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No Swan Boats this year

The Paget family, which has run the Swan Boats in the Public Garden for decades, announces they've called off the entire 2020 season after concluding there's just no way to keep riders and employees safe in the current Covid-19 environment.



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Its nice to see some employers thinking about the safety of their employees. With all that is happening across the country in states that reopened bars and indoor dining, its amazing to me that the state and owners of restaurants and bars that always or just started serving food are risking the health of the employees. Also disturbing that these are prioritized before opening schools, which may not be able to open with the rush to reopen businesses. Profits over children.


The Pagets have a sweetheart deal with the city of Boston. Those restaurants have property taxes to pay. In addition to all of the other costs associated with having employees. 90% of the staff at the Swan Boats are in high school, on their parent's health insurance.


That's Phase 4.

Indoor dining with vastly reduced capacity or outdoor with space are in this phase.


Every year a news story about bringing the swan boats out of storage and back into service was a reminder of riding them when I was a young boy. It's been like Thanksgiving or Christmas, a once a year event. I can miss a year but not more than that!


The boats are propelled by paddles, which the young women and men provide power for. It's physically taxing and the respiration is rather large. Also, they haven't raised prices much since I worked there in the 90s. To keep everyone socially distanced would require running the boats at about 10% capacity.

And it's really a very social job for the staff, extremely difficult to stay apart.


I guess. I was 18 to 20 when I worked on them. Sure you sweated on the hottest days but at 6 feet and a then gorgeous 180 pounds, it wasn't so bad. It wasn't a peloton class sweat, it was a working outside sweat.

Were you boxed at the end of the day sometimes?, Sure, but it wasn't like you dropped 5 pounds a shift. Mr. Paget always made sure you had enough water and Hydrox to keep you going. My calves were on a par with the best by September.

I'm just glad the boats weren't in the water in May when the Allston Society For Spray Painting, Breaking Shit, and Starting Small Fires to Honor George Floyd could have tried to light the boats on fire. If you can go after the Shaw Memorial and the Frog Pond Zamboni House, what was stopping you from going after another Boston icon?


Then they came for the Swan Boats...

How desperate do you have to be to twist a discussion regarding the relative aerobic load of operating a Swan Boat and the associated Covid risks into a dismissive straw-man pot shot at events that occurred *checks notes* 6 weeks ago?

We get it. You’re an “all lives matter“ type. If you want to talk about it further maybe try therapy or at least wait until it’s relative to the thread.


Good for you bright boy.

I love how you skewed my thinking about a Boston institution and its safety into he must be an all All Lives Matter kind of guy rant.

If you only knew. That being said, when you have friends in the Back Bay who were concerned for their safety as the "Anarchists" (Ha!) strolled back down Comm. Ave., you bet your arse I was concerned about the Swan Boats.

Your endless rantings on defending statue burning as just some casual stuff proves that you are bigot with an incredibly narrow, and painstakingly self-masochistic world view.


You take a cheap shot and minimize the Black Lives Matter demonstrations as “setting fires to honor George Floyd” when we know that isn’t the case. You make no distinction between those who want justice and accountability and the 15-year-old Framingham kid and the 40-year-old mentally ill man who set the fires, then you get angry at readers for “skewing” your argument. Always aggrieved. Please accept my insincere apologies.

Why are we talking about Black Lives Matter protests and suburban vandals in a Swan Boat/Covid thread? Is the villain in this story, COVID, not scary or convenient enough?

Also, I never defended burning Mary. You keep needing to change the subject and building straw men to knock down.


I got stuck with the 2 and 1, those boats were harder to paddle. Especially when a strong wind came across. One time I had a rooster tail coming off the back while going practically sideways.

You're not seriously suggesting that paddling those boats would not cause an increase in respiratory output, are you?

Also, some of us harder workers would take the boat all day. No lunch break (some one would bring a sandwich) and we'd jump off the boat when in docked, run to the house, take care of business and then run back down and jump back on before it launched. Also had to commute on bike from the Pond.

