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Old 08-22-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Sacramento CA
303 posts, read 404,004 times
Reputation: 353

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Hey everyone!

So, we've finally decided to move to Boston. The moving group consists of me, my partner, and our two cats and we'll be coming from Louisville Kentucky. We visited Boston for the first time two weeks ago and we're pretty sure we've found an apartment complex we will move into in early to mid October. My questions are about other Bostonian-known facts of the city though:

1.) Does anyone have an idea on what basic utilities look like on a monthly basis for a newer building in North/West End area? (The building includes heat so I'm looking for numbers on water, electricity, A/C, and cable)

2.) Does anyone has experience registering an out-of-state car and paying car taxes for the first time in Boston (the car is a 2007 Nissan Versa, owned & insured)?

3.) What is it like driving around downtown? How would you describe the drivers? What is it like to use the T all the time? (We're trying to decide whether or not we even need the car.)

4.) Any recommendations for a regular grocery store, like not super expensive? (I shop at an Aldi, which isn't in Boston, but I'm not really a big Whole Foods kinda shopper unless necessary.)

5.) Has anyone used that Peapod grocery service? I was wondering about how expensive it is.

Really I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible before the move. My entire family has lived in Kentucky for 8 generations so I REALLY need some local Bostonian help with this stuff. And feel free to give me any other advice about Boston you feel like sharing. THANKS!
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:57 AM
 
450 posts, read 462,434 times
Reputation: 384
1.) Does anyone have an idea on what basic utilities look like on a monthly basis for a newer building in North/West End area? (The building includes heat so I'm looking for numbers on water, electricity, A/C, and cable)

I don't live in those areas or in a new building so I can't answer this

2.) Does anyone has experience registering an out-of-state car and paying car taxes for the first time in Boston (the car is a 2007 Nissan Versa, owned & insured)?

It costs $100 to convert your driver's license.

There's a $75 title fee, $30 inspection, $50 for registration, and an excise tax which you can figure out here: CIS: Motor Vehicle Excise Information. Since you've owned your car for 8 years, you won't have to pay sales tax on it when you transfer. Here's a link to more info: RMV - Converting an Out-of-State License

3.) What is it like driving around downtown? How would you describe the drivers? What is it like to use the T all the time? (We're trying to decide whether or not we even need the car.)

Driving is aggravating. My experience is mostly driving in Cambridge (Harvard Square area in the summer, I'm sure the school year is much worse) as opposed to downtown, but I imagine it's similar. Traffic during rush hour is terrible and there are too many people who don't know where they're going. I saw from your other post that you work from home, so I think the T will suit your needs well since you won't be commuting much during rush hour. However, the green line on Red Sox nights can be a big pain. Also, the T stations aren't air conditioned (though the trains are) so it can be uncomfortable if you have to wait.

4.) Any recommendations for a regular grocery store, like not super expensive? (I shop at an Aldi, which isn't in Boston, but I'm not really a big Whole Foods kinda shopper unless necessary.)

It depends on where you live. Shaws, Star Market (owned by the same company), and Stop and Shop are common. Market Basket in Somerville is SO CHEAP. Crowded, though. Shaws and Star Market just changed ownership and allegedly prices are coming down. S&S is cheaper in my experience. There's a big Star Market on Comm Ave in Brighton that's open 24 hours which is great.

5.) Has anyone used that Peapod grocery service? I was wondering about how expensive it is.

You can test it out by pretending to make an order. It's operated by Stop and Shop. If you are buying over $100 I think the shipping is only $6 or so. Definitely worth it if you don't have a car and don't want to lug things on the T or bus.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:05 AM
 
95 posts, read 213,058 times
Reputation: 214
1.) Does anyone have an idea on what basic utilities look like on a monthly basis for a newer building in North/West End area? (The building includes heat so I'm looking for numbers on water, electricity, A/C, and cable)

I probably couldn't give you an exact number on any of these, though if the building includes heat that is one very large expense out of the way. Most of the buildings here don't charge for water, it is usually built into the mortgage/taxes for homeowners I think (I've never paid a water bill). For electricity, it obviously depends on how much you use and what is actually plugged in at your apt. I would say, for a 2BR with newer appliances, and moderate AC use, that you might be in the $90-$130 range, though YMMV. Cable depends on what you have and want. I don't have TV, just internet and phone and that runs about 55 bucks a month. I think it is about $100 with TV added in.

