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Old 10-19-2007, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,425 posts, read 46,662,052 times
Reputation: 11292

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I've been doing some research into Boston, and quite frankly I'm disappointed with what I've been reading on here about the city's South End. Wikipedia (which I know can be very biased) depicts the neighborhood as being more or less "up-and-coming" and having a very large LGBT community. As a person who may be moving to Boston in 2009 as a gay CPA (hey, I rhymed!), the South End looked to be very intriguing and promising. I don't think I'll be able to afford Beacon Hill or the Back Bay (my partner and I will only likely be earning around $100,000 combined), so the South End looked to be marginally more affordable while still being within walking distance to the downtown area.

I must also say I'm saddened to see so much racism present in this city. I did some research on the Boston Globe, and a lot of the comments I read concerning articles about murders were "black vs. white." I always thought Boston was a very well-educated, progressive, socially-liberal city where people were "ahead of the curve." If this is the case, then why is there so much racist banter going on in Beantown? I thought a state that even recognized same-sex relationships as being legally-valid would be a bit more open-minded and intelligent. What gives?

I'm beginning to realize that Scranton, PA isn't so bad after all. We have racists and homophobes here too, but at least the housing prices here are reasonable, and the crime rates are lower. Please don't make me reconsider my decision to move to Boston in 2009!
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:37 PM
 
5,211 posts, read 8,890,185 times
Reputation: 3562
Default a few other neighborhoods to consider

This will sound negative at first, but hang in to the end, because it gets better. I'm just trying to give you the full picture. Also keep in mind that a lot of my thoughts here can't really be backed up with statistics, but are my opinions, based on observation. Keep in mind, though, that I've lived in the Boston area for a lot of years, so I've had a lot of opportunity to observe.

The racial situation in Boston is complicated. There is racism in Boston, just as there is everywhere. It becomes a more complex matter when you consider that Boston has a number of old neigh-buh-hoods which are really tightly knit, where anyone who's not part of the local social/political network gets a cold shoulder. Being that these areas are heavily white, it's just all that much more obvious that a minority is an outsider. And, in truth, in some of those neighborhoods there probably is also a fair amount of bigotry toward minorities which goes beyond the general tendency to shun anyone who's not from the neighborhood.

Sometimes the whole picture of Boston as "liberal" and "enlightened" gets confusing as well. Overall, it is, but . . . well, again, as with the issue of race, it's complicated. For example, in these old neighborhoods, everyday attitudes are rather conservative, but there's also a heavily blue-collar element in these areas, which leads to heavy support for the Democratic party, out of family tradition, etc. Thus, the voting patterns make this segment of the population appear more "liberal" than they really are.

Another element of Boston's population that confuses things is a certain elitist element, which I think you'll find in most large cities, especially in the Northeast, which pays lip service to the idea of liberalism, more as a form of snobbery than out of genuine belief in the ideals they espouse. It's kind of like an attitude, rigidly enforced by social stricture within this circle, that anyone who ever expresses any conservative views must automatically be regarded as a simple-minded redneck. The same crowd then flatters themselves with--and has their noses in the air over--the idea that narrowly tagging along with all the standard left-wing views somehow makes them the broad-minded, thinking contrast to those conservative simpletons. As I said, their left-wing views seem to be much more about snobbery, about separating themselves from the regular-folks conservative masses, than about genuine belief in liberal ideals.

All of this being said, now it gets more positive. Those old neigh-buh-hoods are largely residential areas which are located outside of downtown and the adjacent central-city areas. If you live in an area, such as the South End, which is not part of that old-neighborhood culture, you can largely avoid the attitudes associated with that crowd. You'll still encounter the elitists, but you know, really, those latte liberals are just Boston's variation on the snobbish bunch you'll find to some degree no matter where you go. If you live in an area such as the South End, you're going to encounter more of a crowd that's a mix of professional and some working class, young and old but leaning toward young, with a mix of races, and a variety of political and social views but more of a genuine attitude of acceptance for people's right to live and think as they please than you'll find among the elitist Beacon Hill crowd or the old neigh-buh-hood townies.

Still with me? Obviously, areas like the South End are still part of the real world, so it's not going to be perfect. But what I've just described above is generally going to be the case. I don't know whether you've lived or spent much time in cities other than Scranton (or is it Wilkes-Barre where you live), but if not, I can tell you that in a larger city like Boston, you can pretty much hang with the crowd, in the part of town, that works for you, without crossing paths as much with other people as you might in a smaller city. I mean, of course you're going to run into all types throughout the day, but generally you can have your own life in your own neighborhood that suits you, while being able to separate yourself more from those who aren't on your wavelength than you can in a smaller city, where many people from all over town know each other.

