It was in the cool, blustering month of September that Tsien arrived in the Boston area, looking for a place to live. He settled on a large, red-brick Georgian Colonial home on 5 Hobart Road in the prosperous suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. The neighborhood was quiet, the streets lined with gold and crimson maples, oaks, and gingkos. The brilliant colors of autumn, however, were lost on Tsien, who began to miss California almost immediately upon his arrival on the East Coast. After ten years of living in a virtual paradise, Tsien had to adjust, once again, to the shock of changing weather.
"It rained here yesterday all day," Tsien complained in a letter on October 1, 1946. "Today it is almost cold! I imagine in [ Pasadena] it is hot." Nor was the chill in Boston restricted to the weather. "I have yet," Tsien wrote, "to break down the icy attitude of my landlady."
Tsien lived about thirty minutes away from MIT by car. As he drove from Newton to campus, the landscape changed from suburban houses and wellgroomed lawns to the massive brick and concrete apartment complexes of Brighton, and then Boston University, marked by the cold, clean lines of modernist buildings. Here, during his commute, Tsien would have driven past the brick rowhouses of the Back Bay, a familiar sight during his student days as a