Commentary: Teenview

July 25, 2008
By

SARAH BLANCHETTE

Invasion of the yuppies

The word “yuppie” is defined in one dictionary as a young, educated, city-dwelling professional. Not a terribly insulting definition, it certainly does not sound like a jab. But in some areas of the city, a yuppie is just about the worst thing that you can be called. I live in South Boston. Once an area ridden with crime, violence and the Irish mafia, it is now the ideal home for young men and women working in the city.

People flock to both JP and Southie for their city culture and convenience, but also because of their historic appeal as places where everyone knows each other. Is it possible that turning these neighborhoods into upscale destinations for the well-off will forever tarnish that feeling?

In JP, this movement has become much more accepted than other places. For example, my first day of work, I went to The Purple Cactus to grab a burrito for lunch. After I ordered, the man at the counter asked me what kind of wrap I wanted for my burrito. Perplexed, I answered, “Regular?”

He must have seen the pure confusion on my face, because we both shared a good laugh at my response. But, honestly, I felt like a fish out of water. Wraps, especially such a variety, are usually associated with the yuppie crowd. In Southie, this group is not as catered to as in JP. Sure, there are the occasional fancy cafes with a billion ways to get your coffee, but I frequent the kind of places that offer, if any, one kind of wrap.

There are many reasons some South Boston natives do not care for this new crowd. Many middle-aged people who have lived in the area their entire lives have witnessed the turmoil this city was once in. They strongly believe that the newcomers could never fully understand the feeling of community that was once a staple in their neighborhood. After all, as recently as 1994, U.S. News & World Report said South Boston had the highest concentration of poor white Americans in the United States.

There are many other reasons people give for not liking these new yuppie types: they are snobby; they are causing the cost of living to increase; and—the biggie—they simply do not belong. The most evident of these reasons is the increasing prices of houses. The average price of a single-family house in JP as of July 13 is a staggering $644,550, according to Altosresearch.com! These may not appear to be the most legitimate reasons for not welcoming a group of people, but, as we all know, people tend to get very sensitive when it comes to their neighborhoods.

Even so, I cannot help think that maybe neighborhoods in Boston should take a hint from JP. Change is hard, and usually avoided at all costs, but maybe it is time to upgrade our neighborhoods. After all, diversity is what makes each place unique. Maybe we could all benefit a little from having a choice of wraps for our sandwiches.

The writer is an intern from WriteBoston. She will be a senior at Odyssey High School in the fall.