If this sounds workable for you, another part of Boston I'd suggest you consider is Jamaica Plain. Also, a couple of cities immediately adjacent to Boston--served by public transit, practically speaking might as well be part of Boston--which you might want to consider are Brookline and Cambridge. I woudl especially recommend Cambridge, which has an urban feel, a bunch of small shops and restaurants, a little bit of a Bohemian flair due to the presence of two universities, and at least some mix of races along with a leftward lean to the attitudes. Much of Brookline is more suburban and white, but parts of it are more urban, so it's at least worth putting on your list of possibilities, even though I'd put it at the bottom of the list.

Well, okay, this post is dragging on here. At least maybe this gives you some picture. I think the bottom line is that you can find what you're looking for in Boston, as long as you're realistic about the fact that the perfect place does not exist anywhere. Good luck.
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,559 posts, read 8,868,912 times
Reputation: 5908
actually, the vast, VAST majority of crimes/murders in Boston are gang related. not as many hate crimes. the SE is a fine neighborhood, and any crime there is restricted among a few housing developments (though the area is pretty safe)

JP is cool and has a decent sized LGBT community, but it's still "up and coming" and the SE is more gentrified w/ more stores/restaurants to visit
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:29 AM
 
5,211 posts, read 8,890,185 times
Reputation: 3562
Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
actually, the vast, VAST majority of crimes/murders in Boston are gang related. not as many hate crimes. the SE is a fine neighborhood, and any crime there is restricted among a few housing developments (though the area is pretty safe)

JP is cool and has a decent sized LGBT community, but it's still "up and coming" and the SE is more gentrified w/ more stores/restaurants to visit
I'm unfamiliar with the stats from the Globe the OP cited. I haven't done a study of this, so I could be wrong, but I certainly have had the impression, just from what you hear about, that most murders in Boston were black-on-black, or at least minority-on-minority, occurring in some not-so-great neighborhoods that have mostly minority populations.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Parkland, FL
416 posts, read 1,100,899 times
Reputation: 249
SWB-
You are exactly right about the South End.. if this was 1985. Brief history of the South End. It use to be the ghetto w/ tons of housing projects (some are still there), then was gentrified in the 1980's by the LGBT community. Now, just rich people live there, some might be gay, most are straight.
As it stands now, the major lesbien area is Jamaica Plain, which is getting pricier by the day due to the Orange Line and proximity to downtown. The new, up and coming gay area is Dorchester. Dorchester is by far the largest neighborhood in Boston. There are rough pockets and nice areas. I would check out Dorchester Center and the area near the Ashmont T- Stop.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:27 AM
 
1,472 posts, read 2,873,676 times
Reputation: 666
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
This will sound negative at first, but hang in to the end, because it gets better. I'm just trying to give you the full picture. Also keep in mind that a lot of my thoughts here can't really be backed up with statistics, but are my opinions, based on observation. Keep in mind, though, that I've lived in the Boston area for a lot of years, so I've had a lot of opportunity to observe.

The racial situation in Boston is complicated. There is racism in Boston, just as there is everywhere. It becomes a more complex matter when you consider that Boston has a number of old neigh-buh-hoods which are really tightly knit, where anyone who's not part of the local social/political network gets a cold shoulder. Being that these areas are heavily white, it's just all that much more obvious that a minority is an outsider. And, in truth, in some of those neighborhoods there probably is also a fair amount of bigotry toward minorities which goes beyond the general tendency to shun anyone who's not from the neighborhood.

Sometimes the whole picture of Boston as "liberal" and "enlightened" gets confusing as well. Overall, it is, but . . . well, again, as with the issue of race, it's complicated. For example, in these old neighborhoods, everyday attitudes are rather conservative, but there's also a heavily blue-collar element in these areas, which leads to heavy support for the Democratic party, out of family tradition, etc. Thus, the voting patterns make this segment of the population appear more "liberal" than they really are.

Another element of Boston's population that confuses things is a certain elitist element, which I think you'll find in most large cities, especially in the Northeast, which pays lip service to the idea of liberalism, more as a form of snobbery than out of genuine belief in the ideals they espouse. It's kind of like an attitude, rigidly enforced by social stricture within this circle, that anyone who ever expresses any conservative views must automatically be regarded as a simple-minded redneck. The same crowd then flatters themselves with--and has their noses in the air over--the idea that narrowly tagging along with all the standard left-wing views somehow makes them the broad-minded, thinking contrast to those conservative simpletons. As I said, their left-wing views seem to be much more about snobbery, about separating themselves from the regular-folks conservative masses, than about genuine belief in liberal ideals.

