Boston: Where would you live, and why?
May 24, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe

BostonFilter: If you could live anywhere (as a student) in Boston for the summer, where would it be and why?

The constraints are pretty basic: I have to be near the green line or within walking distance of Longwood, and I have to be able to find a decent place for ~ $700/mo through Aug 31st (roommates are fine).
posted by devilsbrigade to Home & Garden (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Woah, this is hard to answer without a little more information from your end:
  • what will you be doing at Longwood? (working, I presume)
  • what are your (working) hours?
  • what do you like to do otherwise?
  • do you have any other connections (local campus, friends in the area, family)?
  • ... anything else?

  • posted by zachxman at 12:32 PM on May 24, 2007

    I used to live in Lower Allston, and liked it. I could walk to the B line or -- slightly longer -- the red line (Harvard Square). I could easily ride my bike to work in Brookline (Coolidge Corner). Rent was cheap. I had friends in the neighborhood.
    posted by The corpse in the library at 12:48 PM on May 24, 2007

    Frankly, I think you've answered your own question.
    posted by briank at 12:48 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

    Jamaica Plain. Good bars, the pond, close tro Aboretum, hep folk, good food, and the Green and Orange lines come right through. Plus the 39 bus will get you to Longwood quickly if you live near Center.
    posted by mds35 at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2007

    There's tons of student housing/apartments near the Longwood Medical area -- basically Park Drive, Peterborough Street, Queensberry Street, etc.

    You can walk easily from there to Kenmore Square, Back Bay, etc. from there.
    posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2007

    Being on the Green Line means, in many ways, proximity to other college kids. Particularly of the NU, BU and BC variety. No offense to you or anyone else who went to those schools (NU 2005, here), but I got away from that as fast as I could. Drunk people smashing bottles in the street at 3am four nights a week got old really fast.

    Try the Central Square/Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge. Basically the area between Mass Ave and the river. You can take the 47 bus from there over to Longwood in minutes. I did it all the time when I lived in the Fenway and went to Central Square three times a week to see rock shows. Then I moved to Cambridge : ) It's so much nicer on so many levels, and you'll get more for your money.
    posted by autojack at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2007

    Mission Hill - super close, walking distance to longwood (as well as a stop&shop), relatively cheap, definite possibility of your car getting broken into, decent mix of college kids and locals

    Jamaica Plain - farther from longwood/downtown, possibly far walk for green line access (the green line sucks after Northeastern anyways, get a bike), hip bar scene, not as many college kids, way more post college kids, cheapest

    Allston - 5 minute bike ride/20 minute walk from longwood, green line access, but it would take you an hour to get from the B to the E line so it's not worth it, FULL of college kids, almost all of them from BU (worst of the worst), definite student ghetto style, relatively safe, pretty expensive for some pretty shitty housing

    Fenway area - really nice apartments and neighborhoods, but super expensive, really close to longwood, the fens (a park) and Fenway Stadium (this could be good or bad), close proximity to El Pelon (the best burrito in boston), bars and a supermarket all within blocks, possible to find a sublet deal here on craigslist

    deals can always be found in the summer because 9 monthers w/ apartments are trying to sublet their places. Troll craigslist like crazy.
    posted by youthenrage at 1:03 PM on May 24, 2007

    NB: Just being anywhere on the Green line isn't necessarily going to be convenient for you because it splits at Kenmore into three different westward lines B C D (the E splits at Copley). Longwood is on the D and for that money your two options are some Fenway rathole or Brookline Village, which is very nice and very quiet with some good restaurants. Or, God help you, you could live in Newton.

    A better bet is to use the bus routes or get yourself a bike and live in Allston, Jamaica Plain, the Coolidge Corner part of Brookline, or Cambridge. All wonderful places for a student to live. Mission Hill would also be convenient to Longwood, especially the Brigham Circle area which has a few good bars.
    posted by otio at 1:11 PM on May 24, 2007

    It's not within walking distance or on the Green Line, but I think Cambridge is best. Great bars, clubs, bookstores, cafes, restaurants... etc, and not too much of the crappy yuppie type that BU frat-boy undergrads hang out at. Plus, you can take the Longwood Shuttle from MIT, Central or Harvard Squares directly to the Longwood Medical Area.
    posted by jk252b at 1:24 PM on May 24, 2007

    Oh, and since you asked for one specific recommendation I second autojack on Cambridgeport. A great neighborhood, nicely situated.
    posted by otio at 1:25 PM on May 24, 2007

    Otio's got some good recommendations. I'd go with Coolidge Corner.

    Allston's a shithole- native Bostonians avoid it like the plague.
    posted by emd3737 at 1:44 PM on May 24, 2007

    You say "walking distance of Longwood," so I'm inclined to agree with briank: there's your answer, start looking!

    What's not exactly within walking distance of Longwood but close by is Jamaica Plain: hip, cheap, cute breakfast places and local businesses, beautiful parks, the Arboretum, and a very queer-friendly community.

    I'd also second otio's recommendation of Coolidge Corner. A bit farther away, but a very different feel: the theatre, a bustling open strip with cute boutiques and some great cafes. I'm not super-familiar with it, but have a friend who lives just down Beacon from Coolidge and gosh, is that a beautiful area.

