Own a skinny piece of Boston history
March 31, 2017 10:50 AM   Subscribe

The Skinny House, one of Boston's great Spite Houses, is for sale.

Just under 11 feet wide, just under a million dollars asking.
posted by overeducated_alligator (31 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic urban dwellings appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as spite, the second time as farce.
posted by googly at 11:11 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


There is something extra-spiteful about trying to get $900k for this. I'm glad I don't live in Boston anymore.
posted by killdevil at 11:25 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure if it's the priciest property in greater Boston per square foot, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:27 AM on March 31


That would be a fairly easy house to rock, actually.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I drove past our city's own (NYT) today. I rather like it.
posted by Crease Lambada at 11:30 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if it's the priciest property in greater Boston per square foot, though

I was also curious about this and found out that it isn't, not by a country mile. The million-dollar penthouse condos have double and sometimes triple the $/sqf.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:38 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Look at that side walkway. There's plenty of room for an even tinier, even spitier house next to it!
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:44 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


The zoning regulations in Boston were written in 1660 by a pissed-off Leprechaun. Little-known fact.

God I forgot how much I hate that place.
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 11:59 AM on March 31


God I forgot how much I hate that place.


Admittedly, I only work in Boston proper, and live on the left bank of the Charles, but, really, why the hate?
posted by ocschwar at 12:20 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The second link includes a link leading to this property; 590 sq ft. for 575,000 dollars. Boston seems like a cool place (my bother's wife is from there) but I don't see how anyone can afford to actually live there. Same with San Francisco.
posted by TedW at 12:27 PM on March 31


I was hoping for more interior photos.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:25 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


There's another one across the river in Cambridge, which seems a little less spiteful.
posted by Melismata at 1:27 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


> but, really, why the hate?

Since you ask! Boston is pretty and full of history and there's pretty excellent food. And I have some awesome friends there, and I would never apply my opinions on collective attitude to individuals.

But you know those places, like New York or Berlin, where people kind of take pride in their grumpiness, but when you're lost or in trouble, they will help a stranger without thinking? Boston is the other kind.

Say you don't have a masters degree in some city's unnecessarily intricate public transportation system. My first day in Helsinki, a stranger who saw me struggling with the machine bought me a $10 ticket, said "welcome," and left. In Boston, not only will nobody help you, but the actual bus drivers will pop a collective vein on their foreheads yelling at you for having bought the slightly wrong thing.

It's like the default mode of everybody, in public, is soup nazi. Basically, I'm just not surprised that it's the birth place of the spite house.
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 1:55 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


I don't see how anyone can afford to actually live there.

Part of the key is understanding where is affordable. The spite house here is in a pretty prime location. Right in the North End, yet removed from a lot of the traffic. A half-mile's walk (or less) from downtown, a park a block away, and the harbor is right past the park.

The loft is crazy expensive, because of location. Again, close to downtown, trendy up-and-coming area.

On the flipside, I live within the limits of the City of Boston, in an area called Roslindale, and I just bought a 1800 sq ft condo for $325,000. Still crazy compared to some parts of the country, but my mortgage payments are the same as my monthly rent was for a 500 sq ft apartment in East Cambridge.

Don't get me wrong, the rent is too damn high, even in our "cheaper" neighborhoods, but the featured properties are always going to be on the very high end.
posted by explosion at 1:57 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Pshaw. Not 15 minutes ago I helped a guy figure out how to get to Coolidge Corner from South Station, diverting him from getting on the commuter rail.
posted by Sublimity at 2:04 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Ha, you probably saved him from... Well from something. I got stuck in the T (is it?) on a hot day once, and a random dude started screaming at me for literally no reason, with his 8-yr old son watching and probably being scarred for life. Maybe I just bring it out in cities?
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 2:35 PM on March 31


but, really, why the hate

Also, try to find a bar without at least one TV showing a sporting event. I mean, I'm sure they must exist somewhere in Boston, but I've never seen one.
posted by dersins at 2:49 PM on March 31


Also, try to find a bar without at least one TV showing a sporting event. I

I share your dismay on that one, and I did, in fact, trawl the area in search of such a bar.

And I found one (The Field in Central Square. You can actually have a civilized conversation over beer at the place even when it's pretty packed.)
posted by ocschwar at 2:57 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I'd only move to Boston for the Celtics and the history.
posted by gucci mane at 3:07 PM on March 31


As a lifelong New Englander, and current Masshole, knowing that New Yorkers find Boston traditional greetings/interactions - offputting - sort of endears it more to me.

You're partially right. Boston is not a warm and friendly city. There are structural issues, class issues, race issues, educational bias, and a heavy dose of "Yankees Suck."

