Thursday, December 31, 2009

Size doesn't matter.

"My neighborhood is bigger than yours!"  So what?  Your mother wears army boots.

Dorchester is big, but bigger isn't necessarily better.  After all, it's not the size of the tool but how effectively you use it.  Does Dorchester live up to its potential merely by being the biggest and most diverse jurisdiction in Boston?  In some ways.  The situation works very well for very many individuals.  That isn't to say there isn't room for improvement.  Parts of Dorchester are impoverished.  There is an abundance of dearth and a squandering of unrecognized potential.

Despite its bulk and area, Dorchester more often seems an appendix to the metropolitan body politic than a vital organ. All of the neighborhoods that don't suck at the tourist industry's teat seem that way.  Boston has an identity, but Dorchester's part in that isn't what sells airline tickets or hotel rooms.  It's a shame because a narrated bus tour around Dorchester would highlight any number of fascinating, historical facts.  The same can be said of Roxbury, East Boston and Charlestown.  I'm not so sure about Allston/Brighton, Hyde Park or West Roxbury, but people more familiar with those parts of town will probably make the argument that they equally deserve attention and promotion.   They do.  If  a visitor wants to know Boston in the round, he or she will venture outside downtown.

Beacon Hill, Chinatown, the North End: they are smaller than Dorchester.  Newbury Street is a snippet of Dot Ave's length.  It's not how much you have, it's how you use it.  This isn't only about attracting tourists because, after all, who needs them?  It is about having a voice in the government and getting a fair share as well as more than a glad handshake and a fair weather how-do-you-do.  Dorchester's citizens should be better represented and better better understood as the vital part of the larger city that it is.

Because I live in Dorchester, I can say without worrying about contradiction, "My neighborhood is bigger than yours."  You can say in reply, "Yeah, but your mayor wears army boots."  Well of course.  He's got to cover his Achilles heels  and clay feet somehow, doesn't he?

1 comment:

Anali said...

Happy New Year WK! I hope that 2010 brings more good things for you and Dorchester. I have to admit that I didn't realize how many interesting places there are there, until I started visiting more.


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