Boston in September...please help! (Cambridge, Rochester: appointed, fit in, apartment)
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Hello everyone. I have an opportunity to move into a friends apartment located in East Cambridge this Septemeber. Rent is only $650, so this might be more affordable than a move to NYC. I would be seeking a career, but have friends that might get me into a bar job to start off.
I live in upstate NY, but am very familiar with NYC clubbing and nightlife, a good friend is a promoter. More of a socialite, business/hipster/euro crowd, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I am having doubts about whether or not I would "fit in" in boston. I get along with everyone, but would despise watching nothing but Red Sox and the Bruins.
I'm into the club scene, working out, house music, girls, etc. 25 year old looking for a career and hoping to enjoy his youth. Does good nightlife and everything really "shut down" in the winter due to the excessive cold? 2am seems really early to close a bar. Do people compensate with afterhours, etc??
Is Boston filled with scruffy guys with beards and mas5holes obsessing with the local sports? Or is it worth the move...I hate to sound cynical and like a dbag, I'm just worried about being stuck somewhere I simply don't enjoy. I'd like to avoid the "lax bro" New England types, and hope I can find my niche.
Thanks everyone for your time.
Last edited by BostonMayb3; 06-22-2011 at 12:38 AM..
It's difficult to say for sure based on one post, but I'm not sure this would be a good move for you. It sounds as if you already have too much of a negative view of Boston, and a preference for NYC's 24-hour way of life, and perhaps are jumping at the chance to live in a place with cheap rent, while trying to talk yourself into believing that the area where you'd have that cheap rent would be a good fit for you.
By general standards Boston is a big major city, but when the city you've grown up with is NYC, what you're used to in the way of urban amenities is at a different level than you'll find in most cities. You could move to almost any city in the U.S. and likely feel that it fell short of what you're used to, in terms of sheer urban pulse. No one but you really has any idea whether you can make that adjustment.
Yes, the bars here close at 2:00. If that seems early to you, that's another example of how high the bar is set for you when it comes to the urban experience, because you're used to NYC. 2:00 is the usual closing time in most states and major cities in the U.S. In some states the bars close at 1:00. (In fact, they close at 1:00 in many towns in MA outside of Boston, including many suburbs in the Boston metro area.)
Something else to keep in mind is that the transit system in Boston does not run 24 hours. It shuts down an hour to an hour and a half before the bars close. I've heard that there is an after-hours scene in Boston, but I'm well past the age for clubbing, so I don't know any details about what's going on after hours. In any case, unless you have a car, and want to drive to clubs, after hours in Boston you'll be taking a cab, because the trains and busses won't be running. (By the way, again, this is more the norm in most U.S. cities.)
As for your interests, and pursuing them in Boston, well, yes there are clubs, and no, they don't shut down during winter. (Depending on where in upstate NY you're located, it's likely that the winters where you are from are more severe than they are in Boston.) If you especially enjoy the "business/hipster/Euro" social scene, Boston may not be the greates fit for you. The business/young professionals crowd is well represented here, but not so much the hipsters. Girls? Yep. Lots of cute college girls around. (Hey, you're a 25-year-old guy. Did you really even have to specify that you're interested in girls? Seems that goes without saying.) House music? Again, being past the clubbing age, I don't know a lot about who's playing where, or who's good. Working out? Yeah, we have gyms here.
Although all the interests you mention center around an urban setting, if you enjoy outdoor activities, that could be a plus for Boston compared to NYC or NY State. Boston is closer to a greater variety of outdoor amenities than much of NY, mostly because the Adirondacks, the largest mountains in NY, are that much farther up from the Long Island coast and the Jersey Shore than the White Mountains of NH are from many New England coastal areas. In Boston you're closer to mountains, beaches, and lakes than you are to all three kinds of outdoor recreation almost anywhere in NY. Of course, if you couldn't care less about hiking up a mountain or boating on a lake, this won't be a plus, but it's something to consider if you enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.
