Bone Ride

Tour de Turtle Bone Ride Series: Westfield, West Springfield, Agawam, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Easthampton

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The Tour de Turtle bone ride series took a trip back out to the 413 to explore the lower Connecticut Valley region. This is our 7th or 8th one of these bone rides, and never before have we seen such contrast. There were some towns on this trip which were unbelievably nice places. Then there were those that look like what I imagine Kevin Lynch’s bedroom resembles. We visited the following nine towns and cities in order: Westfield, West Springfield, Agawam, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Easthampton. Let’s see how they ranked from nicest to crappies……

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1. Longmeadow

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Longmeadow is insane. Only word to describe it. Way too nice for the Turtleboy family. And somehow it borders Springfield. That’s an amazing feat in and of itself. A lot of the homes are registered historic homes, so it helps keep the riff raff out. They know what they’re doing. But seriously, one of the nicest towns in all of Massachusetts.

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2. Agawam

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Agawam is a very nice place. It’s located right on the Connecticut River and has a bike/running path. Which is lovely.

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The neighborhoods in Agawam are so nice that Tracy Novick would consider moving here even though they make you pay property taxes.

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Driving around town though there are clearly three people living in Agawam whose sole mission is to destroy everyone else’s property value:

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Seriously? What the hell man? I mean, aren’t you just trying to be an asshole if you decorate your house and yard like that? If I’m in the market for hay, straw, or mulch, no way I’m being it off of this guy:

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There are only two downsides to the Agawam lifestyle. 1) The Big E is very close. Too close. 2) Six Flags gets flooded with morons in the summer. Other than that it’s a nice little town.

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3. East Longmeadow

On a lot of Tour de Turtle bone rides this would be ranked #1. But when you’re next to Longmeadow, you’re pretty much guaranteed to look poor. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with East Longmeadow:

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It’s a fine town and the biggest eyesore we could find while scavenging around for grime and filth was this thing:

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If that house were in Colrain the mayor would live in it. We’ve seen a lot worse. The only downside of East Longmeadow living is this world class clusterfuck of a rotary they’ve got going on.

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Other than that, not too shabby.

 

4. Westfield

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Westfield is a city, comparable in size to Fitchburg and Leominster. So although it’s overall a pretty nice place, it’s bound to have special pockets of craptacular hidden gems. The worst part of town we could find today centers around the aptly named “Free Street”:

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Because most people we saw walking around there get shit for free. It’s a lot more fitting than “Job Street.”

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The downtown isn’t bad looking.

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There’s also a lot of money in Westfield in some parts, as the homes are old, but big.

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And you throw in your mix of nice, but not too nice.

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And what you’re left with is a city that’s a pretty nice place to live.

 

5. West Springfield

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West Springfield has a lot of really nice areas, and looks like your standard suburban town.

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But it touches both Holyoke and Sprinfield……so, yea……that’s gonna be a problem. The closer you get to the border the more you see the similarities. I mean, it’s not ghetto or anything by any means, but when you’re driving through Agawam you don’t see random brick industrial buildings.

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Or old dudes chillin on the stoop at 11:00 AM.

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Or idled rail cars.

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Or shady motels where crooked politicians go to get blowjobs.

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Or pawn shops.

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Or one of the most classic signatures of the hood – the abandoned shoppin cart –

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And who wouldn’t wanna live next door to the milk rendering plant?

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But by far the worst part about West Springfield, and the reason it can go straight to hell, is this right here:

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No, not the depressing abandoned gas station, or the empty billboard that no one wants to advertise on. This is the Big E fairgrounds. The God-forsaken cesspool of fried dough and mop salesman that Mrs. Turtleboy drage me to every single year. And the good folks of West Springfield are always there to charge you $25 for the privilege of parking on their lawn.

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6. Easthampton

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Easthampton is an interesting place. It’s got Mount Tom for a backdrop, which is nice because not only does it look cool, it acts as a physical barrier to keep the muffs from Holyoke out. It’s got some neighborhoods that are WICKED nice.

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Towards the center of town you get a lot of this:

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Once again, not bad, just not that nice either.

But what kills this town, and what it’s overally pretty much a dumpy little village, is stuff like this:

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Come on now. What the hell is that? Just bulldoze it already and put the poor thing out of its misery.

And this is pleasant looking:

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Hey kids, you go down and play in the marsh next to the factory!!!

