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Old Yesterday, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
2,016 posts, read 2,163,891 times
Reputation: 2295

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My job situation has been the pits for a while and about 3 months ago I ended up having to move to Boston for a contract job from Atlanta where I have lived for the past two and a half decades. I grew up in Queens, northern VA and east TN, so excepting the latter I have experience with large'ish US cities.

I ended up being underwhelmed by Boston. I had never visited before I started work there, but friends who had been had told me tales of a lovely city that was totally awesome in the summer with a great river and that I should definitely go visit.

1. The Charles River is great. I think that the banks of the Charles River are nicer than most waterside development you'll see in Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta. Plenty of bridges crossing it that don't ruin the landscape, and plenty of activity (joggers, boats, kayaks). It probably helps a lot that it empties into the atlantic. There are nicer waterfronts, but most of these tend to be in southeastern tourist towns. A definite plus to living in Cambridge, Back Bay, etc.

2. The housing stock is old. I'm not sure whether its municipal laws, mafia kickbacks or other barriers, but a lot of the housing that would have been torn down and rebuilt 2x or 3x over in other large cities of the same approximate age tend to persist in Boston. This is slowly changing in some areas (like Revere) and absent in some of the farther flung suburbs but in all likelihood if you aren't forking over $2.5k+ for rent then you're going to live in a 3rd floor loft built in 1920 with no forced air ducting, tiny bathrooms and a 50/50 chance that eating the paint chips will give you lead poisoning. Lots of the neighborhoods i stayed in or drove through reminded me of New Jersey (a state I dislike).

3. The city is smaller than its reputation would imply. I was surprised by how short a trip it is to get from East Boston to Brighton or from Malden to Milton. Drive 15 miles from just about anywhere and you're outside the conventional city area. Traffic means that it takes time, but speaking as an Atlantan... you guys are traffic rookies. You have tolls, tunnels, bridges and density all contributing to the traffic situation. Doubling a 15-20 minute commute means 30-40 minutes in the car (or an hour on the T). Atlanta is putting down pro numbers with 12 lane wide highways that turn into parking lots twice a day. 20 minutes of driving will barely put you into the next town in most cases. Its not a treat to drive in either city during rush hour, but I will take Boston's traffic over Atlanta's 7 days a week and twice on Sunday.

4. The housing and living expense doesn't seem worth it. Boston has a ton of educated people and low unemployment and a 2% vacancy rate. If you are a single person with a white collar job making ~$70-90k/yr then you most likely have a roommate unless you want to overburden yourself with rent. You are also probably spending 3x-4x the rent for the privilege of renting in the city. This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. There are areas in the ATL that are just as expensive as most of Boston, but unlike Boston you aren't fighting for the attention of rental brokers or schmoozing with landlords to please please please let you pay them for a room. If you have the skills or experience to land a good job in Beantown, i'm not sure why you wouldn't depart for a Chicago or Philadelphia or even west coast town where your money will get you a bit more.

5. The people there have some serious city pride. As a former new yorker, I am completely familiar with the attitude that there is no reason to ever live anywhere else... why-would-I-because-anything-I-could-ever-want-or-need-can-be-found-somewhere-in-the-city. New Yorkers have a serious superiority complex and love their city. Bostonians are almost as proud. I saw Pats and Bosox hats just about everywhere I went.. and even when I didn't see those I saw Bruins tattoos. I also got unhappy looks when I asked townies what they would do when that cheater retires. Then I would get reminded about the superbowl :-). Then *they* would get reminded about the other superbowl by a coworker from Philly. Good times :-). I'm not an NFL fan, but let me know when your MLS team manages to win a championship.

