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Super Bowl 52: An insider’s guide to Boston

Curbed Boston parses through the Patriots’ hometown

Courtesy of dargdesign/Shutterstock.

To mark the big game this Sunday, we’ve teamed with Curbed Boston’s editor to provide the following insights about the Patriots’ home market. Consider it a friendly peek behind enemy lines.

The post-recession years have been particularly kind and cruel to Hub residents, depending on their perspective. (And “Hub” is a nickname going back to the 1800s, when some in Boston considered the city the nexus of the known universe.)

If you’re a prospective buyer or tenant, it’s been a waking nightmare—the region is one of the three or four most expensive nationwide in terms of prices and rents. A $2,500/month, one-bedroom apartment is not unheard of, nor is $600,000 for a studio condo.

If you’re a seller or a landlord, then, it’s Valhalla.

But people do love living here. The City of Boston is headed toward 700,000 residents for the first time since the early 1950s and regional cities such as Somerville and Cambridge are among the most densely populated in the U.S.

Plus, there’s tons to do here, including museums, monuments, and maritime mishegosh.

It’s hard to pick a hottest neighborhood in the Boston area, but Back Bay is a pretty good candidate. The fruit of a mid-1800s urban infill, the neighborhood brims with federal-style townhouses and modern condos.

Photo via Campion & Co.

Here is a 2,290-square-foot triplex along Back Bay’s Commonwealth Avenue up for grabs for just under $3 million.

Courtesy of Jorge Salcedo/

There’s also the neighboring South End, a charming neighborhood of classic rowhouses-slash-brownstones and modern condo complexes that Curbed Boston readers voted the Boston region’s neighborhood of the year in 2017!

Surprising things about Boston that every Bostonian knows:

  • Saying you’re “from Boston” can mean you’re from any one of a number of cities and towns, and not necessarily the City of Boston itself. It all goes back to colonial times, when dozens of independent villages, towns, etc., sprang up under the British crown. They fiercely guarded their own independence after American independence, and, despite efforts over the centuries to unite the region under one governmental rubric, the region remains a municipal patchwork. That said, Boston proper is the biggest square on the quilt, with a population of about 645,000.
  • While popular culture holds that Boston is heavily Irish and Irish-American (think the Kennedys and every other Ben Affleck movie), the city and its surrounding region are both remarkably diverse, even by American standards. One in three Bostonians speaks a language other than English at home, for instance.
  • No one here calls it “Beantown.” Ever.

These stereotypes are true:

  • How to put this: There really is a confrontational-ness about the Boston character. People aren’t necessarily in-your-face and rude like the typical New Yorker, but, whether on the Mass. Turnpike, in the check-out line of the grocery store, or down at the corner local, you will encounter a certain no-holds-barred directness.
  • Speaking of New York, Bostonians really do loathe Gotham—its sports teams in particular, but also its status as America’s It City.
  • A lot of people do pronounce their “r’s” as “h’s” as in “smaht,” “pahk,” and “chowdah.”

Editor’s pick: A quintessential Boston home on the market

Photo via Coldwell Banker

The bones of the 1,884-square-foot, seven-room colonial at 19 Stonehurst Street in Boston’s Dorchester, the city’s largest neighborhood by area, date from the early 1890s, and the house has been in the same family for many years. It is on sale now through Coldwell Banker for a relatively low $439,000.

For more on Boston prices and rents—the region has some of the nation’s highest apartment rents—check out our Curbed Comparisons and real estate market reports.