75 Boston: A Local Politician

Whereas randy Richard insisted that people in Boston were mean and standoffish, I came to him from an interview with a local who had introduced himself when I took the boat back from where the Freedom Trail ended near Bunker Hill. The public transportation system back from the Charlestown navy yard at the end of the trail was a boat. As I fiddled with my camera at the back of the ship, I was approached by a jowly, white-haired man who resembled local politician Ted Kennedy. He wore a dark blue business suit with a patterned blue tie over a crisp white shirt.

"Are you visiting our fair city?" he asked forcefully, pointing to the camera around my neck.

"Not only visiting; writing about. How do you feel about it?"

"I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole," he grumbled and pursed his lips disapprovingly. Then his face softened into a smile. "Nah. That's just what we tell visitors because everyone who comes to Boston wants to live here. It's a great place." His blue eyes looked out over the water as he answered my question.

"I don't think we're as isolated as we're made out to be. A lot of places' reputations here are based on outdated ideas. In South Boston, there were problems when busing was introduced back in the 1970s, and that gave it a certain reputation. But it's twenty years later. Things move too quickly to stay isolated. Those people are not there anymore. There are a lot of new kinds of people coming to Boston: Vietnamese, Thai, Orientals. They can live cheaper than we can. They open up the possibility of living in neighborhoods we no longer think viable. I'm lucky. I have a lot. I've lived many places, Somerville, then Beacon Hill, where I met my wife. We bought in South Boston, then moved to Winchester when it was time to raise a family. I'm not a neighborhood guy. I like to go do my job, come home, spend time with my family, and work around the house so I don't have to pay someone else to do it."

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