Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cabo Dorchester

How many Cape Verdeans can fit in neighborhood? If it's Dorchester around Uphams Corner and down Dudley Street, the answer is still up for discussion. It is like asking how many Poles you can fit in a triangle or how many Vietnamese immigrants can stand shoulder to shoulder the length of Dot Ave between Columbia Road and Park Street. How many souls can Dorchester hold? The number is the same as the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin.

Philosophers and city planners wonder at the miracles close living begets in Dorchester, Mass. A dense neighborhood can always benefit from a little more density, a little more diversity, a little more common wealth and a little more elbow-bending, elbow-rubbing, and elbow-grease. What is the tipping point where community becomes calamity? Dorchester hasn't reached its limits yet. There is a critical mass of people of all complexions and backgrounds, but they all get along. Tall fences may make good neighbors but so do busy sidewalks. This is city living.

Cape Verde's influence is felt in Uphams Corner and along Dudley Street. It is also on Hancock Street and Bowdoin Street and along all the short, side streets that knit this neighborhood's infrastructure together. Old Irish households still prevail on dead end byways where Spanish is the tongue most often heard in the breeze off Dorchester Bay. Few complain. Dorchester, a neighborhood of sub-neighborhoods and clans and myriad ethnicities, is made up Dorchesterites, Bostonians all, no matter from what roots they've sprouted. Shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, head to head and nut to butt, the people of Dorchester live close together, work together and co-exist to make this the best part of Boston....Amen. Anyone who disagrees is talking up their shirtsleeve and hasn't been here.

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