The Patent Numbskullery of the Boston Globe

O Rly? OwlUgh…if it isn’t bad enough to live in a city that makes you get up at 6am to watch baseball, but won’t serve you a beer until 8, you gotta come home to this screed on your doorstep. And, yeah, unless your name is Rupert Murdoch, it’s the good paper in town.

Seeing as my space here is limited, I’ll focus my complaints on some recent Globe real estate stories. Number one would have to be the “Best ZIP Codes inside 495” piece. Am I the only one who thinks ZIP is an awfully arbitrary way to go about defining towns and neighborhoods?

I suppose it’s better than telephone prefixes, but still – Back Bay west of Gloucester St. is in the same ZIP as Mission Hill and Ruggles Station? Do these two places look the same to you?

Almost as bad is the Beacon Hill/West End conflation , which leads in nicely to my next gripe – this claptrap on the “efficiency” of high-rises. Citing a 4-year-old New Yorker article rife with inaccuracies, the piece claims that replacing older building with high rises “saves energy, reduces emissions, cuts traffic.”

Yeah, right. Let’s take the historical example of the West End: before the towers, it held 7,000 people, all walking pretty much everywhere. Currently, its population is 4,600, and over 25% of them drive to work every day. Add to that the 2,400 displaced people who’ve got to now drive from Dorchester, East Somerville, Chelsea, or any of the other neighborhoods and towns unsupported by the MBTA and you’ve got a distinct increase in carbon footprint.

Manhattan is one of the densest cities in America. But it’s far from the greenest, and a month-old Popular Science survey backs me up on this. Sunsets at 3pm, constant gridlock, difficult garbage collection; the list of environmental problems brought by extreme density goes on. About the only thing New York has going for it is stellar transit usage numbers, which I feel Bostonians would easily best, if only their transit agency could summon the cash to expand.

Anyway, here are some non-tower residences for your consideration:

373 Comm Ave #603 – $599,000
2 beds, 1 bath, 823 sq. ft.
So plush, you’d never know you were sharing a ZIP code with Mission Hill. But not overly plush – note the sensible kitchen. Too bad the sweeping view is wasted on Bostons lame outdated, non-tower architecture…

20 Beacon St, #3 – $1,895,000
3 beds, 3 baths, 2310 sq. ft.
There’s a political component to this tower debate too, you know. Imagine this luxurious townhouse condo as tower, looming over that stately golden dome. What sort of message does that send, giving people the opportunity to live literally hundreds of feet above the law?

127 Beacon St, #11 – $275,000
0 beds, 1 bath, 277 sq. ft.
Another problem with towers is this thing called capitalism. Turns out, the goal in a capitalist system is to make money, and that you make a lot more money building big, expensive luxury condos instead of more affordable stuff. So if this is your price range, high-end towers put you out of luck.

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