editorial | open up boston
February 28, 2013
Last in a series
TheForest Hills area is mired down by poverty, gang violence and drugs. It also has a different racial makeup. If you want to make an honest comparison between it and Davis Square then drop the euphemisms and put on your bug-boy pants and discuss it. I agree with almost everything in this article. I just wish the Globe writers would get real sometimes.
Forest Hills lacks some key ingredients that are in abundance in Davis Square: (1) proximity to prestigous universities and their students, and (2) an endless supply of yuppies. I thnk the comparison is silly. Forest Hills is marked by a huge influx of poor immigrants who have been shoved out of other parts of Boston.
The MBTA has an administration building there which is becoming dilapidated. No answers here on where they could go, but the land would be an ideal spot for nice apartments.
You are right. Monstrous steps by Somerville city council and their Mayors pushed renewal of Davis Square into a reality.
There was a point when Davis Square was similar to Central Square. However, there is no longer any comparison between the two centers which are only about a mile apart. Central Square is a deteriorating area with filthy streets, designated taxi parking spaces given priority, and as many homeless pan-handlers as Cambridge residents within the vicinity.
The difference in the vision, planning and action of any city, or organization, falls upon the leadership. In this case the lack thereof falls upon city council members coupled with lack of vision by the Mayors.
Also, remember the primary Somerville Mayor during the D-Square revival was Mike Capuano, a guy that most conservatives currently revile, when they're not praising the opportunities of D-Square. Yes, it does take persistence, planning, and attention to revitalize an area. But conservatives would prefer to "let the market do it." Sometimes, the market needs some help and a nudge.
A few thoughts - Forest Hills station is scary, especially when the schools let out (lots of fights). Getting rid of the bridge is just going to add traffic to an area already in gridlock with Hyde Park Ave, Washington St, and South St coming together. Living there would be like living on Mass Ave - no thanks!
I lived in Davis Square prior to the advent of the Red Line and for many, many years after that. I saw the changes come over the decades to the square, sometimes, in my opinion, not really for the better. I and my friends rode the Red Line that first day to Harvard Square, wondering what was in store. Well, after a brief burst of excitement in the area, people forget that the whole thing stalled for a number of years from the late eighties through the early nineties, until the city planners and the economy both got in sync. I remember at one low point bemoaning that the Square was comprised only of pizza places and banks. (I also said that, if we weren't careful, Davis would becme another Cambridge Central Square.) Many years later I counted, with almost equal dismay, the burgeoning "coffee" scene, where there were at one point, SEVEN separate venues whose main product was coffee. And that didn't count the additional restaurants that also served coffee. Sloooowly, ever so slowly, the Square rebounded. But, along with it, came hugely increased housing/rental costs. Eventually, by the early oughts, I felt priced out of the Square area; most of my friends had moved out, and in 2006 I did likewise. I miss it sometimes, but not its more recenty acquired glitzy veneer. Ah, what are you gonna do?
Whaaaat? Davis Square has, "recenty acquired glitzy veneer?" Too funny!
Davis Square is still part of Somerville. Just because it borders on Cambridge does not make it even close to "upscale" It may have yuppies, high rents, students from the surrounding areas who room together in multiples and pay ridiculous rents . It may be convenient for them now,as transients, but doubtful they would stay long term. While Davis Sq. has some good restaurants and clubs, it still has an aura of gloom like most of Somerville.
As one who goes through Forest Hills daily, I would like this reporter to pay a visit.
One, there are new semi-yuppie restaurants on Hyde Park Ave. opposite the station, the last apartment block on South Street has just been renovated and the Harvest Coop has just opened a new store a block down on Washington Street toward a revitialized Roslindale Square (the original Main Streets site in the city).
The first two comments are well taken, but also Davis Square does not have a crumbling overpass at its front door and entrance/ramps to either side of the station.