Monday, July 17, 2006

Boston, the new Portland

This is a long one…

For those of you who may not be aware, there was once a plan for all of us (me and my nine friends) to move to Portland, Oregon. Jenn will swear that this plan is in the present, not past tense. We had graduated from college and were scattered around to different parts of the world. Sven was in Boulder, Colorado working on Sphere. Nathan was either in Santa Cruz working for that public transportation place or in Berkeley at grad school. H was in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps. Jenn was in Boulder Creek working for ILL. I was in San Francisco, working at INTRAX. And natalie had just moved to Portland working as a bike messenger, trying to figure out what to do with her life. I recall that an apprenticeship with a bakery was a top contender because she wanted to be able to learn how to make sticky buns.

We missed natalie. Jenn and I decided to go see her for new year’s eve. We fly up for an extended weekend visit. We stay with natalie, tour her town, drink lots of coffee and marvel at the amazing prices for rentals in very nice apartments with lots and lots of space. We get to thinking.

Doesn’t it suck that all our friends live so far away? Don’t we miss living in the same town (or within driving distance of the same town) to be able to see each other and have dinners together and hang out together and stuff? And let’s not forget Avogadro’s.

Settling in the Bay Area with their inflated real estate prices was out of the realm of possibilities (this was back before the bust, but even now…). And natalie was already in Portland. And that apartment sure was cute and affordable. And suddenly we were in love with Portland. It’s a city that offers great public transportation, a kick-ass bookstore

As the years passed, the Portland move became a sort of epic crusade sprinkled in all conversations. Jim’s dad lives in Portland. And then Goodyear moved to Portland. Nathan and natalie have family in Portland. Wieden+Kennedy are headquartered in Portland.

And then a few years pass.

Real estate prices continue to soar. Portland’s prices aren’t so affordable anymore, they suffer from high unemployment rates. Former Reed graduates advise that all that rain can get to you if you’re not used to it and of course I meet my beloved. Who’s family is from Boston.

So. And so. I have changed tactics. The Portland Plan has been changed to the Boston Plan. I have not advised everyone of this yet. Though it is no secret.

I have especially been targeting H who is looking for work and a place to set her roots down. My not-so-secretive plans to woo H into moving to the New England area involve the following:

  1. H’s parents Phil & Harriet live in W. Hartford, Connecticut. A mere 2 hours from Boston.
  2. There is a surprisingly large latino community in the Boston area. It’s true, I checked around. H loves to speak Spanish and hopes to find work that can use her language skills. And fun latino culture to soak up.
  3. There is a presence of Zen centers in the Boston area. It’s true, I checked around. This is another top priority for H in the area she wants to move to.
  4. Massachusetts is a blue state and the Boston area is home to many liberals and left-wing thinkers.
  5. Boston’s real estate prices (while no competition for, oh, say b-fuck-Ohio prices) are still in a reasonable market.
  6. Boston proper (and many of the towns around) offers an exciting urban experience.
  7. The greater Boston area offers excellent public transportation.
  8. The area is geographically quite diverse. There is a scattering of towns that boast of their own downtown area and diverse housing options. There is a lot of nature and it’s accessible. For example, a proximity to beaches (the Boston Harbor, New Hampshire coast, Martha’s Vineyard), mountains (Maine, Vermont, etc.) and national parks (think hiking and camping). I mean, look at all that green!

I called h and gave her an update. Much to my relief, she was thankful for all my research. I encouraged her to share this information with Phil & Harriet.

Then I get an email from jenn mentioning that she was researching cities for her future housing prospects.

