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By Mariya Greeley
| November 27, 2018
What makes up a Boston neighborhood’s distinct character? Architecture is part of the equation: Uniform brick feels historic and stately, while a majority-glass setting feels modern and sleek. Nature plays a role too: Well-manicured parks or a faint ocean scent can bring serenity to an otherwise busy metropolis. But, more than anything, it’s the community—the people who live in a place and how they interact with each other—that defines each neighborhood.
Seaport, Boston’s youngest neighborhood, is just beginning to develop this kind of lasting character and community. As young and established professionals, boutiques, and restaurants settle into its modern apartments and storefronts along the water, Seaport is growing into a civic-minded neighborhood where contemporary living has a creative bent.
At the third annual Light Up Seaport event, on Friday, November 30, locals will come together on Seaport Common to celebrate the holiday season and the neighborhood’s budding community. Live performances of holiday tunes will be the soundtrack for the evening’s tree lighting and festivities. Treats from Seaport restaurants will be the fuel.
Nearby, in District Hall, a free workspace for community members, guests will be able to explore a collection of photographs called “Faces of Seaport.” The exhibit will showcase a vibrant mix of portraits captured across Seaport in the past year by Fort Point local George Vasquez.
The location of the tree lighting is a perfect example of the changes Seaport has undergone in recent years. Once an empty lot, the now lush green space overlooking the harbor serves as a meeting place year-round for events like Light Up Seaport and Seaport Sweat, a summer and fall series of free, outdoor fitness classes taught by notable instructors to the pace of a DJ.
Doug Jellison, 29, who moved to the neighborhood from Manhattan last November when he was asked to head the Boston branch of an aviation consulting company, walks his dog nearby along the water most mornings. “I think that accessibility to water is really awesome,” he says.
Visitors can get a feel for Seaport’s character by strolling down bright, bustling Seaport Boulevard. From November 23 to December 23, the boulevard will be home to the Tree Market at Seaport, where visitors can shop for all their holiday decor, including trees, wreaths, and lights, or just stop by to smell the evergreens. Plus, Evergreen Delivery bikes purchases to shoppers’ homes so they can get the holiday cheer without the hassle.
Nearby, the Current, a pop-up village with a permanent presence, plays host to a rotating collection of retailers connected by a common theme. The pop-ups are currently home to female-founded, fashion-forward businesses—making up the “She-Village.” Among the stores is Brass, whose mission is to simplify women’s wardrobes with a shopping system that streamlines their closet, and The Giving Keys, a jewelry company that provides jobs to community members affected by homelessness. Down the street, shoppers can explore the latest in fashion at retail incubator For Now, where multiple brands come to together to test their products in the Boston market.
A number of highly successful online stores have moved into brick and mortar in Seaport, including Outdoor Voices, an athletic lifestyle brand, and Warby Parker, an innovative shop for prescription eyeglasses. Filson, an outdoorsy clothing company from the West Coast, chose to open its first and, so far, only New England location on the boulevard.
If you’re looking for menswear, “Mr. Sid is great,” Jellison says. “It’s a modern men’s boutique that reminds me of a lot of stuff in New York.” Bonobos and Seaport Barbers are other popular stops for gentlemen shoppers.
With Seaport’s developing community came an influx of varied restaurants, bars, and entertainment options to satisfy residents’ diverse interests and tastes.
Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe—known in Cambridge for its upscale deli, fine wines, craft beers, and carefully curated meats, cheeses, and chocolates—recently opened its highly anticipated second location in Seaport. It’s “the absolute best,” says Jellison, who often buys wine from the store. “The owner, Kim, is super friendly and remembers me every time I come in.”
For a sit-down meal, Tuscan Kitchen Seaport has Italian fare that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the old standbys in the North End. Fresh ingredients—including pastas, breads, and gelatos prepared in-house daily—are the simple house secret.
Or, across a dreamily lit patio, try Scorpion Bar for authentic Mexican cantina fare and cocktails. Head to The Grand, just upstairs, to finish the evening at a nightclub where DJs like Steve Aoki, Rick Ross, Nervo, and Tiesto play regularly. Named the best dance club in Boston for 2018 by The Improper Bostonian, it’s “definitely a weekend destination” that draws people from all over the city, Jellison says.
Each year, Seaport’s young community continues to grow and influence the surrounding area with its culture and values. Soon, Seaport could be as synonymous with creativity and modern style as Fenway is with baseball.