Do you mean Mr. P? Yes, he would have us JP kids up to his house to work on small projects. How many times did you fall into the drink?


The funniest into the drink story was the year before I got there. Bill Murray was there with his family and one of the guys kept saying loudly "I think that's Bill Murray" Murray gave one of the other guys a look and the guy with the loud mouth ended up in the pond.

Nothing funnier than some kid falling in and watching a parent / teacher / chaperone Louganis themselves into 2.5 feet of water thinking the kid is going to sink to the bottom.


Swan boats are mostly for TOURISTS.

Sure, local families will come aboard, but the distancing is tricky and TOURISTS.

Remember - European tourism nuked us in late February.

Also note: 30 years ago the climate was cooler. We now have the summer climate that Washington DC had 30 years ago - I ran the stats for a five year run last summer.


Just stop.

You didn't work there. You didn't interact with the people there. You don't know where they were from or who what geography was the most represented. I had a good 450 work days over three seasons there. I had some of my wedding photos on them. I know who came on the boats and what it was like to work there.

You had none. No experience working there. None. Nada. Zilch.

Stop for the love of god trying to one up everything.


You worked there, what, 30 years ago?

And you can't social distance on those boats, dear. You didn't have to have worked there to see that.

Give up trying to be King of Fucking Boston in Marshfield Absentia. Don't you have a zoom call scheduled for 4:30 with your old drinking buddies to cry about Evil Judge Garrity or something?


Remind me what part of ye olde Mistick is in Boston? Thanks. I'll take my answer off air.



Charlestown, Chelsea, Everett, Medford, Arlington, and Winchester.

Medford was named Mistick until the late 1600's.

I don't know if Adam is playing cute or just letting anons with Duh in because he mightn't know.

Mystic River is in Somerville, too.


Did one suburbanite just call out another suburbanite for living in the suburbs?


Or work here?

It's like the Sims, only after you drop the monitor on the ground and it cracks in one corner.


Honey, you need to take a break.

Boston isn't stuck in 1980 or 1990.

You don't need to live in Boston or have worked on those boats to know that the swan boats cater to tourists in the current era and that social distancing that mess would be inefficient if it was even possible.

Just stick with your buddies who "understand" and also had lives that peaked in high school.


As one who was born, raised, live, and am raising a child in Boston, I can say for a fact that the Swan Boats are indeed a thing for the locals. Some of my fondest memories as a child were summer trips into town complete with a ride on the Swan Boats. You’d buy the peanuts to feed the ducks. Not done today, but I remember.

Sure, you might not have memories of the Swan Boats, and you probably never took your sons on them, but it is a local thing.


The swan boats were also great for taking dates on. Very romantic.


I can't believe people are trying to argue that one of the biggest tourist draws in Boston isn't primarily patronized by tourists. Next they'll be saying the Cheers bar is a great local hang.


It is not one of Boston’s biggest tourist draws.

Do you really think some shlubs in Texas or Düsseldorf or Milan really say “let’s go to Boston to ride on those paddle boat things”?

No, it’s an amenity that predates the rise of mass tourism that locals hold dear and random tourists stumble upon when walking through the Public Garden and decide to check out.

Do you really think some shlubs in Texas or Düsseldorf or Milan really say “let’s go to Boston to ride on those paddle boat things”?

Yes. Millions of tourists come to the Public Garden, and a large share of those tourists want the full "Public Garden" experience. Ask the owners how their business would be without tourists. This isn't a slight on your childhood experience.

You're being ridiculous.

Again, I can honestly say that I've never had a tourist ask me how to get to the Public Garden. The Freedom Trail? Definitely. The MFA? Yes. Quincy Market? Sigh, I don't get that one, but even though people from Eastern Massachusetts visit there, it is a tourist draw. Hence the weird Cheers bar that was there at one time. Harvard? MIT? The Kennedy Library? Fenway Park? The North End and Beacon Hill? All of these are much better known to tourists than the Swan Boats.

