Yuppie wave set to crash into Dorchester

Scott Van Voorhis says all signs point to the imminent yuppification of Dorchester, even though, as he notes a couple of times, it's really a series of "mini neighborhoods," including, at least according to him, Andrew Square. Whatever, young professionals are now getting priced out of Southie, and, God, don't even think about Jamaica Plain, so watch out, Dorchester (next thing you know, somebody's going to propose a fancy wine and cheese shop for Dot Ave. Oh, wait ...).



Free tagging: 


    What happens to yuppies when they get old?

    I fit the contempary definition of a South Boston yuppie almost to a "t" with one one major caveat: I'm not young anymore, and it's only getting worse.

    Mid-thirties and married with kids, I feel as if the real young urban professionals of Dot & Southie will start to resent us old urban professionals as the area gets younger. At what point will it be OK for old urban professionals to join the old school Dot & Southie folks in complaining about the yups?


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    There are a few ways to skin that cat.

    Old urban professional=oupies
    Aged urban professional=aupies
    Middle-aged urban professional=muppies

    I kind of like oupies but I like to think I still fall into the muppie category.

    Too bad

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    the educated and successful ones aren't the ones we're talking about. We're talking about the entitled db pricks whose mommies and daddies have bought them their condo's, who have never heard the word "no." I live in the uber-yuppified South End. 10 years ago my building was a great mix of old, young, straight, gay, and everyone was considerate and got along. In the last few years, the make-up had changed to young couples and singles in their late 20's who have no consideration for anybody else but themselves. I am awakened by drunk frat boys and girls screaming in my hallway on a Tuesday at 3:00 a.m., and dog crap on the stairs on the new carpet in our common areas because they assume someone else will pick it up for them. More often than not, I cant get my car out because some parked BMW sedan is blocking me into my space in the alley.

    I think those are what the OP was talking about and if they start moving to your neighborhood, watch out. They're vile.

    Been there.

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    Apologies - hit the save button twice apparently.

    Been there.

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    When neighbors loose their hearing and decide they need to crank up the volume on the television, radio or whatever the source, it is time to call the police. Frat boys and girls screaming in the halls? Clearly screaming for help. Call 911. Dog crap on the carpet? Call ISD. But remember ISD is double edged sword because it puts the inspector's eye on the entire building.

    I hear your frustration. When my building went condo I was amazed by the influx of new neighbors (I stayed) who by outward appearances seemed respectful but behind doors were gross. One set didn't know when to turn down the volume (alcohol contributed to that) while another, supposedly a professional in the health industry, had no qualms about letting an unsanitary situation continue. That neighbor actually expected others to fix what clearly was a problem with the person's unit.

    I chalk the behavior of the loud neighbors in part to their having no concept of what kind of building they were living in. They were used to single family homes in suburban locations where their impact was limited. They had no idea of the limits involved in living in a wood building (i.e., a triple decker). While the drunken parties were a problem by themselves I figure that if the neighbors had dealt with the consequences of their loud drunken bashes in a previous apartment that they would have learned that there is a limit. On the other hand I know that those neighbors wound up buying a detached home. I think they finally understood that being as loud as they want is fine - when no one is living above or below. The supposed health professional was just plain ugly arrogant. The sort who said, "My daddy only buys the best!"

    Good luck with the children in your building. But don't be afraid of calling the police. If the neighbors are making your life miserable then there is no reason to not share the wealth. Just keep it legal.

    And if your car is blocked can you have the the other vehicle towed?

    I believe that many people genuinely do not realize that living in the same building is a kind of intimacy. But many folks either won't or can't grasp what that means unless they are, figuratively speaking, knocked up the side of the head. Then there are others who are so disconnected from anything beyond their tiniest of immediate personal domains that they would allow something as gross as dog feces to be left on the steps. That's when its time to pick up the dog feces, wrap in a pretty bag with ribbon and tie the bag to their door. A friendly reminder to them to pick up their mess.

    Dog Poop Cure

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    Apparently now you can send it out for inexpensive DNA testing and find out who owns the dog that owned the poop. Then you bill the service back to the offending pooch owner and fine them. If they refuse, they can't get a clean 6D (certificate you've paid your condo dues/fines).

    Is this really news?

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    Pockets of Dorchester have been gentrifying or gentrified for a long, long time. It's a huge, huge neighborhood and there's a lot of variation in the different areas and the housing stock. Dorchester has always had some of the most beautiful homes and streets in Boston--Ashmont Hill, Carruth St. etc, Wellesley Park, Jones Hill, and so on and it seems as if there's always been a strong core of middle-class and/or "yuppies" who live there very happily. Whether that will spread throughout every pocket of Dorchester is a big question but I can't see it. What would be great to see is a wave of neighborhood improvements--safety, violence prevention, more services, civic improvements like everything that's gone on around Peabody Square--but in a gradual and not overwhelming way. I don't know exactly how that happens, but I think there's something about the way Dot is structured that makes it possible, as compared to say the South End which has been completely and utterly transformed.

