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Old 05-21-2015, 09:13 AM
 
797 posts, read 1,568,998 times
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I grew up in West Roxbury. We never ventured out much farther than that. Mainly everything we needed was in West Roxbury, Roslindale, Brookline, or Dedham. People are often surprised when they ask me questions about downtown Boston (usually for directions or restaurant recommendations, etc) and I tell them that I don't know. They're shocked and usually say "well didn't you grow up in Boston?!" To which I have to explain I grew up in a neighborhood on the outskirts.

Do you find you have a similar experience? I simply didn't have a need to go downtown. I mean yeah we'd go downtown on occasion but it wasn't a regular part of my life to the point where I'd know all the side streets and whatnot. To this day I've never even been to Allston lol
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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I was in Jamaica Plain the other day. The lack of parking and subway service to the Centre street area makes it its own island. It occurred to me why in the many years of living in the area I had not often visited the highlights of the area.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:32 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
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I grew up in a near suburb, but no, from my early teens I was traveling into the city alone to check things out, go to all ages shows in Kenmore, the Seaport, Causeway St, Allston, etc. And to work in highs school too. Of course, there was shopping with family in Downtown Crossing as well.

Admittedly, though, I often outside of my sphere, had trouble giving above ground directions. I knew the locations of things as they related to T stops, not streets or intersections.

Last edited by timberline742; 05-21-2015 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Ex-Bostonian in Woodstock, GA
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I grew up in Cambridge not too far from a red line stop so at an early age I was pretty familiar with a lot of areas that had train access. So I think it also has a lot to do with whether you had easy access to public transit. Now that I live out in the burbs though, I only occasionally venture North of 93.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:37 AM
 
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We did move to suburbs when I was a teen although I spent most of my weekends back in Westie with my childhood friends, and even still we never "explored" downtown. It more more or less we'd go to our destination and that was it. I think not having a car limited our ability to explore because we were broke and always had just enough money to take the T
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Ex-Bostonian in Woodstock, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newenglander0000 View Post
We did move to suburbs when I was a teen although I spent most of my weekends back in Westie with my childhood friends, and even still we never "explored" downtown. It more more or less we'd go to our destination and that was it. I think not having a car limited our ability to explore because we were broke and always had just enough money to take the T
Not sure what the closest train stop to West Roxbury is (Forest Hills?) but that also could've been a factor since you would've probably had to take a bus and then a long train ride in. Park St and Downtown Crossing were literally 3 and 4 stops from me respectively. Plus we had subsidized student MBTA passes so that made it easier (and cheaper) for me too.
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:18 PM
 
Location: (six-cent-dix-sept)
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part of it is people like to be amongst themselves (especially when language is concerned: chinatown, north end, mattapan, ...) but also redlining (not the t line ) contributes to these ethnic-enclaves.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Hyde Park, MA
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I'm very unfamiliar with East Boston, Charlestown, Lynn and somewhat Salem.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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I did not live around here in the 1960s and 1970s, but my understanding from hearing about it from natives, reading and seeing film documentaries on the history of Boston is that there was nothing to see in Boston and Cambridge during those years and that downtown was not very glamorous, with overhead trolleys and dumpy areas like Scollay Square. I know several people who bought in BackBay and Cambridge back in the 1970s and only paid 100k for an entire building.

During that same time period, areas like Bellevue Hill in West Roxbury and Ashmont in Dorchester were considered the most beautiful desirable areas, so naturally people would have no desire to go elsewhere.

Last edited by 495neighbor; 05-21-2015 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:02 AM
 
2,381 posts, read 4,367,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
I did not live around here in the 1960s and 1970s, but my understanding from hearing about it from natives, reading and seeing film documentaries on the history of Boston is that there was nothing to see in Boston and Cambridge during those years and that downtown was not very glamorous, with overhead trolleys and dumpy areas like Scollay Square. I know several people who bought in BackBay and Cambridge back in the 1970s and only paid 100k for an entire building.

During that same time period, areas like Bellevue Hill in West Roxbury and Ashmont in Dorchester were considered the most beautiful desirable areas, so naturally people would have no desire to go elsewhere.
Boston in the 1960s and 70s was full of things to do and people came from all over the area to walk around, hang out on the common and the garden, go shopping, go to the movies... Downtown Crossing had big department stores; Jordan's had a larger older building on the site of the present Macy's and a huge annex where they sold everything else including refrigerators, muffins, furniture--you name it. Downtown shopping was still a big deal; Filene's and Filene's Basement were going strong, also Kennedy's, Gilchrists, and R H Stearns. There were movie theatres up and down Washington, Tremont, and Stuart Streets. Most are still standing but don't show movies -- like the Majestic and the Paramount, they've been put to use as performing arts places by nonprofits or colleges. There were revival houses on Arlington St and on Boylston near the library. There were first run theaters in the Back Bay including the Paris and the Cheri near the Pru. The Exeter St Theatre was still running-- beautiful space. Boston had its own Haight Ashbury/East Village scene in the summer of love (1967) on the Common near Charles and Beacon. The Orpheum packed 'em in for rock concerts-- I guess it still does. Government Center was new in the 60s-- the sunken fountain was a nice place to hang on a summer evening. They had a sidewalk cafe on one side and a movie theater in the Center Plaza building. You could still buy meat, fish, cheese, and produce from retailers in Faneuil Hall Market. Faneuil Hall itself had meat vendors in the ground floor where now you find only tourist trinkets. Art festivals were held in the garden in the 1950s and at least one year on the Common-- 1974-- "June Art in the Park." The North End of Boston was all Italian in those years and fuller than it is now of little shops for the locals but little or nothing for the tourist. Beacon Hill was just as it is today except you could get an apartment on the back side for $100 in the '60s and $150/$200 in the '70s. Back Bay was considered to be in decline; the grandees had nearly all moved out by World War II and the townhouses were split up into apartments or used as rooming houses. One rooming house had a terrible fire in the 70s where a news photog got a photo of a woman literally falling to her death as the fire escape gave way. There was talk of tearing the old houses down at the corners of Commonwealth and Berkeley, Clarendon, etc. to build apartment towers as a way of reviving the area. Even so, Back Bay was full of people, Emerson and Fisher Junior and other schools had classrooms and dormitories in the neighborhood, and it was very congenial. The South End was pretty seedy although it had a big Syrian population in the Union Park/Shawmut Ave area and long-settled AA families in the streets between Columbus Ave and the railroad tracks.

Very similar to what's happened in New York in this time frame-- the city was seedier then but edgier too, much more affordable, and more of a mix of class and ethnicity. Where now its all clean, safe, condos everywhere, tourists everywhere.
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