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Old 09-19-2009, 03:29 AM
4 posts, read 7,499 times
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I will be moving to Boston next summer and will be there for the next 3 years. I have 4 children, oldest will be starting 6th grade. I will be working at various hospitals throughout the city, (Brigham, Beth Israel, Children's, Mass Gen). Because I will only be there for a few years, I am mostly looking to rent and am looking at about 3000/mon budget. Good schools are very important and I will take living in a smaller house to send the kids to good schools and live in a good area.

So I guess there at three main issues: Commute to work sites, schools and area.

Thank you for your input and assistance.
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:36 PM
Location: Cambridge, MA
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The four hospitals named really aren't "throughout the city." Three are within a square-mile area bounded by Brookline and the Boston neighborhoods of Mission Hill and The Fenway. MGH is situated on the fringe of Beacon Hill. What this means is that you're better off, distancewise, setting up housekeeping in a community north or west of town.
Brookline and its western neighbor, Newton, contain some of the top public schools in the state. Though both are decidedly affluent communities, there should be plenty of rental homes to choose from within your price range. Route 9, a principal east-west artery, traverses these towns en route to the Back Bay. It passes by the southern boundary of the Brigham & Women's campus, with BI and Children's a few blocks away via Longwood Ave. (There are numerous short cuts from Brookline which I'd happily apprise you of.) Mass. General would be reached by continuing on Rte 9 into town, then picking up Dartmouth St to Storrow Drive - among other routes.
Somewhat less upscale but still pleasant and secure, and with better-than-average schools, is Arlington. Though on the far side of Cambridge, the commute is survivable. An advantage would be that it's served by bus lines which feed into the subway route that has a station right at MGH.
If private schooling is an option, Cambridge is a great place to dwell and for kids to grow up in. Ditto for most of Boston, where the Moss Hill section of Jamaica Plain -along with West Roxbury and part of Roslindale - has the most suburban character. The cities' schools are much like those in any urban area. If you know how to work the system, your kids have every bit as much chance of excelling and going far as they would in Brookline or Newton or Arlington. Cambridge's high school, called Cambridge Rindge & Latin (long story), sends some graduates to Ivy League and other top-tier colleges each year. The Boston system's crown jewel, Boston Latin, is the oldest public school in the country and is nicknamed "the pipeline to Harvard." One has to pass an entrance exam in order to attend classes there, and at two other schools (Boston Latin Academy, formerly Girls Latin, and John O'Bryant Academy of Math and Science.) Many Boston parents keep their offspring out of the public schools until 9th Grade rolls around, then if Johnny or Johnnetta gets into BLS they quit paying tuition.
On the touchy subject of "diversity": with few exceptions (but more all the time), Greater Boston has what urban researchers call powdered-sugar-doughnut demographics - in other words, dark in the middle and white all around. Immigrants from throughout Asia have settled all over the place without major problems, but the inner-ring suburbs flanking Boston and Cambridge remain largely devoid of much of an AA or Hispanic population. In Newton and Brookline this has been more a function of income, in Arlington more that of attitudes, but the growing "minority" middle class and a noticeable reduction in hard-core racism is changing that slowly but surely. Each of the three suburbs, particularly the two to the west, has a strong Jewish presence, which generally makes for a more progressive and accepting environment. Aside from a few super-rich enclaves, Cambridge is by and large almost completely "integrated." My own neighborhood is home to West Indian and AA families along with Caucasian, Jewish, and Asian households and is more the rule than the exception in "da 'bridge." Within Boston, there are stable and desirable melting-pot sections of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Mission Hill to choose from. On this subject as well as that of commuting short cuts, I'm happy to give the full lowdown.
Welcome to Beantown, TO - if you let me know where you're from, I might be able to draw comparisons between that area and this one.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:49 AM
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Thank you very much for the information. We will be moving from Fayetteville North Carolina and before that we were in San Antonio Texas. Yeah, I know we are in for a little culture shock. But a little culture shock will be a good thing for our family.

Thanks for the advice and information.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:37 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
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The weather shock might be worse - LOL! We had nine major snowstorms this past winter. And they weren't what would count as a major snowstorm in central/eastern NC, either, since that'd be defined as any amount of flakes. One thing that would be consistent is the fact that people around Boston never fail to react as though it's all something new. Traffic gets tied up like crazy, road crews are caught flat-footed, trains are delayed, etc. Summers will be old hat since we get the muggies on par with how they are Down South.
A lot of people up here will "talk funny" compared to what you're accustomed to. But thanks to our scads of colleges, some of which are world-renowned, your twangs won't be all that conspicuous. No one will know what an "ice store" is - if that term's still used around San Antone. We just go with "convenience store" if the category is being defined, and like everywhere else we have 7-Eleven's. In older neighborhoods you'll still see some mom-and-pop stores with "spa" in the name, but that regional quirk is vanishing.
My spin on "culture shock" is "cultural exposure"
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:19 AM
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"cultural exposure" I can go for that. Like I said, we are looking forward to this adventure! Our kids are pretty excited about it. Thanks again.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:49 AM
Location: Brookline, MA
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I'll second Newton and Brookline as areas that meet all your criteria. You should be able to find some good housing on your budget although you may want to consider a townhome or nice condo in addition to single family houses. I'll add Belmont although it's not quite as convenient as the other two.

If you need to rely on public transportation to get to work, don't forget to talk to the hospitals about shuttle buses. The first 3 hospitals you mentioned are all right next to each other in the Longwood Medical area. There are LOTS of people working in Longwood and there are shuttle buses that run from different points.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:40 PM
Location: Metrowest Boston
26 posts, read 53,202 times
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I have to agree, but Belmont as mentioned is another choice...a little further out. Brookline Village
is a wonderful area of shops and resturants. You might check craigslist for an idea of rentals in the
area you are looking, though the price range you quoted will most likely work. Be aware the college
crowd will be returning in the fall - arriving in the summer may give you a better chance of finding that
perfect place for you and your family. Enjoy all Boston has to offer - the Museum of Science is a great way to spend family time, as is the Boston Acquarium....the library in some towns provide free passes
if you ask in advance. Have fun and good luck!
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:11 PM
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Brookline. Brookline.
Did I remember to say Brookline? Fabulous cosmopolitan community, highly educated and people from all over, easy public transport to the hospital areas, lots of education- and kid-oriented people, and lots of great stuff for adults.
Best wishes.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:16 AM
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I second Brookline Village. It's walking distance to the Longwood hospitals, cheaper than Coolidge Corner and all the amenities you need (restaurants, post office, library, grocery store, drugstore, T, 10 or so restaurants) will be within 2 or 3 blocks of where you live. Getting to MGH is a haul, it will take 45 minutes on the T. The only problem there is parking; if your apartment doesn't come with a space you will have to rent one. This will be true in Cambridge as well, but not Newton, Cambridge or Arlington.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:18 AM
23 posts, read 69,199 times
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*Sorry, it will be true in Cambridge. I can't type!
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