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Old 01-04-2014, 10:00 AM
1 posts, read 2,504 times
Reputation: 11



While I've lived in Cambridge for 10 years, I'm not that familiar with living in Roxbury and want honest opinions about living there.

About me: I'm a young professional who wants to stop paying rent and live in something that I can grow with at least in the short term. I'm aware of the challenges of living in a city, safety, transportation, cost.

So I've made my own opinions having gone to Roxbury a few times since eyeing a property I'm interested in and reading about the city's investments into Dudley, but am just looking for some other contemporary opinions about the neighborhood. I've heard opinions ranging from "don't go near it" to "it's the next big thing" so I welcome all opinions.

Also, if you have other recommendations for parts of the city that are AFFORDABLE for home ownership and not too inconvenient for commuting to Cambridge, please suggest

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Old 01-04-2014, 10:55 AM
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
315 posts, read 506,657 times
Reputation: 553
I have a friend who bought a condo in the Fort Hill section of Roxbury several years ago, and she loves it there. She feels safe and paid considerably less for her floor of a beautiful historic building that she would have if it were in a different location. Dudley Square is definitely on the rough side, though it does have some bright spots, such as the Haley House Café and, for Caribbean food lovers, the Pepper Pot. There are definitely swaths of Roxbury to avoid - the "H Block" territory south of MLK Blvd is particularly notorious. But there are okay sections too.

Another place you might consider is Savin Hill in Dorchester, though that has become pricey, particularly the "Over the Bridge" or "OTB" portion of the neighborhood. It's generally rather safe, has a few nice hangouts, including a fantastic breakfast place called McKenna's, and it offers red line access, which would make getting to Cambridge pretty easy and quick (I'd guess around 22-25 minutes).

I lived in South Boston for many years and enjoyed the easy access to Cambridge via the red line myself. When I tired of renting, I looked north of the city because my work and social life are more rooted in that direction. Priced out of Cambridge as well as Somerville, I focused my search on Malden, Medford and Everett. Eventually, I found that I got the best bang for my buck in Everett, where I bought a house near the Malden border. I can walk to the orange line in about 20 minutes, but I can also catch many buses, some of which go to Sullivan Square, where you can easily transfer to buses to Kendall, Central, Harvard and Davis Squares. I've made the journey from my house to the Central Square area via MBTA in under a half an hour on a day when I made a quick transfer at Sullivan. The drive, when traffic is light, can be accomplished in 15 minutes. I feel safe here, my neighborhood is quiet and friendly, and my house was affordable and in good shape. Honestly, there is not a lot of nightlife here outside of small family-owned restaurants and pizza joints, but Boston and Cambridge are so close, and it's nice to have a quiet place with parking to come home to. I daresay you'd find just as good a deal here as you would in Roxbury, but the area is considerably less dicey. Just a thought - I feel like a broken record suggesting this to people all of the time, but Everett really is worth a look for budget-minded folks who like city convenience and are ready perhaps for a bit more elbow room.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:23 PM
30 posts, read 182,532 times
Reputation: 63
Good advice above. I left Boston a little over a year ago, and I imagine not *too* much has changed (plus I come back to visit a few times per-year).

Even though I'm sure I could live there and fit in fine, Roxbury would not be my first choice, despite the fact I've lived in dicey neighborhoods before...But if I were to live there I'd probably pick the Fort Hill section, or somewhere close to the Roxbury Crossing T-Stop. The deeper in you get, the more removed from the rest of the city it can become, with limited transportation and businesses. Not to mention the crime, though there are other places which are much worse.

Dorchester is really up-and-coming...I stayed with a friend in the JFK/UMass area and it really was not bad, and the housing cost is pretty low (by Boston standards). Savin Hill has come a long way too.

Have you ever considered the Mission Hill/Jamaica Plain border, near the end of the Green E Line? I lived there for a while and though others may disagree, I really loved it. It was an excellent bang for your buck (again, by Boston standards), not too different from Roxbury proper in look and price but a lot safer, with excellent access to both Brookline and JP Center. It is a little bit of a pain to get to Cambridge, though. The 66 bus will take you to Harvard Square, but can take a while, as the traffic can really get congested going up Harvard Ave. in Brookline. That said, it starts at Dudley, so if you lived there it would take even longer.

Everett is OK, but make sure if you move there you're within reasonable distance to the Orange Line, or you have a car. Otherwise, Medford could work. These places would probably be better if you're dead-set on not renting. It largely depends on what you want in a neighborhood.

I would also imagine that Brighton and Watertown could be likely options for you as well, though the latter might especially be more expensive.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:40 PM
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,528,280 times
Reputation: 3804
I lived in Lower Roxbury for seven years until 2008. My opin is it's not unsafe - but yer gonna hafta deal with ghetto behavior. Boom boom cars, trash, urine, and you'll listen to the words "f*ck and N*66er" a lot. You'll be considered a pioneer by many and viewed as an intruder. And I hope you like Rap and Reggaeton. ROX is no quiet place. People like their music loud and late. And if you have neighbors who like to blast music, which you prolly will, you wont be able to do much about it. And you will run into some people who will dislike you if you are Caucasian. Wally - from Wally's Bar - was verbally frank in telling people "I hate white people".

On the upside, black and Hispanic people are the warmest souls on the planet. You'll meet far more of this type than of the type above - but they still are Bostonians - so mostly they'll stick to themselves.

My overall feeling about Lower Rox was I loved a lot of people there quite passionately. But there is a lot of dysfunctionalism and social problems. I went there caring and wanting to help. I feel I did that successfully and spread my share of love, but came out pretty bruised. My time there settled my question about race on the fact people are people. Color doesn't matter. But the social problems in the area will beat you up no matter what color you are.

One thing is for sure. I will NEVER live in an all Caucasian area ever again. Get too many white people together in one place and they start acting really freaky. Diversity increases the social comfort level. Plus it's more fun. Like Louie Armstrong says - "The colors of the rainbvow are so pretty - and on the faces of the people too."
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:24 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA
75 posts, read 87,530 times
Reputation: 115
I've lived in Boston area for 21 years and I went to Northeastern which is pretty close to Roxbury and I visited Roxbury itself on a few occasions. You couldn't pay me to live anywhere near the place. Not even for a lot of money. The only way I'd consider walking through it at night is in full body armor suit with a loaded assault rifle.
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