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Old 10-20-2013, 08:30 PM
 
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Hi,

I'm moving to Boston (Somerville) in a couple of weeks and wanted to ask:

1. What's the best high-speed internet provider? I don't use cable TV or landline phones, so am willing to splurge a little on HSI especially if it's truly fast. Have heard that the two major players in town are Comcast and RCN, is that right? Pros and cons of each? Are there other providers you'd recommend?

2. Good gym? Don't really need a bunch of fancy machines just decent free weights, and boxing bags would be nice. Ability to pay up front a couple months at a time instead of getting sucked into a long-term contract would be SUPER nice. Come to think of it, a good boxing and/or MMA gym would be fantastic too. Anyone know of any Krav Maga schools?

3. Good running trails/routes/groups? I run religiously, and hope to qualify for Boston one of these days.

4. My wife is an experienced Registered Nurse and will be joining me in 4-6 weeks...anybody happen to know which would be the best hospitals for her to apply for and work at? Any that are esp. convenient to mass transit? (We're trying to avoid buying a second car.)

Thanks, all!
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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1) Don't know the best. We use Comcast, works fine, not that I'm recommending it but it's OK. I haven't compared or tested speeds between providers. COmcast is cable of course, not DSL, so the speed/bandwidth will be dependent on the # of users at any given time in your area.

2) I'm primarily a cyclist but I also run, and have a set of dumbells (and a couple other things) at home so don't use a gym so can't give you insight into the gym thing. I know there is "The Ring", a boxing place on Commonwealth Ave near BU. One person told me they liked it there but that was only one person who was a passing aquaintance of mine and not someone who's level of fitness or dedication I am sure of. Kenny Florian (former UFC champ) has a MMA place in Brookline, mixed reviews on them however.

3) Tons of runners here. I'm not in Sommerville so don't have the skinny on paths over there but have been through there plenty of times (make sure to put Fasika, and Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway, on your list) and it doesn't look like there are great places to run, but again, I don't live in Sommerville. The Charles River trail is a nice place to run sometimes - flat trail, nice views, passes by some major universities (hope you like the smell of pot), nice feelign to run by the Charles. When it gets crowded it's super annoying though and it's a flat path so can get boring after running it a few times. Newton is a nice place to run and has many options from flat to mild rolling hills to reservoir trails. And there are many people running in and around the area but it isn't crowded. There are tons of running clubs, just look on line. Again, not sure about Sommerville but the areas starting at Brookline and going west have tons of them. Great community of runners and cyclists, nice people. For my money the nicest spots are in the areas of Needham, Dover, Natick, Norwood. For you, being in SOmmerville, I would go Northwest towards Lexington and Concord. I've cycled plenty of times through all those areas - I really like Concord, it's scenic, very historic, nice roads, nice hill options.

4) Tons of hospitals are convenient to mass transit. The Longwood area of course is hospital haven and MGH is on the Red Line. I work at MGH but am not a nurse, I do however know some things about the nursing environment here. I'll start by saying that in general (and not just for nurses) MGH doesn't pay as much as some other places. Benefits are pretty strong though (especially their cash value retirement plan). But MGH is a high level teaching hospital. It can be a tough environment to work in. Demanding, fast paced, etc. Seems many people here either stay for a few yrs and move on to something easier (after getting the MGH credential) or stay for a very long time. I would compare it to a big 4 accounting place - people come here to learn and gain valuable experience that is respected by the field. Many then move on to higher paying managment positions in less stressful organizations. Then there are others that stay for their own reasons. It's challenging but can be very rewarding. And because it's challening on different levels, it can be a nice work culture (depending on the dept and the person) - work hard, play hard kind of thing. And knowing that you and your group is doing work in one of the top healthcare organizations in the world serves as a sense of pride. So I would advise her to at least consider it. There is the Brigham too (in Longwood). I personally don't like their culture - seems to be much more rigid, but she may find otherwise. Beth Israel (BI) I think may be a good place but am not sure about how they treat their nurses. My suspicion is that they treat them well. I interviewed with BI a few yrs ago, seemed good and I've heard good things about them. They're no MGH however :-) Honestly, I think many of the hospitals in the area are great. She can consider Children's too. We had a few people from our dept go over there. They pay well. It must be a hard environment though to work with sick kids, makes me sad to think about, but must feel good to know they are fighting for and making a difference in kids' lives.

