Boston - first impressions
Boston is a modern American city that has at the same time somehow managed to retain the feeling of a quaint European town (or what I imagine one would feel like, since I still have yet to go to Europe!). Though maybe this shouldn't be so surprising, given that Boston is one of the oldest settlements established by the Europeans in America. The compact, yet walkable and dense (with a population rivalling San Francisco) city lends itself to a connectedness that binds the the city and its residents together. I was especially enamoured with the vast beautiful green oases in the heart of downtown, which serve as a brief respite for the office workers who conglomerate their during their lunch breaks. It certainly was a refreshing change from the lifeless awkward artificial sprawl that characterizes the South Bay.
We did not see many traces of Boston's discriminatory past, thought admittedly we spent only a very short amount of time in Boston. The neighbourhoods seemed to be quite segregated though, still. There was a Chinese woman who asked me for help after standing in Filene's basement for two hours because she did not speak English and had not seen any other Chinese in all that time. It was also rare to see many African Americans on the T, which is a little strange, given that 25% of Boston is black. This could also be because the development of the T has been skewed towards whiter neighbourhoods (I've read some articles which suggest this, citing the fact neither Grove Hall or Chelsea are on the T - just like how we have Caltrain on the peninsula, or light rail through Campbell but not through East San Jose).