Ayanna Pressley: Why I Love Dorchester

Photo by Scott M. Lacey

As part of our annual cover story Best Places to Live 2012, we invited prominent Boston residents to tell us what they love about their ‘hood. Here, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley shares the reasons why she loves Dorchester.

When I was ready to buy my first home after years of renting, I immediately zeroed in on Dorchester. Boston’s biggest neighborhood is also its most diverse, and you can eat your way around the world: Irish in Adams Village, Vietnamese in Fields Corner, Cape Verdean around Bowdoin/Geneva, Caribbean in ­Codman Square, and classic soul food in Lower Mills. But there is one trait that all residents share: pride. And it isn’t limited to the borders on a city map. Just as every animal is part of a kingdom, phylum, class, and order, every Dorchester resident has a parish, school, park, and neighborhood that they identify with. If I meet someone who is OFD (originally from Dorchester), I expect them to ask me which parish and neighborhood I live in. They’re not trying to expose me as an outsider. It’s just a local’s way of breaking the ice, the answer an opportunity for newcomers and longtime residents to find common ground. There’s a real effort among locals to connect and build a community. Neighborhood associations abound. Youth groups flourish. Seniors are cherished. Families of every model find acceptance and open arms, and residents take pride in that. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. —Ayanna Pressley

Read Best Places to Live 2012 to find out how much your house is worth, our top Boston real estate picks, and more.