I am going to introduce you to my neighborhood, Hyde Park. It is quiet and friendly, and I would not like to move from there. In the summer, when my cousins come over, we go to this little forest where you can walk, run, or bike. Later, we do a cookout and eat tacos, burgers, hot dogs. Sometimes, when it gets dark, my cousins and I go outside and we play Man Hunt among the nice houses -- like hide and seek, only with teams. My family is big, and we have fun be- cause we do things together. There are a lot of old people in my community, so it is quiet. I am proud to live there.
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I live in a quiet neighborhood, Roslindale. There are many different kinds of people: Spanish people, African-American people, Asian people. It’s mostly safe, but sometimes crazy things happen. On a recent Sunday, I went to get some snacks. I spotted three ladies walking around the store looking for something. When I got closer, I heard them talking gibberish, and they also looked lost. I grabbed two bags of chips and some soda. When I went to pay for it, one of the women cut right in front of me. I ignored her, but then she took my stuff and tried to walk away. She looked drunk or high. I let her have it because she seemed like she needed it. It’s a helpful neighborhood, my neighborhood. Everyone looks out for each other.
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City Life
Dorchester: “Over the years, many people have worked hard to build a community”
Gang violence. Losing loved ones. Many people think of hurtful things when my neighborhood, Dorchester, first pops into their heads. But my thoughts are not that bad towards Dorchester. Over the years, many people have worked hard to build a community, and two years ago something amazing happened. They opened the Salvation Army Kroc Corps Community Center on Dudley Street, near Uphams Corner. The Community Center has pulled people together. The first time I visited, I was shocked. I didn't expect to find such a place in my neighborhood. It was bigger than what I thought it would be. I just stared around at everything. Inside, there is an aquatic center with an amusement-park-style slide. There’s a gym, basketball court, climbing station, and even a chapel. Outside, there’s a park with slides and a water fountain shaped like a lion. The Kroc Center is a place where good, caring people show you around, and all different races get to know each other. I saw one of my friends from elementary school there. She said I looked the same, and I said she looked the same. We sat and talked.
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City Life
Roslindale: "People are really friendly and helpful"
I live in a small and beautiful place called Roslindale. There are different kinds of restaurants.There is also a hospital, a library, and various schools. There are beautiful parks, very clean with swings and slides. People are really friendly and helpful. If you have an emergency, they will call police or an ambulance for you. Many of the people who live here are old, and they are nice. I think it is a really safe place to live. Mostly you hear the sound of cars and buses. More people are settling in Roslindale, new faces day by day. It is looking more crowded.
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City Life
Dorchester: "We still know how to keep smiles on our faces as we struggle from day to day"
People judge a neighborhood by statistics, like how many people had been shot in Dorchester’s Fields Corner last year-- but that’s not what I see. I judge my neighborhood by the way everyday people act. One day I was headed home. On the way down the street I bumped into a gangster-looking dude. He was probably 28 years old, standing there with a bunch of friends. I tried to pretend nothing happened, but he stopped me. “Yo,” he said. He was older, so I had to respect him. I turned back. “You know you just bumped me?” he said. “Yeah,” I replied. He gave me a mean look.  Okay, I thought, what’s next?  He came close to me. “Yo, that’s not respectful. What if I was some crazy dude? I would have laid you flat right there.” “My fault,” I said. “No problem,” he replied. “Stay in school. I just got out of prison. You don’t want to go there.” People think Dorchester’s a bad place, but they don’t know the community. It’s a fun-loving place, even with the violence. People laugh together on the corners. You can ask anyone if you want a basketball game. You don’t even have to know them. People don’t have much yard space. They unite in the parks. They laugh and play tag. They rap and make jokes. They flirt and enjoy the company. At the park, they don’t have to worry about that hole in the bedroom floor. They can forget the busted appliances that the landlord never fixes and the months of broken promises from the electricians. Sure, negative things take place in my ’hood, but the community is so much more than that. We still know how to keep smiles on our faces as we struggle from day to day. “Give respect to get respect” is what we say. At night, the cops flood the block looking to calm tempers and stop fights. At a distance, a crackhead’s cough becomes your lullaby. In the morning, mom is up sweating a meal that should last till lunch. At the bus stop we socialize. Another day begins.
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