And can we talk about this:

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And this?

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I mean, what the hell man? How much of a dick do you have to be to decorate your lawn with this much trash? Like, we know you’re obviously a complete disaster if this is your home. But why, in the name of God do you have to have not one, but TWO broken down microwaves on your front lawn, adjacent to a 20 inch television from 1982? Notice they don’t even put their excess trash on the other side of the fence, closer to the house. That’s because that part of their yard is already filled to the brim with all of their other trash. Way too much of this for our liking in Easthampton.

 

7. Chicopee

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Chicopee is a fair sized city (55,000 people) so naturally it’s gonna have it’s issues. And just like West Springfield it touches both Springfield and Holyoke. It will always be an uphill battle with neighbors like that. Chicopee does have many part of town that are fine looking neighborhoods. But when you’re driving through them you just have this feeling that the townsfolk got together a few decades back and came to the agreement that nothing would be updated to look newer than the 1970’s.

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But there’s also a lot of this going on in Chicopee:

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And this:

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And lovely lawn furniture like this:

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And well kept property like this:

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And let me tell ya, Friendly Liquor Store, doesn’t look very friendly at all.

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Oh yea, and you know you’re in the wrong part of town when you’re driving down the street and a 7 year old boy is aiming an imaginary gun at your head for fun:

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It’s also February and 28 degrees and he has shorts and a t-shirt on. Looks like the future is bright in Chicopee!!!

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8. Springfield

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This was one of the hardest choices we’ve had to make for dumpiest city on a bone ride. The only reason Springfield wasn’t the dumpiest is because at least it had a city feel to it. There’s a convention center, and a downtown with tall buildings. And not EVERYTHING in Springfield looks damned by God:

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But here’s some signs that you’re living in a complete shithole. Is there a Family Dollar less than three blocks away from ANOTHER Family Dollar?

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Has the pizza shop that recently went out of business been converted into a makeshit Iglesia?

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Is there a pawn shop

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Directly across the street from a “family pawn shop?”

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Seriously? What the hell is a family pawn shop? I’m supposed to get in the car with Mrs. Turtleboy and Turtleboy Jr. and go down there and trade in this gold watch I “found” last weekend? And if I don’t have them with me I’m supposed to go to the other pawn shop across the street? This is how life works in Springfield?

Here’s some more shithole tell-tale signs. Do you have one of those barbershops where people spend the entire day sitting down without ever getting a haircut?

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Does this constitute a playground?

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Is this the park?

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Is this where your kids go trick or treating?

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Does a fenced in lot scream, “unlimited possibilities?”

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Do people throw random shit in the 20 foot pricker bushes?

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Do junkies look at your back yard as a nice little nook to take a nap in?

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Do stores have to remind you to pay your bills before using all your food stamps?

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Is the official theme of your city, “post-Katrina New Orleans?”

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Are there at least 2 pairs of shoes dangling from the power lines?

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Is anyone on your street getting a haircut at noon on their porch?

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Do you have to park your souped up minivan with the bumper sticker that won’t come off on the edge of your driveway because your driveway has become a mudhole?

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Do random people speaking in foreign tongue hold up traffic for unlimited periods of time because they are having a VERY important business conversation at noon on a Thursday?

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If you answered yes to all of these questions, then congratulations, you live in the shithole known as Springfield.

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9. Holyoke

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The reason that Holyoke beat out Springfield is that Springfield is more of un urban dump, whereas Holyoke is a post-industrial cesspool of Godlessness. When you cross the bridge from Chicopee and get off at one of the first couple of exits, this is what your welcome to Holyoke tour looks like:

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I know, I know. I’d rather be dead.

There’s plenty of sights to see in town, such as the abandoned railroad tracks

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The bike that hovers in the air

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The magical lot of used tires

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The never ending supply of boarded up buildings

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Grown men who have nothing better to do but sit on their stoop all day watching traffic

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The world famous housing projects

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Local stores that urge you to spend your food stamps on cigarettes and other vices

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Beautiful, well kept yards like these

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Adjacent to breathtaking property like this

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Holyoke also has the world’s highest ratio of satellite dishes to GED’s.

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This is what constitutes beach front property in Holyoke

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And remember the dooshnozzle from Easthampton who threw everything he never returned to Rent-a-Center on his front lawn? Yea that guy is a dime a dozen in Holyoke.

