When I was looking for college locations there was only one place on my mind: Boston. New York City was out of the question due to my parents’ disapproval of it being “too close and too large”. Plus, my father had attended college in Boston and later both my parents resided in Brighton together. The words that I constantly heard from them regarding Boston were, “It is a great young city which really caters to their college students.” With such a large concentration of young people this, in my mind, translated into an environment full of great night life and inescapable, liberal, progressive thinking.

I am originally from New Jersey about a half hour away from New York. Having the pleasure of growing up with New York City in my backyard, I was surrounded by all different cultures and races. I was used to seeing these different cultures meshing together in the work place, out at bars, and in relationships. One of the first noticeable and shocking differences I noticed about Boston was how segregated the city truly was. With Boston having a such a liberal reputation, I was stunned. This is something that made Boston feel to me as more of a large town, than a world-class city.

When I first arrived in Boston to attend my dream school, Emerson College, I couldn’t wait to be enveloped in the city’s art, culture, and being a true foodie, of course food. I found my window to enjoy these pleasures, extremely limited. As a full time student, I often didn’t get out of class until 8 o’clock at night. After a full day of class, I was ridiculously hungry. I couldn’t believe with living in downtown Boston, the supposed center of the city, I couldn’t find an eatery that was not a fast-food establishment still serving at that time. This was certainly something I was not used to, coming from a city that is open 24 hours a day.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me was the weekends. Often my friends were out partying, but I am not always in the mood for dirty, drunken Allston house parties (C’mon you know you’ve been to one). I remember sitting in on a Saturday night around 10:30 wishing I could simply go read a book at a café, but unless I wanted to trek to the North End, they were all closed. This seemed unfair that just because I wasn’t in the mood to go to a party and drink, I had no other option than to watch the entire third season of Parks and Rec (it could be worse).

To be quite honest, for my first year at college, I was not the biggest fan of Boston. I found it limiting, especially for someone under 21. Maybe I was just spoiled having grown up with New York City. Now I realize, that was exactly the problem. I was constantly comparing the two, and now I comprehend that they are two entirely different beasts with their own, unique vibes. While I love New York City with all my heart, I now appreciate Boston unlike ever before. Once I stopped comparing the two, I was able to understand the beauty that Boston truly holds.

First off, Boston is absolutely gorgeous and has such impeccable charm that New York City could never emulate. The cobblestone roads of Beacon Hill and the North End are something out of a storybook. Boston is much easier to navigate than New York City and with a smaller radius, it really is possible to walk and experience most of the city in a day. In terms of being a student, it is easy to concentrate and study while simultaneously enjoying the city. This is undoubtedly a city inhabited by young people. I heard the statistic that 1 in 4 people on the streets of Boston is a student, which means there are an endless number of people to meet.

I absolutely am infatuated with Boston now, but when it came to this summer I had to think about my future, meaning opportunity. I am currently a Marketing Communications major at Emerson College. While Boston does have some great advertising agencies such as Arnold, Mullen, and Hill Holiday, they are much fewer than those in New York City. This meant, that indeed, I had to pack my belonging up and head to New York City. The last day, prior to leaving Boston, I was staring out my window at the Boston Common thinking about how much I really was going to miss this place. It has grown into my home. I also couldn’t help to think that I wish Boston’s government would create an environment where more business opportunities could arise (then I wouldn’t have to leave).

So now I have officially settled into my place in NYU’s dorm located in Union Square and have been here for nearly two weeks. I am having the time of my life and love my internship at the social media marketing firm, Likeable Media which also has a smaller office in Boston. For the remainder of my stay I will be updating you on my experiences here in New York City. The purpose of my column is by no means to gloat about New York City, but instead to see what can be incorporated into the city of Boston’s structure, business environment, and culture as a whole. I am doing this with the hopes of turning the city that I love into a more innovative, welcoming, and business savvy place.

Greeting from the Big Apple,

Lindsey

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About Future Boston Alliance

Future Boston Alliance is a non-profit organization seeking to revolutionize our city's creative economy. By advocating for new talent and businesses and holding educational events, we aim to make Boston a hub for collaboration, innovation, and culture.

5 responses »

  1. Ask not what your city can do for you says:

    “After a full day of class, I was ridiculously hungry. I couldn’t believe with living in downtown Boston, the supposed center of the city, I couldn’t find an eatery that was not a fast-food establishment still serving at that time.”

    Um, how about every establishment in Chinatown? Marliave? Locke-Ober? Tantric? Nevermind all the places one or two T stops away. Yes, the places that cater to the working crowd early, and no, we may not have Think or Joe’s for charming late-night coffeeshops right in that area, but this appraisal of the options speaks more to the narrow view of the author than the reality on the streets.

    This limited initial experience doesn’t sound like it’d be especially unusual for a newly arrived college student–I certainly kept close to campus when I was in school. If anything, it takes time to find the places you like, and that’s true anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. “Getting enveloped” in a place’s art, culture, food, scene, etc. doesn’t happen passively. It means actually getting out and exploring. Walking where you don’t already know what’s what. Reaching out to non-school-affiliated organizations and getting involved. Venturing to a new T stop. Bringing friends and supporting local business. Just get out there and look!

    Why is FBA fixated on the NYC comparison? This is the voice we’re bringing? How to make Boston more like NYC?

  2. pc says:

    Likely because it’s an easy comparison: we’re geographically close to NYC, and outsiders compare and contrast the cities often.

    I don’t think it means we need to take everything that happens there and put it here, but I do think its easy for people to say “why can’t we have ____ too?”

  3. Ask not what your city can do for you says:

    OK, then while we’re at it, why can’t we have NYC rents, NYC property values, and NYC sales tax? Let’s not romanticize. And if you think it’s far to get to a late-night coffeeshop from Emerson campus, please don’t forget to share your experience of the commute to/from the apartment you can afford on a starter marketing salary (assuming you are talking about making it on your own) once your dorm situation runs out.

  4. Amazed by these bratty hippies says:

    “While Boston does have some great advertising agencies such as Arnold, Mullen, and Hill Holiday, they are much fewer than those in New York City.”

    Other cities that have fewer advertising agencies than New York, home to Madison Avenue–the epicenter of American advertising:

    Los Angeles
    Chicago
    Houston
    Philadelphia
    Phoenix
    San Antonio
    San Diego
    Dallas
    San Jose
    Jacksonville, FL
    Indianapolis
    San Francisco
    Austin
    Columbus, Ohio
    Ft. Worth, Tx

    …get the point?

  5. Chandler says:

    Why are people upset when they arrive here an realize it’s not NYC. Did ya fall asleep on the Acela and miss yer stop? NYC is a great town…and so is Boston…why bother comparing apples to oranges.

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