Another point to consider is what career you have in mind. Boston's economy centers heavily on medical research, biotech, and electronics (the last one located more in the suburbs than the city). If you're interested in a career in one of those fields, Boston could be a good location for career opportunities. In many other fields, you may not find any particular advantage to living in Boston. (Note that Boston also is a significant financial center, but when you're used to NYC, which is one of the world's top two centers for the financial industry, you'd probably be better off sticking with familiar turf if you're interested in pursuing a career in finance.)
Now back to the fact that being accustomed to NYC may skew your view toward the idea that what would generally be considerd a large major city may not offer so much compared to what you're used to. Though it might not seem so to someone used to NYC, Boston is plenty large enough a city to have a great variety of personality types represented. So, no, the scene is not totally dominated by "scruffy guys with beards," or any other one persona. On the other hand, it is true that sports fans are very visibile, and quite vocal and passionate about the local teams. Because of the widespread enthusiasm for sports, the pub scene is a big part of the nightlife in Boston. You're the only one who can say whether the difficulty you'd have being surrounded by enthusiasm for Boston teams would outweigh any advantages you might find to being here.
All in all, if I'm getting the correct picture from your post, it sounds to me as if Boston is likely not to be a good enough fit for you to be worth the chance to live with cheap rent. On the other hand, if your career plans fit with the mainstays of Boston's economy, and if you enjoy enough of a variety of outdoor activities to benefit from the fairly close proximity Boston has to beaches, lakes, and mountains, then these factors could outweigh the fact that Boston's nightlife and other urban amenities may not be the greatest fit for you. Depends on you and all of your interests.
Such an excellent response, I appreciate it. I'm not necessarily looking to get into Finance, so holding the employment standard to NYC wouldn't be a key point to moving there. If Boston does offer outdoor activities, this is a definite plus.
I'm definitely into nightlife and meeting new chicks, but Boston just sounded extremely waspy. I currently reside in Saratoga Springs, NY....the place is out of control in the Summer, and bars are open until 4-5. It's quaint, but a fairly enjoyable area.
I'm thinking I'll give Boston a shot. Winter I hear is miserable due to the windchill. I'll try to stay positive and enjoy it for what it is. I do enjoy hiking and beaches, I'm adament about pickup basketball and concerts, but I'm totally over the pub scene crowd. We'll see.
It's true that it gets windy during the winter in areas close to the coast in MA, which includes downtown Boston. That can make the weather feel quite a bit colder than the actual temperature. On the other hand, you should be used to cold weather where you're from. The actual temperatures in Saratoga Springs probably average out to be colder than the temperatures in Boston, so what the temperatures feels like with the windchill in Boston may not be so different. On average there's also less snow in Boston than you're used to, so Boston has milder winters on average than Saratoga, except for the wind. Which winter seems more difficult, or whether they seem about the same, probably depends on the individual, and each person's tolerance for different kinds of weather.
As far as the economic base here, as I stated earlier, medicine, medical research, biotech, and electronics are big industries in the area, so that would be a plus for Boston if you happened to be aiming for a career in any of those fields. If not, there wouldn't necesarily be any reason for you not to live in Boston, but there wouldn't be any particular professional advantage to living here either. Of course higher education is another big industry in Boston, but you could end up in higher education while working in almost any field if you were inclined toward the academic side of things. It's also a roundabout route to a faculty position, which involves taking work where you can find it, and taking work at a college which is strong in your field, so it's not exactly a situation where you move to a city with a bunch of colleges so you can get a foothold in the general area of higher education the way you would in more specific fields.
As for outdoor activities, you're close to the mountains where you are, while Boston is closer to beaches. It's a bit of a drive to get to the nearest mountains from Boston. We're not exactly right next door to the mountains, but in comparison to NY State Boston puts you at least within a reasonable day-trip distance of both, while in NY you can be close to either one but somewhat of a long haul from the other. Depends on what you prefer as to how convenient Boston is for getting outdoors.
