Riding the T is a Beach

Sunday March 16th 2008 was a blisteringly hot 39 degrees Fahrenheit when around 25 brave improveratti showed up in shorts and beach gear (many had changed back into normal clothes by the time the following group photo was taken) at Long Wharf for further instructions. Some had on sun glasses to help supplement the heavy clouds blocking the cruel winter sun. One member even wore an inner tube type floaty toy around her waste should she find any refreshing water to dip in to that wasn't frozen over.

IMG_0413

Our joy-spreading beach party mission would start at the Aquarium stop on the blue line- spreading beachy goodness to all who found themselves spontaneously immersed in our spectacle-creating antics. Before even making it one block from our meet up location we were stopped by excited and curious strangers for photos. Who are these crazy people sporting beach attire in the dead of winter?! Four hundred leis (those flower necklaces they give you upon arrival in Hawaii) were passed out to the BostonSOS members along with various props, costumes, and decorations (to keep! Hooray for SWAG!) to supplement the very creative ones they already arrived in. Our first beach destination was the Blue Line on the Boston subway system known as the T. We whipped out our custom-printed signs that read "Riding the T is a Beach" and turned on the beach and luau styled music.

IMG_1747

Colorful lanterns and luau decorations went up with velcro and suction cups. Though the lanterns did not have lights in them people all around the train lit up with smiles. Many improveratti danced and swayed to the music as they handed out as many leis as they could- it only took them about a minute to get nearly everyone on the train to wear one. A man heading to the airport joked he was going to go back to San Diego but the weather in Boston is so wonderful he had to reconsider it.

IMG_1746

A couple stops down we exited at Airport Station to bake in the sun... indoors. Sprawled out on beach towels some improveratti helped tan themselves with aluminum foiled reflectors- others hid out from the damaging rays under umbrellas or parasols. The conductor of one of the trains called out to us- "What does your sign say?!" "It says Riding the T is a Beach! We're having a beach party on the T!" "Heck, riding the T is a bitch too! Have fun!" and off the train went.

IMG_0399

We were just about to take photos of people in our face cut-out photo op (stick your face through the hole in the print to appear on the body of a sexy beach-goer) when THE MAN from the MBTA showed up and said we could not take any photos and would have to get on the next train. I explained I already had contacted the MBTA and the MBTA Transit Police two days prior to explain everything we were going to do and was told that the photography restrictions that went in place after 9/11 were lifted and he can reference this conversation as it was recorded. THE MAN informed me that the police were flat out wrong, then said something about 9/11 and that we needed to have a permit from some unheard of agency first. This was contradictory what we had been told (not to mention No Pants 2K8 was a HUGE event on the T and did not have a permit and had entire camera CREWS) but we politely obliged and got back on the Beach Line... Blue Line. Still, the beach at Airport Station was a great success! "Aloha" rang out from improveratti to everyone on the train as another group of travelers received free leis and the dancing began again. Upon arriving back at the Aquarium stop we once again laid out our towels to relax under the sun... underground. Some funky Caribbean beats inspired people to dance and we got a few people waiting on the platform to join in with us! More free leis were passed out, more Alohas, more smiles. An MBTA worker on the opposite platform walked by laughing and shaking her head. A couple minutes later another MBTA employee did the same thing. When the doors of the next train opened we all shouted Aloha! A couple members ran onto the train to hand out leis and jumped back out before the doors closed. I wonder what they must have been thinking after the doors closed and their train sped away from the random, spontaneous beach goers who disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

IMG_0403

We were just unrolling our face cut-out print when THE MAN showed up again. He said we either had to get on the next train or leave. We politely agreed and offered him a lei, which he flatly refused. As we walked out two other MBTA workers (wearing our leis no less) said they were sorry but it wasn't their call- if it was up to them they would have joined us in our revelry. Still the beach at Aquarium Station was a great success! We took our terrorist leis and up we went to street level towards the Aquarium- some of us singing "Don't Worry Be Happy" and handing out leis even to people quickly passing in the crosswalk.

IMG_1714

We had spoken to quite a few people at the Aquarium (including security) so we were not expecting any problems there. We played conga beats from our boombox and ran two conga lines into the plaza that led up to the Aquarium. Upon arriving in the center of the plaza the Limbo song came on and the limbo stick came out.

Conga Line 2

The first to limbo were improveratti- after about a minute small children joined in, then a minute later teens and adults were all wanting to limbo with us to earn their free lei! Many were reluctant to limbo till we told them they'd get a free lei if they did- then it was an all out limbo-fest! It's amazing how "low" people will go to get free stuff!

IMG_0408

The game grew pretty quickly- everyone wanted to play! One member even got a bystander to wear her straw hula skirt for the limbo. After just a few minutes there we were unrolling our face cut-out print when Aquarium security showed up and said we had to pack it up and leave. The introduction of the face photo-op was apparently the death knell for our antics; It seemed no matter who we had spoken to about these things bureaucracy reared its party-pooping head. Still the conga line and limbo were a great success! We walked a mere 100 feet away to the wharf at the edge of the plaza and again set ourselves up. We handed out nearly every one of the remaining leis and FINALLY were able to get pictures of people in our photo op print. No one came to bother us and we slowly disbanded after our group photo. When there were just about 5 of us left a self-proclaimed homeless man (his story was extremely suspect) approached us for coins. We did not have any but offered him our few remaining leis. He was not interested till one of our members suggested he could sell them. His eyes lit up- he grabbed them and off he went. We witnessed the birth of an entrepreneur as he sold our leis as fast as we could give them away. All seemed well till he threatened to shoot somebody- but he didn't, and his new lei selling enterprise was a great success.

Good sports