Sunday, March 08, 2009

Smart women eat barbecue on Morton Street.

Firstly, to all the people who have purchased the 'Smart Women Live in Boston." tee shirt, my thanks. This seems to be the most popular in the Whalehead line of fashions and its message is true enough. Apologies that the model isn't as smart or as feminine as I would like, but that is beyond my control. I'm sure those of you who will be sporting this shirt this spring will fill it out just fine. Be sure to wear glasses and carry a notebook.

Smart women do live in Boston, Mass. There is a lot of brain power contained in this metropolis and slightly less than half of it is testosterone-fueled. This is a good thing, a wonderful fact that shapes Boston's culture to the better. Not all scientists are men the way not all nurses are women. The Cradle of Liberty nourishes babes of both genders.

I spent a lot of time on Blue Hill Avenue today, between it's foot planted firmly at Mattapan Square and its head on Dudley Street. I like Blue Hill Avenue, it's a straight shot with plenty of room to maneuver and it is lined with a parade of eye candy. I am talking about the various small businesses and apartment blocks and vestiges of old Boston mixed in with the newer architectural developments. There were women walking along Blue Hill Avenue this morning and all of them were smart, but I was going up and down and back again to get a handle on the urban planning (or lack thereof) and the streetscape, not to girl-watch.

I don't usually read the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe, thinking it overpriced for the information I take from it, but I did this morning. The Metro section seemed very Dorchester-centric. I read the article about Morton Street Village using Greenwich Village as a model. Now, regular readers know that I think the Dot is tops, but comparing these two jurisdictions, even in the future tense, seems a bit of a stretch. It's been a few years since I've been to Greenwich Village but it doesn't remind me of Morton Street one bit and I have a fertile imagination. I would link to the article but it isn't readily available after ten minutes searching the Globe's website.

I think this is a matter of inappropriate comparisons and hyperbole. I enjoy Morton Street and I think it has a lot going for it, especially for the people who live there. A commuter rail stop that isn't served on weekends is a plus, but it's not the kind of advantage that makes a neighborhood vibrant. The people who live there make it nice and the businesses they establish make it livable and what they choose to support or not, make this part of Boston stand out not only from the bigger city but from anywhere else you can find on the globe.

An example: The Pit Stop Barbecue at 888 Morton Street. This tiny shack always makes me smile when I pass it and it always makes me hungry because I can smell it before I see it. You can't find a place like this in downtown Manhattan but you can find it in Mattapan. It is homegrown, eccentric and small scale. These are three endearing qualities. Rather than try to inappropriately replicate what is done in a very different environment, every part of Boston should build on its strengths, on the native genius and impulses that make this city unique.

I have overrun my space limit, but expect more lecturing and hectoring in the future.
With regards and thanks,


Anonymous said...

The Pit Stop is a great place. I remember, however, when it was a gas station. Way back in the 60's!

Whalehead King said...

That's a little before my time but the layout of the parcel makes sense. Thanks for a bit of perspective. A city's framework always changes and adapts. It is organic.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. For a city to be alive, there HAS to be change, whether it be the residents or the stores and eateries that cater to them. Otherwise, we'd be some ghost town (not that there's not a lot of ghosts here but that's another story. :) )

Whalehead King said...

For a city to be relevant it cannot be a museum. It continuously reninvents itself and discards what is outmoded to accomadate what works in the present. We carve out our destiny in the present. I'll take a barbeque joint over a gas station any day, but I ride a motorcycle and get 75 mpg.


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