ATL to BOSTON - Culture Shock?

Sep 15th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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Of course it is over-whelming. First you should schedule a vacation-type trip to Boston - while vacations are completely different than living in a place, you can get a sense of a place.

If you do move here, don't even think about buying something right away. Find a rental with the shortest lease possible (sometimes you can get 6 months at a slightly higher rate).

Have no idea about your age or personal situation, but if I have one regret in my life it is that I did not, when I was younger and less encumbered, try more things, take more risks - like moving to a different place to see if I liked it.
gail is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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A co-worker (native of Mass) wants to move back so bad. Her husband (also MA native) refuses. Cost of living is one reason. Snow is the main reason. I realize that's not in the list of questions you ask, but I've heard many a conversation on the Boston vs. Atlanta topic.
starrsville is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Thanks Gail.

My visit will be two-fold. I will spend a day and half in the office and about two days just driving aimlessly. Well, not exactly. But I will spend the time just literally exploring neighborhoods and drives. It will be a weekday/weekend split so I can at least see what rush our traffic is like. I want to also try out the train while I'm there. While I like the city, I don't mind the suburbs at all. If in the suburbs, want to be easily accesible to a train of some kine. This being said, I have no clue if the office is even close to a train station. I have to figure all of that out.

Starrsville, have you been to Boston? I know you post on the GA threads and was just curious.
sk84fungirl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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I've been to Boston for work and I usually tack on a leisure trip to work trips. I've flown into Boston to drive up north to Maine, Canada, etc. I visit the Cape as often as I can. A good friend retired to a small town about 30 miles from Boston. A good friend lives on the Cape. My co-worker grew up on the Cape and lived in Boston as a young adult. Boston is not my favorite city but if you have a good reason to move there, then I would not recommend against it. My co-worker DESPERATELY wants to move back "home"- and lives presently in the northern suburbs of Atlanta - but her hubby won't even consider it.

Check into taxes. I've halfway listened to our Boston rep talk about how awful they are - but I don't have first-hand knowledge. We were ALL amazed at the "view" tax. She shared that consideration was being given to tax homes at a higher rate than neighboring homes if they had a good view of the water.

Flying into Boston is gorgeous in summer with all the boats in the harbor. I love the area in warm weather. I LOVE doing the beach in the summer on the cape.

Whatever you do, carefully consider your commute - but that's true for Atlanta as well, so....never mind.
starrsville is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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I live in the Metro Boston area, and have visited Atlanta a few times. I have these observations:

1. The Boston Metro area seems much more ethnically diverse than Atlanta. This is one small example: I live in a high-rise, and on my floor are people from Russia, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, and Africa. The suburb I live in has such a large Dominican population, that candidates for President of DR have actually campaigned here. We also have a huge southeast Asia population (Cambodia, Vietnam).

This type of ethnic mix is very typical of the Boston area. I did not notice this type of diversity during my visits to Atlanta.

2. There is a huge difference in climate. The Boston Metro area is unbearable in the winter. It gets truly frigid for several months.

3. The other major difference is cost of living. The Boston Metro area is much, much more expensive than Atlanta. Before you make a relocation decision, go to and check out the prices.
JoyceL is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Having lived in New England I simply can't take the freezing cold winters myself (moved to Seattle) so I wouldn't even consider your move. Also I'm not a fan of Boston, hard to describe, but it just isn't an appealling city to me.

Obviously you need to visit first & find out where your potential office is located before you can figure out the rest of the details.

As the most general advice, I would definitely rent, don't buy a place right away, when you move to a new city.
suze is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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I've lived in Boston all my life and love it. Yes taxes are high but trasportation by subway is inexpensive. We have great restaurants and theaters, and museum and shopping!, And we have the Charles River. Right now I'm living in Central Square area, a very multi ethnic place with restaurants featuring the cuisine of many countries.
cigalechanta is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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"We were ALL amazed at the "view" tax. She shared that consideration was being given to tax homes at a higher rate than neighboring homes if they had a good view of the water. "

I have never heard of any community setting up separate rates other than business vs residential. I can't imagine it would be legal, nor how it would be set up. Perhaps your rep was confused by the higher property taxes paid by homes with nice views -- but this is due to a higher home value, rather than a higher rate.
Anonymous is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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We have a "view" tax in some towns in my state for homes on the shoreline. While the "views" are nice, the taxes are outta sight.

I like Boston for visits and love the Cape.

