On my first trip to Boston when I was eleven years old, my parents brought me to a restaurant in the Fort Point Channel area. As we walked across the bridge, I was sure I had left Boston entirely. The crowds disappeared, the buildings became industrial, and everything seemed a little darker and less safe. It was dusk when we crossed the bridge to return to downtown, and I remember being happy to leave the area.
Before I moved my startup to Fort Point earlier this year, I couldn’t help but think about the poor first impression the area made three decades ago. Fortunately a lot has changed in the 02210 since my first visit. Today the area is an ideal place to build a new high tech startup, reminding me in many ways of Cambridge in the mid to late 1990s.
So here are the top reasons to work in the 02210:
High Geek Density
The 02210 has one of the highest densities of high tech startups in the Boston area. From Bocoup to Gazelle to AppNeta to CloudHealth (my company), the Fort Point area is stocked with technology companies. The high rise at One Marina Park alone houses over a hundred startups, including a full floor dedicated to the Mass Challenge competition. Whether you are out to lunch, at a meetup, or just grabbing a cup of coffee, the people and discussions in the 02210 are distinctly technical. The area may also have one of the highest GPSM ratios of any area in the nation (that is Geeks Per Square Mile for those not familiar with this standard unit of measure).
The 02210 is two blocks from South Station, giving you direct commuter rail and red line access. The orange, blue and green lines are also all within a seven block walk. If you drive, you can access the area from the Ted Williams Tunnel, Route 93, Route 1, and Route 1A. Living north of the city, I found 1A a good way to avoid some of the gridlock of 93.
Good Food & Drink
From Papagayos to Blue Dragon to Flour to Sportello, the 02210 has a lot of great restaurants to choose from. With a short walk, you can also take advantage of the food trucks along the Greenway (mmmm, Clover), or visit any of the dining options across the channel. You also have all the great choices on Seaport Boulevard, including Legal’s and Jerry Remy’s. If you really want to go upscale, take a look at Barbara Lynch's Menton. The area also has a great nightlife at Lucky’s, Tavern Road, Barking Crab, Sportello and the bigger name restaurants along Seaport Bloulevard. Although I have not been yet, the Whiskey Priest and the Atlantic Beer Garden have rooftop decks with great views.
Unlike the rest of Boston, there is actually parking in the Fort Point Channel area. While the average daily rate of $15 is not exactly a bargain, it is very reasonable for downtown. You can also find on-street parking at meters most times of the day.
There are a few good health clubs in the 02210, including Channel Fitness, which allows you to run on a treadmill while viewing the skyline of Boston. You will also find fitness groups meeting on the lawn behind the courthouse, or across the channel on the Greenway. One of my engineers is training for a triathlon, and enjoys running a loop around the seaport.
Museums & Galleries
Everyone knows the Boston Children’s Museum, but few take the time to see the Institute of Contemporary Art or one of the several galleries in the area. North Bridge Venture Partners held their holiday party at the ICA a couple years ago, so I had a great opportunity to explore their collection.
CoffeeFlour, Barrington or even Sportello. Sportello can often be a great place to meet in the morning, since it is not usually known as a breakfast place - but Flour usually is everyone’s favorite.
I know this sounds obvious, but one the best features of the 02210 is you are in Boston. As a transplant from another state, I can objectively say that Boston is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. If you have any doubts, grab your laptop, pick up something to drink at a food truck, and find a nice place to work along the Greenway on a sunny summer day (note: I’m not sure who had the idea to WiFi-enable the Greenway, but they were clearly inspired).
The 02210 has come a long way since my first visit many years back.