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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Story of Boston's Stairwells - Guest Post

A friend of mine is a letter carrier in Boston. During his day-to-day, he began documenting the varied and ornate and sometimes downright odd stairwells he had to climb to get people their mail in the city. It's an amazing experiment that's given the internet dozens of pictures of stairwells as art. He explains the reasoning behind this here. His blog is linked at the end.


This whole series of pictures began as an attempt at proof.

I work as a mailman in a corner of the city of Boston where there are a lot of students, a lot of really old buildings, and a lot of people getting packages too big to just leave outside, and often too big to fit through ancient mail slots or stuff into derelict mailboxes. And one of the few advantages that we mailmen—sorry, letter carriers—enjoy over other delivery service providers like UPS and FedEx, is the fact that we all carry these little arrow keys that give us greater access than them to the interiors of buildings. (Those arrow keys sometimes don’t work, though. But the whole point of them is to give the post office access to buidings without having to carry individual keys to every single building on a route, because I’m sure you can imagine just how awkward that would very quickly become.)

So I took it upon myself to start leaving packages AT PEOPLE’S DOORS. Which often—all too often—meant climbing stairs. This is not, by the way, a service than any other person I work with in my own office woud provide. In fact, I’m fairly sure we’re not SUPPOSED to climb stairs. But some of the people who order things online are older, and don’t have the strength to climb up and down stairs every time someone rings their bell even if they’re home. And sure, a lot of people who live on higher floors and order things online AREN’T that old, but I figure, hey, they deserve to get their stuff the same as everyone else.

I will also freely admit, at this point, that I will absolutely take the elevator if there’s an elevator to take. But there aren’t that many elevators, and even then, elevators will be out of order.

I’m also that guy who will bring in packages that UPS and FedEx and DHL leave outside because they can’t get in and don’t want to leave the usual post-it note. I was raised that way. Blame my mother.

SO: pictures of stairwells. I see a lot of them, and (again) I only work in one relatively small corner of the city. I worked for four weeks this past summer in a suburb, but there weren’t so many stairs there.

Welcome to my blog.

James is a mailman who's working in Boston for eight years now, but before that he was in retail for far too long, selling mostly books and comics. He met a lot of interesting people in that time, however, so it wasn't entirely a waste. He now shoots magnificent photos of stairwells in Boston and you can see them here:


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