By Cole Albert
Sam Baker, 22, sat on his porch with a friend, working his way through a pack of Mavericks. Baker has spent the last two years living at his current residence on Hillside Drive, which he shares with five friends. All are either current or former students at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). Although Sam graduated last spring, he has only been able to find work at a nearby Whole Foods..
He enjoys living in what he describes as a “central point” in the city. “Even though there’s not a lot specifically [in Mission Hill], it’s a sort of transition space,” said Baker, citing its proximity to nearby colleges and train stations.
As he lit another cigarette, Baker and his friend turned their attention to the blaring music coming from across the street. “Even when I was a student, I wasn’t particularly a partier,” Baker said. “Sometimes there’s a little too much going on Fridays and Saturdays. But I don’t sleep a lot, so it’s not weird for me to be up till 4 a.m.”
While he admitted that the night life can be enjoyable on occasions, he expressed concern over the rapid influx of student residents, especially over the four years he has lived on the hill. “Gentrification is fast,” he said. “I don’t particularly like that I’m participating in that.” Baker referenced a favorite restaurant that was shut down and eventually converted into a high-rise.
Baker grew up in Brookline, and was relatively familiar with most areas of Boston. However, once he became a resident of Mission Hill, learning the streets of his new neighborhood was a fresh and unique experience.
“When I first came to MassArt, it was like a whole new city,” Baker said. “All of these things I had seen and explored as a kid are now connected.” While he expressed uncertainty about the way Mission Hill is changing, Sam still looks forward to seeing what it will look like in the future.