An Open Letter To Anyone Who Complains About Going Over The River:
Look guys. I’m not trying to start a ‘my home town is better than Boston’ fight. I promise. I’m not. But I am really confused/sick of/befuddled by this whole ‘Other Side Of The River’ thing.
A few years ago, at my last job, I asked someone who worked at our Mission Hill location to cover for one week at out Central Square location. He would be compensated for the coverage. He thought about it for less than a minute and refused the work because “It’s on the other side of the river,”
I’ll never forget that quote. I had been living in Boston for only a few months and didn’t understand what that meant. I was staying with friends in Chelsea and took the 111 bus over the Tobin every day to get to work. Sure the Tobin was scary, but it was a necessity, not an obstacle, to get to work.
Tonight, the Authors of We Love Beantown are meeting up to celebrate the holidays, discuss the success of the website and have the editors buy us drinks. One of the great things about the website is that the authors are from every part of Boston. South End, Brighton, Cambridge and every part in between. It brings a lot of different viewpoints of this eclectic city together. It also makes meeting up seem to be some sort of chore.
When the Save the Date email went out, the editors included the phrase “Location To Be Determined. But it’ll be on the right side of the river”. What makes it the right side of the river? Yes, I know most of Boston proper is south of the Charles, but the Boston metro area covers pretty far north and south of the river.
Boston isn’t that big. What’s the big deal about going to Cambridge or Somerville or Medford? They’re all easily accessible by public transportation. Why do people have such aversions to cross a tiny river?
It seems to be mostly from people living south of the river who have some sort of aversion to going over the bridge. But why? The Mass Ave bridge is only 364.4 smoots long.
Get over going over the river. We have a lot to offer over here. Pretty soon, we’re even gonna have a Potbelly. By refusing or complaining about going over the river, you’re missing out on a world of culture, art, food and candlepin bowling.
I know that public transportation in Boston isn’t always (okay, never) the best. I know that sometimes it can take well over an hour to get from Davis Square to Coolidge Corner. But you know what? Long commutes are part of living in a major metropolitan area. In other cities, no one blinks an eye at an hour plus commute. Why is it that people in Boston are so stubborn about going over the river?
Part of it has to be the geography. Boston isn’t a square or a rectangle. It’s a… mess. And Boston isn’t even, well, Boston. Cambridge and Somerville are closer to the Common than Roslindale or JP. Everyone, even locals, gripe about the lack of straight lines in Boston. It feels like it’s easier to get from A to C than A to B in this town. I grew up in a city where a fire burned down the original layout and a grid was easily built. (Okay, that’s where I throw in the ‘my hometown has a better layout than your city’ comment.) I can still find it frustrating trying to figure out a way to get to Charlestown to Needham. But you know what? I do it. I don’t refuse or complain about going over the river. I complain about other things. I know it’s not the easiest thing to get from one end of the city to the other, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to not venture out and explore everything this city has to offer.
But there isn’t really a valid reason that people refuse to go over the river. So get over it. Go over the river. Stop being so hoity toity. No one side of the river is better than the other. There’s no real epicenter of activity on either side of the river. Both sides have just as much to offer.
This Friday, be courageous this weekend! Find a way to find the courage to hop on the Red Line or the 66 and make it over the river this weekend. Both sides have lots to offer.