Ask the average Briton about Boston, Massachusetts and you would likely get one of two answers. History buffs would almost certainly talk about the Boston Tea Party. Not an actual party you understand, but an incident that took place in Boston harbour in 1773, whereby American colonists, frustrated by the English tax on tea, dumped 342 crates of the stuff into the drink.
Sports fans, on the other hand, may talk about the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are one of the most successful baseball teams in America. They have won 9 World Series and 14 American League titles. Their home stadium is the iconic Fenway Park, one of only two baseball stadiums most people in the UK will ever have heard of. The other being Yankee stadium.
There is the possibility for a third answer of course. Anyone who takes part in pub quizzes on a regular basis may mention the mega-popular TV sit-com, Cheers. Shown in the UK on Channel 4, Cheers ran for 275 episodes over 11 series. Set in a fictional bar in the centre of Boston, it was owned by ex-Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and featured a stellar cast including… Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), Rebecca Howe (Kirsty Alley), Norm Peterson (George Wendt), Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), Carla Tortelli (Rhea Pearlman), Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), Coach Ernie (Nicholas Colasanto) and Frasier Krane (Kelsey Grammar) who would later go on to have his own hit show, Frasier.
So, now you know everything that Boston is famous for. Well, not quite.
Did you know for example that Boston consistently ranks among the top 10 cities in America? No! Well, it does, and here are the reasons why.
The Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest marathon. The inaugural marathon was held in 1897 just one year after the first-ever Olympic race at the Summer Olympics of 1896. The Boston version is traditionally held on the 3rd Monday in April (Patriots Day) and is massively populated with competitors from all over the world. The annual running of the Boston Marathon may be the reason that Bostonians are so healthy. The American fitness index named Boston as one of the top 10 fittest cities in America.
Sadly this great race will forever be tainted by the events of 2013. On April 15, during the running of the race, two homemade pressure-cooker bombs detonated near the finish line. 3 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured, many of them seriously. Two brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, originally from Chechnya, and who were politically motivated, were responsible. Tamerlan was killed during a shoot-out with police soon after the incident. Dzhokhar escaped but was later caught, tried and sentenced to death.
Boston is a green city
Boston has more public parks, playgrounds, and farmers markets per capita than nearly any other city in the USA. Much of it was initiated in the 19th century, by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Considered to be the father of landscape architecture in the USA he pursued his vision of improving the lives of its citizens by creating a ring of green around the city. The Emerald Necklace is a 1,100-acre chain of parks inter-linked by parkways and waterways around Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts.
Other areas of green space in Boston include the Esplanade on the Charles River, the Back Bay Fens, and Boston Common, the oldest city park in the entire USA. Every Boston neighbourhood offers an outdoor green space for fresh air and exercise without ever having to leave the confines of the city.
Diverse music scene
When talking about the music scene in Boston, one band more than any other has to be mentioned. That band is 70’s rock group, Boston. Bottom of the class for original name choice perhaps, but they did write ‘More Than A Feeling’ in 1976 so they do have that going for them.
Fans of classical music in Boston are also blessed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. One of the most celebrated and recognised orchestras in America, the BSO also tour internationally and are recognised as one of the finest Symphony orchestras in the world. They play (unsurprisingly) at Boston Symphony Hall, one of the top 3 concert halls in the world, and host more than 600,000 concert goers every year.
Boston is also famous for having a Philharmonic orchestra. Founded in 1979 they are a semi-professional orchestra featuring student, professional, and amateur musicians, yet they still enjoy a reputation as one of the world’s best orchestras.
If listening to Rakhmaninov whilst wearing a dinner suit is not your thing, then you may be more interested in the thriving Rap scene. Hip-Hop and Rap have grown in popularity in recent years, and Boston is now home to many amazing Rap artists.
Chief amongst these is Rapper, ‘Parksidepaperz’. Real name Andre Hubbard (no relation to L. Ron Hubbard!) Parksidepaperz has had what can only be described as a miraculous life. After serving a 5-year jail sentence in Walpole DDU state correctional facility, Andre was released only to succumb 6 months later to a brain aneurism. Pronounced dead at the scene, he was airlifted to hospital and incredibly, there he was revived.