2.) Does anyone has experience registering an out-of-state car and paying car taxes for the first time in Boston (the car is a 2007 Nissan Versa, owned & insured)?

I answered this in the other post, but the excise tax is also one to figure in. It wasn't that much though when we had a car for a couple months of a similar model year, about 50 bucks.

3.) What is it like driving around downtown? How would you describe the drivers? What is it like to use the T all the time? (We're trying to decide whether or not we even need the car.)

See other post.

4.) Any recommendations for a regular grocery store, like not super expensive? (I shop at an Aldi, which isn't in Boston, but I'm not really a big Whole Foods kinda shopper unless necessary.)

The main groceries around here are Shaws/Star Market, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods for easily accessible ones. There are also a few Market Baskets, Roche Bros., and other smaller ones here and there which tend to require a car to get to. The first two are your basic large groceries, I am not sure what is down in KY, but they are nothing particularly special, decent produce, the basic goods you'd need, so-so pricing (less than Whole Foods, more than ALDI). The quality and selection tends to vary by store - I tend to prefer Star/Shaws over Stop and Shop. I found that without a car, I got used to going to smaller, specialized shops for things like meat, bread, cheese and fish. This was a change, albeit a nice one, as I tend to eat higher quality stuff that I can afford because I have a couple hundred extra bucks a month!

5.) Has anyone used that Peapod grocery service? I was wondering about how expensive it is.

I have not used this service, I think it is pretty close to the regular pricing of Stop & Shop plus a delivery charge. The main complaint I hear from those who use it is with the produce and item sizes. The former due to people picking your produce out for you and probably not really taking a lot of care to be sure that you are getting the best that they have mixed with it bouncing around inside a crate in a delivery truck. The latter because you have to read the fine print as to which size you are getting of a product, as you really only have a small thumbnail image on the website to guide your selection, unlike at the store where you can see that the bottle of salad dressing you are about to buy is a bit smaller than all the rest. For produce, if you would like to do delivery, there is a company called Boston Organics which just does produce all year long and is much higher quality. As the previous poster noted, I think you can go to the website and try it out to see how much it would be.

Overall, I'd say the biggest change from KY to Boston will be that everything is just going to be more expensive. Restaurants, food, gas (maybe?), cultural events all cost more. Now, hopefully a salary increase will help with this, but you will see more of your money than you might originally have thought going toward basic living expenses. I came from CT, which I actually think is slightly more expensive (other than housing), but for a lot lower return on the quality of life!

Secondly, people might be a bit less friendly. When I went on a trip down south I was weirded out by everyone saying "HI!" to me as I walked down the streets. In New England, people tend not to do that unless they know the person. I don't actually think people are necessarily rude, just a bit more closed off.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:33 AM
 
Location: West Roxbury, MA
289 posts, read 448,256 times
Reputation: 435
From what I understand, Peapod trucks are refrigerated with dry ice. Roche Bros has a delivery service (I think it's $10 but I always save money even with delivery because of no impulse buying) that I've used a number of times and couldn't be happier. They have real refrigerated trucks. Never something I didn't order and got, and vice-versa. When I'm in-store shopping I always see associates going around with order lists and choosing items very carefully. Have to check their delivery area, of course. Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,052 posts, read 3,467,992 times
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There is an Aldi supermarket, I think, in Medford near the Wellington orange line.

I had seen them in Chicago but this one popped up a few years ago locally. Not sure if any others in the region. It would have no name recognition to the average Bostonian. It would be about five miles from the West End...
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Sacramento CA
303 posts, read 404,004 times
Reputation: 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeger07 View Post
1.)

2.) Does anyone has experience registering an out-of-state car and paying car taxes for the first time in Boston (the car is a 2007 Nissan Versa, owned & insured)?

It costs $100 to convert your driver's license.

There's a $75 title fee, $30 inspection, $50 for registration, and an excise tax which you can figure out here: CIS: Motor Vehicle Excise Information. Since you've owned your car for 8 years, you won't have to pay sales tax on it when you transfer. Here's a link to more info: RMV - Converting an Out-of-State License

3.) What is it like driving around downtown? How would you describe the drivers? What is it like to use the T all the time? (We're trying to decide whether or not we even need the car.)

