There is an entire forum dedicated to male nurses on this site. I'm sure you'll find some valuable insight there from men like yourself interested in the field of nursing.
I am a nurse in Boston and am familiar with alot of the nursing programs
around here. An associate degree program will take you the least amount of time (generally 2+ years) to become an registered nurse. There are many schools on the outskirts of Boston with programs for an ADN. There is, however, the issue of these schools having waiting lists, which will add additional months.
Obtaining your BSN is becoming almost necessary if you wish to work for one of the large teaching hospitals Boston is famous for. Mass General, Brigham and Women's, Beth Israel, Children's etc are becoming very picky when hiring new nurses. You would have much better job opportunities awaiting you after graduation if you were to obtain your BSN. Generally BSN's take 4-5 years to complete.
Then, there is always the option or getting your ADN, then working as an RN while you complete your BSN and beyond, if you wish. This is a good option if you are anxious to get going.
I find the "better hospitals" as you mentioned, to be those I listed above (MGH, BWH etc.). And salaries for new grad nurses are looking up! On average, I'd say you'd start anywhere from $24/hr at a community hospital up to a max of $30/hr at the large medical centers in town.
All of this is just my opinion, but I hope my insight helps. I am a new graduate nurse and I really understand how tough it is choosing a program and completing nursing school.