    Personally, JP is my cup of tea.
    posted by coolhappysteve at 1:52 PM on May 24, 2007

    Also, the pupusas in JP are quite good. Cheap tasty eats are a consideration, no?
    posted by mds35 at 2:06 PM on May 24, 2007

    Coolidge Corner. Walk to Longwood Medical Area, kind of pricey, but $700/mo will get you into a place with roommates. Or Fenway's OK as well, but if you're working in LMA for the summer Coolidge Corner's the place to be. (IMHO)

    Avoid Allston/Brighton. It's not worth the $100 you'll save in rent. The B line takes so long to get in town you may as well walk, and certain parts can be tricky after dark.

    Cambridge is a long way from LMA. Unless you have a car, forget it. And parts of Cambridge are even more crappy than Al/Br.
    posted by BostonJake at 2:16 PM on May 24, 2007

    Cambridge is a long way from LMA. Unless you have a car, forget it. And parts of Cambridge are even more crappy than Al/Br.

    Yeah, if you're working at Longwood, DO NOT cross the river. The Red Line and the busses will conspire to make you spend most of your summer dreading the commute.

    All of the surrounding neighborhoods will be really awesome summer places (except Allston, which is shit except for a couple of neat bars and restaurants.)

    I think the folks who suggested Coolidge Corner are pretty spot on. Brookline Village is nice too and closer to Longwood.
    posted by Mayor Curley at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2007

    Great answers so far... I'm tempted by Jamaica Plain.. my image of it was that it was one of the more dangerous areas in terms of crime.. is that not true/not as true anymore?

    I'll definitely take a look around Cambridge too. I was avoiding it because I didn't want to have to transfer to get to work, but knowing the shuttle is there is nice.

    To answer the first set of questions:
    1) Internship at the Brigham.
    2) Should be normal working hours, but may easily run late.
    3) Coffee shops/just places to hang around, mostly. Nightlife is sadly not a factor (under 21).
    4) I know one or two people in Cambridge, and will know people at Emerson as they start to come back (but that'll be at the tail end of when I'm there).
    posted by devilsbrigade at 3:37 PM on May 24, 2007

    Oh, & a pretty good local music scene would be much-appreciated too. Secondary concern, though, since I can always go places.
    posted by devilsbrigade at 3:40 PM on May 24, 2007

    I'm tempted by Jamaica Plain.. my image of it was that it was one of the more dangerous areas in terms of crime.. is that not true/not as true anymore?

    It's in the middle, and it's always been like that. Certainly the areas bordering other, tougher neighborhoods are rougher than the center. But you'll get a sense of how dodgy the block is when you see it.

    (hint: if it's more than just a bit, it may well be an unscrupulous real estate agent telling you it's JP when it's really some blocks into Roxbury or Dorchester.)
    posted by Mayor Curley at 3:59 PM on May 24, 2007

    Seconding the 47 from Central Square to Longwood. It takes 17 minutes and comes several times an hour (3, but I guess it could vary during the day). If you live a bit off of Central Square in the right direction, the ride is even shorter.

    The shuttle is nice - it goes from Harvard Square to Longwood in 25 minutes. In the mornings and evenings it runs every 10 minutes. But it's not free for everybody; I think you need to be in certain programs at Harvard. I've never seen anybody using one of the hospital IDs. You can buy tickets, but they're a bit expensive (more than two bucks a ride.)

    I have been living in Cambridge and doing my graduate work at Longwood for the last 5 years. The commute is a pain (particularly since I live beyond Harvard on the red line, which I wouldn't recommend for you), but I've been completely unwilling to move since I find Cambridge -so- much more preferable. This is especially true in the summer, when the streets are alive. Harvard Square + street performers + eating outside = Perfect.
    posted by wyzewoman at 4:57 PM on May 24, 2007

    If you're working in longwood you might qualify for the LMA shuttle that runs from harvard square to longwood. If so, the harvard square area is nice.

    However, Coolidge corner is also nice, and close, and about the same cost. Harvard is a little more bohemian, and CC is a bit more ... livable? (immigrant orientedrussian and jewish, I suppose?)
    posted by cotterpin at 7:10 AM on May 25, 2007

    If you're working in longwood you might qualify for the LMA shuttle that runs from harvard square to longwood. If so, the harvard square area is nice.

    However, Coolidge corner is also fairly nice, and close, and about the same cost. Harvard is a little more bohemian, and CC is a bit more ... practical? (livable? immigrant oriented? russian and jewish? Not sure how to say it)
    posted by cotterpin at 7:11 AM on May 25, 2007

    Seems that you have brought the Longwood folk out of the woodwork. We'll have a Longwood meetup when you get here.
    posted by mds35 at 10:18 AM on May 25, 2007

    Apparently so! I've been going back & forth on a number of places, but its looking like around harvard square if I can get a LMA pass, & coolidge corner or JP otherwise. I guess I'll be seeing all of you in a month or so...
    posted by devilsbrigade at 11:45 AM on May 25, 2007

    I second Mayor Curley's caveat. Some real estate listings will say that an apartment is in JP when it really is in a less desirable locale. Feel free to email me with any addresses you are considering. I'll be glad to look them up in Google Earth and give you the scoop. I've only been here for a year (living in Roslindale, working at Longwood), but I know JP pretty well and I know where its boundaries lie.
    posted by mds35 at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2007

    Also, in addition to the LMA shuttle, MASCO operates a few other free shuttles to Longwood from Ruggles station and other locales, which would open up the possibility of you taking commuter rail or the T from further away.
    posted by mds35 at 8:53 AM on May 30, 2007

    Thanks all. I ended up getting a place by the Symphony hall. I ended up getting a little weirded out at the place in JP, & decided I wanted something I could walk to work from. Meetup time..
    posted by devilsbrigade at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2007

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