Imagine a fresh start — a chance for Boston to build a new urban neighborhood of the future, untouched by the bigotry of the past.
Start with a swath of nearly 1,000 acres, where rotting railroad piers and asphalt parking lots had lain fallow for generations. Invest more than $18 billion in public money to create some of America’s most valuable property. Envision a seaside neighborhood that city planners said would be for all Bostonians.
And what happened? One of the city’s whitest neighborhoods was born.
In Boston’s thriving Seaport, the pre-dawn joggers are almost all white. The morning rush of commuters — lawyers, accountants, scientists, and financiers — includes very few black faces. The same whiteness dominates night life at the Envoy Hotel’s roof-top bar, such restaurants as Strega Waterfront and Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca, bowling at Kings Dining & Entertainment, and the yoga and exercise classes out on Seaport Common.
How white? This white: Lenders have issued only three residential mortgages to black buyers in the Seaport’s main census tracts, out of 660 in the past decade. The population is 3 percent black and 89 percent white with a median household income of nearly $133,000, the highest of any Boston ZIP code, according to recent US census estimates.