Does your Greater Boston neighborhood suck? An investigation

You LOVE that dirty water, and Boston IS your home. Here in the Hub, nothing defines you more than the 'hood in which you choose to (or can't help but) live. Thus, the occasional trash talking of said neighborhoods (even your own) is a pastime on par with watching the Red Sox and complaining about the T. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some of Boston’s most mocked beloved locales:

Welcome to Allston/Brighton, where you'll find un-ironic skinny jeans, appropriately scuffed Ramones hoodies, and "please notice me" piercings as far as the eye can see through steampunk goggles. Quirky and artsy (now a word: quartsy) cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, and random businesses keep the 21-year-old-Kierkegaard-reading-bike-messenger swarms occupied before band practice. Assuming they don’t make the mistake of accidentally stumbling into the longtime locals at Irish Village.

Back Bay
File under "ironic": thanks to some spare dirt long ago, what was once a mosquito-infested garbage swamp (malaria = not great) is now home to Boston’s premiere shopping district, multiple historic landmarks, the lion’s share of bars and restaurants, and street-after-street of unaffordable, mixed-use real estate. Hopefully you enjoy wading through slow-moving tourist herds on Boylston and waifish boutique nomads dragging yippy lap dogs on Newbury.  

Beacon Hill
Is your wardrobe Orvis-, Barbour-, and/or LL Bean-centric? Do you silently wish your street was wider to better accommodate your 1994 Volvo and/or Saab, but would never actually say something about it, because that’s the Brahmin way? Do you know what the Union Club is? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you live on Beacon Hill.

Suspiciously suburban with serious mansions (I’m looking at you, John Henry). They’re very quiet over there, quietly enjoying their quiet cafes and even quieter bookstores, and admittedly pretty sweet movie theaters. In fact, this place could be a whole lot cooler, but it’s on the damn Green Line ("Next stop: two feet from this stop…").

Cambridge Neighborhood Stereotypes Boston

It’s an all-nerd cage match with awkward "I’m sheltered" students, weary "I’m saving design" architects, and eager "Macs RULE!" BioMedChemTech post-docs. Living or working here requires the ability to code your own graphics software while sequencing aardvark DNA. On the flip-side, Cambridge has its share of trust fund hippies (fauxhemians!) who have trouble passing up the drum circle in Aisle 4 at the Co-op (led by Produce Manager Eli on the djembe). Cambridge is also known as "The City of Squares", which works on so many levels (see above). 

Pronounced "DorchestAHH", this is Boston’s largest, most diverse neighborhood and it is bursting with in-your-grill pride. Everyone’s drinking the clearly spiked kool-aid, exemplified by all the homespun t-shirts boasting "OFD". As in, "Originally From Dorchester". Though you're automatically disqualified from said t-shirt purchase if your residency occurred in one of those Savin Hill mansions.

Akin to Wrigleyville in Chicago, game days at Fenway and club/concert nights on Landsdowne are a hot mess, a frothy cauldron of amateurs and posers bubbling over with irksome youthful exuberance, Four Loko, and vomit. In choosing to reside here, you acknowledged that the job was dangerous when you took it, so please stop grumping about it.

Hyde Park
Though it’s changed in recent years, HP used to be the middle ground for, as Paul McMorrow brilliantly termed it, the "two toilet" Boston Irish, between Southie and the "lace curtain" Irish of JP. Now it’s just the home of Menino and Manny Delcarmen.

Jamaica Plain
It’s neither Jamaica nor plain. Once the Allston/Brighton denizens start working at a non-profit or get really serious about their art, they invariably move to JP. The drive to be piously more conscientious than everyone about everything is suffocating. Residency comes with a free yoga mat and a dog from the rescue organization of your choice -- but pick the right one. There IS a right answer.

Mission Hill
Run! It’s a student zombie horde menace! This is a binary system: either you go to parties where the third-story deck nearly collapses and the cops always show up, or you’re the one who always calls the cops. Narc!

North End Neighborhood Stereotypes Boston

North End
If you live in the narrow, tightly packed streets of Boston’s Little Italy, your superpower is ignoring people, because they are friggin’ everywhere. Your closest 287 neighbors (as well as 432 restaurants) are never more a thin wall or an open window away, and the streets are constantly mobbed by tourists (fighting for spots in line at Mike’s Pastry). You will forever smell of garlic, stogies, and old whistling Italian men.

Formerly the crime-addled "Slummerville", this burg is now a lot like The Shire. Earthy villagers cultivate grapevines next to their Hobbit holes detached garages and dispense folksy wisdom (Here’s some: don’t drink Bilbo’s homemade wine). Sometimes they just wish it was Cambridge, though with all the recent restaurant and bar openings, it kind of is.

Technically this is South Boston, but nobody (NOBODY) ever calls it that. A mix of old-schoolers and new-schoolers, Whitey Bulger’s old stomping grounds runs on tough love, machismo, and Affleck movies. Now it has a subtly gentrified edge along Broadway. Hanging in Southie is comparable to petting a shark: it’s smooth going one direction, rough going the other. Irish cultural appropriation and the Boston accent flourish here unfettered, as do sales of cologne and Boston sports gear at all Stop and Shop locations.

South End
Adjacent to Southie, but sooooo very not Southie. In fact, the South End is the opposite of Southie. Their yin-yang juxtaposition keeps the universe from destroying itself.

West End
There is one. Your assignment is to find it. Fun Fact: it’s the birthplace of Leonard Nimoy.

We know we missed some (there are quite a few places to live in and around Boston). Feel free to expound on your favorite/ least favorite 'hood in the comments.