Anyway, I'll end it there and hope some of that helps. Welcome to Boston.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
6,324 posts, read 9,029,761 times
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I'm not sure if it's available in Somerville, but I would also look into Verizon FiOS for internet. Heathcare is a huge industry in this state and there are a number of hospitals and health care facilities convenient to public transportation as already mentioned. I can't really add anything in terms of answers to your other two questions. I'm not a big exercise buff.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:01 AM
 
70 posts, read 78,738 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-fused View Post
1) Don't know the best. We use Comcast, works fine, not that I'm recommending it but it's OK. I haven't compared or tested speeds between providers. COmcast is cable of course, not DSL, so the speed/bandwidth will be dependent on the # of users at any given time in your area.

2) I'm primarily a cyclist but I also run, and have a set of dumbells (and a couple other things) at home so don't use a gym so can't give you insight into the gym thing. I know there is "The Ring", a boxing place on Commonwealth Ave near BU. One person told me they liked it there but that was only one person who was a passing aquaintance of mine and not someone who's level of fitness or dedication I am sure of. Kenny Florian (former UFC champ) has a MMA place in Brookline, mixed reviews on them however.

3) Tons of runners here. I'm not in Sommerville so don't have the skinny on paths over there but have been through there plenty of times (make sure to put Fasika, and Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway, on your list) and it doesn't look like there are great places to run, but again, I don't live in Sommerville. The Charles River trail is a nice place to run sometimes - flat trail, nice views, passes by some major universities (hope you like the smell of pot), nice feelign to run by the Charles. When it gets crowded it's super annoying though and it's a flat path so can get boring after running it a few times. Newton is a nice place to run and has many options from flat to mild rolling hills to reservoir trails. And there are many people running in and around the area but it isn't crowded. There are tons of running clubs, just look on line. Again, not sure about Sommerville but the areas starting at Brookline and going west have tons of them. Great community of runners and cyclists, nice people. For my money the nicest spots are in the areas of Needham, Dover, Natick, Norwood. For you, being in SOmmerville, I would go Northwest towards Lexington and Concord. I've cycled plenty of times through all those areas - I really like Concord, it's scenic, very historic, nice roads, nice hill options.

4) Tons of hospitals are convenient to mass transit. The Longwood area of course is hospital haven and MGH is on the Red Line. I work at MGH but am not a nurse, I do however know some things about the nursing environment here. I'll start by saying that in general (and not just for nurses) MGH doesn't pay as much as some other places. Benefits are pretty strong though (especially their cash value retirement plan). But MGH is a high level teaching hospital. It can be a tough environment to work in. Demanding, fast paced, etc. Seems many people here either stay for a few yrs and move on to something easier (after getting the MGH credential) or stay for a very long time. I would compare it to a big 4 accounting place - people come here to learn and gain valuable experience that is respected by the field. Many then move on to higher paying managment positions in less stressful organizations. Then there are others that stay for their own reasons. It's challenging but can be very rewarding. And because it's challening on different levels, it can be a nice work culture (depending on the dept and the person) - work hard, play hard kind of thing. And knowing that you and your group is doing work in one of the top healthcare organizations in the world serves as a sense of pride. So I would advise her to at least consider it. There is the Brigham too (in Longwood). I personally don't like their culture - seems to be much more rigid, but she may find otherwise. Beth Israel (BI) I think may be a good place but am not sure about how they treat their nurses. My suspicion is that they treat them well. I interviewed with BI a few yrs ago, seemed good and I've heard good things about them. They're no MGH however :-) Honestly, I think many of the hospitals in the area are great. She can consider Children's too. We had a few people from our dept go over there. They pay well. It must be a hard environment though to work with sick kids, makes me sad to think about, but must feel good to know they are fighting for and making a difference in kids' lives.

Anyway, I'll end it there and hope some of that helps. Welcome to Boston.
Wow, thanks for so much great info! I emailed your hospital comments to my wife, who was very appreciative and also intrigued by your description of MGH.

Have heard horror stories about Comcast, though as I understand it, in non-monopoly cities like Boston they are supposedly a lot better. Googling has led me to lean towards RCN so far: consumer feedback about them seems predominantly positive, much more so than Comcast.

I love Ethiopian food, so will definitely check out Fasika sometime, thanks.

