Get to know Boston via its South End and Seaport

Get to know Boston via its South End and Seaport
So you’ve done the Freedom Trail and the Duck Boats and Harvard Square, and you think you know Boston, right? I get it: I lived in and around Boston for part of my childhood and go back frequently, since I have family all over Massachusetts. I thought I knew Boston, too. But now it’s time to see a new side of Beantown, as The WeekEnder takes you to two hot neighborhoods—the South End and the Seaport—and introduces you to four Bostonians who will help guide the way.

Nia Grace owns a pair of glamorous supper clubs in these two neighborhoods: Grace by Nia in the Seaport and Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in the South End. So she has the ideal perspective on what sets these areas apart—and brings them together. “The South End is that perfect blend of old New England and the nouveau life: It’s so nostalgic and quaint and rich in history,” says Grace. “Then when you go down to the Seaport, it’s the new thing that’s going to one day be a part of history. It’s like the tale of two cities, for real.”

For Grace, launching a 5,000-square-foot restaurant in the Seaport means coming full circle: As a teenager she worked on the Spirit of Boston, a dinner cruise yacht, when the waterfront was nothing like it is today. “The only thing down here was that boat, a few restaurants, and tons and tons of parking lots,” says Grace.

Over the past decade or so, this former industrial wasteland has been transformed into a buzzing neighborhood that’s also known as—fittingly—the Innovation District, where gleaming modern architecture is set against the backdrop of Boston Harbor. Alison Barnard O’Brien decided to open the flagship of her cutting-edge fashion brand, Injeanius, here. “I was drawn by the water,” she says. “Although Boston is on the water, there hasn’t been a big waterfront experience in other neighborhoods—until now.”

Not far from the Seaport is the South End, one of the largest urban Victorian neighborhoods in the country and once home to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. James Beard Award-winning chef Joanne Chang has several restaurants in the area, including Myers + Chang (which serves elevated versions of street food from around Asia) and Flour Bakery + Cafe (whose sticky buns helped put the South End on the food radar). When Chang opened her first outpost of Flour back in 2000, the area had a dirt road running through it. She loved the history and the diversity that still exists today. “The South End encompasses a lot of different types of people,” she says. “There’s some lower income housing, there are million dollar condos, it’s gay, it’s straight, it’s everything.”

And of course, there’s that quintessential Bostonian charm, points out Connie Shaheen, general manager of the South End’s Revolution Hotel. "When you think of Boston, you're picturing the rows of brownstones, the tree-lined streets, and the quaint Brahman style that makes up this neighborhood,” she says.

read full article online
Back to News & Press