All of this being said, now it gets more positive. Those old neigh-buh-hoods are largely residential areas which are located outside of downtown and the adjacent central-city areas. If you live in an area, such as the South End, which is not part of that old-neighborhood culture, you can largely avoid the attitudes associated with that crowd. You'll still encounter the elitists, but you know, really, those latte liberals are just Boston's variation on the snobbish bunch you'll find to some degree no matter where you go. If you live in an area such as the South End, you're going to encounter more of a crowd that's a mix of professional and some working class, young and old but leaning toward young, with a mix of races, and a variety of political and social views but more of a genuine attitude of acceptance for people's right to live and think as they please than you'll find among the elitist Beacon Hill crowd or the old neigh-buh-hood townies.

Still with me? Obviously, areas like the South End are still part of the real world, so it's not going to be perfect. But what I've just described above is generally going to be the case. I don't know whether you've lived or spent much time in cities other than Scranton (or is it Wilkes-Barre where you live), but if not, I can tell you that in a larger city like Boston, you can pretty much hang with the crowd, in the part of town, that works for you, without crossing paths as much with other people as you might in a smaller city. I mean, of course you're going to run into all types throughout the day, but generally you can have your own life in your own neighborhood that suits you, while being able to separate yourself more from those who aren't on your wavelength than you can in a smaller city, where many people from all over town know each other.

If this sounds workable for you, another part of Boston I'd suggest you consider is Jamaica Plain. Also, a couple of cities immediately adjacent to Boston--served by public transit, practically speaking might as well be part of Boston--which you might want to consider are Brookline and Cambridge. I woudl especially recommend Cambridge, which has an urban feel, a bunch of small shops and restaurants, a little bit of a Bohemian flair due to the presence of two universities, and at least some mix of races along with a leftward lean to the attitudes. Much of Brookline is more suburban and white, but parts of it are more urban, so it's at least worth putting on your list of possibilities, even though I'd put it at the bottom of the list.

Well, okay, this post is dragging on here. At least maybe this gives you some picture. I think the bottom line is that you can find what you're looking for in Boston, as long as you're realistic about the fact that the perfect place does not exist anywhere. Good luck.
Very well said.
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Old 10-23-2007, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
537 posts, read 882,967 times
Reputation: 244
Default btw...

Living near the T will be more expensive, of course. If you do not have the need or desire to live in the city, you can try towns on the Commuter Rail, that radiate in three directions. Ashmont on the Orange line, is a bit undesirable at night. Cambridge and Somerville (Red Line) have great neighborhoods. If you enjoy the ocean and don't mind the commute, I'd recommend the North Shore. Gloucester and Rockport are fantastic "fishing villages" with rocky coastlines, perfect for discovery. I researched with books and maps and eleven visits before I made my move to the Boston area in 1999, to start my own business. -Ken
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Upper East Side, NYC
404 posts, read 856,256 times
Reputation: 264
I'm not sure where you have read negative things about the south end, but this area is considered one of the best neighborhoods to live in in the city. While not the MOST prestigeous, the south end has become a downright destination for upscale dining. Couple this with the beautiful victorian condos in Union Sq and you have anoter back bay. This area has become very gay, however NOBODY in the city has a problem with it. Gay marriage is legalin Mass, remember? I live in Back Bay, not a sketchy outskirt area, and for the actual "manhattanite type" population in Boston, there is NO issue. I should mention that the south end is borderd by low income housing (projects), which can create socio-economic animosity. (two extremes coexisting so close together). It is not unusual to see a yuppie couple and thugish type kids all walking on the same block. Tremont from arlington to dartmouth is the best area of the South End. Columbus on these cross streets is also good. It becomes a bit more dicey as you get south of tremont and closer to Mass Ave. HOWEVER, this is changing and has changed SIGNIFICANTLY, especially south of Washington which now has a trendy SoWa label. COME VISIT THE AREA. Trust me, you will like it, it is beautiful, and rich in culture.

Last edited by adambos; 10-24-2007 at 12:33 PM..
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Old 10-24-2007, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
537 posts, read 882,967 times
Reputation: 244
Default Must See...

Yes, visits should be done if at all possible! Photos and hearsay is okay, but walk the walk!
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:11 PM
 
11 posts, read 67,101 times
Reputation: 20
Look guys I've lived on one of the nicest streets in the south end and I've still had shootings, muggings, drug trafficing, stuff like that. The south end is definetly getting better, just there are many bad parts that you wouldn't "mess around" in. Those are the villa Victoria, cathedral projects, Lenox/Camden projects, the concord square housibg projects, and shawmut ave. The south end is expanding into lower Roxbury, too, and the current border is Melnea Cass Blvd. if you move to the south end, stay in the part between dartmouth st, herald st, Washington, and Columbus. Also, the southwest corridor has had MANY muggings
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