Author Archives: David H

Neighborhoods Shmeighborhoods

The various neighborhoods of Boston range in environment, affordability, and social scene as much as the winding career paths of the former members of the 90’s power-boy-band N’SYNC. Each one offers something different and unique, however the same characteristics that appeal to one person may be the deterrent for another. For students, neighborhoods range from the affordable and spacious student filled duplexes of Allston/Brighton to the more swank, pricey, and ultimately smaller apartments of downtown Boston. A neighborhood reflects upon you as much as the car you drive in LA. It represents and embodies your own priorities, values, and personality. It is an extension of ones-self that has been materialized in the coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and green spaces that surround you.

How do you choose what neighborhood best fits you? What I look for in a great apartment is proximity to a T stop and school, a safe and friendly neighborhood, and most importantly price. As I touched upon in my first blog entry at ONEin3, I have lived numerous apartments in Boston over the past seven years and am currently on my fifth.

My first apartment was 160 Newbury Street. There were five people, three boys and two girls ranging in age from 20-22. It was a perfect fit for a Sophomore in college. We did whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. People stopped by constantly and there was always something to do. We were a 30 second walk from the Copley stop and a ten minute walk from school, and most importantly the price was right. What I quickly learned was that Newbury Street is not just a street and my front yard, it is Boston’s very own catwalk. It is a venue of its own where Boston’s most “fashionable” come to see and be seen. Now people watching is one of my favorite sports, however watching people so into themselves can only be entertaining for so long. Newbury Street is a great place to live, however one year at 160 and another at the corner of Hereford and Newbury was enough for me.

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Housing For Students is a Hot Mess

No matter what neighborhood in Boston you reside in a betting man would say you are locked into at least a year long lease. The average student is going to remain in Boston for roughly nine months and leave one of those months for winter break, thus only living in their own apartment for two thirds of the lease. Every year you see units available on CraigsList, Facebook, blogs, and school boards from students who are not living in their apartments for the summer. This mass subletting every summer conducted by students, some 18 years old, is one highlighted by disorganization, stress and a low success rate.

Why does Boston not consider flexible housing options or other alternatives to the conventional one year lease? With mounting pressure on higher educational institutions to provide housing for their students rather than have them look for apartments, it seems interesting that these institutions have not considered alternatives other than build more dormitories. Better yet, why has a private investor/developer/entrepreneur not capitalized on this problem that effects all parties from students, to schools, to neighborhoods and their residents, to the city as a whole?

Privatized communal housing with security and the whole nine is one alternative. Similar to dormitories, however offered to students at an affordable rate. Rethinking the traditional lease is another option, where landlords specifically target students with leases that last from September to May of every year nullifying any subletting issues that may arise. The landlord would then be able to rent the remaining three months for an inflated rate. Boston can also look at international best practices and find what has worked best and what would fit our market and tweak it to best work for our particular housing environment.

What would you like to see happen surrounding the living situations provided for Boston students? What do you think would be most effective, cost-efficient, and enjoyable? Is the current system and model of housing for young people sufficient? In an ideal world what would you like to see, whether it be high-rises, mini communities of students, or all student housing pushed to greater Boston?

–David

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Boston. Nightlife.

Now that I have your attention… ONEin3’s original Devin Cole and I have been discussing the lack of super great bars to venture to in Boston. We both have spent many weekdays and ends trying to figuring out where to go throw back a few with friends and acquaintances. Whether it be to celebrate a new internship, to day-drink, some Sunday Funday, to watch the game, perhaps show friends from out of town a good time, or just to kickback, the selection of bars/clubs/lounges are limited in variety  and originality to say the least.

What we ultimately and quickly discovered through our haphazard conversation was that the majority of b/c/l in Boston are unoriginal carbon copies of one another a.k.a. “Not Awesome.” No matter where you choose to go in the end it will be an off-breed of an Irish sports bar or something close. Faneuil Hall exhibits quantity over quality, and might as well be one giant Irish bar. Boylston is a strip of semi-sports bars where one can find TV’s on every wall however with no real differentiation or uniqueness. Allston can have its moments when money is sparse and you need a cheap drink, however the cab ride is enough of a deterrent to nip any trip out there in the butt before it’s seriously considered. The Fens/Kenmore can be a crazy night if you want it to be, however with the combination of Red Sox’s attendees who got the party started hours before you and the blur of redundant sports/Irish bars again produces no real distinction between one venue and the next.

