Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Boston Neighborhood Project

When I was a kid, I thought people made New Year’s Revolutions. You know, lose weight, overthrow the government. I generally do not make New Year’s resolutions but create less stringent categories of “things I’d like to do better this year.” This year’s list is fairly typical: drink more water, save more money, pay down credit cards, get in shape, floss, stand up straight, and try new things. Try new things? A little vague. I am a creature of habit. In my leisure time, I hang out with friends, I play soccer, and I go out to bars- almost always to the same old places. In order to inject a little more spice into my life, I came up with the Boston Neighborhood Project. Once a month, I will spend a day in one of the many neighborhoods in Boston that I rarely frequent. For example, although I live in Southie, I hardly ever go over to the Fort Point Channel area. I could check out the new harborwalk, go to the ICA, and then get something to eat and drink at a nearby café or restaurant. Here’s the list of neighborhoods I came up with (I excluded places that I’m very familiar with, like downtown Boston, Brookline, and Harvard and Central squares in Cambridge.):

1. Fort Point- South Boston
2. East Boston
3. Dorchester
4. Jamaica Plain
5. Inman Square, Cambridge
6. Somerville
7. Charlestown
8. Brighton Center
9. Chinatown
10. Revere Beach

I’m still missing two months, so I could try two different neighborhoods of one the bigger places on the list (like Dot). Also, if anyone knows of interesting things to see or places to eat or drink in the areas I listed, or can recommend a neighborhood I left off the list, please let me know in the comments. Apologies to all of you non-Massholes for this Boston-centric post.

14 comments:

Michael said...

This sounds like a great project! My one suggestion is that there's really too much in Somerville to call that one stop. There's Union Square, Davis Square, and Ball Square (the three I know best - Ball Square's really underrated and has a bunch of good restaurants and a great cafe called True Grounds). So maybe you can break that up and fill your empty months. Good luck with this!

Rhea said...

Great idea! One way I get to see the various neighborhoods is to go to the open art studios weekends. I saw a lot of Roxbury that way. Fun!

adamg said...

If you have a car, you could make a day of Hyde Park: River Street/Fairmount Avenue is an interesting mix of old and new shops and even boutiques involving several cultures; Hyde Park Avenue north of River Street features the Dell Avenue Rock - the remanants of a lava flow from back when the Great Blue Hill was a volcano - Hyde Park Avenue and nearby streets from Cleary Square to Readville is a great look at Boston's industrial past (lots of old factories, a few of which are now either offices or artists studios, still with a fair amount of odd industrial, um, things, scattered about) - and you get some cool views of the Great Blue Hill. The Mother Brook can be pleasant to look at and a reminder of our early past (it was originally a tributary of the Neponset, it got turned into a canal to funnel water from the Charles for some early mills in Dedham). Hyde Park Avenue eventually turns into Neponset Valley Parkway, which gets you to the largeish state reservation on the Milton line (when you get to the old stone bridge, i.e., Paul's Bridge, you're about to enter Milton).

Ron Newman said...

Roslindale is not on your list, but is definitely worth a visit. My favorite way to get to Rozzie is to walk all the way through the Arboretum, over or around Peter's Hill, then go through one of the small gates at the very back that opens onto a residential street. Walk three more blocks and you're at Roslindale Square (aka Roslindale Village).

eeka said...

I'd recommend the North End, Roxbury, Allston, Mission Hill, and Mattapan.

And I'll second the recommendation to go to the open studios events in various neighborhoods.

Stacey said...

I agree with Michael that Somerville should get a few months. I lived in Davis Sq. for over a year (and in the Tufts area for a year before that). Davis is great, and Teal and Ball Squares are also worth a visit. Let me know when you go - I can recommend some places!

Anali said...

Haley House is a cute little cafe in Roxbury. Here is a link.

http://www.haleyhouse.org/cafe/home.htm

eileen said...

Great suggestions, everyone. Thanks!

eeka said...

Yep, Haley is super tasty and is an awesome place to support -- a lot of clients at my program have gotten great job-training there.

Ron Newman said...

Chelsea would be an adventurous choice -- a place I'm not very familiar enough even though it's two towns over from me.

Ron Newman said...

err, that should be "familiar enough with" or maybe "very familiar with". Should proofread before posting.

eileen said...

Thanks again for the suggestions. I think I'm going for two stops in Somerville (Davis and Ball), 1 in Dot (Mattapan) and I'll add Roslindale and Hyde Park (although now I have 13). Chelsea can be a wild card. I work in Roxbury, so it's not on the list, but I'll definitely have to try Haley House. I checked out the website and the food looks delish.

Allison said...

Brighton Center, good choice. On Washington Street (but closer to Oak Square, which I mean, come on, it's like 6 blocks from Brighton Center, so they are all the same) is Diskovery a used book and record store. Stop by and say hi to Yolanda, the lovely lady that owns it. So many places to eat. Personally, I like Corrib Pub but being from Southie maybe you're tired of the Irish Pubs. Try a sandwich at CafeNation and some dessert from 3 scoops (ice cream) or Daniel's Bakery.

Charles Swift said...

When it comes back online, I recommend taking the Mattapan high speed trolley from Ashmont (the end of one branch of the Red Line) to Mattapan Square. I have some details here: http://bostonhistory.typepad.com/notes_on_the_urban_condit/2006/04/mattapan_high_s.html and should have added that the Milton Station has a good farmer's market in the summer, but you'll want to check dates and times on that.