Despite being one of the smallest neighborhoods in Boston, the Bay Village community has much to offer to its residents. Characterized by its friendly atmosphere and small, attractive homes resembling those found in Beacon Hill, the neighborhood only encompasses a total of six square blocks. As such, the neighborhood boasts a population of less than 1,500.
Homes in the Bay Village Neighborhood
Many of the homes within the Bay Village neighborhood resemble the ivy-covered, red-brick row houses and townhomes found in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, and for good reason. In fact, many of them were built by the same craftspeople who built the homes in Beacon Hill as they built local residences for their own use. While the homes in the Bay Village neighborhood are smaller than those found in Beacon Hill, the similarities in style are undeniable.
Grander five-story townhouses in the Greek Revival style are also found on Melrose Street, while luxury residential “hotels” in the Victorian style are located on Cortes and Isabella Streets.
Bay Village Lifestyle and Amenities
Due to its central location between Back Bay and downtown Boston, Bay Village provides its residents with easy access to a variety of restaurants, shops and cultural attractions, including those found within the Theater District, Chinatown and Downtown Crossing. The Green or Orange Line T subway stations, which can be used to get across town, are also located within a couple of blocks from the neighborhood. Some nearby attractions that can be reached with a short walk include Eliot Norton Park, the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common.
With its tree-lined streets and wide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, Bay Village is comprised of a narrow one-way network of streets arranged in an irregular grid. As such, the interior urban space of the neighborhood is relatively quiet and safe for pedestrians due to the lack of automobile traffic. Most of the neighborhood’s sidewalks are paved with brick and lit by gas streetlamps during the night.
The Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) is also quite active. In addition to taking steps to control urban nuisances, the association also organizes spring and fall cleanup days as well as community activities such as a book club and the Bay Village Annual Neighborhood Block Party featuring restaurant table and services in the middle of the street.
Bay Village History
Created by a landfill in the 1820’s by developer Ephraim Marsh, the Bay Village neighborhood has been known by a variety of different names. Among these are South Cove, Church Street District and Kerry Village. The western part of the neighborhood was originally part of the body of water known as the Back Bay prior to the formation of the Back Bay neighborhood. The portion of the area that was known as South Bay and served as the original waterline is now known as Arlington Street. As such, most streets in the neighborhood were raised 12 to 18 feet in the mid-to-late 19th century in order to prevent flooding.
Today, the Bay Village neighborhood’s southern boundary is formed by the Massachusetts Turnpike. While the community is traditionally considered to be a middle- to lower-middle class neighborhood, it has been slowly becoming more upscale and expensive.