We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Beacon Hill is a charming 19th neighborhood in Boston, close by the Massachusetts State House. It can't really be compared with the West Village of New York because the current charming West Village was built for the poor and working class, while the Beacon Hill development was built for the gentry.
Mrs. BD and friends were visiting colleagues on Beacon Hill a little while ago. She wondered where the beacon was. I checked it, and discovered that most of the hill and its warning beacon were taken away by horse and wagon in 1811.
It is still hilly, though.
Some major urban areas still have delightful, quiet, antique neighborly enclaves, untouched by modernity or urban renewal. I'm thinking Brooklyn Heights - and large parts of Harlem. Outside the northeast, I think of the entire downtown of Savannah, GA, which was spared the devastation of the Union armies and of urban renewal.
"But one morning, turning to pass the doubloon, Ahab seemed to be newly attracted by the strange figures and inscriptions stamped on it, as though now for the first time beginning to interpret for himself in some monomaniac way whatever significance might lurk in them. And some certain significance lurks in all things, else all things are little worth, and the round world itself but an empty cipher, except to sell by the cartload, as they do hills about Boston, to fill up some morass in the Milky Way."
I lived on Beacon Hill in 1965 at 32 West Cedar Street. The house across the street was purchased from the city by a young couple for a dollar. Scollay Square looked like Berlin 1945. It had all been razed. The only building west of the Bullfinch building was the Mass General.
I enjoy walking those old neighborhoods. Many are of course new neighborhoods with architecture and methods from the past to give it the character we see today. But still very interesting. Parking on the other hand is a nightmare.
If you are interested in history walk the Freedom Trail. (Not far from Beacon Hill.)
I well remember Scollay Square in 1960 where I got a tattoo at one of the many sleazy tattoo parlors there.
As a resident of the West Village in NY, I'll dispute a little what you say about our neighborhood. It is much larger than Beacon Hill in Boston, and in its earlier days was a diverse area with housing for all strata of society. While the majority was built for the "poor and working class" as you say, there are definitely areas that were built for "the gentry", e.g., Charles, Perry and West 11th Sts. between Bleecker and West 4th Sts. Some of the most expensive pieces of the neighborhood today are new construction that has replaced formerly industrial sites (mostly along the waterfront) or, in one case, a hospital (St. Vincent's, at 7th Ave. and W. 11th St.) Even today, the neighborhood is far from uniformly wealthy.
I lived on the North Slope (the Cambridge Street side) from 1988 to 1997. I adored living on the Hill. It was a small town atmosphere in the middle of the city. I worked in the Back Bay so my commute was a walk across the Public Garden.
A mainstay of that side of town was The Red Hat. They had a hole in the wall bar in the basement and a warren of dining rooms at street level. It was a favorite watering hole for the Back benchers from the state house.
I lived there when John Kerry incurred the wrath of the local media when he had the hydrant moved from the Louisberg Square side to Pinckney Street. He got so much flack for that.