Boston 101: Settling In

SETTLING IN

FINDING HOUSING
The local papers refer to Boston as “the Hub of the Universe” or simply The Hub. Looking for housing is one time when you’ll agree because it feels like you’re competing against the entire universe! In late summer and fall, finding housing in Boston or Cambridge can be quite difficult. The number of colleges and universities in the area and the resistance to new development means that the market is VERY tight, but don’t be discouraged. Living near campus is expensive, though convenient, but if you are able to live a few miles away (in Somerville, Arlington, Watertown or Waltham, for example) you can save a lot. Consider living further out in the suburbs as well. Commuting is absolutely do-able, and you’ll find much better deals. Either way, you’ve picked a great time to move to the area.
For housing near Harvard, consult the Harvard Housing Office, 7 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-495-3377 or 800-252-5020, open Monday through Friday, www.hpre.harvard.edu/RRE. Harvard offers off-campus affiliated housing, if you don’t have pets and you get a decent lottery number. The office also has many realtor contacts and postings for available apartments.

You can also check the Sunday Boston Globe or its website, www.boston.com, and bostonapartments.com also has great leads. In addition, hlcentral.com, the Law School’s student-run website, has apartment listings posted by other HLS students. Looking for an apartment without a realtor in Boston or Cambridge may be very difficult, especially when 100+ people often call about an apartment advertised in the paper. Realtors typically charge a fee equal to one month’s rent. Generally you’ll end up paying 3 months of rent upfront – first, last, and broker’s fee. It may be possible to negotiate a lower fee when the market isn’t as busy. The best way to avoid the fee is to look for apartments rented by the owners. But don’t feel too bad if you can’t avoid the fee – at least it’s lower than in New York City!

UTILITIES
ELECTRIC NSTAR ELECTRIC
800-592-2000
GAS NSTAR GAS
800-572-9300
TELEPHONE VERIZON (Phone/Internet)
800-870-9999
CABLE & INTERNET COMCAST (Cable/Internet/Digital Phone)
888-633-4266
RCN (Cable/Internet)
800-RING-RCN
Verizon offers a pretty good local/long distance package. If AT & T Broadband provides digital phone in your area, the package for all 3 services is supposed to have some great savings. Finally, RCN has the least expensive cable, but it doesn’t service all areas yet.

BANKS
These are some of the major banks in the Boston area. Check the Yellow Pages for a more comprehensive list. These numbers are for customer service or general information.
BANK OF AMERICA 800-841-4000. Boston’s largest bank since it acquired Fleet. Having an ATM on every corner has its advantages (there
is an ATM in the Hark).
CAMBRIDGE SAVINGS BANK 617-864-8700. Branches in Harvard, Porter, and Central
Square. Offers free checking. Part of the SUM network (almost all Boston banks
except for Bank of America are members) which means that it will not charge you a fee for using
another SUM bank’s ATM.
CAMBRIDGEPORT BANK 800-401-2626. Offers totally free checking,
but has few branches. Great only if you live in Harvard or Central
Square.
CAMBRIDGE TRUST 617-876-5500. Also part of the SUM network.
CITIZENS BANK 800-922-9999. Several account options and
many branches with ATM’s in most subway stops. Mediocre service.
SOVEREIGN BANK 877-SOV-BANK. Offers totally free checking, many
Cambridge, Boston, Somerville branches and ATMs.

POST OFFICES
Here are just a few area post offices:
CAMBRIDGE MAIN BRANCH
770 MASS AVE. (CENTRAL SQUARE), 617-575-8700
HARVARD SQUARE BRANCH
125 MOUNT AUBURN ST., 617-876-3883
PORTER SQUARE BRANCH
1953 MASS AVE.
SOMERVILLE MAIN BRANCH
237 WASHINGTON ST.
WATERTOWN MAIN BRANCH
126 MAIN ST.
www.usps.com

LIBRARIES
HARVARD LIBRARIES Spouses can get free library cards at all of the Harvard libraries.
Browse their resources online.
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 666 Boylston St., Boston, 617-536-5400. To obtain a free
library card you will need to bring proof of residency (for example, an electric bill).
Often has discounts to local museums for free. Check out its great website at
www.bpl.org.

