By Dan Moren
March 17, 2023 6:45 AM PT
A (not so) brief review of Apple Maps’s Boston landmarks
Over the past couple years, Apple’s been rolling out its “Detailed City Experience” in Maps to cities across the world and finally, at long last, those improved maps and better landmarks have come to my hometown of Boston, as first noted by Frank McShan on Twitter.
As a lifelong resident of this fair city,1 I thought it my responsibility—nay, my duty—to take a spin through all these new landmarks and judge them on their fidelity to the reality (and the spirit)
Without further ado, let’s take a look.
Perhaps most recognizable to non-Bostonians, the nation’s oldest active ballpark. A thumbs up on the seat colors (green in the bleachers, red elsewhere—and yes, they even got the Ted Williams seat), and the Green Monster is present, but would it have killed them to put in the scoreboard? (Extra points if it features the Red Sox beating the Yankees.)
Ah, South Station: where the Red Line of the T meets Amtrak, bus, Silver Line, and Commuter Rail service. An excellent rendition, down to the gold of the doors, the red awnings, and the clock. Then again, anything would be better than the time the TV show Fringe forwent stock photography in favor of a charming depot.
Chances are if you’ve been to Boston as a tourist, you’ve visited Quincy Market, a lengthy building adjacent to Faneuil Hall that features a ton of restaurants and the like. Well-rendered, with particular attention to the dome and correct chimney placement.
The brutalist monstrosity in the flesh! Love it or hate it, Boston City Hall is a weird-looking building. I’m only sad that this doesn’t include the awesome new playground that now occupies the north side of the plaza.
Our noble statehouse, atop Beacon Hill, is given its proper brick front facade and gold dome. Fun fact: it was first covered in copper by Paul Revere and it has a pinecone on top (not shown, sadly).
I wouldn’t call TD Garden particularly picturesque, but given that it’s home to two of the city’s most prominent professional sports team, seems fair that it’s included. Also included: the weird new Verizon building that’s part of the complex.
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in all its glory (simply “the MFA” to locals). You can see the statue, Appeal to the Great Spirit in its proper place at the front.
Copley Square, the heart of Back Bay, has no less than three prominent landmarks: Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, and…look, they want to call it “200 Clarendon Street” but it will always and forever be the Hancock, sorry.2
Just a closer look at the Boston Public Library, a place with particular significance for me (it’s where my parents both worked and met). Nice detail on the historical McKim building, down to the courtyard, though the Science and Art statues by the main entrance are a bit blobby. (Come on, if you’re going to give the New York Public Library its lions, the least you can do is match ’em.)
A missing landmark! If you zoom out a bit, you can indeed see the Prudential Building (aka The Pru) rendered in Maps’s old style, but as it’s mostly a shopping mall, indoor navigation apparently trumps the external fidelity.
The only landmark I could find that’s not in Boston proper, this rendition of Frank Gehry’s Stata Center at MIT feels like some artist on the Maps team just really wanted a challenge.
My favorite random landmark in this collection. But hey, it’s one of the longest standing (and operating) restaurants in the country.
I kind of want to switch to night mode just so I can see how many lanterns are in the steeple of the Old North Church.
Speaking of hanging lanterns, I definitely went to Paul Revere’s House on a field trip in elementary school, and it’s just as dark and cramped as I remembered.
I have indeed climbed the Bunker Hill Monument, which is not to be confused with the Washington Monument, even though they look kind of the same.
As I was just at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum a few weeks ago, I can confirm this version deserves an A. Alas, no sign of the stolen artworks.
Updated with three missed landmarks.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @email@example.com or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]
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