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Tall Ships add bustle, buzz to Boston Harbor
By Christopher A. Szechenyi, Boston.com Staff, 07/12/00
BOSTON -– For now, at least, the city has been transformed into a tableau from one of William Turner’s famous seascapes.
The harbor is alive with sightseeing boats, whale tours, tugs, outboards and day sailors. And all along the waterfront, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the water’s edge.
“It’s wonderful to see Boston Harbor so alive,” said Elaine Dunning, a nurse from the South Shore. “It’s beautiful today.”
This afternoon, the day after the Grand Parade of Sail, Boston Harbor was a busy place. Throngs of tourists lounged in white chairs, while others perched on the rocks and even more strolled by the sea along an open expanse next to the Fan Pier.
The crowds vying to get onto the Tall Ships, now open to the public grew and grew all day. And by mid-afternoon, the line to get on board the USS John F. Kennedy was so long that people had to be turned away.
It stretched back for a mile and a half.
“We’ve done the whole route on foot,” said Sara Orr, a publicist from Longmeadow who took the day off with her husband, Mike, to take in the scene.
Many of the visitors examined the ships, which gently rocked under a blazing sun. But the nautical atmosphere that hung over everything proved almost as captivating as the Sail Boston 2000 vessels themselves.
“The ship we really liked was the Mysore,” explained Mike Orr. “It was a real World War II warship from India.”
The lines to see most vessels were long and winding, although that didn’t seem to bother some people. There was a two-hour wait to board the Kennedy this morning -- that was before the giant aircraft carrier was closed to the public -- and a 45-minute wait to see the Vicksburg.
“It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be,” said Karla McCarron, who strolled along the shore with her husband, Peter, and their two children, Colman and Ripley.
With such fine weather, the waterfront is likely to remain crowded all week and into the weekend, said Pat Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“But keeping the weather as nice as this will be as difficult as the Red Sox winning the World Series," he said.
He’s hoping the city will draw about 100,000 people from outside the region every day for 11 days. Based on the busloads he saw pulling into hotels today, Moscaritolo is confident the city will reach that goal.
Sail Boston 2000 is expected to pump $120 million in direct and indirect spending into the local economy, benefiting hotels, transportation companies, museums stores and other businesses.
If it yields that much spending, Sail Boston 2000 will be the third largest economic boon to Boston businesses, following the 100th running of the marathon and last year’s Ryder Cup.
Morton Glass paused along the water and took a deep breath to draw it all in.
“I like all the boats,” declared the retired physicist from Belmont. “I don’t have any favorites. I just like being among the crowds.”
That wasn’t the case for Sheila and Kelly Anne McKeown, two sisters from Canada who were walking along the Fan Pier. “We’re finding it crowded,” Sheila said.
Most of those interviewed this afternoon thought it another perfect day, with perhaps Frieda Grayzel summing it up best.
“It’s a special atmosphere,” she said. “The city is getting more and more beautiful.”