    Sally is right

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    The yupification and gupification of Dorchester has been going on since at least the 70s.Nothing new here, except younger people and writers that lack a sense and perspective of history. And Sally is also right that it's confined to very specific areas. Now if and when Geneva, Washington, Bowdoin, etc become yupified, now that will be news.

    You're wrong.

    All of Dot is full of mouth breathers who rob, shoot people, deal drugs, prostitute themselves, kill babies, act like Seattle cornerbacks to the nice girl on the television, and do all sorts of bad things in this good upstanding, crime free, civic minded world that the rest of Boston is. Look it up on the comments on UHub. Sally, you will see that your points above have no volition.

    On another note, Scott's take on things could have been written in 1987. The race at that time to gentrify next in Boston was between Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, not Southie, which took a lot of people by surprise. If you go in the wayback machine, you will see that demographically, the neighborhoods (JP and Dot) weren't all that different; older housing stock, good access to open space, older, frayed commercial districts, and good access to mass transit. Two things gave JP the leg up; When the spike in murder rates between 1988 and 1993 took off, pockets of Dorchester were involved, not JP for the most part. JP is much smaller. There was plenty o' violence going on in Mission Hill in the late 1980's, only a hop, skip, and a jump from Hyde Square, but since that wasn't JP, though the violence was much closer to Hyde Square and JP Licks than say a killing on Esmond Street as compared to Neponset, all of Dorchester got the bad rap, not JP.

    Secondly, JP had the luxury of the Brookline buffer. It was much better to be bordered on wealthy Brookline, than say wealthy Milton, where the electronic sign on Kennedy's Carpet is apparently causing the downfall of civilization and secret artillery bases in Milton Hill are set up to keep out the Dorchester Horde when the apocalypse comes.

    You could always run back to Brookline or Cambridge or reenroll at Smith if your investment on Lamartaine Street didn't pan out or got shot up. All those people now claiming Egleston Square as part of JP now, would not be caught dead there, actually, they might be dead if they went there, 20 years ago.

    I wish I had camera rolling in my car when my college friends would come to my house on Ashmont in the late 80's. The best comment I got was that it was a much better area than their suburb ever was.


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    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not but Sally is right. Some neighborhoods of Dorchester have always been rather nice and gentrified. Take Neponset, for example. Cedar Grove, Adams Village, Ashmont near Adams Street, Train Street area (behind St. Anns), and the quiet side streets near Shawmut don't need any yuppification or gentrification.

    As for Andrew's Square - I always called it Dorchester but I guess it's in Southie. My bad.


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    You raise some good points but I'd say that it's more complex than that. JP, for all it's ups and downs, always had a stronger core of what I remember kids in high school poking fun at as "JP liberals" and that was in the early eighties. More hippies, artists, counter-culture types, and definitely a reputation as being less insular, more open to say biracial families, gay families, etc. And yes, proximity to the hospitals, downtown (even on the "Terror Train") and a defined "center" on Centre Street that served as a de facto village. I didn't spend a lot of time here in those days but I do remember a lot of crime in JP--the X Men were a big thing, no? Maybe not Pondside but definitely around. My friends who lived here seemed to get mugged constantly.

    I grew up in JP Pondside and

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    I grew up in JP Pondside and Sally is right about JP at least in the early 90's. Pondside has always been nicer, but I was robbed a couple of times in front of my house and there was definitely sketchier foot traffic between the Pond and center street. My house was broken into or we had bikes and things stolen from the basement constantly. Of course my friends on Brookside heard gunshots all the time back then.

    JP advantage over Dot: parks & green space

    In or immediately adjoining Jamaica Plain you have Jamaica Pond, Leverett Pond, the Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, Forest Hills Cemetery, and the Southwest Corridor Park. That combination has long attracted people who want some experience of 'nature' while still living in an urban area.

    You should look up the word

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    You should look up the word 'volition'. Pretty embarrassing when you're pretending to be smart and you completely misuse a word.


    You are correct. My entire point is wrong because I misused one word while typing. Damn! I'm so embarrassed. I guess I am not smart. I am going to fire my editor.

