Bay Village is the smallest officially recognized neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. As of 2010, its population was approximately 1,312 residents living in 837 housing units, most of which are small brick rowhouses.
The Massachusetts Turnpike is the southern boundary of the neighborhood, which coincides with the right-of-way of the former Boston and Worcester Railroad, laid down in the 1830s. Marginal Road and Cortes Street are the surface roads that parallel “the Pike”. Across the Pike to the southwest lies the South End neighborhood; to the southeast of the Pike and Tremont Street is the southern edge of Chinatown. To the west of Berkeley Street and north of Columbus Avenue (west of Arlington Street) is the Back Bay neighborhood. To the north of Stuart Street is Park Square, and to the east of Charles Street is the Washington Street Theatre District.
In 1983, the area bounded by Cortes Street, Tremont Street, Piedmont Street, and Isabella Street was designated as the “Bay Village Historic District” by the Boston Landmarks Commission. The exterior appearance of buildings is protected by a Historic District designation administered by the Bay Village Historic District Commission.
The narrow one-way network and irregular grid arrangement of the streets make the interior urban spaces of Bay Village relatively quiet and pedestrian-friendly, due to sparse automobile traffic. Most of the sidewalks are paved with brick, and are lit by gas streetlamps at night. One small street is still paved with original cobblestones, while the remainder have long ago been repaved with asphalt.
There are a few “vest-pocket parks” located within or nearby Bay Village, including Eliot Norton Park, which although technically located in the Theatre District, is just across Charles Street from the eastern boundary of the neighborhood. The Boston Public Garden and Boston Common are located just two blocks away from the northern edge of Bay Village.
Traditionally middle to lower-middle class, the neighborhood has become relatively more expensive and upscale, beginning around the 1990s. The Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) is very active in controlling urban nuisances, such as traffic, litter, graffiti, and pet wastes (an approved dog walking area is located next to Eliot Norton Park). The BVNA is also known for organizing Spring and Fall Cleanup days, a book club, and the Bay Village Annual Neighborhood Block Party (which features restaurant tables and service literally in the middle of the narrow streets, when permitted by the weather).