Annie

The Ol’ Allston Scramble

In Allston, Boston on July 22, 2008 at 1:09 am

Within about, oh, let’s guess conservatively, four months? of living with five other people in a group house on Pratt Street*, I decided that I am really, really done with group houses. My kingdom for a non-sticky kitchen floor, for a futon free of the scent of 15-year-old crust punk**! Easy enough: My roommate Dianna is a yuppie who still likes to have a good time and is the best thing that Craigslist has ever brought me, and my cousin Allison lives with these retardedly ill-socialized girls [we are expecting their most recent interaction to be up on Passive Aggressive Notes any day now] who don’t even drink beer, so since we all get along we decided to live together.

Easy enough, except that, whilst I’m unopposed to trying other ‘hoods on, Dianna and Allison have this fierce, fierce loyalty to Allston. Which I don’t blame. Allston is a student ghetto, to be sure, but it also has an abundance of delightful cuisines all within walking distance, and is gritty and rock-‘n’-roll and charming in it’s emaciated, tattooed, asymmetrical haircut way. Seriously, upon first moving here I remarked to Mia that I felt like I was living in motherfuckin’ Williamsburg, but I can’t say anything outsider-y anymore because I’m dating a bike messenger who rides fixed [go ahead, laugh at me. I’m still the best dressed]. So I’m happy to follow suit in this ‘hood loyalty. I like the community A LOT, and I like that my restaurateurs know that I like it very spicy and that my bar waitresses know that I want a pitcher of Allagash White and that local folk know of our [Dianna’s, Allison’s, my] penchant for Scrabble.

So. Apartment hunting. Trolling Craigslist [per usual]. Nothing is going to be anywhere near as cheap as the rickety, band-practice, freezing-in-winter situation that I’m in now, and for good reason. It’s almost August which means it is damn straight high time for us to find a place. And? We’ve subjected ourselves to the yearly Allston Scramble. It’s a mad dash for nice apartments and it’s full of douchey ex-frat realtors who keep telling us that our low rent options are unfeasible and sign now sign now sign now to avoid the rush! Dianna and Allison have handled this all with grace and aplomb but I find it difficult [being a known ball-cutter doesn’t help] to go from a situation where I rented from the two best owner/landlords to dealing with these kindof heinous stuffed shirts who are getting obscenely rich from the yearly scramble for housing. It’s just not right. I’m happy to say that we found a radicool place for a reasonable price with a delicious deck, but house searching and dealing with these realtors has been a certifiable nightmare. I plan on throwing the housewarming party to end all parties as a cathartic way to get rid of all the angst that this summer has thrown at me.

There is, of course, a part of the Allston Scramble that I do know and love, and this is the shitshow that is September 1st. The streets will be filled with feasts- that is, bookshelves, desks, tables, and all manner of housewares. The upside of living in a student ghetto? Free furniture.

*Those friends who are non-locals: this is Allston’s most notorious party street. I did not know this upon moving in.

**I wish that I was making this up.

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  1. Take them out to southie, and have a night. It’s becoming a great place to live.

    It has some good, fun bars. The age group is increasingly becoming the “recently graduated” to having that first kid, which is much better then Allstons 20 year old hipster void. Working young professionals, not wana-be rockstars living 20 to a house.

    It has lots of small stores along the broadways, and is becoming a little more gentrified. Also, if you work downtown, near Copley, or need to get anywhere besides Allston/Brighton it’s a much faster commute.

    You might pay a little more, but there’s also deals to be found. It all depends on how new a place and what location your’re looking at. Bus service is the best i’ve seen yet in a boston burb, and the T has two stops that are easy walking distance for 90% of it.

    Not sure why it still has the stigma with so many people that it does. You”ll see a few boneheaded townies every now and then, but their numbers are decreasing by the day. It’s no more then other annoyances from other areas.

    try it out! I think you girls would love it after a few weeks.

  2. PS. also lived on Pratt Street, and coming from a very big college, it was rather tame. With that said, the cops seem to leave Pratt alone, and the immigrants around the area just let noise slide.

    Also, there might be one or two ok places left, but if you’re looking for a nice place in Allston you have to think ahead and 1. get off the Sept lease (which is retardedly hard, since slumlords cater to the college crowd), and 2. Start looking in Feb.

    Yup February…. Ridiculous!

  3. Hey! The “townies” were the nicest people in Southie most of the time! I’d rather go to one of the townie bars any day than spend even an instant at the feckin’ Beer Garden again.

    PS – the so-called “easy” commute to Copley was definitely not — if you lived on the West side of Southie, good luck even getting on the bus, and forget using the T since you officially live nowhere near a T stop unless you’re between A and C Streets, and the silver line and buses don’t count.

    I enjoyed living in Southie, but let’s not pretend that it doesn’t suffer for lack of a T stop in the middle of it.

  4. Sorry, should have made the distinction between good townies and bad apples.

    I agree with you above, some of my old school neighbors are the best the city has to offer.

  5. PPSS.


    PS – the so-called “easy” commute to Copley was definitely not — if you lived on the West side of Southie, good luck even getting on the bus, and forget using the T since you officially live nowhere near a T stop unless you’re between A and C Streets, and the silver line and buses don’t count.

    I enjoyed living in Southie, but let’s not pretend that it doesn’t suffer for lack of a T stop in the middle of it.

    The 7, 9 and 11 come pretty frequently, 15-20 min during rush hour.

    If you take a bus to the Red Line, it’s usually pretty quick, unless there’s a service issue. Can pick up both Braintree and Ashmont lines.

    Both stations are only a 10 min walk from where east and west Broadway meet, so if you have trouble with a full bus, just walk, no biggy. East Southie is a little more remote, but the buses are always empty out there. The 7 can service East to S.S.

    I can walk from G street to work at (South Station) in 30 minutes. the only other time I could do that was living in Kenmore square, where I was in a much smaller, dirtier, and expensive place.

    http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/bus/routes/?route=7
    http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/bus/routes/?route=9
    http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/bus/routes/?route=11

    Just because you can’t get picked up right at your door doesn’t mean the transit options are sub-par.

    I can’t think of any other area of the city that’s affordable, but has better transit options. Maybe Charlestown?

  6. “Free furniture” may not be so free when you end up with a bedbug infestation.

    Allston seems to be the epicenter of the regional explosion in BBs.

  7. […] assault side. I find many a Boston ‘hood endearing, but I really like living here and I’ve expressed that before [commenters didn’t seem to get […]

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