Don’t get me wrong, we both have spent many epic and memorable nights in every one of these areas and more (Central, Harvard, Porter, South End, North End, Beacon Hill, South Boston Waterfront). We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and jobs in these neighborhoods. We have watched the Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox all win Championships in these bars. The Boston nightlife is as much a part of our academic career as any textbook, dorm room or professor ever was.

However, the lack of originality and unique style in the Boston nightlife scene is an issue for young adults and students that an older generation may never fully comprehend. A diverse, unique, and flourishing nightlife lends to the quality of life more for our demographic than any other. Boston needs b/c/l’s that bring a fresh new taste, flavor, and style that will turn people on their heads. Boston needs a nightlife as eclectic and risk taking as the students that live here. As Sam Cooke once said, “Its been long, a long time coming, but I know a change gonna come.”

If you feel the same way or completely disagree please comment! Share your opinion on what types of b/c/l’s you would like to see or changes that you want made. Share the wealth and tell us your favorite spot to have an adult beverage, and maybe we may just see you there one day/night/morning!

–David

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Sunny Summer Days with David: Roof Decks, Pools, & Al Fresco

I recently read an article on Boston.com (an underrated website, if you can believe it) about the roof decks in Boston. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and it brought up one glaring point, Summer Is Hot. Where do summer students go for a bite to eat slash cocktail mid-day or on a hot summer night? The options in the article were eclectic and had a little something for everyone. But honestly, will these eight venues really tide us over for the entirety of the hot summer?

We all have a friend with a roof deck who is extra popular during the months from May to September. To have roof deck access is similar to holding a key to a personal sunshine getaway for all friends and family from the heat of the summertime cement jungle. I was blessed once many moons ago with such amenities… however, I have since resorted to begging friends and foes alike for the privilege. What options do students have in the city on hot summer days? Roof deck pools!

Roof deck pools are very hard to come by not matter what city you are in. Did you know that Boston has two? Both are detailed on Boston.com. Boston also has public watertainment options, the Department of Conservation and Recreation offers an in ground pool for people in the North End. The new Greenway, where the elevated I-93 was, has been transformed into green space snaking through Boston spotted with fountains and places to play in the water. People, get out of the heat and take a dip for gosh sakes! And after get a bite to eat outside!

Al Fresco is where Boston shines. With numerous quality restaurants sprinkled all over the good city of Boston, a greater amount of restaurants each year are adding this feature to their repertoire, and it makes me smile. Boston is a great city for food and drinks no matter what price point you’re playing in. Fiore (roof deck), Bouchee (below ground level), and Church (patio) all offer their own take on outside dinning. Now that summer has come upon us and given the population a collective kiss of color on our faces, why not do a little bronzing while having some food?

Are you happy with Boston’s roof deck, pool, and al fresco scene? Do we need a greater range of options or are we being greedy and creating first world problems for ourselves? What are your opinions of the venues we have? Please share your hidden gems or favorite can’t miss places for Summer 2010…

–David

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Hello, my name is intern.

Hello ONEin3 world, my name is David, the newest intern to bless this community of young people, students, Bostonians and what-have-you. I am very excited to start chatting with everyone about what drives us, what we love and hate about Boston, and most importantly what we can do to make it a great place to live!

I have been a resident of Downtown Boston for the past seven years, while at the same time spending summers around the world. I have lived on the Common (Theater District), Newbury Street (Boston’s catwalk), in the North End (the best smelling neighborhood in Boston) and currently in Boston’s frat house, the Fens.

I went to undergraduate and graduate school in Boston and high school in Chestnut Hill. I love this city and all that it has to offer young people. However, at times I can feel the lack in size affecting every part of me, from my social life, to professional life, to housing options.

My goal is to bring forward issues and topics that are relevant and resonate with the mindsets, attitudes, and emotions of the students of Boston. In the end I hope that we all learn from one other in an open forum of shared ideas and opinions that will lead to change in our communities, neighborhoods, and ultimately our city.

I am really looking forward to hearing everyone’s reactions, perspectives, and thoughts on a multitude of topics that I hope we explore this summer.

Please share any topics regarding the lives of students in Boston in terms of housing, jobs/professional life, social/cultural, family, and civic engagement!

–David

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