Pros and Cons of Being a City Slicker

I’ve had two very busy months of city life, and have decided to take a step back and look at what I’ve liked and disliked about living in downtown Boston since the end of March, and compare it to suburban PA. Besides the chilly weather (and lack of a real ‘spring’), it’s been really interesting to compare city and rural / suburban life.

This experiment in city living was prompted first by work, but curiosity had a hand in it as well smile While I’m only a third of the way through my time in Boston, it’s been really interesting to get a feel for the city and what it’s like to be downtown. While the newness and amount of work was almost overwhelming at first, I have a far better idea now of what I’ve liked and disliked.

So without further ado, here’s my list for those of you that are curious:

Pros of City Life

I love walking everywhere. This part is really awesome. Max hates it since he misses driving, but I love just walking out the door and going, as well as being outside for a bit each day.

We’re always close to awesome stuff. We’ve had a lot of fun walking the Freedom Trail on the weekends, discovering great live music and restaurants, seeing shows, and taking day trips to places like the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Springfield Armory. Since it’s far easier to get to stuff like this, I think we’re far more likely to do it.

There’s no possible way to be bored. There’s so much going on and a lot of cool historic sites to see. At night, there are bars, restaurants, or shows. At first, the sheer number of choices in things to do was a bit paralyzing, but now we just pick something and do it.

I really love walking to work. Even though I haven’t had a commute of greater than 10 minutes in a long time (and really have never driven more than 25 minutes to work), I still like walking far more. Seeing as I used to ride my bike to coach sports and work in the summer, this shouldn’t be surprising I guess, but I like taking the brisk stroll to the office.

The airport is close. I’ve never really liked flying out of PHL (it sucks), and driving into Philadelphia made things even worse. Taking the express bus to the airport from right outside the office is far easier for the couple times we’ve needed to travel. Cutting down on total travel time is a huge plus for me.

Food. Game over. Honestly, wayyyy too many good food choices, and all within a few blocks. This is a major problem.

Photo Credit: The Oatmeal

Speaking of food: Foodler. Pick any food, get it delivered. Even pay in Bitcoin. Oh, and they deliver booze, too (if your city allows it).

City Life Cons

It’s too bright. I really miss having blackout shades, but I feel like I never even needed them in my townhouse. Here, there’s light everywhere – nights aren’t dark. I don’t like it.

Along with that, it’s noisy. Sometimes I like the feeling that something’s always going on, but not when that something is a siren at 3:30 am in the street below. We’re pretty high up off of the street, which helps, but the noise was a bit weird at first.

Buying groceries and walking home with them is a bit annoying. Not to mention there aren’t huge grocery stores like in the suburbs, and I like to pick out my own food. We’ve tried getting Peapod grocery delivery, which is convenient, but it’s not the same as going to the store and picking out your meals. Anyway, this is the only time that walking really sucks. Sure, we can rent a Zipcar for groceries, but…

I hate driving in the city. Always have. People are crazy, traffic laws seems to be mere suggestions, and I never know what to expect from people except that they’ll do something stupid. No thanks.

The air smells. Not joking. City air smells and tastes bad when you’re used to fresh air (as long as you’re not near the mushroom farms). I really noticed the difference when I was visiting my parents and just sat outside at night breathing clean, delicious air.

This goes without saying, but cities are expensive. Chipotle is, like, $0.50 more per bowl.

Okay, but seriously, rent is outrageous. It’s led me to believe I need to own a city apartment building at some point, because GOOD LORD does a good chunk of change go towards just living here. Supply and demand economics at its finest. Other costs are slightly inflated as well, but not so much that it drives me crazy actually.

Apparently saying, “How ya doin’?” or “Have a good one,” to random people makes me a weirdo. Oops.

Cheesesteaks. Okay, this doesn’t really count since it only pertains to one particular place. But no where outside of the greater Philadelphia can you even come close to one of these babies. This necessitates a detour for every trip into PHL. Oh, and Chick-fil-a. Why in the hell aren’t you anywhere in Boston, Mr. “Eat More Chikin??!?” How I miss your zesty breakfast burritos.

Overall

While being in the city is really fun and interesting, I think I’ll have had my fill by the time we’re ready to move on. There are parts of it I really love and will miss, but nothing beats clean air, quiet nights, and utter darkness for me. Even the amazing food choices available within walking distance. Though that part I will probably miss most.