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Thats not to say it’s all bad. The further away from the river you get the less likely you are to wake up to a dead hooker on your front lawn.

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Oh well at least the hot dogs at Nicks Nest are good.

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You agree with the rankings? Where shoul we take our next bone ride to? Plenty more dumps where that came from.

 

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15 Comment(s)
  • marilu
    September 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I do agree with the rankings, yes. Very much.
    Holyoke is a god awful hell hole & so are 90% of the people in it. I love the “I’d rather be dead” quote bc that’s what I also always say in comparison to potentially living there. Literally I would rather die than live in that ratchet angry babymama catasrophe & all of it’s poverty stricken glory.

    The part about the barbershop in Spfld. is hilarious bc I know that shop very well & it’s truly a hood haven of reggaeton, Xbox playing, weed smoking delight with a few patrons actually getting overprices line-ups.

  • 4 inches of glory
    April 14, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Longmeadow is the nicest looking on this list, for sure. The only rub is that it lacks open spaces, and the people are trashy in a wealthy way. It’s rife with drug use, they just cover it up. Still nice overall. East Longmeadow is an extension of Springfield, which gives it a trashy factor. Too many dopeheads in that town that score in Springfield off Belmont Ave on the border. Agawam is dumpy, Feeding Hills is garbo. West Springfield is trashy, too close to Springfield. Chicopee sucks. People from Springfield move to Westside, Agawam or Chicopee to escape the problems, but just bring them along. Easthampton and Westfield are alright, some good and some bad, but overall decent communities where you can walk home from a bar at night. Springfield is a nightmare warzone. Lock your windows close your doors. Holyoke is depressing but safer than Springfield. You can stop there for food but never stop in the City of Homes.

  • Micky Shitz
    June 2, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Where did you drive around in Springfield? Looks like you knew where the dumpiest hoods were and went to them. Did you drive through East Forest Park, Forest Park Historic District, 16 Acres, Indian Orchard…what I saw was The South End and The North End. Of course those would be the most blighted, that is where all the factory housing was and has been re-purposed for Section 8. Same with Holyoke.

    • Samuel
      September 6, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      Of course that doesn’t change the fact that both of them are in the top 5 worst places in the entire state. I actually think they are even worse than Lawrence personally because at least Lawrence is less dangerous now and is going in a positive direction. I even thing that they deserve the top 2 spots for the worst cities in Massachusetts.

  • Chas
    February 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Poor Holyoke, sadly deserves this ranking. My wife and I did a similar ‘bone ride’ last summer and were amazed at the run down, depressing conditions in Holyoke. Cruising slowly down one street with abandoned homes (that must have been gorgeous back in the day…) we had to stop short for a smiling, glazed-eyed hooker. I’m sure she would have done anything we both asked but never got that far, time to leave Holyoke! We still laugh at the memory.

  • Evan
    February 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Lawrence

  • Reddog
    February 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    You notice the no dog sign on the side of the building in the flats in holyoke? If you’ve ever seen this magical place,you’d see that dogs should be the last thing the housing authority should be concerned with. It is by far the scariest place I’ve ever been with the exception when my gps took me into a real shady area in NYC. I was afraid I was gonna catch hep c just driving through that area of holyoke. You drive by the bus stops in the middle of the day and there are ten or twelve people waiting for the bus. Can’t imagine the stink on those busses. Place is a shithole. The armpit of western mass.

  • Danny
    February 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Either u or Brockton turtle boy gotta start in Brockton and do the south shore u mite put Holyoke to shame after a visit south

  • TBS very funny
    February 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    You should have dropped by in Ludlow real quick and got a bifana, way better than those hot dogs.

  • Linda
    February 19, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I spent time in the Springfield/Holyoke area as a child in the late 50s. These were clean, well-kept homes in working class neighborhoods. The now abandoned factories employed the people who lived there. Very sad to see this.

  • balloon knot
    February 19, 2016 at 8:12 am

    satellite dishes to geds
    😆

    • Lightbulb
      February 19, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      perfect. Thanks for the great read. Now I know never to visit those. I’m running out of towns to go to.

  • Dgaf
    February 19, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Winchendon. Athol. Orange.

    • February 19, 2016 at 10:52 am

      We did all of those on our first trip.

  • Springfield City of Homies
    February 19, 2016 at 3:32 am

    The Family Pawn is filled entirely with subwoofers. It’s amazing.

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