I try to visit New York City a couple of times a year. It is the Yankees I hate, not the city. While I am there I enjoy exploring the avenues and side streets as far as my two legs can take me. I am particularly fond of how New York has preserved so much of their old architecture. Boston has more history and colonial era landmarks, but this city has let far too many old buildings disappear. Yet on my last sojourn to Manhattan as I meandered up and down both 5th Ave and 6th ave, I noticed nearly every corner was anchored by a bank, a CVS, Duane Reade (New York’s version of CVS), Starbucks, or some other homogeneous corporate retail shop found in any city. I was struck that the city was becoming like anywhere else.
Later in the day I was in Greenwich Village with my girlfriend and we noticed an empty store front on the corner of Christopher and10th Street. A letter posted in the window thanked customers for 40 years of patronage. It also stated the proprietor had seen the neighborhood change before his eyes. I began to remember seeing Boston’s neighborhoods change. The North End has gone from Little Italy to Italian Disneyland. The Seaport and Fort Point Channel have gone from barren, forgotten land to the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. South Boston hasn’t been an Irish stronghold for a few years.
Many of the changes in the Boston real estate landscape have improved the city and added to the tax base while not completely pricing everyone out of the market. I know many have complained about smaller independent shops being able to afford the rising rent, but walking around this city one sees many small retailers in every neighborhood. Hopefully the New York City wave will not completely wash over Boston.