Driving is aggravating. My experience is mostly driving in Cambridge (Harvard Square area in the summer, I'm sure the school year is much worse) as opposed to downtown, but I imagine it's similar. Traffic during rush hour is terrible and there are too many people who don't know where they're going. I saw from your other post that you work from home, so I think the T will suit your needs well since you won't be commuting much during rush hour. However, the green line on Red Sox nights can be a big pain. Also, the T stations aren't air conditioned (though the trains are) so it can be uncomfortable if you have to wait.

4.) Any recommendations for a regular grocery store, like not super expensive? (I shop at an Aldi, which isn't in Boston, but I'm not really a big Whole Foods kinda shopper unless necessary.)

It depends on where you live. Shaws, Star Market (owned by the same company), and Stop and Shop are common. Market Basket in Somerville is SO CHEAP. Crowded, though. Shaws and Star Market just changed ownership and allegedly prices are coming down. S&S is cheaper in my experience. There's a big Star Market on Comm Ave in Brighton that's open 24 hours which is great.
Thanks yaeger07! As you saw from my other post, I'm really leaning towards leaving the car here in KY with family or selling it here before moving. I would rather go without it than put up with it the first couple years I'm in Boston. I will definitely check out those stores! It's weird not knowing what grocery stores are called in another city, none of the places I shop here are up there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbrasaxEos View Post
1.) Does anyone have an idea on what basic utilities look like on a monthly basis for a newer building in North/West End area? (The building includes heat so I'm looking for numbers on water, electricity, A/C, and cable)

I probably couldn't give you an exact number on any of these, though if the building includes heat that is one very large expense out of the way. Most of the buildings here don't charge for water, it is usually built into the mortgage/taxes for homeowners I think (I've never paid a water bill). For electricity, it obviously depends on how much you use and what is actually plugged in at your apt. I would say, for a 2BR with newer appliances, and moderate AC use, that you might be in the $90-$130 range, though YMMV. Cable depends on what you have and want. I don't have TV, just internet and phone and that runs about 55 bucks a month. I think it is about $100 with TV added in.

4.) Any recommendations for a regular grocery store, like not super expensive? (I shop at an Aldi, which isn't in Boston, but I'm not really a big Whole Foods kinda shopper unless necessary.)

The main groceries around here are Shaws/Star Market, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods for easily accessible ones. There are also a few Market Baskets, Roche Bros., and other smaller ones here and there which tend to require a car to get to. The first two are your basic large groceries, I am not sure what is down in KY, but they are nothing particularly special, decent produce, the basic goods you'd need, so-so pricing (less than Whole Foods, more than ALDI). The quality and selection tends to vary by store - I tend to prefer Star/Shaws over Stop and Shop. I found that without a car, I got used to going to smaller, specialized shops for things like meat, bread, cheese and fish. This was a change, albeit a nice one, as I tend to eat higher quality stuff that I can afford because I have a couple hundred extra bucks a month!

5.) Has anyone used that Peapod grocery service? I was wondering about how expensive it is.

I have not used this service, I think it is pretty close to the regular pricing of Stop & Shop plus a delivery charge. The main complaint I hear from those who use it is with the produce and item sizes. The former due to people picking your produce out for you and probably not really taking a lot of care to be sure that you are getting the best that they have mixed with it bouncing around inside a crate in a delivery truck. The latter because you have to read the fine print as to which size you are getting of a product, as you really only have a small thumbnail image on the website to guide your selection, unlike at the store where you can see that the bottle of salad dressing you are about to buy is a bit smaller than all the rest. For produce, if you would like to do delivery, there is a company called Boston Organics which just does produce all year long and is much higher quality. As the previous poster noted, I think you can go to the website and try it out to see how much it would be.

Overall, I'd say the biggest change from KY to Boston will be that everything is just going to be more expensive. Restaurants, food, gas (maybe?), cultural events all cost more. Now, hopefully a salary increase will help with this, but you will see more of your money than you might originally have thought going toward basic living expenses. I came from CT, which I actually think is slightly more expensive (other than housing), but for a lot lower return on the quality of life!

Secondly, people might be a bit less friendly. When I went on a trip down south I was weirded out by everyone saying "HI!" to me as I walked down the streets. In New England, people tend not to do that unless they know the person. I don't actually think people are necessarily rude, just a bit more closed off.
You're a lifesaver AbrasaxEos! Seriously, thanks for helping so much with your advice. With the utilities, we use a decent amount of electricity because we have a minimum of three big computers going pretty much all day and we're home all day too. But I've always had basic internet thru my cable company. I haven't had a tv since I left for college so I just use Netflix, which is cheap!

