Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cultural diversity in West Roxbury

Good piece in the Globe today

This is spot-on:

Jamaica Plain was the spot for young hipsters seeking a tolerant environment. Roslindale was the ethnic melting pot with blue collar roots that young families could afford. But West Roxbury? West Roxbury was what it always had been, a suburban enclave in the city where lace-curtain Irish had settled and never left.

Even as an Irish-born person myself, West Roxbury feels "more Irish than the Irish themselves". Kids called "Conor" and "Sorcha" in Cork and Dublin Gaelic Football jerseys, stores selling Irish paraphernalia, the pubs (like the one with the mural of the "two white guys shaking hands"). Roslindale, which is more diverse, feels more like the Dublin I know (the South inner-city).

Though well researched and well written, the Globe article does have the feel of an Irish Times article circa 2002. "Look, we have a small number of immigrants moving to Ireland! In fact, I think we have a couple of ethnic restaurants now! We are so diverse!":

There was Melinda Keehnle on a recent evening, walking home from Roche Bros. grocery store, as she has always done. The 50-year-old nurse can still be found at the West Roxbury Pub on Friday nights, leading karaoke renditions of old Irish songs, surrounded by the regular crowd.

But other nights, she samples her neighborhood’s new fare.

“I have seven restaurants within two blocks of my house,’’ Keehnle said.

“When I go out on my porch, I can smell Indian and Thai and fresh seafood and burgers. You name it.’’

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