Back in the 1990s, when it seemed the only good reason to set foot in East Boston was to get to the airport, a few young professional pioneers arrived and started restoring some of the neighborhood’s beautiful old homes. And then they waited. They had faith that a wave of newcomers would arrive, and that the city and developers would start to take notice. Vindication is here.
“There’s been a real proliferation in the last year and a half,” says Anthony Giacalone, owner of Tony’s Realty. “The economy’s more stable and interest rates are still low, so there’s a whole new population between 25 and 35 who were too young before. They’re first-time homebuyers looking at East Boston as one of the most diverse neighborhoods. It’s extremely close to the city, and still a little less expensive.”
That last part, “less expensive,” may not last long, with the amount of money being poured into Eastie in the form of parks, a $17 million library, capital improvements to streets and shopping areas, and five waterfront projects in the works that include restaurants, a health club, marina, and water taxi landing. Vindication is sweet.
The median condo price
a steal compared with the $445,000 median of Boston as a whole. In the past decade or so, a lot of the older housing stock has been renovated and split into condos, and developments like Porter 156 have added modern lofts to the mix. Hundreds of new units — including rentals — are currently in development.
Percentage increase in median condo prices
from 2012 to 2013, more than triple the 8.5 percent for Boston as a whole in the same period.
Percent of Eastie That is Hispanic or Latino
Eastie has always been a neighborhood of immigrants; it’s been known most recently for its Italian flavor, but Irish, Russian, and Portuguese immigrants have also called it home. The newest wave came in the 1980s and changed the blighted neighborhood to the vibrant melting pot it is today.
The year it was founded
The East Boston Co. oversaw the residential and commercial development of the neighborhood, giving it a grid layout with squares for open greenspace. Many of the houses built in the early 1800s still stand, with particularly stately examples clustered in Eagle Hill and Jeffries Point.
Pros & Cons
There’s more culture in Eastie than you think.
Atlantic Works Gallery offers Third Thursday cocktail
receptions, the HarborArts Shipyard Gallery (right) is a large collections of outdoor art, and the New England
Gallery of Latin American Art is small but powerful. The nonprofit Zumix brings music to kids and the community with free shows.
Consistent nightlife is still lacking.
The bar in Maverick Square known as Eddie C’s opened around 1960 and hasn’t changed much; Kelly’s Square Pub and Ecco, both lively, are the other best games in town.
Ethnic restaurants on every corner.
There’s Rino’s and Off the Boat for Italian, Mi Pueblito and Angela’s for Mexican, El Paisa for Colombian, Rincon Limeno for Peruvian, Mehak Halal for Pakistani and Indian, Siagon Hut for Vietnamese, and KO Pies for Australian.
There’s still a lot of grit.
Aesthetics are wanting in spots. Sumner Street, the main drag of Jeffries Point, is a jumble of electrical wires with little greenery, and the original architectural details of too many triple-deckers are hidden by plain-Jane vinyl siding.