Your tradition is spoiling my nap

The old Charlestown Naval Yard near Boston Harbor isn’t what it used to be: what with service drawdowns and all, much of the old yard has been repurposed for civilian purposes. One thing continues, however: USS Constitution, the nation’s oldest commissioned naval vessel, known fondly to some of us as Old Ironsides, continues to fire a single cannon blast twice a day, once at 8 am, once at sunset, letting the people of Boston know that the harbor is secure.

Bostonians with a sense of history appreciate this sort of thing. Then there are the other ones:

Miffed residents of a posh condo complex have invited the commanding officer of the USS Constitution over for a glass of wine so he can hear for himself that the frigate’s twice-daily cannon blasts — a tradition dating to 1798 — are “more disruptive to the neighborhood than you might have imagined.”

Hello, McFly? Were you not aware when you bought your little love shack and its precious ocean view that this practice was in effect? The tourists you no doubt scorn are quite aware of it. “It’s as much a part of Boston as the Red Sox and Cheers,” said the ship’s public-information spokesman.

In an earlier time, I suppose, they’d have complained that people were putting up lights late at night in the Old North Church.

(Via Smitty.)


  1. HeatherRadish »

    7 November 2009 · 4:35 pm

    Reminds me of the people who buy a house near the airport, then get bent out of shape about cargo planes or the Air National Guard. The reporters never ask ’em if they looked at a map before they signed the contract…

  2. McGehee »

    7 November 2009 · 4:39 pm

    Not to mention all that revolting … revolting!

  3. fillyjonk »

    7 November 2009 · 5:02 pm

    Oh, good grief. Some people really need to go to the Big Kid Panties store.

    I mean, it’s not like some idiot with a jackhammer going at it all day long. It’s a single darn cannon blast, twice a day.

    Personally, something like that, I would consider an amenity. But then I am a history geek.

  4. CGHill »

    7 November 2009 · 5:24 pm

    Once a week, weather permitting, the city tests the Big Freaking Siren, used to alert us to incoming emergencies. I learned very quickly not to be outside when it goes off, inasmuch as I’m only two blocks from the damn thing and it is loud. I figure, if I’m trainable, this batch of condo dwellers surely ought to be.

  5. Jeffro »

    7 November 2009 · 5:31 pm

    Oh, good grief.

    fillyjonk, you took the words right out of my mouth.

  6. fillyjonk »

    7 November 2009 · 5:31 pm

    We have the same, but once a month. Which is infrequent enough that I ALWAYS go, “Oh no, is it severe weather or something else bad?” and then look at the clock and remember “2 pm, first Thursday of the month…”

    because it’s unlikely something bad would happen exactly on the hour. (Well, until it actually DOES)

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