It was 60 degrees in Boston on Saturday – nearly a breezy summer day. People wore shorts and T-shirts, and I even wore sandals. My husband and I drove throughout the city, running errands. I love to study urban neighborhoods, so we canvassed the city.
There are the bodegas we call “Puerto Rican stores” (because the owners of these mini-markets are usually Latino). I counted the liquor stores and the aged African-American men loitering, inebriated and intoxicated, sipping alcohol dressed in brown paper bags.
We drove past a New York Fried Chicken fast food restaurant – yes, there is New York chicken in Boston. At a red light, I watched a kid struggling to skate smoothly on the broken and uneven pavement. There was a “For Rent” sign on a three-family home that was desperately in need of repair. There are store-front churches on just about every block in the city.
The sidewalks were adorned with litter. The pizza shops and hardware stores were graced with graffiti art. And makeshift graves of murdered victims hugged the light poles. A woman walked the street carrying a garbage bag stuffed with dirty clothes, her children straggling behind, hauling the Tide and bleach.
It is the urban life and the hope for its restoration that makes me love my city.