Two related stories in this morning’s Boston Globe: one of the city’s mainstay publications, The Atlantic, has announced they are packing up and moving south, to Washington, D.C. The magazine, a 148 year Boston institution, doesn’t come right out and say it’s just too expensive to do business in Boston these days, but read between the lines. I question the Globe’s reporting practices on this story – nobody comes right out and says it costs too much to do business here, and that’s disturbing. Anyone with half a brain knows it. My gut: did a city official reach out the Globe and ask them to go light on this one?
The other (related) story focuses on recent U.S. Census numbers which indicate that the number of people leaving Suffolk County (aka Boston and its surrounding towns) is growing. Well, did anyone not see this coming? I’m remembering a conversation I had with a real estate agent a couple of years ago and he ended up irritating me with some comments about the overheated real estate market. I remember telling him something along the lines of “well, when people start leaving this area because of the cost of living, you may have to get yourself a second job.” He laughed at me. I’m sure he’s doing ok.
Bottom line: people are leaving. Smart people. People I know. Most importantly, middle class people like us, who make enough money and should be able to enjoy the spoils that a city has to offer. They’re tipping their hat and saying buh-bye. Could Steph and I have bought a condo in town? Sure. But who wants to spend more than half their income on housing? Experts say that your cost for housing should be roughly 28-30% of your income. In Boston the average is, ready for this, nearing 60%! What person in their right mind would buy something in an area where you’re spending 60% of your gross income just to maintain a residence? If you’re a parent, living there means you have little-to-no-hope of saving for the future and to top it off, you would have to live with a school system for your children which leaves a little something to be desired. Sterling, MA doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? (inside joke, sorry)
I don’t think it’s over by any stretch, either. Massachusetts officials stammer and stutter that the U.S. Census Bureau isn’t counting college students or immigrants and say that the actual numbers are rising! “Just look around the city,” they say. To that, I say bull. When I look around the city, I see that all of my friends have left in the last 2-3 years. Poof. This claim is desperation and obvious spin on the part of our city officials. If things keep heading this way, and there’s no sign this is going to stop, Boston’s going to turn into a playground for the overly privledged and an even worse nightmare for the less privledged than it is now. The result will be a city without a soul, no different than Omaha, Birmingham or Phoenix. The city officials know it – they’ve known it for years now. Furthermore, as more time passes and more people smarten up and realize that the playing field is leveling off in our country, the chances of “world class” being lopped off as a common descriptor of Boston become closer and closer to a reality.
It’s a damn shame, really. The city would rather sop up all the money they can now on short-term gains than realize that Al Gore’s invention really has changed everything and it’s still only scratched the surface. You can set up shop and run a business from just about anywhere now. You can double your living space and most importantly, for both of these (labor and living), you can cut your overall costs in half by moving away via any two hour plane ride to anywhere. Bad sign. The city had better get off its greedy high-horse soon.
Yesterday’s picture: Cari was close. It’s a bird’s eye view, indeed, however it’s not a floor lamp. It’s actually a picture taken directly above 1/5th of our new chandelier which sits directly above our dining room table. It has five little polished steel branches off the hub of the light and this is one of them, which exlains the metal bar going up and to the left. The “blur” is the small light blub. Cool.