Given a second chance at life he underwent something of an epiphany and took to music to aid his recovery. Boston’s number one rapper now has his own record label, ‘Famtyze Entertainment’, and is establishing himself throughout the USA and Europe.
The Athens of America
Boston has a well-earned reputation as a major centre of education. Once dubbed ‘the Athens of America’ due to its extraordinarily high density of schools, the city boasts 20 institutes of higher learning. One of these is Harvard, the oldest and probably the best-known university in the USA. The greater metropolitan area of Boston is also home to MIT university, most famously known for the BlackJack card counting team that operated in Atlantic City during the ’80s. It is unsurprising therefore that Boston was ranked 8th in the world for student cities in 2017.
Centre for the arts
It should come as no surprise to find out that Bostonians have a tremendous love of the arts. We have already mentioned Boston’s world-class educational facilities and its internationally renowned Symphony orchestra. Boston is also famous for its museums, music schools and theatre companies.
This indelible link with the arts & culture in Boston led the city’s leaders to initiate the ‘Boston Creates’ programme. Boston Creates is a ten-year cultural plan to enhance arts and culture in the City. Some of the principal goals of Boston Creates include:
- To provide fertile grounds for a vibrant and sustainable arts ecosystem
- To keep local artists in Boston and to attract new artists from across the spectrum
- To make the arts accessible to everyone in the city
- To ensure that all cultural traditions are respected
- To integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life
Ernest Hemingway Collection
John F. Kennedy was arguably the most popular US President of all time. He was also born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. To commemorate JFK’s legacy, the city built the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. It can be found within the grounds of the University of Massachusetts, on the banks of the Boston Harbour.
Besides being an enduring monument to the 35th President of the USA, and home to some incredible works of art from all over the world, it is also where you will find the Ernest Hemingway collection.
Here is kept 90% of Hemingway’s original manuscripts, audio/visual records and other archival material about the great man. Donated to the museum by Mary Welsh Hemingway after his death in 1961, this is a must-visit destination for lovers of American literature.
Quality of life
Bostonians enjoy the highest quality of life in the USA according to a study by Deutsche Bank. Quite apart from the stunning parks and recreation, the vibrant music scene and superb educational facilities, Boston enjoy magnificent bars and restaurants and a public transport system to rival Tokyo. Bostonians are generally fit, healthy, well educated and happy.
Probably the happiest demographic though is the heterosexual single male. There is a disproportionate number of females to males in Boston.
The total population of Massachusetts is estimated at 6,745,408 people with 3,270,824 male and 3,474,584 female. There are 203,760 more women than men in the state, which is 3.02% of the total population. The Massachusetts Gender Ratio is 94 men to 100 women (94:100) or 0.94. – Massachusetts Gender Ratios according to states101.com
This statistic led one MIT researcher to come up with an algorithm that appeared to show that if every single male in Boston were to eliminate all undesirable matches, he would still be left with about 2,500 compatible female options.
The guys will also be pleased to know that the cost of that ‘first date’ will be relatively low too. An average meal for two in one of the city’s superb diners will set him back just $50. Assuming he is on a good enough salary of course.
He most likely is, as the average yearly salary in Boston is approaching $78,000 or $3,740 per month. This puts Boston 5th in the list of major global cities where workers have the highest salaries. Despite, or maybe because of this, the average price of a beer in any bar in Boston is $6. So, it is not the best place to buy a drink in the USA. Ironic, considering one of Bostons most popular TV shows is based inside a bar. However, Boston residents do have the highest disposable income to be able to buy a beer.
Are you a Boston resident? Do you want to shout out about your city? Have I left anything out that you feel should be included? Have you ever visited Boston? Are you planning to visit Boston sometime in the future? Let me know in the comments section below. Always happy to read your comments. It would be especially cool to hear from any Red Sox fans 🙂
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