11 October 2009

Boston's Neighborhood and Best Block

Ahh Savin Hill. Perhaps one of Boston's best kept secrets, it has beautiful Victorians, a hilltop park with stunning views and unrefined wildness, a beach (affectionately known as Malibu Beach), a smattering neighborhood retail including an awesome cleaners, a package store (or two), pharmacy, a bubble tea shop, a couple Vietmanese markets, clinic, and McKenna's Cafe...add nearly a dozen Zip Cars in the area and the red line stop in the middle of it all and you have the makings of a fabulous little neighborhood.

Even more wonderful than the neighborhood as a whole is Auckland Street, perhaps one of Savin Hill's best kept secrets.A stone's throw away from the red line, stroll down Savin Hill Ave; west of the bridge. Take a left off of Savin Hill Avenue onto Auckland Street and walk the block down toward Bay Street.

In this singular block you will find...wonderfully clean and tidy sidewalks. I know, not the most stellar proof of being the best block you might think. BUT, we have the very best sidewalk sweeper in the entire city. She is out day after day tirelessly sweeping not only nearby DOT ave, but her very own stretch of Auckland Street! You'll also notice a fabulous fire hydrant. It's currently painted red, white and blue with stripes and stars and all. Each year, block organizers circulate a simple hydrant outline on a sheet of paper to every house. Inspired and ambitious designers can submit their hydrant styling ideas, with the most popular design taking over the hydrant for the year.
"Urban Mechanic might be a bit biased, but this little stretch of Auckland Street, is truly Boston's best residential block."

Residents of the street also are known for organizing seasonal block parties where traffic is closed off, kids play ball in the street and make chalk drawings for half the block. Neighbors fill the street enjoying food, company and even a local band or two. Then there is Dorchester (DOT) Day, whereby the block's residents poor onto the neighboring Dorchester Ave, which is still a bit gritty, for a truly authentic parade. Halloween in its own turn features porches and stoops filled with trick or treating.

Of course you might be tempted to think this idyllic street is just a yuppie haven filled with condos. NOPE, there are but a handful of condos on the block. There are a number of families who occupy various parts of their triple deckers, renting out one or more floors to others. There are elderly, there are young professionals, there are families. There are not only the old-guard (largely Irish) but also young professionals, Vietmanese (not new to the area either), a Latinos and African Americans, and yes this is all within one little block. It is the best of Savin Hill, Dorchester, and Boston.

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