    On the whole parts of Dorchester are getting better thing; I grew up in a pretty good area. It was never "bad", unless you count Native American raids in the 1670's during King Philip's War. Was there a bad house or two? Yes, just like on many Cambridge, Charlestown, and South End streets used too (and still) have. When I was a kid we had lots of doctors on my street, who lived and practiced in their very big houses. We used to trick or treat at the Fitzgerald's house as in John Fitzgerald Kennedy Fitzgerald. We had a woman across the street from Poland who was an Esperanto advocate. The minister who as one of the leading advocates of taking the Episcopal Church in America into a more conservative, mainly African, Anglican communion over the American church being friendly to gays, despite his incredible active homosexuality lived next door to me. People who were neither Irish, Black, or Vietnamese moved into and out of or stayed in the neighborhood. This has been happening for years. We also walked upright and used American currency as a means of exchange for goods and services.

    Boston Neighborhoods are always changing. The Back Bay west of Gloucester Street in the 1970's would remind you of Allston today. I was apprehensive of walking through Symphony Road at night in the 90's. If the Russians had said to the BRA in 1970 that we are going to nuke the South End and flatten everything from the Mass Pike South to Mass Ave, it might have made it through the discussion stage at City Hall. Did you known for about a decade 110 years ago that the North End was majority Jewish?

    Is there a "yuppie" or "raised suburban moving to city, makes money and shops at whatever trendy store of the day is person" moving to Dorchester? Yes. However, this is seen by many on these postings as some kind of necessary Lebensraum of Jeep Overlands and Trader Joes that must be done to effect change and make the world a better place. You have a nice house, great. Tell you friends. The person two doors from you looks and acts like Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone. Great. They are just trying to live as well. In 5, 10, 15, 20, years will there be good and bad parts of Dot. Yes. Such is life.

    Really news?

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    Are you kidding? This is great news for Southie and Dorchester. Yuppies won't be so quick to move to Southie, slowing down the total yuppification of Southie. Yuppies moving to Dorchester will slow down and turn around the middle class from moving out of Boston. Win, win.

    Andrew Square

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    is DOT?

    Anyways, this has been happening for a good 5-6 years now. The areas around Savin Hill and Uphams have had a lot of renovations and a young crowd moving in.

    This is certainly true to an

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    This is certainly true to an extent, but the momentum is with young people moving to Somerville, Watertown and in general north of the Charles. It seems there's a lot less political drama up there and the nightlife for younger people is way better. Boston may not want this barrage of yuppies, but it can't afford to completely lose the battle either. I know a lot of people who are leaving because it just isn't any fun and the neighborhoods aren't conducive. Many of these are newcomers, but many are also lifelong residents.

    E/W 1st

    I think the whole scene in Southie is set to change as all those condo units on East 1st though West 1st go live over the next year.

    As those units fill, demand will explode at nearby Broadway establishments, leading to new establishments, then new condos, etc., etc.

    Honest to god

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    Who can afford to live in Somerville these days? It's not even a comparison with Dorchester in terms of cost--more like JP prices but higher--IMO you're competing with a lot more students and well-heeled young tech types who want to be near Cambridge. Somerville was cooked and done the minute Cambridge got rid of rent control.

    They're going to Medford,

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    They're going to Medford, Malden, Watertown, Waltham etc. those places are still a bit closer to action and downtown than West Roxbury, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan etc.

    You may be right, but I'm not

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    You may be right, but I'm not quite sure how those towns well outside Boston are closer to 'downtown' than those neighborhoods you cite that lie within the city itself. (Unless you mean another downtown?) I'm in Dorchester and downtown is 20 minutes away on the Red Line. And being in Dorchester, I am always close to 'action'.

    Cambridge, Somerville,

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    Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown and Medford are in fact closer proximity to downtown Boston I beleive. And if you're a yuppy type, the partying continues further in that direction than the other.


    I live in Medford, but I can see the Hancock and Pru from my dining room. I'm also about two miles closer to Boston City Hall and Boston Common than Adam G. is. Like many of my neighbors, I work in Boston, too. 5 miles as the crow flies, about 6 via shortest road routes.

    Our morning carpool takes about 30 minutes in rush hour traffic. Off hours it is as little as 12 minutes to the Aquarium area. The West Medford Commuter Rail stop to North Station is 12-15 minutes as well.

    This "closer to downtown"

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    This "closer to downtown" debate seems to be about what's closer by car. But what about public transit? Medford, Watertown, et al just don't offer the transit options that Dorchester and JP do.

    I'm looking to buy a place now, and trust me, I'd love to live north of the river. I'm in my mid-30s and trying to live car-free, and north of the river is where cool stuff seems to be happening. It's also where most of my friends live. But I've been priced right out of Somerville (forget Cambridge), and anything north of there isn't on a T line. The buses don't seem great either, and there's no way I'm living with only a commuter rail line to depend on-- not when just last year there was serious debate about ending commuter rail weekend service entirely.

