Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin

Last night around 10 pm and again at 2 am I heard all kinds of crashing around and horrible violent yelling upstairs in my apartment. I don't know what the heck was going on. The first time I called the cops but the second time I just let it go.

When I picked my place here in Lynn, Massachusetts, I thought the fact that it was only three blocks from the ocean and the historic downtown would mean it was in a nice neighborhood. Unfortunately it seems the cutesy seaside neighborhoods of Lynn are a just thin veneer around the crowded, old, dirty, urban center, and I'm about two blocks over the line, which is demarcated by one of those skeezy liquor stores where the clerk has to buzz you in the door. Oh, well. The price is right, at least.

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Reading about my town on wikipedia I found this charming poem, which originated in Lynn's early industrial era and has continued to ring true through the years, apparently...

Lynn, Lynn, city of sin
You never come out the way you went in.
Ask for water they give you a gin
the girls say no but always give in


As a nicer contrast, I also offer this old poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in which the poet reflects on the sound of churchbells in Lynn as he hears them from the beautiful semi-island of Nahant, current location of the Northeastern University Marine Science Center where I work...

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HEARD AT NAHANT

O curfew of the setting sun! O Bells of Lynn!
O requiem of the dying day! O Bells of Lynn!

From the dark belfries of yon cloud-cathedral wafted,
Your sounds aerial seem to float, O Bells of Lynn!

Borne on the evening wind across the crimson twilight,
O'er land and sea they rise and fall, O Bells of Lynn!

The fisherman in his boat, far out beyond the headland,
Listens, and leisurely rows ashore, O Bells of Lynn!

Over the shining sands the wandering cattle homeward
Follow each other at your call, O Bells of Lynn!

The distant lighthouse hears, and with his flaming signal
Answers you, passing the watchword on, O Bells of Lynn!

And down the darkening coast run the tumultuous surges,
And clap their hands, and shout to you, O Bells of Lynn!

Till from the shuddering sea, with your wild incantations,
Ye summon up the spectral moon, O Bells of Lynn!

And startled at the sight like the weird woman of Endor,
Ye cry aloud, and then are still, O Bells of Lynn!

9 comments:

Catapulting Aaron said...

don't die, buddy!

Johnny Douglass said...

Eeeew yuckers. Can you get out of that lease? Does it cost a fortune for classier digs?

Frank said...

who said you can't choose your neighbors!!

Stay safe dude

tbuckee said...

Neighbourhood can't be all bad; that's a nice, classic Plymouth Duster in the foreground.

James Douglass said...

Aaron- That sounds like pretty good advice.

Johnny and Frank- I could get out of the lease, but all things considered I don't think the place is really that bad. I talked to the landlord and it looks like they may kick out the problem tenants.

Tbuckee- Yeah, that is a pretty cool car. It's just an old picture of Lynn I found on google, though; not an actual modern view from my apartment, though similar.

Steve said...

Hey James,

Googled the Lynn, Lynn poem and came across your blog. We've lived in the Diamond District for 15 years now and have fallen in love with it. Granted, we're on the other end from that beautiful landmark, Christie's, but we wouldn't move for anything. In fact, 4 years ago we sold our first house and moved next door.

Initially, friends and family were appalled when they heard we'd bought in Lynn. When they saw the place, the neighborhood, and the spectacular ocean and beaches, they changed their minds. Hang in there!

James Douglass said...

Hey Steve- Thanks for the comment. Yeah, there are definitely some nicer neighborhoods out your way. Seems like it's mainly the downtown and the Western part of Lynn that are seedy. They say my apartment was full of nice, quiet folks until the recent economic downturn, when a lot of the nice tenants had to move to take jobs in other cities and hastily rented out their units to trashy criminals.

Adam said...

Every city has it's good and bad locations. We almost took a beautiful apartment on the Lynn/Swampscott line for $1450 per month but because the address would be Lynn our son would have to go to a Lynn school. After a brief tour of that school we backed out of the deal and leased in Salem at the Jefferson Station Apartments, which was wonderful in that it was next to the commuter rail which got me downtown in less than 30 minutes and the Salem schools are not bad at all.

Just keep this in mind: if you have kids, Lynn is not for you, the schools are really low end. Swampscott and Salem are the best bet for your childs future, or better yet Marblehead if you can get in there.

Be good to yourself; spend another few bucks and live near the water. The winters are beyond cold but the summers are well worth it.

James Douglass said...

Hey Adam- Good to know about Lynn schools. I definitely hope to be long gone from Lynn before I have any kids! Nahant, Swampscott, and Salem all seem pretty nice.