square miles in land area, which is quite small geographically for a hig American city. The only smaller one that comes close is San Francisco, which is actually geographically smaller than Boston at 46 square miles in land area. As a comprison, the City of Atlanta is around 130 square miles in land area, with 200,000 fewer people vs Boston. The City of Houston merged with many surrounding towns and is something like 700 square miles inland area.

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Don't be ridiculous

The metro area (MSA) is about 4.5 million. The entire state plus NH and Rhode Island and Vermont is about nine million.

MSAs are a lot more meaningful than CSAs and are a standard unit of demographic analysis for a major city.

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Becaise it makes sense to do so

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In my own mind, I think of "urban Boston" as anything along Route 16 plus Quincy. Going out to 128 is an easy demarcation, but things get very suburban very quickly. To me it makes sense to define the "city" as the area where people work, live, and go out using the T. Alternatively, you could look at the agglomeration of tightly packed cities with population densities over ~15k/mi.

Compared to almost every other U.S. city, urban Boston is a unique patchwork of municipalities. As an "outsider," looking at the political boundaries of Boston is easy enough to do, but then you miss tons of things (universities, employers, arts scenes, hundreds of thousands of people) that would be found within the boundaries of most other cities.

And most US cities are laid out like a bullseye, with a figurehead of a downtown at the center, endless sprawl radiating outward, and little to no transit connecting the two areas. NYC is unique in that it encompasses 5 entire counties, a fact that seems to confuse many visitors.

As a side note, I happened to be out in Greenpoint and Williamsburg last night. The only indication that something had happened in Midtown/Chelsea was the F train running over the G tracks (no reason given as to why). It was very much business as usual.

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"Anything along Route 16"?

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You might want to look at a map, because the people in Upton and Webster don't consider themselves part of Boston, while the people in Wellesley and thereabouts only call themselves Bostonians when they are far, far away.

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Far Rockaway has as much to

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Far Rockaway has as much to do with the MOMA as Marblehead doees with the MFA. But by quirks of history Far Rockaway is within NYC but Marblehead isn't in Boston. Both fall within the same distance from the geographic centers of NYC and Boston.

NYC Combined Statistical Area (a Census Bureau concept) does include the cities you mention and has about 23 million people. Boston CSA is about 8 million. A 3:1 ratio, not the 12:1 ratio that you get when you use strictly city boundaries as you did originally.

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For Now

Give it 30-50 years - or another superstorm.

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NY is hardly alone in that category

There is a King Tide due in Boston on Monday.

God help us if we ever get a major storm surge on top of one of those. Water is already overflowing its banks as it is during high tide.

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Porcine Flugtag?

They are already bucking the legal rulings on seacoast tidelands with this lawsuit. Those laws are the basis of the Big No to turning it into a restaurant.

If they manage to buck Chapter 91, what makes you think they will do any adaptations! Much of what you are suggesting may very well be illegal if it would affect the adjacent historic properties and the marinas, which have very strong precedence when it comes to waterfront land use.

Recommended Reading

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ugh...

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But hey, at least we have the Red Sox and Patriots.

Foxoboro has the Patsies not Boston and thank god. we don't need 70,000 suburban meatheads coming into Boston.

...and the Sox fandom is driven by the suburbs and Cow Hampshire. next time you go to a game ask the person sitting next to you where the live...it won't be Boston.

Go Broncos! Go Orioles, Go Jays!

- the original sobo yuppie

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I live in Boston and walk to

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I live in Boston and walk to Sox games. I see plenty of people walking out of their apartments in Red Sox shirts walking toward Fenway on game day.

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Cool Story Bro.

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So like a 75 out of 36,000 people.

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Are you 12? Cool story, bro?

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Are you 12? Cool story, bro? Nah, not a bro, just someone who has lived in Boston for 15 year and sees Sox games a few times a year, has friends who live here and socialize, go to museums, restaurants, events, etc. ...as opposed to someone a know-it-all who hides behind a computer making critical comments, think they're better than everyone else (SoBo Yuppie) and never really gets out much so doesn't know what's going on.

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Same thing

happened with Harpoon's Flannel Friday event at Lawn On D Friday night. When I got there, the line was wrapped under the Westin on Fargo St., and the beer line inside wrapped around the lawn as well. Needless to say, we laughed and left. They were promising one free beer with a Friend of Harpoon card, and they allegedly stopped doing that as well.

When something fun and unique happens in Boston, especially for free, you can pretty much garauntee this is going to happen. Hell, even free cone day at Ben and Jerry's is a mess. It's just the way Boston is.

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Changing demographics of the city...

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yuppies are no longer bailing for the burbs.

these type of events are going to continue to be packed by city residents.

while sox, bruins and cetlics games and sports bars will populated by suburbanites. there is a reason all those events where a boston sports athlete does autographs are in the burbs and not boston.

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Uh

there is a reason all those events where a boston sports athlete does autographs are in the burbs and not boston.

I once met Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley (at actual events) within an hour of each other, in the city.

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Not sure NYC was unfazed

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From the Daily News:

"People seem freaked out. People weren't sure what was going on," Johnson said. "Suddenly you have hundreds of firefighters, FBI agents, counter-terrorism officials. People were understandably freaked out and wondering what was going on."

Also, I don't think it's unreasonable to go to an event and expect to get into without waiting hours. Hopefully they work that out. Looks fun.

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Really, you don't expect to

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Really, you don't expect to wait for hours to get into an event? Here are some examples: 4th of July at the Hatch Shell, Red Bull Flutag, popular events at Lawn On D, Tall Ships Boston, etc. Have you been to any major events in Boston recently?

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Yeah,

I miss the days when fewer people liked the same things I do.

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I assumed this was a paid event more like a festival

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My mistake. I go to a lot of concerts and the occasional sporting event. No major free events and I guess luckily so. I'd lose my mind in a line for 2 hours.

What was the average wait time for the events above? Thanks for the info.

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Free Admission til 9 am

I wonder if the wait is shorter right about now? I'd walk over to take a look but have to get my swim in at the Y before hoards descend on the pool for lessons. I had hoped to take in part of the late night\early am segments of The Clock , but didn't have the energy to go over after work. And I would imagine the wait to get in to that gallery was even longer.

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LOL "Rave"

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LOL "Rave". I see what you did there Adam.

Funny.. a 'rave' that was overcapacity? LOL. Sounds like many of the raves I went to the 1990s... always a line, always overcapacity, always the fire department showing up to tell the event sponsor that they were over capacity and had to limit people going inside.

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No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded...

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Sometimes, when an unticketed event is too popular, you just don't go. It's disappointing, but that's how things work.

Funny thing is the MFA has free days all time. True, no DJs or screenings of "Blade Runner," but still free.

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What was the bottleneck?

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What was the bottleneck?

Were they holding the line until people left, because they were at capacity? Or was it just slow processing, which could have been avoided if they just opened some more doors?

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