    It's going to be years before the green line heads further north, so in the meantime, count me among those yuppies who will probably be moving to Dorchester. I have no idea why Somerville and its lack of transit is so much pricier than Dorchester, but it is what it is, and I can't help but think that Dorchester is bound to keep growing yuppified long after Somerville has tapped out.

    I'm with you on Cambridge and

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    I'm with you on Cambridge and Somerville, not so much on Watertown and Waltham. Medford and Malden get a pass I guess...

    Watertown and Waltham may be closer in distance

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    but in terms of public transportation it takes longer to get downtown than areas of Dorchester. Still love living here though, since I'm more likely to head to Cambridge or Somerville.

    It's well known that many "suburbs"

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    Have their city centers closer to downtown Boston than many of the neighborhoods south of the Mass Pike. Downtown Malden is 12 mintues away via Orange Line. Boston never expanded northward, just south and west. Municipal boundaries mean very little when regarding what is closer to downtown.

    Happening since the late 90s

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    I moved to the Dot. Ave side of Savin Hill in the late 90s. It was a great area to live in then. So I am not surprised that more people are "discovering" the area. What I loved about the area is that is it near the center of the city, proximate to the beaches and still retains a worker class lower middle class feel. But I also know that more middle class and professional class people who didn't want to pay the property and rental rates of Back Bay or the South End have been moving into Savin Hill. In any case I can see easily neighborhoods such as Savin Hill and Ashmont Hill becoming more and more desirable.

    Mission Hill is its own

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    Mission Hill is its own neighborhood and has not been part of Roxbury for quite a while.

    Yuppies have been in Dot for

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    Yuppies have been in Dot for years. The older yups have Warren stickers on their Prius' and old Volvos, hard to miss. Maybe their presence is not as noticeable bc Dot is a lot bigger than Southie?


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    Funny how bad these people stand out.

    Yuppies > thugs

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    10x out of 10. Don't forget adam you're a yuppie who moved into a neighborhood you're not from.


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    I think you left out part of the equation. I believe the order goes like this:

    Middle class families who have been there forever > yuppies > thugs

    Thanks caption obvious

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    I'm one of those middle class families, I was pointing out my preference.

    Middle class families who

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    Middle class families who have been there forever are not a renewable resource. Someone will need to take there place.

    What like their kids?

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    The Schools need to be an option for all families or we'll them to the burbs.

    Oh dear! Not a yuppie outsider...

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    Seriously...I'm all for family togetherness and all but if you're really making a big bragging point of living in the same neighborhood as your parents and looking down at anyone who moved in after you were born...I don't know--you may want to expand your horizons a little.

    Hyde Park

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    Why isn't Hyde Park ever mentioned as an alternative in the urban real estate market? We moved here 7 years ago (family with two young kids) - our neighbors are awesome, super diverse (at least where we are), safe, plenty of house for our money, etc. Maybe it would appeal more to the young, first- time home buyer rather than young, single professionals - I get that JP's Centre street is hard to compare to the current state of Cleary/Logan squares - but Hyde Park has a lot going for it, and a dedicated community of residents who want it to flourish.

    I live in HP too. But, aside

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    I live in HP too. But, aside from the Commuter Rail, it SEEMS really far away. HP could someday see a little of this, but right now as you understand, there's little reason to go over that way (Cleary and Logan). Last time I went there to get food, I get out of my car and there's a kid in sweatpants with his hand down the back of his pants telling a homeless man he's gonna f--- him up with what he got in his pocket. I went in to get my food and his boy was passed out on the counter inside. This was like noon. Seeing something depressing like that makes you want to stay away, and there's little lifeblood to offset that kind of thing. But I think Hyde Park is diverse enough in terms of landscapes and pockets that it can get by and hopefully one day soon I can leave Cleary Square with a smile.


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    You pretty much need a car. And yes, many city dwellers do without them or only use them occasionally, but not having a healthy, central "village" that's walkable or accessible by at least one or two forms of public transport makes places like HP seem too remote. Everyone has their own requirements but I wanted a place where I could walk to say, a coffee shop, post office, cvs, groceries, a hardware store, and a few restaurants that I might want to eat at.

    It's possible....

    ... in Roslindale (but the nearest actual "coffee shop" might require a bus ride down Washington towards Forest Hills to Simpli Bar and Bites).


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    And that diner down the street? There are still a few gaps in Roslindale Square IMO but it's a pretty good little "village." I'm sorry that Bob's moved across the street--that end could use some boosting though it's great to have Shanti there.