A suggestion - turn on your TV when the Red Sox are playing a home game at Fenway (if you can catch one of their homes games where you are) and look at the fans. This gives you a good idea of the diversity in Boston. Not much.
Zoom is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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It's odd, because while I know Atlanta has a large African American middle class, I find it to be a very segregated city with a real undercurrent of racism and intolerance.
MikeT is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Anonymous - that one comment hit a nerve. I remember my grandmother telling me never to trust strangers that smile and are friendly all the time. She said they were either con artists - or the village idiot - and there's no telling which is more dangerous.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Nope, Anonymous, she wasn't mistaken. That is why it was such intriguing dinner party conversation. Taxes were sky-high already, yes. She and hubby and 3 kids had lived in the house for years. She had family on both sides living in the area. They were well-versed in the taxes of the area. At the time (5 years ago or so) her municipality (a suburb of Boston) was discussing - or had just instituted a "view" tax - an additional tax on the home simply because it had a view.

I have no idea what the tax rate is in Boston. I only know from conversations with those who have moved to the Atlanta area that our taxes are a fraction of what they had paid elsewhere. A fraction. Even in City of Atlanta or north Fulton County - which we think have incredibly high tax rates. Yankees (I used that term fondly) and Californians are SHOCKED at how low our taxes are relatively speaking. We won't even go into the actual cost of the house (but HGTV had a great series on what 250K, 500K, $1M will buy you in different locations)
starrsville is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Remember, though, those taxes pay for lots of things you will find that Boston (and Mass.) do a better job at. Better mass transit, better schools, better higher education, less poverty, lower crimes, commitment to environmental issues, better libraries, better museums
MikeT is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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Ballparks as a way to measure diversity
hmmmmmm....I was at Shea Stadium in Queens in July, nearly everyone there was white, therefore NYC is not diverse.
TKT is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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Here in N CA the property tax is around l.25% of the value of the house plus additonal fees for Bonds that the voters have passed. If you purchased a house today the property taxes will be high because the cost of housing is so high. But it a house was purchased quite awhile ago the property tax is not high as due to Prop 13 that the CA voters passed in 1978. All property taxes were predicated on the value of the houses in 1978. The increase can only be 2% increase in value per year. But once the house is sold then of course the new owners pay the rate based on the new valuse of the house. So a neighborhood can have quite a diversity of what homeowners pay on their dwelling based on how long they have owned the property. Some counties allow the value rate to transfer to another county, but I can't remember which counties have this agreement. And if a house is passed onto to a child or grandchild (as well as to the surviving spouse of course) the value is not recalcuated to the currect value.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Black friends I have. One on the pilitzer prize team on the globe, a Leading newslady,. a prof at Harvard.
So, what's the point? We see lots of places where there are only blacks or whites or..some places are more popular with some groupd than others. Very few ice skaters are black but not because of predudice.
cigalechanta is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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One section you might want to look at while in town is Jamaica Plain.
It borders Dorchester.

Like everything else it has become exepensive. It is an eclectic and diverse area, with a large vibrant Spanish community and a lefty political vibe.

As far as all the ideas about Boston and diversity go:
The City Proper is mostly white middle and upper middle class. Once you leave that area it varies greatly from student filled areas like Allston-Brighton to Latin/Vietnamese areas like Maverick Square in East Boston.
Anyone saying the area isn't diverse
doesn't know much of the area outside downtown. Boston runs the gamut from annoying rigid provincialism to liberal cosmopolitanism. Make sure you take your time walking and talking to people in any neighborhood before you make a choice.

The earlier suggestion to rent for a while before you buy is a good one. I would strongly agree.
TKT is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 05:02 PM
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WOW...what a great thread, .

I purchased two books and a map to help with my research. One is titled "Relocating to Boston and Surrounding Areas" and the other is "Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in Boston". In speaking with my manager, he indicated that the office is near the Bay and maybe a convention center. Upon review of maps, I'm assuming he is referring to Dorchester Bay. I'm going to look up the office address next week to get a better idea. He takes a car back and forth to the office. Could not give me any other details. Now that's a man for you.

STOP! I'm just kidding! Don't want to start any trouble...ha ha ha
sk84fungirl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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It sounds like your office is near South Bay which is on the Dorchester/South Boston line.

South Boston would be a great area in which to live. I'm in my early 30s and actually most of my friends live in Southie. It is still relatively affordable (for Boston standards) and up and coming. The Fort Point Channel area is hot with lots of new condo, restaurant and retail development.

Property taxes are low there. My friend bought a single family for $400K and her taxes are $1100/year. Take a look at Search on property for sale and choose South Boston and you can get an idea of costs. Boston is a great city with lots to do and close to beaches, mountains, NYC, etc. I love it here but the cost of living is very high. You have to decide if you're willing to sacrifice a bit. Only you can decide if it's worth it. Good luck!
wyatt92 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Fungirl- Have you ever lived anywhere with a true WINTER before? That, more than culture shock, would be a really important consideration for me.

suze is offline  

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