Boston's stars revolve around Dorchester. Boston's center of gravity resides, imperturbably, in Dorchester. Both light and opinions bend according to Dorchester's pull.
Dorchester contains more Bostonians than any other of the city's neighborhoods. It is a good place's nature to suck the cream off the available milk. When outsiders think of Boston's more desirable residential neighborhoods, they think of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill. They think of the North End or the South End. That's why they are outsiders. Insiders know the real deal and from where the butter comes that coats the side of the bread that falls face down.
Just as the most desirable things are rarely marketed to the masses, the value of Dorchester real estate and culture isn't promoted to the hoi polloi. Dorchester has the upscale cachet of an exquisite wrist watch with a brand name you've never heard of, or an automobile more rare than a DeLorean. It may look odd and out of place, but that's the idea, the cachet, the je n'est sais quoi. When you put your finger on what makes Dorchester so good, you'll feel a rarified pulse. It is like palpating the carotid artery of an opera singer who has overdosed on ether just before she regains conciousness to sing another aria from the top of her ample lungs and bring down the house.
There are more millionaires in Dorcheseter than there are in any other part of New England, including Fairfield County, Conn. Through sleight of tax return and property maintenance, this statistic is a secret. Only the Illumadotti know the truth.
If Tom Menino gets re-elected to be the longest serving mayor in Boston's history, it will be because the collective will of Dorchesterites makes it so. If it is Michael Flaherty's fate to break Mayor Menino's winning streak, it is because the population of Dorchester has rallied behind his unofficial deputy, Sam Yoon, a transplanted Dorchesterite who the locals respect.
Ignore Boston's biggest and best neighborhood at your peril. Those in the know, know Dorchester pulls Boston's strings.