I read Kendall’s blog about visiting Charlestown last week and I thought it would be good to fill in the story with my experience living in The Town.
To start off, a few observations:
I lost count of how many times Kendall described things in Charlestown as “cute.” Fine, maybe parts of Charlestown are cute. Friends who come from outside of CTown take one look at the gas lamps on Main Street and Monument Square and swoon all over the place. Those lamps are nice and so is the part of Charlestown around them, but that’s not all there is to the place. Come up to my part of the neighborhood off Bunker Hill Street and it’s just a place where people, many of them ONEin3ers, live with roommates, friends, kids etc. In other words, it’s not set up to wow tourists.
In a similar vein, visitors including Kendall always talk about Charlestown’s history, which we have in abundance. I totally appreciate this. It is undoubtedly pretty cool to realize that the Revolutionary War was fought literally within blocks of my house. However, sometimes I get frustrated by this way we have of placing so much value on one particular era in our history.
The truth is that Charlestown’s history is much deeper and more interesting than just one battle and an old warship.
For one , we have a rich Irish history in Town that gets way less attention than it should. Charlestown residents Ed Callahan and Dan Casey produced a book and film called Green Square Mile, which details the Irish immigration to Boston and Charlestown, the social life of the Irish here, the close tie that many of Charlestown’s residents have with their Irish roots and much more. I recommend it highly.
Also, there’s plenty going on in Town culturally, socially and civically that makes it an exciting place to be right now.
Bunker Hill Day is like our very own little 4th of July. Backyard barbecues, a parade, everyone’s outside. It’s great.
Watching how Charlestown, a true political battleground, split during the Mayoral and City Council elections this year was fascinating. It was genuinely fun to see competing signs and standouts and mailings for months and to meet so many people dedicated to the success of the neighborhood.
And my personal favorites?
As ridiculous as this might sound, I love The 99. Really, how can you beat free popcorn and cheese and crackers? I’m not sure you can. Amy Deveau, back me up. Walking to work across the Harbor in the morning is the best way to start a day. Zume’s has absolutely ridiculous breakfast sandwiches. Try sausage, egg and cheese on an english muffin. You will not be disappointed.
After 5 years of living in Charlestown, I’d challenge anyone to find a better place to live anywhere. Especially Kendall…she’ll be across the Harbor before she knows it.