Cycling is something I may take up while in Boston, more for figuring out how to get around rather than exercise, since the street layout just kills me, even with a GPS...a grad school classmate of mine who grew up in Brookline says that he STILL can't get around without his GPS, heh. Will try to wean myself off the GPS gradually, though...can it really be done in a couple of weeks, rather than years?
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:04 AM
 
70 posts, read 78,738 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
I'm not sure if it's available in Somerville, but I would also look into Verizon FiOS for internet.
I looked up FIOS and unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available in Somerville. Something about the mayor wrangling with them over some regulatory issues, I think...
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:17 AM
 
40 posts, read 79,507 times
Reputation: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by E922 View Post
Hi,

I'm moving to Boston (Somerville) in a couple of weeks and wanted to ask:

1. What's the best high-speed internet provider? I don't use cable TV or landline phones, so am willing to splurge a little on HSI especially if it's truly fast. Have heard that the two major players in town are Comcast and RCN, is that right? Pros and cons of each? Are there other providers you'd recommend?

2. Good gym? Don't really need a bunch of fancy machines just decent free weights, and boxing bags would be nice. Ability to pay up front a couple months at a time instead of getting sucked into a long-term contract would be SUPER nice. Come to think of it, a good boxing and/or MMA gym would be fantastic too. Anyone know of any Krav Maga schools?

3. Good running trails/routes/groups? I run religiously, and hope to qualify for Boston one of these days.

4. My wife is an experienced Registered Nurse and will be joining me in 4-6 weeks...anybody happen to know which would be the best hospitals for her to apply for and work at? Any that are esp. convenient to mass transit? (We're trying to avoid buying a second car.)

Thanks, all!
Hi! Welcome!
I live in Somerville, it depends a little what part you are in exactly...

1. I think Comcast is the only option, unless your house/building has something else set up?

2. Big gyms in Porter and Davis Square. I think they are pretty expensive though.

3. The Bikepath from Davis -> Arlington is very popular. But it's easy to run on the roads in the more residential parts. I actually like to run down Mass Ave towards the city. You're essentially running the RedLine through the main Squares of Cambridge. Bit more traffic to deal with though but very popular also.
The Burren Pub in Davis has a group of runners who do a weekly 5k on a Tuesday night. I think the bar sponsors some food afterwards for them. But there's lots of runners groups around the city.

4. I'll have to leave this one to someone in the know in this area....
MGH is easiest to get to on the RedLine I guess?
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:53 AM
 
5,017 posts, read 4,830,712 times
Reputation: 11667
Quote:
Originally Posted by E922 View Post
Wow, thanks for so much great info! I emailed your hospital comments to my wife, who was very appreciative and also intrigued by your description of MGH.

Have heard horror stories about Comcast, though as I understand it, in non-monopoly cities like Boston they are supposedly a lot better. Googling has led me to lean towards RCN so far: consumer feedback about them seems predominantly positive, much more so than Comcast.

I love Ethiopian food, so will definitely check out Fasika sometime, thanks.

Cycling is something I may take up while in Boston, more for figuring out how to get around rather than exercise, since the street layout just kills me, even with a GPS...a grad school classmate of mine who grew up in Brookline says that he STILL can't get around without his GPS, heh. Will try to wean myself off the GPS gradually, though...can it really be done in a couple of weeks, rather than years?
Oh dip, I forgot to mention the Emerald Necklace, another nice place to run - google it if you haven't heard of it.

I wouldn't recommend Comcast either but if it's all that's available then that's that.

Fasika looks a bit like a dive but it's a fun place, I know the owner pretty well. It's less attractive to most non Ethiopian people than other Ethiopian places like Addis Red Sea but the food and atmosphere is more authentic (I've been to Ethiopia and am connected to the community here in Boston for my own person reasons, I am causasian though), and less expensive.

Glad your wife found the comments useful. It can be a difficult place to work but is also rewarding. Most nurses who advance to leadership positions are of at least a MSN level, and some are PhD level. It's a great place to learn and bust your hump and if one is very dedicated and committed, it can be a great place to advance. But I would think that for the majority of nurses who have a certain level of experience and not looking to push and forge ahead in their career, it may not be the best place. If she has some fight in her she can consider trying to come aboard, putting in some time and learning and gettign to know people, then jump to a better position at a smaller place - I see some nurses (and others) doing that.

