By the time construction crews were putting the finishing touches on renovations to Government Center station in March, lots of commuters were anxious to get a look inside. For nearly two years, trains had been scooting right by the central T stop while it was getting a makeover and new accessibility improvements.
But no one was more impatient than one amateur photographer, a Reddit user going by the username foxy_on_a_longboard. He made a big splash earlier this year when curiosity led him to sneak into Government Center station while it was still a construction site, take pictures inside the off-limits zone, then post them online.
The photos were viewed thousands of times, and he earned a decent amount of local internet infamy.
T officials initially signaled they might be going after him, saying through spokesman Joe Pesaturo they wanted “to learn more about his/her recent visit.”
But then in May the MBTA Transit Police announced they wouldn’t seek charges against the daring adventurer. No one got hurt, and the photographer didn’t have any nefarious intentions, TPD spokesman Richard Sullivan said.
Now that the dust has settled, we reached out to “Foxy” to hear his side of the story.
We promised not to identify him.
“All I'll say is that I go to college in Boston and that I'm from Massachusetts, born and raised,” he wrote in an email this weekend.
Here are our questions for him and his answers, lightly edited:
What are your thoughts on the MBTA Transit Police saying they do not plan to press charges against you?
I'm relieved, but I wasn't too worried to begin with. I don't think they had any information about who I was, seeing as they haven't released anything. And I also don't think they were too worried about my little stunt as they never reached out to me, even on Reddit. Even they said I was just a “curiosity seeker” in their official statement, and they're right.
What happened that night that led to you walking into the station? Did you plan this out or just happen to be walking by?
I had always wanted to explore the place, ever since I first saw the glass structure. I figured if the outside was this grand, the actual station must be impressive, too. However, it was never something I ever actually thought about doing. I was walking by and I thought, "It's 3am. It's got to be deserted. This is my chance."
Were you surprised by how much attention your escapades and photo gallery got?
I was honestly very surprised. I had no idea that the photos would get that level of attention. I figured the pictures would get some attention on Reddit, but not that much out in the real world.
Were you surprised that no one noticed when you walked in? Did the construction workers just somehow not run into you, or did they just not pay any attention to you?
I actually almost walked into a bunch of construction workers coming out of the entrance when I first tried going in. Fortunately I saw them and avoided them, but I almost didn't go in because I had figured it was empty. Going in at first, I just sort of walked in, but I realized there were workers on the lower levels, so I was much more careful. I was almost spotted by someone on the green line platform, but hid before he saw me. I also think no one really expected someone random roaming around the place, so they weren't really paying much attention. They were just focusing on their jobs. There were a bunch of people on the Blue Line platform, so I didn't go down there.
Did you have any fear of getting caught?
A little, once I realized that there were still people on the site. But I figured I can run faster than them.
Did you have a little bit of liquid courage in your system at that point?
I didn't need liquid courage to go in.
Also, police have said the site was basically wide open because construction workers were coming in and out with equipment. Is that true or did you have to scale a fence or something to get inside?
I scaled the fence next to the Starbucks with the boiling teakettle to get in. But I left through the very front, if you walk directly out of the turnstiles. The part of the fence outside of that was wide open to let construction crews in, so I just strolled out of there. But I have the feeling if I tried to enter through there, I would've been caught, because there was a guy in a truck parked outside the entrance that beeped at me as I left.
Did police ever talk to you about what happened? Or try to reach out to you on Reddit?
No. I never heard anything from any authorities.
Was this your first time sneaking into a construction site or otherwise off-limits area? Was it your last?
No and no.
It looks like the pictures have been taken off Imgur. Why? Did police ask you to take them down?
I took them down in a futile attempt to keep control of the pictures. I realize in hindsight that I shouldn't have posted them online if I wanted to keep them under my control.