Boston North End Apt

Jan 17th, 2009, 08:00 PM
  #1  
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Boston North End Apt

I would like an opinion on renting an apt for a week in midJune. This will be our family's first visit to Boston, 2 Adults 3 children. The rates are good and it is supposed to be in the heart of North End, two minutes away from North Station. Does this sound like a good area to stay in?? Safe?? How far a walk would it likely be to the Commons and other downtown area attractions. Thanks for your suggestions.
mommybryant is offline  
Jan 17th, 2009, 09:11 PM
  #2  
 
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The area is generally safe and good with kids. Tons of restaurants and shopping right there. However, the only "attractions" you could walk to with kids would would be the Aquarium, Fanuiel Hall, and some of the Freedom Trail - maybe the Science Museum depending on the exact locatin and ages of kids. (Although my teen-age son and friend walked to Fenway with some lost detours along the wayI!) There is a shuttle boat you could take to Old Ironsides in Charlestown that leaves near the Aquarium. I think the Commons, Newbury Street, and theatre district would be a good 30-40 minutes away, but you could probably take the subway fairly easily.
Others will probably feel differently, but I'm not sure Boston is particulary pedestrian-friendly. There is alway construction and cars crossing at weird angles everytime you try to walk.
Have fun with your planning!
Dreamer2 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 02:52 AM
  #3  
 
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Two minutes from North Station means the northern edge of the North End, good for the Green Line at North Station and possibly Haymarket, good to be away from Hanover Street evening madness, bad in being a bit farther from attractions and restaurants. Still, I am one of those who think Boston is a fabulous walking city as long as you look both ways before crossing the street!

Ask: what floor and is there an elevator(most buildings are 3-5 stories and are walkups); air-conditioning? (Boston is usually not too hot in June but you are not likely to want to have the windows open because of street noise); what street and number, if you can get it (a couple of streets are traffic short cuts). There have been a number of condo conversions on Commercial Street and Washington that are modern loft-type buildings with all modern conveniences, if only technically in the North End.

Within the North End, there will be no street parking, there is no supermarket in the neighborhood, and the streets will be grubby, but you are perfectly safe. The buildings don't look anything at all like Europe (most of them are tenements built around 1900 for immigrants) but the street experience is very much like being in Europe. There are excellent small grocers, geengrocers, butchers, and bakers. You will have a very, very urban experience without any real urban danger. Okay, I will risk being assaulted for being politically incorrect, but despite the Yuppie invasion, there is still a significant Mafia presence, and they do not tolerate street crime.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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What street? How did you find it? What is the price compared to other places you located? In Boston, all lodging is expensive and if the price is way below market rate, I would be very, very careful. People call lots of things certain neighborhoods - for example, there are a couple of hotels that describe their location as South End and South Boston which are really in commercial areas of Dorchester. So give those of us familiar with Boston some more info and we can either scare or steer you in the right direction.
gail is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 06:53 AM
  #5  
 
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you can walk from the North End to a Whole Foods for groceries. Lots of restaurants around. easy access to both green and orange lines of the T as well as commuter rails. which can take you anywhere you want to go.
could even walk to the red line T near mass general hospital, not far from the north end at all!

can certainly walk to the museum of science, freedom trail, fanueil hall, USS Constitution, etc. little longer walk to other areas.

the only thing I'd worry about in the north end is parking. But if you are renting an apartment I assume they have resident passes to give you with the apartment to put in your car. that would make sense.

also no apartments in the north end are large by any means. they are very small. and usually a walk up without elevator. I have friends that live in the North End and DH and I thought of buying a condo there but it's too small!
LizaMarie is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 07:03 PM
  #6  
yk
 
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I agree with gail. Do you know what streef it actually is?

2 minutes from North Station... I'd be a bit leery. The immediate vicinity of North Station is very, very dead at night, so I'd be interested if the apt is really in North End as it claims.
yk is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 07:20 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the tips. You have given me some things to think about. I have emailed the owner for more info and hope to hear back. I appreciate the local feedback. Those were some things I hadnt thought about. I know it is a 2nd floor unit 2br 2ba across the street from a park/playground and that is about all. He said there was some paid parking across the street. I will let you know what else I find out.
mommybryant is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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It sounds a lot like a short term rental I visited a couple of years ago on Commercial Ave - definate walkup with perhaps a rooftop patio? I think with kids it is a fantastic area. There are the waterfront parks including a city pool, baseball and a real italian bocci court..... and the Columbus park just up the street as well as the whole waterfront and aquarium quite close. Boston is an easy accessable city by foot or you can walk to NorthStation or Haymarket for T lines. Boat excursions are very accessible from that area as well.