6. The T. I was surprised by how small the trains were. The system is overloaded and overcrowded. Everyone knows this. Thankfully I avoided the two derailments, fire, flooding and bear spray incident that happened over this ONE SUMMER (good lord!)... but I shudder to think what the transportation situation would be without it. Atlanta has a poorly funded, fledgling train system that none of the YUPPIE, baby-boomer conservatives gerrymandering the vote want. As a result it has a serious image problem and practicality problem amongst a lot of folks who could get good use out of it. That being said, even the T with all of its problems is helping solve a significant transportation issue that I wish the ATL has the political will and funding to tackle. Our trains are bigger than yours, though... and have better service to our airport

7. The food scene. Boston has a small population amongst large US metros... and this accounts for the food scene. Its not horrible, but its segmented and one can only eat so many donuts and pizzas before longing for a larger variety of cuisine. Its ridiculous that you have more dunkin donuts than fast food places. I am embarrassed for Boston. We do have a lot of LBGTQ-hating-chicken restaurants out here, but we don't put them every nook and cranny of a train station, supermarket or kiosk. You guys really need to let up a bit on the DD. If you're ever in the ATL, make your way out to one of our Sarah's Donuts locations and you'll swear off of the 2nd rate pastries that dunkin makes.

8. Overall livability? You need some serious bucks or good luck with job location to not live on top of people or in a rickety dungeon out there. I really like Davis Square (reminded me of a neighborhood just south of Piedmont Park here) and parts of Cambridge were nice. I spent my first day there at Danehy park playing pick up ultimate and getting to meet a few folks. Trying to parlay that experience into a living arrangement would require a serious financial, logistical and temporal commitment and I'm not sure that the added day-to-day stress and cost of doing so would be worth it long term.... and this is in the summer when the weather is nice!

Anyways, there is every chance that I'll be back in town to complete some other work at a later date, so I'll most likely be back in the city later on this year.
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Old Yesterday, 04:02 PM
 
Location: The State Line
2,281 posts, read 3,196,673 times
Reputation: 2622
You have a right to your opinion, so I won’t comment on much of this, but I’ll pick on a few.

2. Well, Massachusetts is one of the oldest settlements in the country. It’s called “historic preservation or conservation” for the politically correct. The city values having structures existing from 100, 200+ years as opposed to tearing everything down and putting skyscrapers everywhere. Manhattanization is not a thing in Boston.

3. I suppose Boston did not annex as many cities as it could have, if allowed. It acquired Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchester and others, but it doesn’t matter. For that matter, independent cities and towns such as Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, etc. and much inside and around 128 are all part of “Boston,” for all intents and purposes.

4.From a non political sense, there is a great deal of NIMBYism in and around Boston that don’t want increased density to preserve character as they say. This means less housing to go around, hence higher cost for existing housing. It is what it is. I suppose the same could be said for a city like NYC or even San Francisco. If you’re paying a small fortune for a micro apartment just to live in Manhattan or are forced into a crummy neighborhood just to afford anywhere else in the City, or you struggle to afford a home even with a great salary in the Bay Area, then is it worth it if you can’t reap any benefits from living there?

5. I can imagine why you’re not an NFL fan if you’re from Atlanta and are a former NYer. No comment necessary.

6. It stands to reason trains are smaller because the T itself is older than MARTA, but what good is bigger trains if they’re not being used because they’re stuck on a 12 lane highway?

I’m not attempting to disrespect your city. All cities have their pros and cons and I’m merely responding to some of your points.

Last edited by LexWest; Yesterday at 04:11 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 04:14 PM
 
3,980 posts, read 1,551,850 times
Reputation: 7852
since this is about opinions about Boston from outside of Boston, i have three:
1. best wedding and reception i have ever attended was a Jewish Wedding in Boston.
2. worst management of traffic in the USA. LA and Houston at least try.
3. best USA city for professional sports. Boston teams matter in every league.
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Old Yesterday, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
2,016 posts, read 2,163,891 times
Reputation: 2295
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexWest View Post
I’m not attempting to disrespect your city. All cities have their pros and cons and I’m merely responding to some of your points.
Disrespect to Atlanta won't bother me. Atlanta has a slew of problems, many of which will never be fixed due to infighting and corruption among the political class. The new governor of our state basically stole an election with basically zero blowback. Yes, he has the entire state to worry about but more than half of the state's population lives in the Atlanta metro area, which is is run by a different political party than the power at the state level.

Quote:
You have a right to your opinion, so I won’t comment on much of this, but I’ll pick on a few.