Well. Here’s what I have to say to that (you hear that, jenn? I am targeting YOU!):

  1. J&N want to live in a city where they can find jobs (university libraries for j and tech industry for n).
    Ever hear of MIT? Additionally Boston is home to hundreds (probably) colleges and universities. There could possibly be more universities in Boston, than pubs. Well, then again…
  2. J&N want to live in a city where housing is affordable.
    Like I said, it’s not as affordable as Utah or Idaho (places we have no interest in moving to), but still more accessible than the Bay Area
  3. J&N want to live in a city close to an airport that services Southwest Airlines for their many Southwest Airlines visitors.
    Manchester Airport (in lovely Manchester, New Hampshire) is just 45 minutes to an hour away from Boston Logan which is in the heart of Boston
  4. J&N (or at least j) want to live in a city that is near the Indigo Girls concert tour schedule.
    Jenn. I have just two words for you: Hampton Beach. Next weekend, the Indigo Girls are at the Casino Ballroom for their annual concert at this local venue (seats 1800, 2200 for general admission. That’s darned cozy, close enough to push your way to the stage and give them the cookies you baked for them.). Not to mention all of the music festivals that take place in the area that include artists like the Indigo Girls, Nickel Creek, Dave Mathews Band, Ben Taylor and many, many more.
  5. J&N want to live in a city with weather and seasons (cooler than San Jose, snow sometimes).
    While I can’t promise cooler than San Jose (temperature-wise) for the summers, there is snow in New England. Sometimes lots of it. And there are 4 seasons in New England as opposed to the two we get in California (hot and sunny vs. a little less hot and sunny). I used to think that the whole 4 seasons thing was a non-issue. Who cares? Then I experienced 3 of the 4 seasons in Boston and I have to say that it is pretty neat. In spring, all the springtime flowers push up all over the place. People’s homes and anywhere there is a plunk of green gets crowded with tulips, hydrangeas and lots and lots of lilacs. White lilacs, dark purple lilacs and pale in-between the white and purple color lilacs. And their scent is a heady heavenly bliss. Summer is warm I won’t deny it. But no one thrives in their summer sunshine like a New Englander who knows how precious sunny days are. It’s a sight to see. And winter. What’s there to say about winter? It’s snowy. Watching snow fall is probably the best cozy fireside activity. So. New England weather and seasons. Can’t say enough about em. And I haven’t even experienced autumn yet which I hear is the season to die for.
  6. J&N want to live in a city close to places they enjoy visiting (ocean, mountain ranges, national parks, starting point for fun road trips?)
    See # 8 above. Also, being in this part of the US, Canada and all it’s natural beauty is just a road trip away.
  7. J&N want to live in a city that cool people would consider re-locating to. Also, in a related way, get Avogadro’s started.
    Ahem. Working on that as we speak. Also, Jim and Liana are in Baltimore. While it is 7 hours away from Boston, it’s closer to the east coast than the west coast.

What else you got for me?

1 comment:

jean said...

jenn said,

July 17, 2006 @ 3:02 PM · Edit

1. The Portland Plan has a name that involves alliteration.
2. Nat and Austen are already *IN* Portland.
3. I’ve got Jim and LiAna interested in Portland already. They already speak of the Portland Plan reverently, as they should, what with all it’s alliterative glory.
4. ummmm………that’s all I’ve got right now. I’ll have to get back to you with more. I can see you’ve done exhaustive research. I’ll have to do some exhaustive counter research of my own.
jean said,

July 17, 2006 @ 3:16 PM · Edit

dammit! That was a rhetorical question!! You were just supposed to be

1. Frenzied with new found curiosity and interest in the east coast
2. Launching into an exhaustive research project of your own on Boston, job markets and real estate.
3. Helping me buy time to work on my nine friends one at a time. Nat and Austin are lower on this list. It takes a lot of research and once I get you guys and h on board, I figured it would just be a matter of time.
4. Alliteration is so passe. Successive bi-labial stops (B-oston P-lan) is the new alliteration. It’s just syllabification, jenn.
5. You like Tyler!!!!!
jenn said,

July 17, 2006 @ 3:41 PM · Edit

I already SAID I liked Tyler. Besides. You like KEELER.
jenn said,

July 17, 2006 @ 3:45 PM · Edit

p.s. I’ve got my little blog started. It’s right here :
jean said,

July 17, 2006 @ 4:57 PM · Edit

GASP! No I don’t! I don’t like Keeler!!!