Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Why is Boston overrated?

Illustration by Rachel Choi.

For nine months of the year, Boston is full of babies. The city seems always to be chock full of college students—so much so that the New York Post, along with many others, has called Boston one of the most overrated cities in the U.S. To take this article seriously is to take stand-up comedy seriously. The byline reads “all New Yorkers” and goes into detail about Boston sports teams losing to New York teams through the years. 

However, it begs the question, to those of us who live here, study here, or just visit. To those of us who have visited other metropolitan cities in the U.S. Is Boston overrated? 

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much to love about Boston. Great food! New activities every week! The feel of a city in a much smaller, more accessible space than other cities!

However, Boston is, at its core, overrated. 

Let’s start with the fact that it is truly an “Old Boys Club” disguised as a progressive mecca. Between the sports culture wherein fans are frequently racist and sexist, and the highly-exclusive, overwhelmingly white male alumnus network of ancient institutions like Harvard and BU, it’s not hard for transplants, especially those of color or low-income class to feel like outsiders that Mass-holes work very hard not to let in.

The flip side of this double edged sword is the extreme lack of diversity and a racist history that its die hard fanatic residents work hard to cover up. This includes, but is not limited to, Boston being the only major U.S city to never have a Black mayor, the white-washed newsrooms, and the fact that enslaved people used to be sold at Faneuil Hall, which is now touted as a shiny tourist attraction. 

Even if one wanted to live here, despite all of that, it’s damn near impossible with the unreasonably high rent and neighborhoods like Brookline that simply don’t want new people moving in.

The gentrification of Chinatown and Jamaica Plain, along with the displacement of minority residents in Beacon Hill and the West End are enough proof that, on the chance you successfully move here, it won’t be long before the city obliterates your neighborhood, leaving thousands of residents homeless—in favor of rich white millennials and vegan coffee shops. 

Not to mention the fucking prices of living. Gone are the days of five dollar lattes and reasonably priced eggs. I learned this the hard way, trying to meal prep from Trader Joe’s. Toto, we ain’t in Publix anymore. 

Gentrification not only pushes out Bostonians that have lived and worked here forever, but also makes this city less and less desirable for one of its biggest tenants—college students. For a city that claims to be so progressive, Boston has a big and large Puritan culture. 

Many clubs in the city enforce a curfew around 2 a.m., and public transportation, including the MBTA trains, ceases operations just after midnight. Despite Boston’s reputation as a bar town, it can be challenging to find bars that stay open past 1 a.m. 

Boston doesn’t top the charts for travel destinations, with rankings like No. 10 in the U.S. World Report and News and No. 17 on attractions of America. While in hindsight these ratings aren’t bad, they still place Boston far behind other cities in the nation, such as New York or Miami, yet the price tag to live and enjoy a night out here is either similar or worse. 

Long gone are the days where Kenmore Square and Allston are known for their gritty clubs and bar scenes, because a drink is going to cost you $17 dollars, a mediocre D.J. will play “Yellow” by Coldplay, and your night will end at 1:40 a.m.

However, as cities go, Boston isn’t the worst. Fall in Boston is gorgeous, the food culture is fantastic, and although it’s a city, it’s one of the few that feels like we can interact with our local governments.

But the seasons in which students leave is when the city becomes itself. 

Boston needs us. Without the college kids, this city would be dense with overgrown yuppies who have no idea what art is outside of the MFA. The DIY scene here, the underground voice we offer is what makes this city a place like home. If this city isn’t going to accept us, we’re going to make it. 

At the end of the day, Boston is a compromise: Between us and them. They need us and they don’t know it, we need them and we don’t want to say it. But if it weren’t for us, this city would still be every bit as Puritanical as it used to be.

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