2. Well, Massachusetts is one of the oldest settlements in the country. It’s called “historic preservation or conservation” for the politically correct. The city values having structures existing from 100, 200+ years as opposed to tearing everything down and putting skyscrapers everywhere. Manhattanization is not a thing in Boston.
I'm not sure what to think of this explanation. Historic preservation is one thing.... hearing damage from a constantly running window or portable AC unit inside a tiny living space is another. I think there is room for newer construction in Boston above and beyond what has taken place to date. Lord knows that there are more than enough people scrambling to find places to live there.

Quote:
3. I suppose Boston did not annex as many cities as it could have, if allowed. It acquired Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchester and others, but it doesn’t matter. For that matter, independent cities and towns such as Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, etc. and much inside and around 128 are all part of “Boston,” for all intents and purposes.
I include Brookline, Cambridge, Roxbury, et. al. as part of how I percieve 'Boston'. I would say that Arlington, Newtown, Quincy and Lynn are NOT part of 'Boston' if that helps explain.

Quote:
4.From a non political sense, there is a great deal of NIMBYism in and around Boston that don’t want increased density to preserve character as they say. This means less housing to go around, hence higher cost for existing housing. It is what it is. I suppose the same could be said for a city like NYC or even San Francisco. If you’re paying a small fortune for a micro apartment just to live in Manhattan or are forced into a crummy neighborhood just to afford anywhere else in the City, or you struggle to afford a home even with a great salary in the Bay Area, then is it worth it if you can’t reap any benefits from living there?
Quote:
5. I can imagine why you’re not an NFL fan if you’re from Atlanta and are a former NYer. No comment necessary.
I've lived in the southeast for most of my life. Fanaticism for college football (especially SEC college football) makes NFL fandom look trite and fleeting. I did comment upon Boston's loyalty to their home teams, but it pales compared to the lifetime commitment southerners (most of whom do not have college degrees) have for their college teams. If big papi had been a former UGA running back then the people responsible for shooting him would probably have gone missing a few days after papi got put into the hospital.

Quote:
6. It stands to reason trains are smaller because the T itself is older than MARTA, but what good is bigger trains if they’re not being used because they’re stuck on a 12 lane highway?
I'm not arguing that MARTA is better than the T, but i've never had to wait 2-3 trains to get a spot on a MARTA car. I know that people up there very much want the city/state to pour more resources into the train lines there. Figuring out a way to put bigger cars on the tracks would be a good long term goal. T ridership has been dropping even while Boston's population is growing. The issues and overcrowding and increased cost are probably to blame, yeah?
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Old Yesterday, 07:16 PM
 
4,734 posts, read 4,798,432 times
Reputation: 5865
Well thought out critique. Not common out here with all the lazy posters who frequently go sideways on even the most simple subjects.
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Old Yesterday, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Newburyport, MA
1,504 posts, read 618,102 times
Reputation: 1948
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post
:
7. The food scene. Boston has a small population amongst large US metros... and this accounts for the food scene. Its not horrible, but its segmented and one can only eat so many donuts and pizzas before longing for a larger variety of cuisine. Its ridiculous that you have more dunkin donuts than fast food places. I am embarrassed for Boston. We do have a lot of LBGTQ-hating-chicken restaurants out here, but we don't put them every nook and cranny of a train station, supermarket or kiosk. You guys really need to let up a bit on the DD. If you're ever in the ATL, make your way out to one of our Sarah's Donuts locations and you'll swear off of the 2nd rate pastries that dunkin makes.
:
Dunkin Donuts has lousy donuts, there I'd agree. But I don't consider Dunkin Donuts "the food scene". I think there are plenty of good restaurants in the area.
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Old Yesterday, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Greater Boston (Formerly Orlando and New York)
655 posts, read 238,455 times
Reputation: 645
Again, living in Atlanta is a trainwreck compared to Boston. I despise regressive govt systems and urban sprawl. But again thats just me.

