It is raining sideways again in Boston. Sometimes, on days like this, I have to really force to myself to remember why I love this city. Do you know the meaning of the word ‘ambivalence’? While you may have used this word casually to mean ‘uncertain,’ it actually has a very specific meaning (Merriam Webster): simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (such as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action. I have an ambivalence towards Boston.
Every season in Boston has a good, bad, and ugly side. The summer can be warm and sunny, but it can also be humid and stormy. The winter can be cold and snowy in a picturesque way, however it can also get out-of-control. My first year living in Boston we got over a foot of snow one day and the city was put under a snow emergency. The fall and the spring are both wet and unpredictable. Sometimes early fall is like summer, however, at other times it is just a cold, wet mess. Spring is cold, we have gotten snow into late March. March is wet. April is wet. May is wet. I just looked up the climate in Boston and was surprised to find that average precipitation in Boston is consistent year round. This makes sense. I would say the “ugly” side of Boston weather is the unpredictability, perhaps this is where the rain comes in? It can literally rain at anytime. We have no dry/ mild season, we just have 365 days of possible volatility. Also, one thing that people do not tell you about Boston is the wind! I have broken more umbrellas than I care to say because of these gale-force monsters that tear through the city.
I always talk about public transport, it’s just sooo convenient! I come from a suburban/ rural area where I needed access to a car to leave my neighborhood, but now, the city is so incredibly within reach! The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MTBA) is extensive, cheap, and (mostly) reliable. While I prefer the subway (known as the “T”) to the bus, both are easy to use and are available at a number of locations. Additionally, there is also the commuter rail, which will take you to the surrounding areas. I usually do not have use for the commuter rail, however, I did use it recently to visit Salem, MA (read more here!) and had a very good experience with it!
Boston has so many interesting parts. Cambridge is my favorite, perhaps because I have spent most of my time in the area. Cambridge is home to Harvard and MIT and has all of the cool perks of university towns including events, museums, and cool restaurants and cafes. There is also Brookline, which is known as a Jewish hub. There are nice Jewish bakeries here and it is home to some very large and very beautiful synagogues, and it is also a family-friendly part. There is Allston, which seems to be a mix between college-y/ grungy but also “up-and-coming” in some areas. Seaport, which sits on the water is always under development. This part of Boston is rather new and home to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Back Bay is filled with shopping and prime real estate. Beacon Hill is perhaps the most expensive area, home to millionaires and posh little boutiques along Charles Street. Then there’s downtown, which has a very nice pedestrian street right in the center as well as two large parks Boston Common and Boston Public Garden (read more here!).
I think I am Bostonian at heart. I’m pretty introverted and have very little patience for small talk. So, it surprised me when my friend from the South said she thought that Bostonians were rude. Where she comes from, people are generally more polite, ask questions and make little comments where Bostonians would prefer to remain tight lipped. Are Bostonians rude? According to the definitions of some, yes, people from Boston are more rude than those from other parts of the U.S.. However, people are people and stereotypes are superficial at best.
There is perhaps more about Boston that I like than I dislike (even when it’s raining sideways!). I guess for myself, my feelings about Boston depend more on the day and on my mood….
Actually, this is a great city, Dear Reader, come here now.