When we wrote our East Boston exploration blog about a couple outsiders (us!) walking around the neighborhood, we thought, “I can’t wait to see the comments. People are going to love it! Our new Eastie friends/fans are going to invite us to come back to hang out with them and they’ll show us new, cool places that we missed the first time around.”
Well anyway, that’s not exactly how things played out. We didn’t think that our attempt to express affection for Eastie as a more neighborhoodly section of the city that doesn’t suffer from the affliction of doggie boutiques would be compared to a bad Disney movie but, hey, such is life.
To make sure we fulfill our mission to portray Boston honestly through the eyes of young people, we’ve invited Eastie resident Steve Holt to give us his vision of the neighborhood. We hope you enjoy it!
Home, Sweet Eastie
by Steve Holt
I’m not a lifelong East Boston resident. Far from it.
In only about four years, though, I’ve grown to cherish my neighborhood. It’s become a part of my identity. It’s my home.
Much ink has been spilled on what constitutes home. Some claim that home can be captured solely in the framework of physical place. A few even still hold to the 1950s ideal of home as white picket fence, lush yard, 2.5 kids, and a dog – and closeness to one’s family of origin.
But “settling down” looks quite different for the one-in-three generation than it did for our parents. To me, home has become both less about an American Dreamlike lifestyle or even my family of origin and more of a place or situation that allow me to discover and be myself, with no pretenses. Somewhere I can let my hair down, metaphorically. A scenario in which I am able to take off my mask. To be seen and accepted for who I really am.
In this way particularly, East Boston is home. As a neighborhood, Eastie isn’t trying to be anything it isn’t, and generally speaking, even the young people who have moved in the last 10 years aren’t on a quest to turn Eastie into Charlestown or the South End. That’s because we recognize that East Boston already offers the truly important stuff: family, neighbors that care, diversity, and vibrant spaces to gather.