September 01, 2008

Exotic Worcester, America's Hidden Gem

As today is Labor Day, a big holiday here in the USA, I thought I'd do something a little different today.

I haven't posted many photos of Worcester since I moved here a year ago. That's an oversight on my part, because Worcester is one of America's most exotic and unusual cities. LL has been going on walks through Worcester every morning for the past few weeks, so today I thought I'd accompany her on a walk from Webster Square to Tatnuck Square and bring along the camera to shoot a few photos of some of the unusual things one would see along the way.

Prepare to be amazed. As you'll see, Worcester is one of America's — nay, the Western Hemisphere's — hidden treasures.

LL's butt at the beginning of our walk.
LL's butt a few minutes later.
Perhaps no radio station in Worcester has a more targeted marketing plan than WXLO, 104.5 FM. For instance, they've figured out that the people who live in this house are their target demographic, so rather than scattering advertising all over town and hoping that they see it, they've simply parked a billboard right on their lawn. The crack marketing team at WXLO has reportedly compiled a list of hardcore Bon Jovi fans in the Worcester metro area and all of them get a similar treatment. Rumor has it that the station's market share is way up because of this campaign. Only in Worcester!
LL's butt a few more minutes later. Notice the change between shots.
You're probably wondering about this shot. Every city has a few McDonald's... but this McDonald's can be found only in Worcester, near the intersection of Chandler and Mill. You can get 12 McNuggets for only $3 here! Where else are McNuggets being practically given away? Nowhere! Only in Worcester, the home of discount meat-like blobs! How about that for a marketing slogan, city council?
Of course, there are more and better dining opportunities in Worcester than just McDonald's. Here, we see LL outside of one of our city's finest Friendly's. I eat at Friendly's restaurants fairly frequently. Sure, there's better food at a few places in town, but with the free happy endings, it's not the food that keeps bringing me back.
LL's butt even later on the walk. Observant readers will note that it has swung significantly to the right at this point.
Many people believe that places like New York and Hollywood set fashion trends in America, but they're really only following fads that start out here in Worcester. In this shot, LL models one of the hottest new styles that's catching on like wildfire around town lately — the functional yet sexy knee brace. For those of you who don't reside here in New England's fashion Mecca, this may look a bit odd right now. Wait a few months, though, until all the big actresses and rock stars are wearing these. I've heard a rumor (can't confirm it, though) that Gwen Stefani loves the things and Renee Zelwegger owns at least a dozen. Once again, Worcester leads the way!
I bet you non-Worcesterites are looking at this photo and thinking, "Meh. Another bland, utilitarian high-density housing development. Ah, but look more closely! Many of these are yellow. Quel magnifique!
This is the largest "Slow Children" sign in all of New England. It's hard to appreciate it's scale; LL is in the shot to give you some idea of the size of the thing. The sign is a triumph of local technology, requiring nearly two years of research and development followed by over 500 man hours in construction time. The project, funded by several bond initiatives, was undertaken at a cost of nearly $5.3 billion. That may seem excessive, but here in Worcester we like to remember that today's slow children grow up to be the slow leaders of tomorrow.
About ten years ago, the first killer sunflower seeds arrived in Worcester mixed into a shipment of pink plastic flamingos returned by dissatisfied Danish customers. Today, the deadly carnivorous flowers can be found in many of the outlying parts of town. It took LL more than twenty minutes of wrestling with this flower before she exhausted it enough for me to snap this photo. Her hair tells the story. Moments after this picture was taken, the flower messily devoured a passing Jehovah's Witness. Moral: meat-eating plants do not take kindly to proselytizing.
The world-famous Ken Chin's Restaurant needs no introduction. If you haven't already heard of it, there's no point in trying to explain it to you now, you poor lost soul.
LL's butt quite near the end of our walk.
Considered by many to be one of the triumphs of modern athletic architecture, Colonial Bowling Center offers its clientele alleys with up to ten pins each and the latest in ball return technology. Around here, we simply refer to it as the Eighth Wonder of Worcester.
Located within walking distance of Worcester Regional Airport, this supermarket with no groceries serves New England's largest air traffic-free airline hub. On the left side of the photo, two conjugating police vehicles can be seen. This area is a breeding ground for police vehicles, which begin their lives as meter maid buggies soon after hatching. They don't reach maturity for several years, so we Worcesterians are very careful to preserve their mating grounds in pristine condition. Note that it is very dangerous to approach police vehicles while they are mating; the males have been known to become very aggressive and injure gawkers who wander too close. Keep a safe distance and avoid any sudden movements that might enrage them.
I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into Worcester, America's home of discount meat-like blobs. Remember, everything you've seen here was located on just one street among the many that wend their way through this town. If you're considering taking a vacation this year, why not take it in Worcester, Massachusetts? They don't want you to know about the exotic adventures and hedonistic pleasures that this city offers the intrepid traveler... but now you know.

See you soon!

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