And about the fast food. Again this is not Atlanta. Atlanta is a lot less cultured than Boston. We have Dunkin Donuts and a lot of them, but we have waayyy more mom and pop/ non chains that Atlanta does. How is this a bad thing? We do Dunkin Donuts like Atlanta does Chick Fil A. I think thats what people like about Boston, is that theres little chains, and the ones that are there are in bulk. Dunkin Donuts was also founded down the road.. lol. When im in the city... I may have dunkies/au bon pain in the morning, reginas/santarpios/sail loft for lunch and then finish off with a nice italian/pub for dinner. When im home in the burbs? Its all local places. Sorry our fast food scene wasnt as great as you like... but Boston's food scene isnt built on chains.


Id rank Boston at least in the top 10 food scenes in America. Ive been to Atlanta, and I dont mean to be rude but the food is not that great. Try going to the North End in Boston, Newbury Street, Literally anywhere in Cambridge, the Wharfs or any local place and youll see what Boston has to offer.
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Old Today, 03:06 AM
 
661 posts, read 273,241 times
Reputation: 387
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post
My job situation has been the pits for a while and about 3 months ago I ended up having to move to Boston for a contract job from Atlanta where I have lived for the past two and a half decades. I grew up in Queens, northern VA and east TN, so excepting the latter I have experience with large'ish US cities.

I ended up being underwhelmed by Boston. I had never visited before I started work there, but friends who had been had told me tales of a lovely city that was totally awesome in the summer with a great river and that I should definitely go visit.

1. The Charles River is great. I think that the banks of the Charles River are nicer than most waterside development you'll see in Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta. Plenty of bridges crossing it that don't ruin the landscape, and plenty of activity (joggers, boats, kayaks). It probably helps a lot that it empties into the atlantic. There are nicer waterfronts, but most of these tend to be in southeastern tourist towns. A definite plus to living in Cambridge, Back Bay, etc.

2. The housing stock is old. I'm not sure whether its municipal laws, mafia kickbacks or other barriers, but a lot of the housing that would have been torn down and rebuilt 2x or 3x over in other large cities of the same approximate age tend to persist in Boston. This is slowly changing in some areas (like Revere) and absent in some of the farther flung suburbs but in all likelihood if you aren't forking over $2.5k+ for rent then you're going to live in a 3rd floor loft built in 1920 with no forced air ducting, tiny bathrooms and a 50/50 chance that eating the paint chips will give you lead poisoning. Lots of the neighborhoods i stayed in or drove through reminded me of New Jersey (a state I dislike).

3. The city is smaller than its reputation would imply. I was surprised by how short a trip it is to get from East Boston to Brighton or from Malden to Milton. Drive 15 miles from just about anywhere and you're outside the conventional city area. Traffic means that it takes time, but speaking as an Atlantan... you guys are traffic rookies. You have tolls, tunnels, bridges and density all contributing to the traffic situation. Doubling a 15-20 minute commute means 30-40 minutes in the car (or an hour on the T). Atlanta is putting down pro numbers with 12 lane wide highways that turn into parking lots twice a day. 20 minutes of driving will barely put you into the next town in most cases. Its not a treat to drive in either city during rush hour, but I will take Boston's traffic over Atlanta's 7 days a week and twice on Sunday.

4. The housing and living expense doesn't seem worth it. Boston has a ton of educated people and low unemployment and a 2% vacancy rate. If you are a single person with a white collar job making ~$70-90k/yr then you most likely have a roommate unless you want to overburden yourself with rent. You are also probably spending 3x-4x the rent for the privilege of renting in the city. This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. There are areas in the ATL that are just as expensive as most of Boston, but unlike Boston you aren't fighting for the attention of rental brokers or schmoozing with landlords to please please please let you pay them for a room. If you have the skills or experience to land a good job in Beantown, i'm not sure why you wouldn't depart for a Chicago or Philadelphia or even west coast town where your money will get you a bit more.

5. The people there have some serious city pride. As a former new yorker, I am completely familiar with the attitude that there is no reason to ever live anywhere else... why-would-I-because-anything-I-could-ever-want-or-need-can-be-found-somewhere-in-the-city. New Yorkers have a serious superiority complex and love their city. Bostonians are almost as proud. I saw Pats and Bosox hats just about everywhere I went.. and even when I didn't see those I saw Bruins tattoos. I also got unhappy looks when I asked townies what they would do when that cheater retires. Then I would get reminded about the superbowl :-). Then *they* would get reminded about the other superbowl by a coworker from Philly. Good times :-). I'm not an NFL fan, but let me know when your MLS team manages to win a championship.

