Imagine you are walking on Beach Street in Boston, approaching the creatively named Surface road. You see a tall Chinese style gate with gold Mandarin lettering, presumably saying something like, “welcome” or “spring roll”. On either side of this massive gate is a fierce looking guardian lion statue. Where are you and what are all of the foreign letters on all the neighborhood signs? You have stumbled across Boston’s Chinatown district! Chinatown, as its name suggests is the center of East/Southeast Asian cultural life for the city of Boston. It is the 3rd largest Chinatown in America, has a population of approximately 4,400 residents ( 70% of which is Asian) and is bordered by the Boston Common, Downtown Crossing, the Theatre District, Bay Village and the South End. It has a median home value of $992,000 and median rent of $3,500. Proximity to Tufts Medical Center, South Station, Boston Common, and the Massachusetts Turnpike all partially explain the high cost of living here. Chinatown is known for its bustling business district with authentic Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants located inside.
Want to buy a Chinese medical remedy, a pet turtle, a turtle to perhaps cook for dinner, or Asian art work? All of these and more can be found within traditional Asian markets within. Located along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, Chinatown Park ( near the aforementioned stone lion guarded Chinatown gate) has an open plaza where many Chinese festivals are celebrated. Within the green gardens of this park plants of Asian origin transport visitors away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into a moment of Zen reflection and peace. Located within Chinatown on Washington Street is the Josiah Quincy Elementary School.
The Massachusetts Department of Education rated this Pre-K through 5th grade school a 1 out of 5. This means it has attained the top rating and is meeting gap narrowing goals. In English, Math, and Science this school scores 13, 15, and 28 points higher than the Boston District as a whole on the Composite Performance Index. This indicates a very high percentage of students who are at or progressing towards proficiency on in these subject areas. Due east of Chinatown is the Leather District of Boston. The Leather District is bound by Kneeland Street to the south, Essex Street to the north, Atlantic Avenue to the east, and Lincoln Street to the West. The median home value for the Leather District is slightly less than Chinatown at $845,000 and median rental price of $2,995. It is comprised of nine blocks and used to be home to the leather industry, hence the name. Most of the buildings within are brick warehouse structures with sturdy cast iron columns; these mostly have been converted to loft style residences with large display windows still present on the first floors. Some of these loft residences are full amenity/luxury style such as Atlantic Residences, Beach Street Lofts, Lincoln Street Lofts, South Street Residences, and Lafayette Lofts. There are several newly constructed fancy high rise residences throughout the leather district. One example is the Tower at 1 Greenway Place; it “features 24/7 concierge, underground parking, and resident fitness center. Ultra luxury units feature wide plank hardwood flooring, chef-style kitchens, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and coffered ceilings.”