There is a nice article in the Globe today by a recent BU graduate about how unfriendly this city can be.
This point has been made clear to me by two things: my wife and my time in New Orleans. My wife who came from Miami to finish up her Ph.D constantly talks about how unfriendly this city is, and especially the looks she gets when she speaks in Spanish, her native tongue. It is hard to make new friends here, exemplified by the fact that two of her best friends here in Boston are ex-girlfriends of mine. The two years I spent in New Orleans working to rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina showed me what real friendliness and Southern Hospitality are all about. Despite obviously being a disdained Yankee (and boy did I hate being called a Yankee!), I was constantly being invited to people's houses for BBQ's, or to parties or music halls, just for the sake of enjoying life.
The Globe writer ends her story admitting she, too, walks around with her eyes down, Ipod on, but hoping for someone to say hello. I've been making it a point since I came back from New Orleans to try and say hello to people I pass on the street, just as nearly everyone does down in the Big Easy. Just last evening on Milford Street where I was replacing a disposal I said hello to a woman who was walking alone, no headphones on, and she completely ignored me. Their loss I believe, or more importantly, society's loss when basic friendliness is trumped by self importance or self interest.
One of the things I really hope to do when Mayor is work to break down the divisions in this city. I don't want us to lose our hard working, innovative, driven genetic makeup, but I do want us to enjoy our free time even more. (One of the things that drove me crazy about New Orleans was the abundance of talk and the lack of action)
I would love to have a celebration party on the Hatch Shell with music that would attract people from Project Hip Hop, to aficionado's of my wife's homeland of Colombia, to people of my Irish and Scottish heritage, and everything in between. Wouldn't that be great!