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Living in East Boston

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Published January 25, 2017.

Six months after moving into East Boston’s Jeffries Point, I’m extremely happy.  When people learn it’s where I live, they usually react by saying “Oh, great move!” then shortly thereafter “Do you feel safe? Do you like it?”  I’m pleased to report that I agree it was a great move, that yes I do feel safe and that yes I love it.

Below are answers to some questions I’ve been asked from my perspective as a 30-something white male with a career in technology.

For more information, check out my collection of East Boston links.

Do you think its “up and coming”?
In my neighborhood, there’s renewal going on but also plenty of room for it, so yes I think it’s “up and coming.”

In terms of housing, a sizable portion of the buildings are in serious need of repair.  At the time, many buildings are getting or have gotten the repairs and upgrades they need, and new construction projects are underway on almost every block.  There’s a large cohort of owner occupants and active leaders in the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association, who are keeping things headed in mostly the right direction.

In terms of business, there are many corner stores and laundromats.  Restaurants and bars limited, but they’re coming like the Cunard Tavern and The Retreat.

In terms of property, there are still some vacant and underutilized lots, and they are being snatched up and developed extremely quickly.

Do you feel safe?
Yes.  I walk to and from the train at all hours, and walk the dog at all hours and have never had any sort of encounter.  East Boston struggles with some senseless violence, but so far my family and everyone I know have been lucky enough to avoid, besides some package thefts off of stoops.
What is your favorite thing about East Boston?
Downtown is only a 3-minute subway ride away, yet the abundance of green space affords it a relaxed feel.
What surprised you?
East Boston has been full of surprises, but the biggest were how low the impact of the airport is and the large amount of green spaces.
What about the community?
Jeffries Point has many issues facing the community: college students, rising cost of housing, parking shortage, closures of family businesses, recently expanded FEMA flood zone, and mail theft.
What’s it like being so close to the airport?
Airports are loud and busy, but at least on my block, I barely notice.  Luckily, there is no non-resident access vehicle access to the airport inside Jeffries Point, so traffic isn’t a factor.  I think much of the idling noise must be blocked by large structures and the takeoff and landing noise is considerably concentrated under the runway paths and thus affect Southie and Winthrop primarily.  I have had lunch at Belle Isle seafood in Winthrop, and the takeoff noise is thunderous.
Talk about Green Space
Jeffries Point has many of green spaces including: the Greenway, a converted railroad bed that is now a walking and biking path with no cars; Bremen Street Park, a long park that ends at the East Boston branch of the Boston Public Library; the Harbor Walk, part of the city wide system that ends at a point with great skyline and ocean view; Piers Park, a beautiful waterfront park with amazing skyline views; Memorial Park, a huge park with big soccer fields and also walking paths.

In the warm months, they are filled with active people, families and pets, as well as occasional concerts and events.

Unfortunately, Massport enforces a no dog policy Piers Park and Bremen Street Park.

The many green spaces are chock full of skunks, as evidenced by frequent odorous reminders.

What sorts of development are going on?
Large residential projects include: The Portside, where they are adding 275 units with the second and third buildings of the planned seven; The Clippership, a 492-unit waterfront project adjacent to The Portside; .  More detailed plans are available at Jeffries Point ongoing developments.

Large commercial projects include: The Rapino Funeral Home, a proposed 20,000 square foot mixed use development that involves razing four existing structures; Cunard Tavern, a new restaurant.

What about transportation?
The Blue Line is the lifeblood of East Boston transit, with 10,000 boarding at Maverick Station on weekdays [0].Traffic congestion on weekdays is a common complaint residents, though the days of non-residents parking in East Boston to commute into the city are mostly over as many streets have switched to resident parking.

Residents can apply for access to the Maverick Street gate for quick access to the airport and the Mass Pike / 93 South.  It is managed by Massport. Residents can also as well as a hefty discount for the Sumner and Ted William’s tunnel tolls.

Where do you get groceries?
The nearest megamart is Shaw’s in Central Square, a good 15 minute walk from most of Jeffries Point.  However, many of the corner stores have excellent produce.
Is Jeffries Point representative of East Boston?
The trip to Downtown from The Heights takes three times longer than the trip from Maverick, and much of Eagle Hill is a bus ride away from Maverick Station. I think this makes the neighborhoods considerably different.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at nattaylor@gmail.com

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