I had an office and an apartment in Boston for most of the 80s and was teased by one of the natives for my backstreet-, alley- and cross-parking-lot driving strategies.
Despite its maddening traffic, resolutely illogical street layouts and names, the horrid racism -- white taxi drivers would ignore African-Americans trying to flag a ride while black cabdrivers would not take you into places like Southie and Charlestown -- and the often vicious weather, (or maybe because of all that), I felt right at home. It was exactly what a gritty city should be and if you were not mean enough for those streets, go somewhere else -- like Manhattan. Forever Man could not have happened anywhere else and Phillip Gardiner was born to live there.
This is the Mystic River from Somerville -- which we used to call "Dorchester with trees" (my apartment was in Dorchester, not Back Bay like Phillip's) -- on a morning in May.