Much like the carousel on the Greenway, the only tourists that ride the Swan Boats are ones that happen upon the park. If the issue with the boats this year was purely the number of people riding them, they easily could have had a season with perhaps half the boats out there and still break even, but that's not the issue with the boats this year. Do you care to guess why it makes no sense to put the boats out?

I think most tourists don't know the swan boats from the duck boats, or the Public Garden from the Boston Garden.

That doesn't mean that a lot of tourists don't find them when they're in the park and ride them. Downtown Boston is so compact that anyone who is spending time there is likely to wind up walking through the Common or the Public Garden at some point. But I really doubt that most tourists go out of their way to ride the swan boats, the way they go out of their way to visit "Cheers" or Quincy Market.

Sorry buddy, #5 on list of things to do in Boston on TOURIST site Trip advisor is the Public Garden.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60745-d103648-Reviews-Bos... 9,805 reviews

But no tourists go there.

Seriously, though. Think of the numbers. Do you really think swan boats would make money on the maybe .1% of MA residents that want to ride them every few years if they weren't largely being used by some of the thousands of tourists that visit the Garden every day in the meantime.

Also, I live 2 miles from the Common, is that local enough for ya?

I never said that no tourists ride on the Swan Boats. My point is that it is not the most popular tourist site in Boston. Note, all lists that mention the Swan Boats also mention the Common and the Public Garden.

As for the overall profitability, yes, just as the Swan Boats functioned before the rise of mass tourism in the 20th century and way before there were hordes of European and Asian tourists roaming around Boston, somehow the Swan Boats made money. So I would definitely say that the Swan Boats would still be around if they were able to fill the boats up. It ain't the lack of tourists that is keeping that from happening. Admittedly, they might only have 2 boats out instead of 5, but again, they put 5 boats out during the Second World War. Not many tourists visiting then.

It is not one of Boston’s biggest tourist draws.

Did you stamp your foot when you typed this?

Of all the pissant hills to die on, or even suffer a bruise on, honestly.

Person who lives 102 miles away from Public Garden gets snippy.

Don't you have a cow milking contest to go too or a lecture on reversing the dominant paradigm?

Person who lives 102 miles away from Public Garden gets snippy.

Oh, that's rich. All you do on this site is piss in the punch bowl and you have the crust to call someone else "snippy".

Just because the people who vacation in Boston from where you live think the Swan Boats are the number one tourist attraction in the city, that doesn't mean that all the Europeans and Asians that used to visit were coming here for that purpose.

To the heart of the matter, locals do go on the Swan Boats. I do believe Mr. Costello noted as much.

Are you really going to swear that the Swan Boats are one of Boston's biggest tourist draws.

Are you really going to swear that the Swan Boats are one of Boston's biggest tourist draws.

No, dear. Here's what I typed:

Of all the pissant hills to die on, or even suffer a bruise on, honestly.

Do you understand it now? No, you probably don't. Wow.

I feel sorry for you, honestly.

You seem to have difficulty realizing what this is all about. Someone else made the claim about the tourist popularity of the Swan Boats, which I obviously think is a crock. Then you decided to troll things. So here we are.

Our main draw, the wax museum, closed down during covid so we don't know what the new big attraction is here yet. Our one old boat?

Being a proud son of Montana and independent businessman, he thinks all this mask stuff is nonsense (also they don't fit his beak.)

goes over the end of the trumpet, obviously.

I saw a meme the other day that said:
The people who say 'I can't wear a mask' are the same ones who say, 'I'm too big for a condom.'


While he is by literal description a mute swan, by taxonomical description he is a trumpeter swan not a mute swan (the common introduced species we have around here) so therefore would not put anything over the end of his trumpet. That's just science AND musicology.

[logs off, goes and makes a watercress sandwich]