I think June is the perfect time to visit this neighborhood as your home base.

Let us know the address, as if I am in the neighborhood or others are, we can confirm.
gyppielou is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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I am having trouble placing anyplace in the actual North End with pay parking lot/garage across the street. Get an address.
gail is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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It has to be on Prince Street or Snow Hill Street, most likely Prince, just off Commercial.

The garage is the garage on the corner of Prince and Commercial Street where the Brinks Robbery took place way back in the 1950's (or was it just the movie being filmed there?).

The playground is right behind the garage.

This is one of the streets that I was thinking of that is a major short cut, busy all the time, and the playground, park, and basketball courts across the street will be packed on a June evening.

This is not a bad thing if the apartment is air-conditioned since it is very characteristic of North End culture, but it will be noisy with the windows open unless you are in the back of the building.

Another cultural note: if you walk up Prince toward Hanover, you will see a building on your left just before you get to Salem St with "mirror" film on the windows. That was the headquarters of Gennaro (Jerry) Angiulo, the head of the Boston Mafia. As of October, the building looked the same as before he went to prison, but who knows who the current occupants are. There always used to be guys loitering outside, keeping an eye on things.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:39 PM
  #11  
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Oh my goodness! Thanks for the information. I emailed the owner several days ago for more information, but have not heard back. Not sure that is a good sign. The place is rented up through the Spring though. I think I will keep looking unless he emails me back with more info. The rates werent cheap, but better than a hotel. SO will keep all your thoughts in mind. Thanks to you all!
mommybryant is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 11:44 AM
  #12  
 
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Here's a couple agencies that I have used and rented apartments from:

http://www.boston-bnbagency.com/

http://www.bnbboston.com/boston-bnbs/b&bs_4c.php

Don't think they have much in the North End and I don't know your budget, but both apartments I rented were just fine. I have also used VRBO in other areas with great success.

I also think Boston is great for walking.
RuthMc is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 02:58 PM
  #13  
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Okay..I think I have found a better place to stay (other owner never emailed me back)and we are now thinking about moving our vacation dates from midJune to mid July. Any plusses or minuses there?? The new apt is in the 500 block of Shawmut Ave which I think is on the South end. Anyone familiar with that area??
mommybryant is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 03:22 PM
  #14  
yk
 
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500 Shawmut is almost to Mass Ave. You are correct that it is in South End, but to me, while it is considered a hip area, it is still somewhat dodgy at certain areas.

I think it's safe enough, as I eat at Toro (1 block away on Washington) several times at night, but I would rather stay somewhere else as a tourist.

I can tell you that if you asked this question 10 years ago, then the answer is definitely NO WAY, as it was not a safe neighborhood at all. But the area has gentrified the last decade or so, so you'll find a mix of gay couples, yuppies, and homeless people, drug addicts in that area now.

FYI, the closest T stop is Mass Ave station of the Orange line, which is about 0.5 mile away.

Lastly, July can be HOT in Boston. Last summer my parents came visit us in July, and it was close to 90F with 90% humdity. Does the apartment have a/c, in case you need it? IMO, June would be a better month to visit.
yk is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 03:43 PM
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without knowing the details or address of the Northend property in June - it excited me more than this one.
gyppielou is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 05:43 AM
  #16  
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The hot weather doesnt bother me so much as we are from the hot and humid South, so I guess it will be a lot like home. There is A/C in the South End condo. It is near the bakery Flour, which sounds good. I am a little concerned about the walk to the T if it is 1/2 mile, but maybe that isnt too far in city terms. We arent lazy, just wondering about how we will feel after walking the city all day being that far away. But on the other hand, I havent found anything else I like better. Never heard back from the owner of the North End condo. oh well...
mommybryant is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 04:18 PM
  #17  
yk
 
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1/2 mile is nothing for Boston standard. FYI, the closest Green Line T stop (Symphony) is a bit further than that.
yk is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 10:16 AM
  #18  
 
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Just make sure there is AC in all rooms. When I was shopping apartment rentals in that area, there often was a window unit in either the living room or bedroom but not both.
RuthMc is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:03 PM
  #19  
cw
 
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I agree with yk. I don't think it's a great location for first-time visitors to the city. It isn't convenient for sightseeing, especially with 3 children.

If you don't mind my asking, where are you finding these apartment listings?
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