December, 2010:

And ONEin3′s #1 Post of 2010 - If This Is the New Boston Then Preaching Diversity Is Not Enough

2010 was an interesting year. Lots of great stuff happened and lots of not so great stuff happened.

We generally like to think about the great stuff, which we detailed last week, but sometimes we really need to address problems in our beloved city of Boston.

Following Tim Smith’s lead in Blue City/Red City and in reaction to an incident at Cure, we address Boston’s issues with race, segregation and our nationwide reputation as inhospitable to people of color.

LOTS of you read it and we hope that you’ll be with us in 2011 as we try to do something about it.

For your reading pleasure: If This Is the New Boston Then Preaching Diversity Is Not Enough


Post #2 - Eastie O Eastie What to Say About You by Kendall Kirby

Let the firestorm begin again!

Following our successful walk-through of Charlestown and subsequent posts about it, Kendall and I decided to do the same in East Boston. Kendall, still fairly new to Boston, would see the neighborhood with a fresh eye and write her most honest impressions, be they good, bad, amazing, ok, mediocre or any other adjective you can think of.

Here’s the map of our journey.

Kendall really liked East Boston and tried to express her admiration for the neighborhood as an honest, no-frills place that made her think of her beloved Oakland. Unfortunately, her true meaning didn’t shine through in Eastie O Eastie What to Say About You? Maybe the title had something to do with that.

Well, East Boston rose up in the comments and the battle was on. Steve Holt’s piece a week later saved the day with its neighborly tone and great run-down on all the virtues of Eastie.

We highly recommend going to the original for the discussion which was, frankly, very instructive for us as blog amateurs.

If you just want to read Kendall’s piece, here it is:

In the second leg of our journey through Boston’s neighborhoods (see Charlestown here), Devin and I went to East Boston on Monday to explore, observe and experience the neighborhood. Please view this amazing map that The Devin and I made outlining our journey.

And for my impressions:

Eastie O Eastie what to say about you?  First impressions? As a yuppie, at first look I asked The Devin “where are the cute shops?”  The Devin pointed towards a Bodega.

I saw lots of trash, some worn down houses, and not a single polo shirt or pair of Uggs.  A little different from the North End, Downtown and South End, my normal stomping grounds.  No bankers rushing to work, or coffee shops catering to “starving artists” that somehow can afford a $5.00 cup of coffee.

Maybe it is the harbor that divides Eastie from the rest of Boston but Eastie seems to have avoided the gentrification that has occurred in much of the rest of the city.  Eastie would be the kid in high school that wears hand me downs and brings his own lunch to school.  Unlike the kid who wears vintage to pretend he is above it all, Eastie has an “I have better things to do” sort of persona.  Or rather, I just came to America and I’m trying to make it, so I don’t have time to build a bread and cheese shop so the yuppies that just moved in can buy their over–priced mozzarella and pretend to be ‘among the people’.”

So, it makes sense that I wouldn’t find a store selling dog sweaters.  The stores in East Boston seemed to be there due to necessity.  In Central Square, which feels like downtown Eastie, there’s a blockbuster, payless shoes, and a no frills grocery shop.  I felt like I was in Oakland, my original hometown.

Maybe my favorite part about Eastie is that there’s actual ethnic diversity. Like, people of various races living next to each other and interacting. As much as people in Boston love pretending that “Italian” or “Irish” are races, they just aren’t.  In Eastie, there are Italians and Latinos and more and they all serve up their amazing food.

In fact, the next time I hear a former Californian complain that they can’t find a good burrito, I will send them to Taqueria Cancun and tell them to shut up. Enough people have written odes to Santarpio’s that I don’t need to bore you with my review. Let’s just say it’s the bomb and it’s way cheaper than the North End.

Also, in East Boston I heard people speaking a variety of languages, which is refreshing and makes me feel less idiotic for taking Spanish for 8 years and then moving away from California.

A co-worker, upon hearing that The Devin and I were going to East Boston, said “Eastie has a lot of potential.”  Walking through Jeffries Point to Piers Park I saw gentrification slowly creeping in. Views of Boston’s downtown skyline beckon and newly painted row houses line the streets.  The park is beautifully maintained and offers great areas for residents to take their kids to play, read, eat, and collaborate with neighbors.

Although every neighborhood should strive for improved schools, public areas, and community, there are some things that I feel should stay in East Boston.  If low rents mean keeping a diverse community I say why would we hope for gentrification?  Why do we always think yuppies and coffee shops make an area “better”?

I don’t live in East Boston, so I can’t speak for the residents but I feel like improved trash collection would be awesome, but besides that I would say, “Eastie, stay strong and be who you are and under no circumstances tolerate stores whose main focus is dressing animals that think its okay to eat their own poop.”


Post #3 - Devin’s Life as a Toonie

Our #3 post of the year owes its success primarily to Ben Affleck. Kendall wrote a piece after we walked through Charlestown and I decided to write a companion from my perspective as a resident and Toonie. Little did we know that the whole country would suddenly start googling to find out what a Toonie is. So thanks Ben Affleck.

We hope you enjoy Devin’s Life as a Toonie


Post #4 – How the Massachusetts Ballot Questions Impact You by Michael Nichols

This year, Massachusetts had 3 important and impactful ballot questions. Two mandated changes in taxation and another would have affected major changes in the way the Commonwealth handles housing development.

Here at ONEin3 HQ, we were confused and, therefore, very thankful when Michael Nichols swooped in and broke all three down neutrally with tons of detail.

We were thrilled to see so many people reading. We know you’re all interested in politics and policy and your interest in the question simply reaffirmed that.

For a trip down memory lane: How the Massachusetts Ballot Questions Impact You