    Have only gotten bread....

    ... and sandwiches at Fornax. Have never tried thir coffee. I think they close too early to count as a "coffee shop" -- but usually I just drink home-made coffee (so I'm no expert). Still waiting to see what happens to the old pita/grocery site.

    Hyde Park

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    Elisabeth - We need a Trader Joes! I know people who drive far and away (my wife included) to go there.

    Yuppie = young urban professional

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    I don't understand the hate of the word"yuppie". The urban dictionary defines it as "young urban professional". Aren't these exactly the people you want to live in your area?

    Unfortunately I think it is now more or less equated to those people who have invaded a neighborhood, and act uppity and obnoxious. As someone else said, lets call them DB's! Go yuppies!

    Dorchester is totally fine. I have had no issues living here for the last 4 years (Savin Hill area). It's a bit gritty at times, but I have convenient access to downtown and work (10 minutes on the red line), I can hop on my bike and bike along the harbor, and walk to the beach. What's wrong with that? There are some really decent restaurants in the Savin Hill/North Dorchester area as well.

    I don't know how people are buying housing in other neighborhoods. The cutoff point for couple/single person bringing home about $100k a year is around $400k with 20% down for buying a property (and not being house poor). Dorchester is really one of the only places with close proximity that you can still do this (East Boston would be another option). It's no wonder people are moving here!

    You could pay $2000/month for a dumpy 600 sq/ft apartment with no parking, or purchase a renovated condo with 1200 sq ft and 2 bedrooms for around $350k. Things have been slowly changing in this direction for the last 10 years, and as housing stock continues to be an issue, owners of older buildings will be renovating and selling them, further pushing out the gentrified line.

    I don't want them in my neighborhood

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    Because then I have to pay double what I'm paying now. Lynn will NEVER be fully yuppified without the Blue Line, and while I support bringing the Blue Line to Lynn, I also know that it would spell the end for many of the lower income people who live in Lynn. Hell, I'd probably have to move myself. $1500 a month to live in Lynn? No thank you. Many people in the lower income Hispanic community that I know have moved to Springfield and Worcester looking for an escape from high rents. Granted, the readership of UH is not at all geared toward that, so it not being an issue for the vast majority of posters on here is completely logical. Look at Malden vs Everett or Chelsea vs East Boston to see what having the T nearby does for gentrification.

    The way we found to make it

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    The way we found to make it work is to buy a multifamily.

    You can buy a triple decker and rent two floors and live on one. The federal government will let you put down 3.5% and loan you up to $800kish

    The payment is huge, but as everyone mentions here, so are rents. We pay a little bit less than we would normally for a 2bed in our neighborhood once everything is added in.

    Then we live in Allston. However we had friends who made the same move in Dorchester.

    I feel as if that used to be do-able

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    But now so many multifamilies are priced with the assumption that you're going to convert to condos and flip. The numbers never seemed to work out for me, but if I'd been ready to buy ten years earlier than I was, or even five, it might have. Still, being a landlord comes with a whole new set of worries.

    We found the numbers doable

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    We found the numbers doable in JP, Allston, and Brighton where we were looking. Less so in Somerville where we tried to look as well.

    By doable I mean rents covering expenses and mortgage.

    It may be a different sorry on the other side of the city.

    I just want to know

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    where all this frigging money is coming from? I mean, renting a 1BR in the Polish Triangle for $1,400?! BAHAHAHAHA!!! Are you shitting me?

    All for it

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    As one of the "new yuppies" (I'm comfortable with yuppie though I'd like to think I'm not a douchebag. I'll leave that honor to the entitled morons we left behind in the South End) who've recently moved to Dot, I'd say that the tide is definitely turning. Since we moved here 4 years ago, several of our friends have left either Southie or the South End to follow suit and all are happy with their decision.

    I'd bet quite a bit of money that there will be more wine & cheese shops, yoga studios, restaurants, bars and art galleries popping up along Dot Avenue in the coming years as the economy continues to recover and I'd say that there will be either a WF, TJ or Wegman's near either the current Globe location or on the Milton/Quincy border in no more than 5 years. The fact that the new mayor is from the area also bodes well…

    With all that said, I think that it'll be quite awhile before the push goes west of the new Fairmont Line (though there's some cool stuff happening along that route as well).

    Meanwhile down here in Quincy

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    Waterworks or Ocean Club or whatever it's called these days is nevermore. A 350 unit condo building is scheduled to start construction this spring and the first level will be retail. My fingers are crossed that a Trader Joe's will go in there. It's not big enough for Wegman's or Whole Foods (although your point about the Boston Globe location is very well taken) but come on people, give us something. Please?