Living in Coolidge Corner

by Leslie Rathfon

Nestled intimately between Boston University, Boston College and the Longwood Medical Area rests zip code 02446: Brookline. As eloquent as its name rolls of the tongue, Brookline embodies all that this city has to offer, including: safe, manicured streets and jogging paths; parks and green spaces; quality restaurants that drive even Cambridge-dwellers; quaint coffee shops where the barista will remember your order; shoe smiths; a choice of drug stores; specialty shops, “Coolidge Corner”…and the list goes on. Though you’ll find a mix of people—from academics to young professionals to retirees—there aren’t as many college-aged kids living in Brookline compared with other Boston neighborhoods.

Rental Scene:

With its charm and quaintness, living in Coolidge Corner is never lackluster. Housing rates are slightly higher than average compared to neighboring vicinities. A one-bedroom apartment in Coolidge Corner averages around $1,450 per month including utilities. However if you are planning on splitting rent with a roommate, you can each expect around $1,000 to share an average two-bedroom, one-bath apartment. Often, laundry facilities are available in the building and sometimes parking is included. This is of importance if you’re considering bringing a car because parking in Brookline is tricky. First of all, there is no on-street overnight parking. So, if you have guests, they will have to park in one of the town’s guest lots for $10 per night. Because apartment hunting isn’t easy, especially when you’re new, allow a credentialed real-estate agent to guide you. One who knows the area like the back of his hand is veteran Boston realtor Bill McGowan at Keller Williams Realty (http://www.billmcgowan.yourkwagent.com, 617-497-8900).

Transportation 101:

In essence, Brookline relinquish the city’s hustle and bustle, yet still manages to maintain the urban feel. With access to Green Lines B, C, and D, make the subway, or “T”, trip downtown to school a quick jaunt. Like Boston itself, Brookline spans a large area, but is broken up into manageable neighborhoods. The previously mentioned Coolidge Corner (on the C line) serves as the congregational epicenter for Brooklinites. Incidentally, in April on Marathon Monday, hundreds of fans line up along the C line, which runs long Beacon Street, to cheer on the runners.

Pros:

There is a litany of perks attached to this walker-friendly locale.  Firstly, anchoring Coolidge Corner is the not-for-profit Coolidge Theater, which offers sleeper and artsy films. With an old-school theater feel that’s hard to come by these days, the illumination of the theaters’ lights at night make it a beacon of Coolidge Corner. On Thursdays, students can purchase tickets for $6.75 for any movie and you can bring your own snacks! Across from the theater is Brookline Booksmith, a celebrated local bookstore that offers weekly, mostly free, readings by renowned authors. Then there’s the famed farmers market (June 1-October 31), complete with slow-churned ice cream, which attracts farmers statewide. On the other hand, for general grocery shopping there are many options right along the C line: Trader Joes (right in Coolidge Corner), Stop and Shop and Whole Foods (in Washington Square).  To pick up a new hobby and meet new people, Brookline Adult Education Organization offers a mix of courses ranging from single baking or cooking classes to several week-long dance or language classes. Lastly, because you’re going to have studying to do, Brookline’s two public libraries offer a scholarly refuge with free wi-fi.

The restaurant scene is equally dynamic. Coolidge Corner is blessed with eateries that have received the prestigious “Best of Boston” award many times over. Such examples include: Matt Murphy’s Pub (Irish), Fugakyu (Japanese), Zaftigs (a delicatessen that has people lined up for over an hour on weekend mornings), Kupels Bakery (best bagels this north of NYC), Pho Lemongrass (Vietnamese), Orinoco (Latin), and Bottega Fiorentina (rustic, authentic Italian).

Cons:

Few and far between are the cons of living on the Green Line. Previously mentioned, parking in Brookline requires some getting used to. Firstly, there is a 2-hour limit for street parking, metered and not.  If police or parking attendants notice that you’ve been parked in a spot for more than 2 hours, you’ll face a $30 ticket. Unlike other subway lines, the Green Line runs above ground, and though the T runs frequently, it never seems fast enough in the (choose all that apply) blustery; windy; cold; damp; rainy; snowy; winter mornings. Luckily there are covered standing portals that shield Boston’s sub-optimal weather patterns.

All in all:

They say that green is the color of envy. So, it is no coincidence why Brookine’s Coolidge Corner is right on the Green Line. As soon as you see Coolidge Corner, it’s love at first sight.  It will make that big move just that much easier.

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