Parts of Boston are the guys straight out of Good Will Hunting. Parts of Boston are the asshole Harvard types straight out of Goodwill Hunting. We have every kind of jackass you can possibly stereotype Boston with in enough actual concentration that when you come here at least one of them will ruin your trip. It is unavoidable. There is a lot to hate about Boston.

But, then... there's a lot to love too. And some of that is having an identity that it's OK to be a little rough on the edges, that we aren't perfect, that we don't have the comedy of NYC or Chicago, or the movies of LA, or the quantity of disruptive companys like the left Coast... instead we've got award shows that mock research, scary robots that only in Boston you check their stability by kicking, and for whatever reason Adam Sandler claims us as his own even though he is from New Hampshire. I mean - Captain America does his best to minimally associate himself with Massachusetts - his home state. We'really lousy people apparently... malcontents - the lot of us... We brought you the shitty strip mall. We perfected bad sportsmanship on a historic level.

But, we have woopie pies and for most of us that live here, that's enough. For the rest, there is the spite house.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:10 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


bile and syntax:

Here's photos of the interior. Not sure now that it's on the market, but at one point you could have seen it for yourself.

Note the view out the one window to the lovely greenery in the historic Copps Hill Burying Ground
posted by BlueHorse at 6:12 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


As another Roslindalian (Roslindale tip, do like the locals do and eat at the Pleasant Cafe), I'm with explosion: Although large parts of the city are now out of reach of normal people, there are still safe, decent areas that are, at least in Boston-area terms, not ludicrously priced. But hurry, they're going fast. Even parts of Roslindale, long the place people would move because they couldn't afford West Roxbury (raises hand) are now at Spaceball plaid-speed prices, because the people who couldn't afford the South End moved to Jamaica Plain and the people who couldn't afford Jamaica Plain moved to Roslindale. Now people in Hyde Park are beginning to complain about people from Roslindale, and after Hyde Park, well, that's the literal end of Boston (even Readville, the very southernmost tip of Hyde Park, where nobody ever goes who doesn't live there, is looking down the barrel of plans for hundreds of new apartments).
posted by adamg at 6:36 PM on March 31


While we're on the 2 minute Boston hate, What's with the no diners open at 3am thing? Yeah, there's a Dunkin' Donuts, but I don't consider that "food". I mean, it's "food", but not what I'd ever choose.
posted by mikelieman at 7:19 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Thanks, BlueHorse! I always feel very aggravated when I come across interesting architecture and then only get to see the outside.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:39 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Pfff, 1166 square feet? That's tons of space.

Signed,
A New Yorker
posted by the_blizz at 10:44 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


It's like the default mode of everybody, in public, is soup nazi.

My friend and I spent a horrid weekend in Boston once. My favorite interaction was the guy who literally let a door slam in my friend's face, who let out a sarcastic "thanks", only to get the guy whirling around and letting out the snottiest "you're welcome!!!" I think I've ever heard.
posted by Automocar at 10:45 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


What's with the no diners open at 3am thing?

And public transportation that stops before the bars close!

But I do love this post.
posted by jessamyn at 7:30 AM on April 1


While we're on the 2 minute Boston hate, What's with the no diners open at 3am thing?

Not quite none. The South Street Diner near South Station is open 24 hours. So's the IHOP in Brighton. Victoria's Diner and the Hen House, across from each other in Newmarket Square near South Bay are open late on weekends. And there are a couple of places in Chinatown open late all the time.

But, yeah, in general, Boston is the City that Always Sleeps and Mayor Marty Walsh, elected on a platform that called for more late-night options, has so far done basically nothing to change that.
posted by adamg at 10:35 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


To counter the tiniest bit of Boston hate, one thing I loved about living in Boston was that shows would generally get out early enough to take the T home, which means that they start early enough that someone with a regular job can go at least occasionally. This has not been true in other cities I've lived in.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:11 PM on April 1


The South Street Diner near South Station is open 24 hours.

This is important for when you arrive at South Station after the T stops and need a safe/warm place to hang out until it starts running again. Yes there are cabs, but they are expensive, and the drivers expect you to navigate. Which I guess is fine in the smart phone era, but they used to literally not be able to get me home.)

Anyway, spite houses delight me. So long as no one puts one up behind my building!
posted by (Over) Thinking at 12:20 PM on April 1


Don't get me wrong, the rent is too damn high, even in our "cheaper" neighborhoods, but the featured properties are always going to be on the very high end.

Yeah, I lived in Brighton right out of college (2008-09), with my now-wife and two other roommates. We had a sweet 3br/1.5bath on two floors, probably about 1200sf, for $2100. Which included off-street parking.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 1:10 PM on April 1


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