Allston Rat City’s Guide to Living in Allston.
To all those who moved out in the past month, we wish you luck wherever you may be. (Unless it’s New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, or San Francisco.)
Now, to those who are just moving in today, let us be the first to welcome you to the neighborhood. We hope you settle in soon. Since you’re new here, first let’s set some ground rules and then we’ll catch you up on what’s been going on.
- You are an adult now. Act like one.
- This is not your fucking parents’ house. We won’t clean up after you. If you’re having a party, let your neighbors know. They’ll appreciate a heads-up. You should even go a step further and give them your number in case they want to text you to simmer down a little.
- Watch out for your friends and be aware of situations around you. Yes, you want to party. Sometimes, parties can get out of hand. Instead of being a drunkard (yes, I told my roommate I was going to bring this word back) you could be hyper-alert so that no one is hurt or taken advantage of. Have conversations with your friends/housemates and don’t be scared to ask your neighbors for help.
So. The next thing I want to bring up goes for every tenant in the area. In the coming days you will be filling out a form for your landlord that goes through the condition of the unit you’re living in.
Yesterday morning, a fire broke out in Lower Allston. People literally MOVED IN that day only for the fire to burn their house down, and with it all of their belongings. Now, while we don’t know how long it’s been since the landlord last had an inspector check the wiring, the official cause has been deemed an electrical fire.
The abolishment of rent control in 1994 immediately doubled most rents and forced families out of their homes. Landlords favor students.
Students only live in units for a short amount of time. If your unit isn’t up to code, you might not even be living there long enough to realize.
It is your responsibility to know your rights as a tenant. Please ask your landlord about the last time the wiring was checked, because you’re not going to figure it out while you’re filling out the condition form. Some units haven’t been checked in years. It’s suffice to say that there are MANY units in the neighborhood that aren’t up to code. If you start to realize this, you CAN in fact withhold rent. This also applies to crucial repairs that need to be made, such as an unstable deck.
Here is a booklet that you can read informing you of your rights.
We also strongly recommend that you get renter’s insurance. It’s cheaper than you think.
The City of Boston, in tandem with universities, has recently started logging every student/off-campus house. We recommend they use this database to send the tenants’ rights pamphlet to every student.
We also wish that they use this to send information and educational materials to every student regarding consent. Sexual assault is a problem, especially in a neighborhood where so many young people are out of their houses, living on their own for the first time.
If you’re at a party and see suspicious behavior that might get someone hurt, INTERVENE. If you see someone harassing another person, INTERVENE. If someone is at your party making others uncomfortable, KICK THEM THE FUCK OUT.
This isn’t about being a social justice warrior, this is about the safety of everyone in this community.
Here is a zine that we recommend you read. Please have discussions about this with your housemates and friends, because you’re not in high school and this is our town.
So, what is Allston?
The founder of Allston Rat City wrote quite a bit about the neighborhood in 2013, and a lot of that is still very pertinent to today.
This is Washington Allston. You’re now living in the only neighborhood in America named after an artist.
This is Brian Honan. He was a late, great politician who helped our neighborhood.
So now, you can enjoy your time living here.
You’re going to have a love/hate relationship with the Model. You’re going to love the beer list at the Sunset. You’re going to get wasted at the Sil and eat a shit ton of popcorn. These things just happen.
As for beer stores? Well, we have three great ones that carry local brews and other interesting tastes. We recommend checking out Marty’s Big Buy over by Stop and Shop. If you’re in Lower Allston, there’s Boston Liquors which has a wonderful staff and always has tastings. Comm Ave Wine and Spirits is also a good one, right by the T tracks across from CVS.
You can’t go wrong with breakfast at Twin Donuts. The corner spot where Refuge Cafe is has always been a staple ever since it was Herrell’s, and then Allston Cafe. It’s a good people-watching location with free Wi-Fi. For more affordable grub make sure you spend some time at the Super 88, which is packed with international Asian cuisines and an affordable produce market.
Basement shows have been a part of the neighborhood’s culture since the 1960s. They operate in grey areas. Please don’t go to them expecting a rager. If you do end up at one, please don’t yell outside. This is usually the number one reason why a show gets busted up.
Be respectful of the houses and their neighbors. If you’re planning on running a show, you should check out the Bummer City Historical Society, which has a nice how-to guide. Again, it’s always a good idea to have clear and open communication with your neighbors.
To end this, I’m just going to go through a couple of bands that you’ll see play the basements, or that have made an impact over the last decade.
Above is what I consider the penultimate album of Allston’s independent rock scene.
There was also Krill:
There’s Brittle Brian:
And if you like G.L.O.S.S, you might enjoy Sadie’s last Allston band Baja Blatz:
Thalia Zedek plays in Dyr Faser, but has also been an integral part of Allston music for decades. Here’s a track from one of her bands, Dangerous Birds.
Highly recommend her band Come as well. Yes, they’re from the 90s.
You should definitely check out Dame:
Nice Guys are THE Allston basement band.
Of course, there’s Pile:
And recently-moved-here musician Dust from 1000 Years:
And if you know anything about Boston underground music, you’d know that the people in GAY SIN not only make some of the best pop-punk in the area, but also book some of the best shows.
Ian Sweet’s new record is out on Hardly Art soon. Here’s a link to it streaming.
And I can keep going. BIRTHING HIPS is a set you CAN’T miss. They don’t have much online yet but you need to see them.
Look up Leaner, Strange Mangers, Du Vide, Horse Jumper of Love, Trim, Dent, CosMC, Listening Woman, LIZA, etc, etc…..yaaaayifasljkfjklfgnerutvbeqrpubg OK.