Today is Patriot’s Day, a holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but ever since 1897, Patriot’s Day has also been race day for the Boston Marathon. This year’s marathon marks the 119th anniversary of the Boston Marathon, making it the world’s oldest annual marathon. It is also one of my favorite days to be in Boston. Even though the weather this year is cool and rainy, I’ll be celebrating by watching the Red Sox at Fenway and cheering on the marathon runners as they come into Back Bay.
Check out Boston Magazine’s Boston Marathon Guide
My congratulations to all the runners and sincere thanks to the Boston Athletic Association, city of Boston, the volunteers and first responders who help to make this world class event such a special day to me and everyone else in the city.
Last month one of my readers noted my real estate themed posts only showcase costly new construction like the Ink Block, Four Seasons, etc… and after reflecting upon that constructive criticism, I thought I’d give a shout out to Boston’s affordable home buying program.
Boston has a well deserved reputation for being an expensive city to live, but there are opportunities to purchase and rent more affordable condominiums and apartments if you are persistent and know where to look. One such resource is the BRA Affordable Units website, which lists existing affordable units.
There is more information about Boston’s affordable housing program on the BRA website, bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/housing/overview. While this program can take time and requires a lot of paperwork – it can really pay off. I know this firsthand because back in 2002 / 2003, Sergio and I decided to look into this program. At the time, Sergio was working as a flight attendant and I was working at a health and human services nonprofit; our combined income was barely enough to afford rent but thanks to Sergio’s persistence after a few missed opportunities we were able to purchase a home through Boston’s affordable home buying program at Rollins Square in the South End.
Of course there remains a chronic shortage of affordable housing in Boston and the Mayor and surrounding communities need to do more to help make housing and rentals more affordable but there are properties available (and in some great neighborhoods) if you do your homework. For all you would-be home buyers, I wish you luck in finding the perfect property for you.
Part of the Boston Marathon experience is the build up of excitement, starting the weekend before, as tens of thousands of visitors come to Boston ahead of the race, which takes place this Monday. One of those events that is fun to check out (and free) is the three-day John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the Hynes Expo in Back Bay. Last year, more than 100,000 attendees participated.
In addition to possibly meeting some of the world’s top runners and fitness enthusiasts, the Expo also offers an opportunity for bargain shoppers looking for health and fitness related apparel and products.
Where: Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street, Boston
When: Friday, April 17: 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday, April 18 – 19: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Source: Todd Van Hoosear
Although Boston isn’t quite there yet, spring is definitely in the air and it is a beautifully sunny day in Boston. This courtyard in the McKim building of the Boston Public Library (BPL) is one of my favorite places to enjoy in good weather. The BPL courtyard (open to the public) is surrounded by an arcade that reminds me of architecture more often found in Europe than the US and is the perfect place to get away from all the noise and nonsense in one’s life.
Whenever visitors come to Boston, I bring them to the BPL. It isn’t on a lot of tourists radar but everyone I bring here leaves both impressed and glad they stopped by. If you have time be sure to also walk upstairs to check out the John Singer Sargent’s murals.
Earlier this week Boston was once again ranked as one of America’s most walkable cities. I suppose the only real surprise in this ranking is that San Francisco ranked so high (ranked #2 behind New York City). While San Francisco is a beautiful city and one that is relatively easy to walk around, I would think the hilly topography would make it difficult for anyone with disabilities and or who may be older.
This annual ranking by RedFin, consistently ranks Boston as one of America’s most walkable cities. Some of the other cities that scored well in addition to #1 – NYC, #2 San Francisco and #3 Boston, included: Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Oakland and Baltimore.
Mark your calendars because on Friday, June 19th City Hall Plaza will once again play host to a Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco.
Friday, June 19th Boston to host Donna Summer Roller Disco
Similar to last year when more than 4,000 people came down to Government Center, the event will be free and open to the public, with skates for rent, food on hand and of course some excellent music courtesy of DJ Kon.
Check out these pictures from last summer’s inaugural Memorial Roller Disco to Boston native, Donna Summer. #HotStuff
Click on image to enlarge
This map published by Ungentry shows that back in 1990 rentals in Boston were fairly reasonable in most of the city. Ten years later you can see rents inching upward in Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the North End, but the rest of Boston’s downtown neighborhoods seem to remain fairly reasonable. However, by 2010 you can see the extent of gentrification in Boston and how it had moved beyond the city’s historically pricey neighborhoods to places like the South End, Fort Point Channel, Southie and even Eastie.
You can read more about the findings, how this compares to average incomes by neighborhood in this recent article by BostInno.