Urban Conversion

Text and Photos by Tyler Breen

Every fall the academic pilgrimage to Boston brings the city a new crowd of ambitious youth, their minds calling for something greater than their hometown suburbia could offer them.  Why is this? What is it about self-sustaining campus towns, the state universities, the local community colleges?
There’s the obvious: Boston offers things they cannot, in the form of types of different people, more opportunities, and the urban lifestyle not offered elsewhere. But there’s a magical quality that most Bostonian collegiates fall in love with. The late night walks, underneath the skyscrapers; the transition from walking beneath the skyline to gazing out at it from the window of the bedroom apartment. There’s energy of the city that’s contagious, infectious. The crowded Green line T’s on Friday and Saturday nights, filled to the brim with drunken students, pushed against each other like cattle, all heading towards the parties (living for the parties).
Eventually we mature past this fantastical quality. Our eyes open, often at different points of time, to economic disparity, to bills and the cost of living, to the energy required for grocery shopping, for commuting, for laundry, internships, for jobs at establishments and retail stores – homework somehow finding its way into the moments in between, entertainment being forced in by necessity. But still, even after the streets and parks lose the feeling of being our adult playground, after we initialize ourselves as citizens, that fondness stays. The love for that skyline stays.
These photographs are a reflection of this transition into Boston, to the alteration that occurs within the individual as he or she experiences the changeover required in someone who decides to live in Boston.