Hitting The Boston Streets

Filed by Celia Arnaud

This week, the ACS meeting includes thematic programming on health and wellness. The program includes a symposium on the genomics of obesity, and many ACS divisions have organized complementary symposia in their own programs. Did ACS plot to make its thematic programming part of an integrated experience for all attendees? I had plenty of time to ponder this question this morning as I hoofed the 2.4 miles from my hotel in Back Bay to the convention center in South Boston. (View a map of hotel locations on the Boston National Meeting website.)

I need to explain one of my personal rules, which can be summed up this way: “Why drive when you can take public transportation, and why take public transportation when you can walk (or ride a bicycle)?” I regularly walk the two-plus miles from my home in suburban Washington, D.C., to the closest subway station, getting up at 5 AM so that I can fit in the walk and still get to work by 7 AM. I drive so infrequently that the last time I filled up my moderately gas-guzzling Subaru Forester was May 12. (To be fair, I will need to buy gasoline soon.) I undertook this walking regimen more than five years ago when I was looking for a way to integrate exercise as a regular part of my life rather than something to be scheduled separately.

Despite my normal routine, I readily confess that I’m in one of the farthest hotels only because I assumed the meeting was once again in the Hynes Convention Center, which is connected to my hotel. By the time I realized the meeting was actually in South Boston, only three hotels were left—all in Back Bay, with one being the hotel where I was already booked.

When I checked in, the hotel gave me information that ACS had compiled about the shuttles and recommended walking routes. When I saw that the shuttle was expected to take 45–50 minutes one way during rush hour, I knew that I would be walking. Given my routine at home, I’m probably less put out than other meeting attendees.

We couldn’t ask for a better city to have the hotels so spread out or for better weather. Downtown Boston is so compact that most parts are within easy walking distance of the others. The temperature, which is predicted to be in the 70s all week, is perfect weather for walking.

I encourage my fellow meeting attendees to take advantage of this pedestrian-friendly city and make the wide-flung hotels part of an integrated experience of health and wellness. Happy walking!


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