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View Poll Results: Boston vs. Providence
Boston 12 92.31%
Providence 1 7.69%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-21-2010, 04:30 PM
 
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Which of these two Northeast cities do you like the most? (Consider cleanliness, atmosphere, things to do, etc.)
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:46 PM
 
Location: The City
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Voted Boston but I fly in and out of Providnce all the time to get to the Western Burbs of Boston, on airport i'll take PVD over Logan
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:51 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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I don't think there's a comparison and I've lived and still spend significant time in both cities.

Providence beats Boston in a few categories, but not enough to make it better overall. Providence is cheaper and has far less congestion (in large part due to its smaller size). It also has better... adult entertainment (Boston only has two strip clubs) and compares semi-favorably in terms of actual dance clubs (though if you want high-end, it's Boston by a mile). I'll get some negative commentary for this, but Federal Hill in Providence is still a vibrant Italian neighborhood while Boston's North End only barely clings to its roots and has become as gentrified as almost anywhere else in the city (the narrow winding streets are still cool though). It's no longer the North End that Jane Jacobs raved about even though there are still some good Italian stores/restaurants/bakeries, etc. Federal Hill has better Italian Restaurants and a more authentic feel. Just my $.02. Providence has a creative flare (thanks, RISD) that you can only find in small portions of Boston (mostly Cambridge, really).

Other than that, Boston wins this one by quite a ways. Boston has better mass transit, better architecture (though Prov. is awesome too), more walkable and distinct neighborhoods (Prov. has some great ones, but not nearly as many), and far more attractions (sports, museums, and other landmark destinations). Shopping is better in Boston by far with a good blend of mall shopping and retail dispersed along the streets (i.e. Newbury). Boston also seems to to better with blending the national chains (i.e Neiman Marcus, Saks, Gucci, etc) with all sorts of interesting local shops. Providence has a lot of national representation, but doesn't do as well with local shops. With the exception of Italian food, you could make the same case for restaurants in Providence too (it has Ruth's Chris, Fleming's, Shula's, Cheesecake Factory, etc. but not an overwhelming number of local, non-Italian joints... not terrible though).

Employment and education are lacking in Providence. Providence has a LOT of great colleges and there are tons of students, but the educated workforce seems to dwindle after you pass college-age. This effects the attitude. There's a much more blue-collar feel to Providence after you leave certain isolated locations on the East Side and stretches of downtown. kidphilly's got it right about the airport... Providence is much easier. It doesn't have the number of destinations Boston does though. While T.F. Green (PVD's airport) is wrapping up a commuter rail station (access to Boston and Prov) set to open this spring, public transit is light years ahead at Logan (2 rapid transit lines, water taxi, local bus, coach, etc).

It also seems that larger swaths of Providence are undesirable than Boston. Boston has tough neighborhoods, but crime seems more isolated in Boston than in Providence. The East Side is far and away the most desirable area (it's a large area containing many neighborhoods such as College Hill, Wayland Square, Fox Point, etc) but after that, the "nice" neighborhoods are few and far between (Elmwood, parts of Fed. Hill, etc). I'll lay a disclaimer out here... Providence and Boston have nearly identical crime rates (Providence is actually slightly safer) but I always felt crime was more widespread in Providence. Both cities are safe in the grand scheme of things (both ranked in the top 10 safest cities this year).

Boston is, simply put, a different tier city than Providence. Having lived in both, I prefer Boston because it's a major U.S. city ( a beta world city) and feels that way. I still love Providence and would live there again without hesitation, but I have to say that I prefer Boston. Someone who likes Boston but wants a little smaller, a little quieter will absolutely adore Providence.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
196 posts, read 573,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
It also seems that larger swaths of Providence are undesirable than Boston. Boston has tough neighborhoods, but crime seems more isolated in Boston than in Providence. The East Side is far and away the most desirable area (it's a large area containing many neighborhoods such as College Hill, Wayland Square, Fox Point, etc) but after that, the "nice" neighborhoods are few and far between (Elmwood, parts of Fed. Hill, etc). I'll lay a disclaimer out here... Providence and Boston have nearly identical crime rates (Providence is actually slightly safer) but I always felt crime was more widespread in Providence. Both cities are safe in the grand scheme of things (both ranked in the top 10 safest cities this year).

Boston is, simply put, a different tier city than Providence. Having lived in both, I prefer Boston because it's a major U.S. city ( a beta world city) and feels that way. I still love Providence and would live there again without hesitation, but I have to say that I prefer Boston. Someone who likes Boston but wants a little smaller, a little quieter will absolutely adore Providence.

Great post and you get rep. I feel like the "safest cities" list you posted is a little whack, though. First of all, it should say "Safest metro areas," meaning the suburbs as much as the actual cities. It takes it s data from the MSA, and that's how, say, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia get on the list. Plus, who knows what other tricks those Forbes guys are pulling for a list, eh?
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:30 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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^Thanks! I, too, hate Forbes lists. It was just worth posting. It's "whack" because I believe it includes risks of natural disasters in its overall safety ranking. It does include entire metros which really throws off the data even more. I always wonder about those Forbes lists though. One year Springfield, MA was ranked by Forbes as the 8th best city in the U.S. for families, and the next it was ranked 18th most dangerous. They used different data for sure, but no city changes that much in 365 days. Any "list" like that should be taken with a grain of salt. However, they are good for conversation and debate... they're also good for adding a little emphasis on a point too (which is why I linked to it).

Regardless, Providence and Boston are relatively safe as far as American cities go. City Data's crime data can attest to that. They also fare very similarly in terms of violent crime rates.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia,New Jersey, NYC!
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while providence is an impressive small historic city, it can't compete with boston..

i always thought of it as a satellite city to boston
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:42 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,225 posts, read 18,341,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_starks View Post

i always thought of it as a satellite city to boston
It is. It's about a 30-40 minute drive from BOS to PVD and PVD's on Boston's local rail network. Providence's airport serves as metro area alternative to Boston's airport. Providence is absolutely not a suburb of BOS, but it's really the perfect definition of Satellite City.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX/Chicago, IL/Houston, TX/Washington, DC
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Boston is on a whole different league than Providence.
Boston's much more massive.

However, as far as state capitals go, Boston still is more impressive.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
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Boston is in a whole different level than Providence, so not a level fight, but whatever.

I feel as though the main edge Providence has on Boston is vibe. It's a lot more welcoming and a little less stately, which is a good thing in my book. Boston is quite rigid socially, but other than that, it's Boston all the way.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:48 PM
 
Location: Long Beach
2,348 posts, read 2,595,984 times
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Providence is Boston light.

Boston is a huge city. But Providence is more indicative of the other major New England cities. I enjoy both thouroughly. Grew up with one, went to school in the other.
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