Mahmood Shaikh

Tile image

Age when this tile was made: 5

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Yorktown Street. A few blocks outside of Davis Sq.

Where else have you lived in Somerville?

Just on Yorktown Street but we did move across the street in the mid 80's.

Where do you live now?

Chicago, IL - I've lived in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago for the past 6 years. There are many similarities to Somerville. It's an emerging neighborhood comprised of families that have lived here for generations, recent immigrants, students, artists, young professionals, etc.

Do you consider Somerville your hometown? Yes

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

One of my earliest memories of Somerville is my first day of kindergarten. I specifically remember meeting my table-mates Kevin and Laura (who I would go to school with for the next 12 years).

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

Family. My immediate neighborhood was filled with families. There were always kids around for a game of kickball or hide & seek. As I got older I learned that Somerville wasn't necessarily thought of in the best light by folks from other towns. It's all I knew, I always felt safe and it's definitely shaped my world-view.

How would you describe Somerville today?

Somerville is more in demand than ever. I suppose you could call it gentrified but for me it still retains many of the qualities it did in the 80's. My family still lives there and I look forward to my trips back home.

How has Somerville changed?

Absolutely; but what urban neighborhood hasn't changed in 30 years? Obviously the Red Line extending into Somerville has had a significant impact on the cultural and economic make up of the area. It's made Davis Sq. a destination for new people but has also enabled long time residents easier access to the resources of Boston as a whole.

I remember reading the Utne Reader article that declared Davis Sq. one of the hippest places to live in America (alongside Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Wicker Park, Chicago). That was over 10 years ago. At first I felt a little bit defensive and territorial but that eventually gave way to pride.

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