City of Cambridge is special place and home MTI, Harvard. Just nice place to live in.
A place of residence should always be chosen not on the beauty of the surroundings, not on the average income of the residents, not the crime rate, although that might factor in as well, but mostly on the people who occupy the city. If the attitude, street smarts, and the general makeup of the populace do come first and foremost, then Cambridge is the city to live in. Personally, Cambridge, otherwise known as the Peopleā's Republic, is my favorite city in the United States. I have never lived there, but have lived in the neighboring towns, Arlington and Somerville, and my admiration of the liberal, well-to-do, educated manner with which most residents carry themselves has not fallen a bit.
Cambridge, barely legally considered a city, has a very cozy small town atmosphere. It does not have Borders or Fileneā's at every corner, and while it does have one of the biggest malls in the Boston Metro Area, the Cambridge Galleria, it is located in the more industrial and commercial East Cambridge. Other than the mall, the streets of Cambridge are mostly comprised of small shops, convenience stores, and pubs. The streets of Cambridge basically typify the utopian small business economy, where everyone is offering some special service to the rest of the population. There is a strong sense community, highlighted by the fact that all Cambridge residents receive free health insurance from the city.
Then there are Harvard and MIT. Those are places where I could just go to, whether I'm thirteen or eighteen, I can always find someone to have an intelligent conversation with, someone to have a gripping game of chess with, or simply a new friend. It is not at all taboo to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in the middle of Harvard Square. It is not at all uncommon to see kids selling kisses for a dollar across the way from a live band playing for free, enough though they are probably good enough to get paid for the music the make in some club.
For me however, there is always the test for a city that seems most important. The test is, if someone were to raise a child in a particular city, would the child grow up better or worse. If I were to raise a son in Cambridge sometime in the future, he would learn most of the important life lessons. The city would certainly make him street smart, the school competition would make him smarter, the sense of community would make him more considerate, and the general attitude would make him down to earth and practical. To me Cambridge truly is the People's Republic, and even though I take it for granted since it's next door to me, Cambridge, with honorable mentions to San Francisco and St. Petersburg, gets the nod as the city I would most like to live in.
First published at Feb. 2007;
Nov. 17, 2017; 17:45 EST