6. The T. I was surprised by how small the trains were. The system is overloaded and overcrowded. Everyone knows this. Thankfully I avoided the two derailments, fire, flooding and bear spray incident that happened over this ONE SUMMER (good lord!)... but I shudder to think what the transportation situation would be without it. Atlanta has a poorly funded, fledgling train system that none of the YUPPIE, baby-boomer conservatives gerrymandering the vote want. As a result it has a serious image problem and practicality problem amongst a lot of folks who could get good use out of it. That being said, even the T with all of its problems is helping solve a significant transportation issue that I wish the ATL has the political will and funding to tackle. Our trains are bigger than yours, though... and have better service to our airport

7. The food scene. Boston has a small population amongst large US metros... and this accounts for the food scene. Its not horrible, but its segmented and one can only eat so many donuts and pizzas before longing for a larger variety of cuisine. Its ridiculous that you have more dunkin donuts than fast food places. I am embarrassed for Boston. We do have a lot of LBGTQ-hating-chicken restaurants out here, but we don't put them every nook and cranny of a train station, supermarket or kiosk. You guys really need to let up a bit on the DD. If you're ever in the ATL, make your way out to one of our Sarah's Donuts locations and you'll swear off of the 2nd rate pastries that dunkin makes.

8. Overall livability? You need some serious bucks or good luck with job location to not live on top of people or in a rickety dungeon out there. I really like Davis Square (reminded me of a neighborhood just south of Piedmont Park here) and parts of Cambridge were nice. I spent my first day there at Danehy park playing pick up ultimate and getting to meet a few folks. Trying to parlay that experience into a living arrangement would require a serious financial, logistical and temporal commitment and I'm not sure that the added day-to-day stress and cost of doing so would be worth it long term.... and this is in the summer when the weather is nice!

Anyways, there is every chance that I'll be back in town to complete some other work at a later date, so I'll most likely be back in the city later on this year.
On point 2... well certainly a lot of housing is old..it’s also all inhabited..would be difficult to tear down houses with people living in them and demanding such rent

On point 3..agreed the t needs work...Atlanta’s traffic may well be worse but way more people drive in Atlanta..Boston’s public transport ridership exceeds Atlanta’s by factors of millions
Small cars and all Boston is a public transit oriented city. The downside in Atlanta is if you wanted to use public transit regularly you basically couldn’t

https://freetoursbyfoot.com/wp-conte...-1011x1024.jpg
Vs
https://www.itsmarta.com/images/train-stations-map.jpg

On point 7...Can’t tell you the last time I’ve been Dunkin donuts..it’s not looked at as some measuring stick to compare against....Boston has a variety in cuisine especially if you travel to Cambridge/Somerville/Allston/jp...dakzen in Davis square that you mentioned has amazing thai..if you return avoid the chain places

Last edited by Ne999; Today at 03:32 AM..
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Old Today, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
1,058 posts, read 861,200 times
Reputation: 1315
I don't agree with you on a lot of things, but I also don't see any of that as being glaringly wrong. If you were able to stay here a little longer I think you'd come around or change your views on some of your points, but that is also why a lot of people here have developed Stockholm syndrome and can't see past the flaws.

As educated and cultured as people in the area claim to be they sure don't think a lot of things should change. Much of that goes back to #5 and weaves its way through the rest of your assessment. You will be getting a lot of pushback on here for merely suggesting that certain things are done differently elsewhere and that they may actually be done better.
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Old Today, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
8,869 posts, read 7,815,529 times
Reputation: 7821
I dont think this is as unfair an assessment as others.


I will push back on Dunkin donuts. Almost everyone gets coffee, not even one donut. It isn't amazing coffee either, but I like that it's pretty cheap. But I still agree that food scenes elsewhere, even in much smaller cities, tend to be more interesting. Even though I'm on the record suggesting that people worry less about restaurants and just make your own damn food.
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