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Allston

Renting an Apartment in Allston

Allston is a section of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, located in the western part of the city. It is, for the most part, administered collectively with the adjacent neighborhood of Brighton, leading the two often to be referred to together, as “Allston-Brighton.”

Allston is a diverse neighborhood whose population includes Boston natives, students from neighboring Boston University, Boston College, MIT and Harvard and various ethnic groups such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian, and Irish. In the 1990s, census figures indicated that 52.6% of its population was aged 20-34 (as compared to 33% for the city of Boston as a whole), an indication of the strong student and “twenty something” presence. That presence has created tension between some long-time residents and the student population, which constantly cycles in and out as students matriculate and graduate from Boston’s many colleges and universities.

The ZIP code 02134 roughly expresses Allston’s extents, which was made famous nationwide by a recurring musical piece on the PBS children’s series ZOOM — whose originating station, WGBH, is located in the neighborhood.

Allston is bordered by the Charles River and the city of Cambridge to the north, Brookline to the south, and is split by the Massachusetts Turnpike in the middle. The area north of the turnpike near the river is often referred to as “Lower Allston” or “North Allston.”

All of today’s Allston was part of Brighton when that town seceded from Cambridge in 1807. In 1868, a new railroad depot and post office in Brighton’s eastern portion were given the name “Allston” after Washington Allston, the noted painter who lived and worked in the area. The entire Town of Brighton was annexed by the City of Boston in 1874. Allston has never existed as a separate political entity in its own right.

Allston grew up largely around the large railroad and livestock operations in its midst. The Boston and Albany Railroad (now CSX) operated a major yard there. Stockyards and a large abbatoir operated nearby in the northern part of Brighton. Much of the railroad yard remains in use today as the CSX Beacon Park Yard, but all livestock activity ended by the mid-twentieth century.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Extension, built largely on part of the Boston and Albany right-of-way, opened through Allston in 1964 and 1965. Allston lies almost equidistant from three major universities. A substantial part of the campus of Harvard University is in Lower Allston, including Harvard Business School and Harvard Stadium. Harvard also owns large portions of other land in lower Allston, much of which it hopes to develop as an academic campus. Boston University lies along Commonwealth Avenue to the east. Boston College, which straddles the Newton-Brighton line between Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street, is at the end of the “B Branch” of the Boston MBTA subway Green Line, which follows Commonwealth Avenue.

The “B Branch” of the Boston MBTA subway Green Line runs directly to the neighborhood along Commonwealth and ends at Boston College, while several bus lines run to and through. The “C Branch” of the Green Line ends at Cleveland Circle after passing through Brookline.