VOTER REGISTRATION
Towns and cities, not counties, perform registration in Massachusetts. If you register in
person, you will need to bring proof of your name and address (for example, a
Massachusetts driver’s license, a check book, or a phone or gas bill). Mail-in registration
forms are usually available around campus. You must register at least 30 days in advance
of an election to be eligible to vote. Non-presidential primaries are usually held in
September; general elections are in November.
BELMONT CITY HALL 455 Concord Ave.
617-489-8210
BOSTON CITY HALL Government Center Rm. 221
617-635-4000
BOSTON ELECTION DEPARTMENT
617-635-4635
BROOKLINE TOWN HALL 333 Washington St
617-730-2000
CAMBRIDGE CITY HALL Central Square
617-349-4000
SOMERVILLE CITY HALL 93 Highland Ave
617-625-6600
WATERTOWN CITY HALL 149 Main St.
617-972-6486

EMERGENCY AND HEALTH INFORMATION
FIRE/POLICE/AMBULANCE
911
STATE POLICE
617-740-7600
POISON INFORMATION CENTER
800-682-9211

DENTAL CARE
HARVARD UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICES (UHS)
Holyoke Center, 1st Floor
617-495-2063
CAMBRIDGE DENTAL ASSOCIATES 921 Mass Ave., Cambridge
617-492-8210
HARVARD DENTAL SCHOOL 188 Longwood Ave., Boston
617-432-1423
NEW ENGLAND DENTAL CENTER 1446 Cambridge St., Cambridge
617-876-1100
TUFTS DENTAL SCHOOL 1 Kneeland St., Boston
617-636-6828
The basic Harvard dental plan covers all the costs of a visit for cleanings and routine fillings
except for a co-payment ($10 for cleanings, $20 for fillings), however, the Harvard
clinic is extremely backlogged. Expect that the first available date for a non-emergency
appointment will be in about 2-3 months.

Also, don’t forget the yellow pages, which provides an extensive listing of dentists with
private practices throughout the area. While costs will be higher, the trade-off of a quick
visit may make it worthwhile.

HOSPITALS
Boston is famous for its medical facilities, many of which are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. But before checking into a hospital for treatment, check your insurance coverage to be sure it covers that hospital. This list is not inclusive — check the yellow pages for a complete listing.

BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS HOSPITAL 330 Brookline Ave., Boston
800-667-5356
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL 75 Francis St., Boston
800-294-9999
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL 300 Longwood Ave., Boston
617-355-6000
MASS GENERAL HOSPITAL 55 Fruit St., Boston
617-726-2000
MOUNT AUBURN HOSPITAL 330 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge
617-492-3500
HARVARD UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICES (UHS)
Holyoke Center, Cambridge (in Harvard Square
617-495-5711
Law School Clinic, Pound Hall basement (on HLS campus)
617-495-4414
If you have insurance through the Law School, then using the HMO-style Harvard UHS is the best value. You can see a doctor easily and the cost is automatically covered by your student insurance. While some options for other treatment are available through the Massachusetts Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan offered by Harvard, BC/BS has developed a reputation as a difficult insurer to deal with, even by insurance-industry standards. General-practice physicians for Harvard Health Services are located both in the main Holyoke Center location and in the Law School Clinic. Specialized services are in Holyoke Center. Since Holyoke Center has no parking of its own, expect to spend some time hunting for a parking place if you drive to it, however it is easily accessible by subway. Status changes (such as spousal coverage or birth of a baby) must be reported to Harvard UHS member services (617-495-2008) within 30 days to guarantee coverage.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Finding a job can be difficult, but don’t get frustrated. Listed below are employment agencies you can begin with. Also, don’t forget the
Boston Globe “Help Wanted” section and websites like monster.com, hotjobs.com, craigslist.org and www.careerbuilder.com.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES 11 Holyoke St., Cambridge, 617-495-2772, www.workingatharvard.org. Up to date listings of temporary/permanent/ casual/full-time/part-time jobs for all available positions at Harvard. The office and listings are open to the public. Unfortunately, there is no extra consideration for spouses of students. While you are looking for a job, you can register for
the temp service at Harvard, which will give you exposure to some of the offices and increase the likelihood that you will find out about and be seriously considered for a permanent position.
ACCOUNTEMPS OF CAMBRIDGE 617-876-9500. Temporary placement in bookkeeping
and accounting positions.
AQUENT 617-535-6000
ARTHUR BLAIR ASSOCIATES 617-723-8135.
CUNNEY AND JOSPÉ 617-367-6665. Temporary and permanent placement in secretarial
and office support positions.
FANNING PERSONNEL 617-728-4100. Terrific (see below).
NEW BOSTON ASSOCIATES 617-720-2617. Temporary placement.
PSG (PROFESSIONAL STAFFING GROUP) 617-250-1000. One of the largest in Boston.
PORTER DOWN EMPLOYMENT CONSULTANTS 617-357-9096. Positions in advertising
and creative placements.
RANDSTAD 617-338-8866

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
There are over 50 colleges in and around Boston. The Higher Education Information Center at the Boston Public Library, 666 Boylston St., 617-536-0200, has a guide to educational opportunities in the greater Boston area.

HARVARD UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SCHOOL 20 Garden St., Cambridge, 508-495-2371. This school offers a variety of courses, for credit or non-credit and two-thirds of thefaculty are Harvard professors.KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT (HARVARD) 79 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, 617-495-1100. Often has workshops and speeches by politically-prominent individuals in the late afternoons and evenings. Generally, you must apply in advance for admission.
BOSTON CENTER FOR ADULT EDUCATION 5 Commonwealth Ave., Boston,
617-267-4430. They offer a wide variety of classes, weekly workshops and lecture series.
CAMBRIDGE CENTER FOR ADULT EDUCATION 42 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-547-6789.
Like its Boston counterpart, offers a variety of weekly workshops and lecture series.
REDCROSS REGISTRATION SERVICES 99 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-262-1234. It offers many
first-aid and CPR courses, as well as certification for instruction, ambulance operation, etc.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to the dozens (if not hundreds) of service opportunities at HLS, here are some groups in the community who could always use help:
BIG BROTHER, BIG SISTER A 11⁄2 to 2 year commitment is requested. Big Brother Boston:
294 Washington Ave., 617-426-1237; Big Brother Cambridge: 1151 Mass Ave., 617-
492-8212; Big Sister Boston: 161 Mass Ave.,617-236-8060.
BOSTON CARES Boston, 617-263-2273. Provides a diverse array of volunteering
opportunities.
CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS 495 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-349-6794.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS INTERNSHIP OFFICE 1 Ashburton Place, Boston, 617-727-8688 has positions in state offices, profit and non-profit agencies.
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF BOSTON 117 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-9640.
PEOPLE MAKING A DIFFERENCE 15 Sleeper St., Suite 204, Boston, 888-763-5656. Helps others by organizing fun hands-on community service projects and recruiting people to volunteer for a day.
PROJECT BREAD-WALK FOR HUNGER 617-723-5000. This is an HLCA tradition which takes place the first weekend in May. A variety of volunteer opportunities for this one day event—making lunches for the walkers, serving the walkers, walking, etc.
VOLUNTARY ACTION CENTER OF THE UNITED WAY 2 Liberty Square, Boston,
617-482-8370. Various opportunities from soup kitchens, working with the handicapped, to helping the homeless.

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