By Matt Ryan
As the car lurches down the street, I look to my left and see a giant mound of garbage and used furniture -- a bedbug playground, if you will. To my right, thereís a girl with pink hair and a Sonic Youth t-shirt on the phone, bawling her eyes out over something that canít possibly be important. The future of America whizzes by me on fixies and longboards.
Itís Sept. 1, 2010: my first day of rocking an 02134 ZIP code -- something I quickly grew to hate. During my time in Allston, I learned exactly why itís undoubtedly one of the worst places to live in America. These are my top five reasons.
The B Line. Itís bad enough The Creeper Line has a stop every three seconds (Why does BU get three stops? Why?! What other college has that?). But then, because itís a trolley, every rush hour or Red Sox game adds an extra 25 minutes to your commute. The B Line is also tiny and usually filled with bombastically drunk undergrads after 11 p.m. on any given Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. If youíre a big fan of panic attacks, ride this line every day.
The Noise. If Allston has one redeeming quality, itís that itís easily one of the cityís best places to see live music. But between Allston Rock City, the bars, the house parties, and the 500,000 drunk morons who just got their first taste of adulthood, the areaís going to have a pretty high decibel level at any given time. Invest in earplugs.
The Filth. They donít call it Allston Rat City for nothing: Piles of garbage everywhere, puke on the streets, graffiti, and the stench of dying motivation make this place a postcard for urban decay. The amount of trash from Allston Christmas so outrageous it actually inspired the mayor to launch an annual pick-up-your-trash campaign. On a bad day, this place makes Calcutta look like the Ritz Carlton.
The Housing. Students tend to be first-time renters, which means theyíre easier to take advantage of -- something landlords know very well. So it shouldnít come as that much of a surprise that Allston is a haven for slumlords who charge exorbitant rent while letting things like pest control, maintenance, and upkeep slide at their properties. If youíve already moved to the vast wasteland, itís probably too late to do anything about your rent price, but you donít have to let your landlord get away with neglecting your living space: Know your rights.
The People. There are plenty of nice, wonderful people living in Allston who do not fit the stereotype -- but there are also plenty of stupid shirtless fat guys with Zach Galifianakis beards, couch vagabonds, college-kid drug dealers who have seen one too many episodes of The Wire, rave kids who missed the party, smelly-crust punks with mushrooms growing out of their ears, untalented white rappers, trustafarians, apolitical neo-hippies in drum circles, suburban thugs, BU Eurotrash, BC bros, lost Harvard kids, and -- in case I missed anyone, let me just say it -- hipsters.
Allston, for all intents and purposes, is a transient neighborhood filled with lost 20-somethings living in a state of perpetual adolescence. For the love of God, do not move here under any circumstances.
Photo by Elizabeth Thomsen (Flickr)
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