Sure using the bike to get to know teh streets is a good idea but you'll come to the dark side soon enough. There are plenty of strong riders here and the roads (once you get out of the city) are amazing, especially this time of year. Besides, how long are those knees and ankles gonna last anyway :-) I'll be 40 in a month, I still do 10 or so miles on weekends every once in a while to mix up the workouts but cycling for sport can be a lot of fun and the workout is amazing. If you have time, consider going out to the Wells Ave Training Crit (during the season) and take a look at the field. We can use another newb to harass. MGH has its own running club BTW, and a marathon team that participates in the Boston marathon.
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:35 PM
 
32,730 posts, read 22,676,881 times
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Originally Posted by Estate28 View Post
Hi! Welcome!

2. Big gyms in Porter and Davis Square. I think they are pretty expensive though.

There are three (plus training) gyms in Porter, two are co-ed and discount gyms. One is Healthworks which is female only and pricier.

Davis only has Boston Sports Clubs, which is a mid range gym. Definitely not high end, but not discount.
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:47 PM
 
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Default gyms

There is a good Muay Thai boxing/MMA gym near Fresh Pond, North Cambridge, its called American Martial Arts Center. There are also some CrossFit gyms around the Somerville area if you are into that.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
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1) RCN and Comcast vie for the ISP dollar in Somerville. Here in neighboring Cambridge we're stuck with Comcast, which is terrible. "Somervillains" in my world are overwhelmingly with RCN.

2) An upstairs neighbor loves the Somerville Boxing Club, located in the Boys & Girls Club building between Union and Sullivan Squares. It's a no-frills gym with - obviously - plenty of "bags." For a more extensive range of martial arts, the go-to place is Wai Kru in Allston. However you like to get your fight on, chances are they can take care of you. They gained some infamy from being the place where the older of the Marathon bomber brothers trained. But that of course shouldn't be held against them. (Tamerlan had started to run up a respectable Golden Gloves record while his brother had been one of the better performers on his high school wrestling team.) No place in Boston focuses on Krav Maga since BJJ is the big draw these days. This is not to say that Wai Kru and perhaps other places wouldn't have instruction offered.
As in most places, the good old Y is your best bet for a fad-free exercise environment reflected in the membership fee. Somerville has a branch on Highland Ave close by the high school, my location is an easy walk from the Central Square stop on the Red Line, and their main Boston gym is on Huntington Ave a short way towards the Back Bay from the medical area. The universally scorned yet very busy Boston Sports Clubs have a year-old facility right in Davis Square. Just down the road at Porter Square (another Red Line stop) you'll find not only a Planet Fitness but also a women-only gym called Healthworks (obviously thinking of the spouse for the latter.)

3) Look no farther than the Somerville Road Runners for a good club experience. They can get you in fine form to qualify for, then complete, the Boston Marathon but at the same time they don't project a "hard-core" vibe. (For instance, on a weekly basis they do a couple of fun runs which wind up at pubs.) People I've known from there have been super friendly as a rule. You could also "happen by" Fresh Pond in northwest Cambridge on any Saturday morning, where another club - North Medford - welcomes anyone interested to start their weekend with a 2.5k or 5k flat-course race around said body of water.
Official Site of the Somerville Road Runners (SRR) | Boston | Cambridge | Massachusetts

4) Somerville Hospital is now part of the Cambridge Health Alliance of medical facilities. CHA has been in financial retrenchment over the past couple of years, unfortunately, but the demand for experienced RN's never abates. In terms of prestige, the best network to explore is Partners Health Care, the "umbrella" for the Brigham & Women's Hospital and the world-renowned Mass. General. Beth Israel/Deaconess is also well regarded but, like CHA, on somewhat shaky financial footing organizationally now. Tufts Medical Center would also bear some checking out, as they're a tertiary teaching hospital covering all areas of medicine. Lastly, the Caritas network of Catholic hospitals would likely have plenty of openings - but their facilities are in the more far-flung neighborhoods of Boston such as Dorchester and Brighton and are consequently not as easily reached from Somerville. Then as fall-backs there's the Hallmark Health System, mainly serving nearby Medford and Malden, and the Lahey Clinic (based in Burlington but including Arlington's former Symmes Hospital among their day treatment facilities.)
Mass. General and Tufts are right at main subway lines, and the sprawling Longwood Medical Area (comprising Brigham & Women's, Children's, Beth Israel/Deaconess, Joslin Diabetes Clinic, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute) is served by the Green Line as well as numerous bus routes which include the "CT-1" crosstown express out of Sullivan Square by way of Union Square. While not exactly without its problems, the MBTA is a comprehensive and handy transpo network as a rule - I've been able to easily live car-free for fifteen years.

This along with all the other excellent preceding info should get you started! Welcome!
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