How to Sit on the Strangest Bench in Boston

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There is a bench in Jamaica Plain  in Boston that will make you feel like you are seeing double, but don’t worry it is actually the way it’s designed.

It sits overlooking Jamaica Pond looking very similar the other benches on either side. The difference is that this bench has two backs and no front to be seen.

The u-shaped bench is actually a public art exhibit created by loca sculptor and MassArt professor Matthew Hincman in 2006. The longtime Boston resident was inspired to create a mirrored bench during one of his usual walks around the park.

“I'm walking around the pond and I looked at one of the existing benches and I kind of just saw it mirrored,” he said. “I saw the form mirrored and I saw this shape. And when I saw the shape, I saw all the different kinds of possible meanings that it could carry. And I thought that would be really interesting because it can be a coffee and a kayak or a canoe. It could be a cradle. It could be so many different things. And so that's when I decided to fabricate the object and then install it.”

He spent months putting the piece together, even getting parts from the same manufacturer as the other benches in the park, and then hauled his creation to the park for display.

Of course, he didn’t get permission to install his guerilla-style art exhibit in the park, but it didn’t take long for the bench to earn a permanent spot.

Rob Michaelson tries to figure out how to sit on this unique bench, but it is harder than it looks. Hear more about the story, the artist’s favorite position on it, on this episode of Boston Decoded.

Love Rob's adventures uncovering the coolest histories and mysteries in the Boston area? You can watch more episodes of Boston Decoded here.

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