Have you found that it's more expensive to go to those local specialty shops for meat, bread, etc.? I'd love to do that but I have no idea what the pricing would be like. I would definitely be picking out my own veggies though but I'll check out Boston Organics for sure. I'd probably only use Peapod for big items (i.e. paper towels, soda cans, etc.) that I couldn't carry on the T.

I definitely noticed the expense increase when we visited Boston a couple weeks ago. But, I'd honestly be okay with it. Anywhere (minus maybe Mississippi and W. Virginia) is going to be more expensive than KY, which I've pretty much expected, but I know that's the price you pay to live somewhere better.

I'm glad you mentioned the 'friendly-ness' thing. When we were there, it seemed rude to us and we just thought people in Boston were unhappy. When I go out running, you always say hello and smile at people you pass on the sidewalk and it's strange if they don't too. And you wave to people if you're driving on backroads, even if you don't know them. I guess I just assumed that's how it is everywhere so I thought Bostonians just didn't like me. It's good to know that's just how people are there, that way I won't think I'm offending anyone.

Thanks again AbrasaxEos!
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:26 PM
 
288 posts, read 489,861 times
Reputation: 548
Quote:
Originally Posted by matryoshka4811 View Post
I'm glad you mentioned the 'friendly-ness' thing. When we were there, it seemed rude to us and we just thought people in Boston were unhappy. When I go out running, you always say hello and smile at people you pass on the sidewalk and it's strange if they don't too. And you wave to people if you're driving on backroads, even if you don't know them. I guess I just assumed that's how it is everywhere so I thought Bostonians just didn't like me. It's good to know that's just how people are there, that way I won't think I'm offending anyone.

I don't think that's just a Boston thing. It's the rest of the United States thing outside of the Midwest or the South. If you went to Los Angeles (CA), Portland (OR), Washington DC, Cleveland (OH), Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), no one is going to greet you just for passing you on a city sidewalk. Otherwise, it would take forever to walk down a street. However, you should always open doors for people behind you and then they might smile and thank you. In Boston, if you don't let passengers courteously off a train or bus first and push your way on board, that's considered rude. I noticed other cities in the U.S. and around the world don't have that custom, so I say Bostonians are fairly polite on public transportation.

I really hate when people say rudeness is a Boston city thing. I've noticed in Boston suburbs, you don't greet strangers on a sidewalk on main street either. But if you are hiking in a New England woods, you should acknowledge people who pass by you. On the other hand, if you are in your own residential street, even in the city of Boston, you might nod or greet your neighbor as you pass by.

As for Peapod, I said in the other thread, I've used it before. I've found the delivery men always polite and you should always tip them because they will delivery the bags into your kitchen. I once played phone chase with one delivery guy (it was my fault) and despite my inconveniencing him (he had to drive back twice), he was all politeness and smiles. They've only misplaced toiletries once and I was able to immediately call customer service and they immediately removed the missing item from my credit card. I've always thought the produce was well selected, especially considering my biggest order is for Thanksgiving. My only minor complaint is that they give you a lot of plastic bags because different departments fill the order. So if you order toothpaste, it goes in one plastic bag!

Last edited by sharencare; 08-25-2013 at 04:48 PM..
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
5,945 posts, read 6,760,173 times
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Hanneford and Market Basket are the most economical and have fresh produce and many store brand products. Trader Joes on products such as cereals is reasonable. In the summer, there are farmer's markets in every part of the city and in every town now. You can buy many items in bulk at Whole Foods or at a local health food store. Ethnic markets can provide interesting variety in the diet and can be good for the thrifty.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,052 posts, read 3,467,992 times
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Boston gets a bad rap for unfriendliness. I'm not from here but have lived in the area most of my adult life.

It's very rare for someone to greet you or make eye contact -- even here in Quincy, nine miles from Fenway Park. Most people aren't from here, as there's been a big influx of Asians in my city; they don 't even speak English in public! In Southie a couple years ago, a dog walker finally said hello to me at 5:30 a.m. once we passed numerous times, then I'd do the same; he thought I lived there despite my just finishing work and using his area to access the T. That may not have happened at 5:30 p.m. when we weren't alone. Usually, people don't say "hi" while passing at that very early hour, but it has happened...