Living in a resort kind of area, like Saratoga Springs, is going to be different from living in a regular all-around city. You're not going to find the concentration of nightlife and laid back partying as the center of life in Boston that you'll find in Saratoga during the summer, but then Boston also is not going to be dead the rest of the year the way a summer resort town will be. Be warned, though, since it sounds as if you've decided to move here, that Boston is not NYC. I don't mind usually when NYC residents describe Boston as a "small" city, as long as they don't come across as condescending, but I do think that if NYC is someone's main experience with a city, that kind of skews the expectations for what city life is about.
You can take the metro area populations of all upstate NY's major cities--Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse--combined and they still won't equal Boston's metro population. In fact, they'll be only about half the population of the extended greater Boston area that includes satellite cities that are largely independent but still have close ties to Boston--like Boston's equivalent of southwestern CT's relationship to NYC. Still, if you're used to NYC, be warned that almost any other city in the U.S., including Boston, will seem small by comparison, no matter how large these cities seem by general standards. With your experience with nightlife centering on NYC, and on a summer resort town, which is a kind of vibe you don't find anywhere except in seasonal resort towns, you can certainly expect the social life and nightlife in Boston to be different from what you're used to, so be warned.
As you say, you'll see. The only way to know whether Boston will fit you well is to spend some time there, so maybe that's your best move. If it works, great, and if not, you can always check out another place. Good luck.
I'm also used to the NYC nightlife and it does seem rather lacking here. Bars close early here and the T shuts down at 1am (last trains out are actually earlier). There aren't many open air rooftop lounges like in NYC (I miss 230 fifth and it incredible view of the empire state bldg). I also miss being invited out clubbing in NYC from 3am - dawn!! I used to have a friend that would come home from clubbing on sunday and his parents would be having lunch!
Most bars don't even play music and if they do, then they'll play aerosmith or this weird concoction of classic rock with pop. I haven't heard Led Zeppelin played at a public place until I came to Boston. Most people here don't really know what house music is. If you're used to the musical "hipness" of NYC with sexy dancing, you'll be very disappointed here. You'll see lots of people dancing awkwardly to "Party in the USA" here. It is rather hilarious, but depressing too.
There isn't a new club every month like in NYC. The big ones are Gypsy, Liquor Store or Saint. The music and dancing I mentioned already. There are a lot of single, young girls, but people are extremely clique and striking up a random conversation with a stranger over here is looked down upon for some reason.
I'd highly suggest spending a weekend over here before making your decision! Most people will tell you how much they love Boston with a weird, wild-eyed brain-washed look in their eyes. Come see for yourself!
Note: If you're looking for cheap rent, I believe you can get something in Jersey City, NJ for less than $1000 and you'll have 24-hour access to NYC!
I don't know if Boston would be the best place for you to "sow your wild oats"... if you really want the wild club life, then perhaps you should go for NYC, Los Angeles or Vegas. I think that you would be disappointed with Boston if you were wanting to be a player at some hot club scene. We have a lot of young people because of all the terrific colleges in the area, but they are here to study, not to play. And also, most of the young people I know and work with aren't interested in casual hookups or being used by a playboy such as yourself.
I've always hated the club scene (poorly-made drinks, people desperately trying to impress someone by their choice of venue and dancing to crap "music"? Where do I sign up?) but I will agree that if that's really important to you, Boston is not a good city for it.
I disagree that this city is all Irish pub/sports and white hat frat boys (if anyone thinks that, you don't explore much) but it's definitely more laid-back and not a 24-hour place.
You can find cheap rent in a lot of places; no sense making yourself miserable here if it's not for you.
Thanks for the input guys. I think I completely agree that Boston doesn't sound like the right fit for me. Nightlife is very important to me given my age, I'm not ready to settle down and live in a city where your typical friday night is watching paint dry. NYC/Hoboken might be the place to make a real move, hell, even Albany might be more lively it seems. Thanks for all the input.
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