Editor's Letter: May 2007

Street Smarts

My wife and I, taking liberties, tell people we live in Huron Village. Really, our condo is a lot nearer to the Strawberry Hill neighborhood, and technically is part of West Cambridge, which aren’t particularly useful as reference points, and, besides, don’t fit as neatly with the lifestyle we like to imagine our location affords. We bought the place two years ago because, well, the price was right, and because it gave us what we most wanted: more space, without the need to abandon city living. Or at least not totally abandon it—if you were to look it up on a map, you’d see our street all but tickles the Belmont and Watertown lines.

After my son was born last summer, it was decided that I needed my own car, and would give up the two-bus commute—a burden I am sure earns longer-suffering riders a special place in heaven—I’d been enduring to get to the Boston magazine offices. (True, this makes me a mass-transit sellout, though a very contented one.) But back when I was transferring from the crammed 71 line to the often more crammed number 1, I used to console myself with the thought that everyone who buys a home in this area has to make concessions. Even if you have unlimited funds, for example, the scarcity of new housing means your dreams will likely be constrained by the vision of the original builder, who, among other things, may have failed to foresee the importance of certain modern conveniences. Like closets.

This month’s cover story, though, has led me to reconsider my theory. In past years, our annual Best Places to Live issue has taken up the question of which towns rank as the healthiest, or offer the most bang for the buck. This time around we decided to zoom in further and identify the best streets to live on [“If You Lived Here…You’d Never Want to Leave,”]. In the process, we discovered there are some lucky souls out there whose chosen addresses do give them everything they could ask for: surrounding residences with curb appeal; negligible crime and high-scoring schools; easy access to open spaces and transportation; reasonable prices (yes, these people deserve our envy); and an array of great restaurants and shops a saunter away. It’s a fun, informative list, even if you’re not currently looking to sell or buy. Me, I’m planning on using the next rain-free weekend we get to make the 2 1/2-mile trek over to Maple Avenue—number 8 in the city, by our measure—for a bit of leisurely house-ogling. —James Burnett, editor