Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting to Know Dudley Square: The People

Our Groundbreaking earlier this year let us meet some of our neighbors.
We're enjoying getting to know them better.
HBI’s long-time office snack, gummi worms, has been replaced with coconut macaroons and mango wafer cookies.   Dudley Square is turning out to be more than just a new office in a new place for HBI staff; it’s a perspective shift.   Known as the heart of Roxbury, it is where the neighborhood’s major institutions and businesses are clustered in some of the city’s most beautiful historic buildings.  It is also the busiest bus station in the public transit system. In this “grand central” of communities, you can imagine that one encounters an incredible variety of people. 

If you think Dudley is just the center of African-American Roxbury, think again.  Culturally, that’s true, but the Census tells us that Roxbury is changing with significant increases in Spanish-speaking residents, and it’s evident on the street.  Visit Tropical Foods – a long time magnet for Latino food anyway – and you will experience one of the truly great markets of Boston.  Tropical Foods, at its core a basic grocery store, is peppered with imported food from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, and produce that reflects the cooking styles of many cultures.  And as you check out, pretty much all the cashiers and staff are speaking Spanish with their customers. 



We’ve gotten to know the B-2 police and Ladder 4 fire fighters of Dudley Square sooner than we would have liked.  No, no crime; just working out the kinks in our new alarm systems.  They’re patient and helpful when called for these false alarms but they’re also really curious about the Fire House and have shared some great memories with us. 

We are all intrigued by the steady stream of people who walk by our building, from Orchard Park housing to Dudley Square and back.  People dressed in different ethnic garb, speaking Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Creole.  We’re also delighted that so many look curiously at the fire house and some stop to ask what it is and who’s in it.  Our first floor tenant , the Timothy Smith Technology network, reports that their doorbell rings 2-3 times a day with people wondering what’s there. 

The housing isn’t just around us at places like Orchard Park or Madison Park, but right next door.  The Kornfields Pharmacy building, a beautiful marble clad 19th century building, is just across Washington Street and has 29 condominium units in it that house people of all walks of life.   While initially occupied by a lot of young urban professionals, residents today proudly boast to us that this building is now home to 10 children.  
Come to our Open House at 10:30 a.m. on October 5th and learn more about this great neighborhood.

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