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Old 09-19-2009, 05:40 PM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,865 posts, read 13,060,277 times
Reputation: 6861


A goodly portion of Dorchester may be struggling (or in some cases has lost the struggle.) But I'm not ready to count it out just yet. Neither are the restaurant and shop owners who are opening new places around Ashmont Station, Lower Mills (just down the road - "Dot Ave" - a piece in Lower Mills) and Adams Corner. And, closer into town, Savin Hill has been taking off in a significant way. My hesitation from mentioning it earlier is that I keep my street sense sharpened whenever I'm there, aside from within certain pockets like Cedar Grove + Ashmont + the "OTB" (over the bridge) part of Savin Hill. I know people who were gung-ho urban pioneers during the '80s on streets like Charles (Fields Corner), Arcadia Terrace (Meetinghouse Hill), and Tonawanda (Melville-Park) among others. All have fled in the face of increasing and unceasing crime, their "model city neighborhoods" now war zones for feuding-for-no-reason gangsta wannabe 14-year-olds skipping school. Some sections of Dorchester have become so heavily populated by gay men priced out of the South End that occasionally somebody will joke about "Door-chess-turr" while lisping and wrist-flapping. (The natives pronounce it "Dahhchessta," whence sprang "Dot Ave.") While often well-off financially, that particular demographic has no shortage of self-absorption and dysfunctionality and is also very transient. Like quite a few of their mainstream counterparts, many are only there until the neighborhood improves and they can profit from property-flipping.
In short, a presumably female 30-something divorcee would likely not be happy much less feel secure in Dorchester. The sad part of all this is, there are some great little niches there where the neighborhoods are close-knit and the people look out for and care about each other. But getting to them would entail riding the Red Line, a sketchy proposition at night as would be walking home from the station. The last time I was in Dorchester after dark was when I stood in the endless snaking line for Ted Kennedy's wake at the JFK Library. And that, of course, had security beyond belief along with abundant buses right to the subway. Before that...not during this decade.
Ms TO, you have been away from Boston for a long time to not remember how unfriendly a place it is. Unlike in the Midwest and down South, speaking to strangers on the street is unheard of. Initially meeting a new neighbor will be a perfunctory encounter more often than not. From my observation, this is very much a generational thing. Folks in their thirties and beyond are far more apt to engage you in real conversation once you've gotten acquainted. Younger than that, they're plugged into their iPods and/or glued to their cell phones everywhere they go, laptops invisibly bolted to their waists as they take up space at a bar or coffee shop while tapping away on the keyboard and speaking to no one. Once when I "just showed up" at the house of a friend from Utah, he was almost beside himself with excitement. "I've been in Boston for two years, and this is the first time somebody dropped by without feeling like they had to call first. What's wrong with people here, making appointments for everything???"
Having said all that...there are warm and cold types of people wherever you go, and Beantown's no different. Spontaneity isn't as common as it is in Utah, and you're definitely scrutinized by whom you meet until they start to get to know you. But once you get past that, socializing is easy and fun. Next-door neighbors of mine throw phenomenal house parties complete with musicians, and I host a big backyard cookout every August in honor of my cat's birthday, to make our block more socially active. If it weren't for those households everybody on the street would be on their little personal islands all the time. Whether you wind up in a building with gregarious neighbors or on a street where everyone's too busy minding their "shuffle" to say hello is a roll of the dice. The solution is to throw your own housewarming party, with advance flyers in all the neighbors' mailboxes, or - failing that - to join civic/political and social organizations. Make a point of reading or Web surfing on your front steps or porch, in order to at least try to chat up passersby.
BTW, my firsthand experience tells me that a community which is largely working- to middle-class is friendlier than those that're richer or poorer.
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:57 PM
Location: Rt 128
42 posts, read 156,552 times
Reputation: 37
Default Beacon Hill

Just wanted to mention that Beacon Hill does have another Whole Foods Store off Cambridge St. near/at MGH. It would be a great area for the OP to live, I think. Davis Square in Somerville is also nice. I have heard that Charlestown is a happening place for young people as well.
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:49 AM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,695 posts, read 4,672,427 times
Reputation: 2174
Charlestown lacks access to a decent supermarket (unless one considers Foodmaster decent). I undersatand that car breakins may still be a problem, although last month I heard that Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Fenway were having recent problems (not sure of the accuracy of those three areas, but at least two of the three were mentioned on the radio).

The Navy Yard in Charleston is nice and has nice luxury rentals -- plus a commuter boat to Long Wharf!).

50 West Broadway in Southie is poised to open...I see the finishing touches on my daily walks from the Broadway T. So many yuppies in Southie now, but parts are still trashy and now graffiti infested, next to some nice residences!

One Landsdowne and 90 Sidney are upscale rentals in University Park in Cambridge about $2k monthly...but seem to have rich college students.

The Archstone rentals next to Alewife red line (as mentioned) are nice, and near Whole Foods.

Ashmont station has a nice condo/rental complex opened last year, but as stated, the area may be too unpolished still, despite lovely homes on Ashmont Hill and nearby.

East Boston is starting to attract some yuppies with nice condos/rentals, but most is still South American.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:01 AM
157 posts, read 474,879 times
Reputation: 66
seriously, this is goyguy's full time job!

he also helped me a lot before my moving to here. Right now I'm living at Washington Sq area, and I like the neighbourhood... lot of stores but def less than Coolidge corner, good luck!
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