Same in supposedly friendly Chicago. I was there for 36 hours a couple years back and did lots of driving, but lots ofvwalking. They were mostly friendly, like in Boston, when approached at the Starbuck's counter and similar, but that happens here also, believe it or note! My biggest test: strolling in a yuppie Chicago neighborhood at 10 am on Sunday morning. I walked side streets (as if living there), yet no greetings or smiles from the brunch goers. They're yuppies newly settled there. Seattle and Portand, also, were friendly, but again, I don't recall eye contact or drooling there, either. Again, I assume many are new to those areas also. Although I had a few very meaningful social interactions in Seattle and PDX but by way of unusual happenings.

Yes, most locals here DO hold the door for you, say "thanks" if I do, let me in through traffic, etc. It's just we may seem aloof to some while waiting for the T or riding the T or strolling. Sometimes, getting too friendly is considered "creepy" here? Most say "excuse me" when bumping at the grocery store...I know, hard to believe if you read this forum! Oftentimes, but not always, the deli clerk or cashier are very friendly or at least polite. But you won't often be called "sugar" or "honey." Sorry...

Last edited by bostonguy1960; 08-25-2013 at 07:19 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Sacramento CA
303 posts, read 404,004 times
Reputation: 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharencare View Post
I really hate when people say rudeness is a Boston city thing. I've noticed in Boston suburbs, you don't greet strangers on a sidewalk on main street either. But if you are hiking in a New England woods, you should acknowledge people who pass by you. On the other hand, if you are in your own residential street, even in the city of Boston, you might nod or greet your neighbor as you pass by.

As for Peapod, I said in the other thread, I've used it before. I've found the delivery men always polite and you should always tip them because they will delivery the bags into your kitchen. I once played phone chase with one delivery guy (it was my fault) and despite my inconveniencing him (he had to drive back twice), he was all politeness and smiles. They've only misplaced toiletries once and I was able to immediately call customer service and they immediately removed the missing item from my credit card. I've always thought the produce was well selected, especially considering my biggest order is for Thanksgiving. My only minor complaint is that they give you a lot of plastic bags because different departments fill the order. So if you order toothpaste, it goes in one plastic bag!
I definitely wouldn't say that rudeness is a city thing. If anything, small towns can be rude because they all know each other or they don't like strangers. (My hometown could come across that way sometimes.) Peapod sounds really great, especially if you felt comfortable enough with it to order things for Thanksgiving! Thanks for posting such great advice sharencare!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonguy1960 View Post
Boston gets a bad rap for unfriendliness. I'm not from here but have lived in the area most of my adult life.

It's very rare for someone to greet you or make eye contact -- even here in Quincy, nine miles from Fenway Park. Most people aren't from here, as there's been a big influx of Asians in my city; they don 't even speak English in public! In Southie a couple years ago, a dog walker finally said hello to me at 5:30 a.m. once we passed numerous times, then I'd do the same; he thought I lived there despite my just finishing work and using his area to access the T. That may not have happened at 5:30 p.m. when we weren't alone. Usually, people don't say "hi" while passing at that very early hour, but it has happened...

Same in supposedly friendly Chicago. I was there for 36 hours a couple years back and did lots of driving, but lots ofvwalking. They were mostly friendly, like in Boston, when approached at the Starbuck's counter and similar, but that happens here also, believe it or note! My biggest test: strolling in a yuppie Chicago neighborhood at 10 am on Sunday morning. I walked side streets (as if living there), yet no greetings or smiles from the brunch goers. They're yuppies newly settled there. Seattle and Portand, also, were friendly, but again, I don't recall eye contact or drooling there, either. Again, I assume many are new to those areas also. Although I had a few very meaningful social interactions in Seattle and PDX but by way of unusual happenings.

Yes, most locals here DO hold the door for you, say "thanks" if I do, let me in through traffic, etc. It's just we may seem aloof to some while waiting for the T or riding the T or strolling. Sometimes, getting too friendly is considered "creepy" here? Most say "excuse me" when bumping at the grocery store...I know, hard to believe if you read this forum! Oftentimes, but not always, the deli clerk or cashier are very friendly or at least polite. But you won't often be called "sugar" or "honey." Sorry...
I hope I didn't come off as rude for saying so about Boston. I should have just said 'different' because that's a better description. I've always lived in KY, as has my whole family, so I don't have much experience in new places. I'd never even been north of Cincinnati before I went to Boston a few weeks ago, just didn't travel much as a kid I guess. I'm sure I just missed the nice things people did for me while I was there because I was too busy being overwhelmed/excited in the biggest city I've ever visited!
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