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YMCA Kids, a Magic Castle, and an Odd Fortress in Boston

So, I just joined a gym that a bunch of my students go to: the YMCA. I thought it would be weird, but it’s actually really inspiring!

While I swirly-swirl on the elliptical stairmaster, I can look out at youth playing their hearts out on the basketball and volleyball courts below… and it really inspires me to work out as hard as them!

The Smith & Wollensky castle by Arlington Station!
The Smith & Wollensky castle by Arlington Station!

As adults, we can get kind of surly about hitting the gym. “Oh man,” we sometimes whine, “I really SHOULD work out today, but I just wanna sit on the couch and eat snacks and watch Hulu!”

But youth frequently aren’t lumps like that. What passion they have! They race to the YMCA nearly every day after school, plus weekends, for the joy of getting sweaty and winning the game… whatever game they create!

They dart hither and thither on the court, practicing their basketball shots until they get them right, and pause from time to time to watch the tall older students, soaking up the technique. It’s a perfect illustration of what we teachers try to instill in our students each day: “We’re not born stupid or smart! We’re not born good at something or bad at something. It’s all about EFFORT and PRACTICE, and then you can get as smart and good as you desire!”

The mug-shaped church by Tufts Medical Station.
The mug-shaped church by Tufts Medical Station.

Anyhoo, my students may or may not have noticed, but there are some seriously kooky buildings surrounding the YMCA. Let’s check them out.

In the first photo, you’ll see the castle. Isn’t it cute how the owners tied it up with a red ribbon for Christmas? This “castle” is one manifestation of the fancy restaurant chain, Smith & Wollensky. Research reveals that the building was erected in 1897 as the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets. Armory means: place for destructive weapons. Fun! And now it serves steak.

The second photo displays a totally weirdo building. It is the church that looks like a mug of hot cocoa! I am aching to know what it’s like inside. Is it dark and dank (given that its only windows are 1-inch-wide slits along the base, as if it were a fortress that needed defense against flaming arrows of invading barbarians)?

I must not be the only curious person; last month, the glass front doors had violent shatter marks from head to toe from an almost-invader! Good thing the Holy Cocoa Mug warded the burglar off.

So now the question emerges: after publishing this article, will I actually make it the six blocks to a YMCA workout today? I’m not so sure about me, but I bet you my awesome students will!


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Friday 16th of December 2011

I go to the YMCA every once in a while with my dad and brother. But wasn't it a little bit weird having some of your students working out next to you?


Friday 16th of December 2011

It's a little odd, but it's also nice to feel like a big community.

Elizabeth Do

Saturday 10th of December 2011

I live right down the street from the church! But the church is about a 5 minute walk from Tufts Medical Station. There is a bus station right in front of church.

Jimmy huang

Wednesday 12th of October 2011

I go to that YMCA every friday. I live around there,too. I don't have the same imagination as you do and I always thought that it was a church because they have a cross on it.


Monday 20th of June 2011

I live like down the street from the Y and I think it would be pretty awkward seeing you lifting weights while im shooting hoops.

Jun Hao

Thursday 9th of June 2011

I always pass by the cocoa mug place, but never knew what it is so I thought it was a place for Jesus and his followers because of the cross it have.

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