Memorial Day Weekend in Boston

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The first time I became fully aware of the extent of the Boston and New York rivalry, I was on a precarious hike up to Angel's Landing in Zion. As I climbed up the boulders strung with chains with an 800-foot drop on one side and a 1200-foot drop on the other, the man in front of me joked, "I should warn you—you're wearing a Yankees hat while hiking behind a Red Sox fan. These are very steep cliffs, you know."

At least, I think he was joking.

While that encounter did not entirely scare me off, it did take me seven years to finally check out Beantown. And as I planned our little girls trip to Boston, I was reminded of this ever-present rivalry. When I posted a query on Facebook on what to see/do/eat/imbibe in Boston, an intense polarization became immediately apparent, with Boston-devotees riddling my wall with their favorite things and New Yorkers quipping that my to-do list should only include one thing: getting right back to New York.

Obviously, I decided to forego the latter advice and headed for Boston on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend with my friend Tamara on the 7am Amtrak. As we chatted with the charming concierge at our lovely hotel that afternoon, he told me what we would soon find out for ourselves, "I don't know why there's such a rivalry on which city is better. Boston and New York are just different."

The two cities do have their similarities. There's the architecture, from the beautiful residential brownstones to canyon-like financial districts where skyscrapers flank the narrowest of streets. Of course, there's that intense passion for one's baseball teams. But where New York moves at a fast clip over a sprawling space, Boston holds a steadier pace in a much more compact area. The city is also quite impeccably kept compared to my somewhat grimy adopted home. Here, the historic residential areas, structures and parks just seemed a tad more crisp, clean and well-tended.

We were spoiled with beautiful New England spring weather as we got reacquianted with the Boston Tea Party and stories of the American Revolution; paid our respects to Massachusetts' fallen sons and daughters at the memorial in Boston Common; took a moment to relax on the Charles River esplanade; explored the lovely neighborhood of Beacon Hill; and had our fill of sumptuous lobster rolls and clam chowder.

But after all was said and done, I found myself still loyal to the city I'd chosen to be my home. You may be grimy, loud and rough around the edges, New York, but at the end of the day, I choose you.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for all the recs Jorel! Boston misses you, too.

  2. Beautiful photos!

    I'm from the UK and when I was in Seattle, I saw a Yankees fan on the street just start yelling at a 10 year old kid who was wearing a 'Yankees suck' t-shirt. That's my only experience of the rivalry, so it's interesting to find out a little more about it.

    I'm pretty chilled out and get the impression that New York would be too busy/intense for me and I can't imagine what it would be like to live there. Do you just get used to it and get a thrill from New York, or do you need to take a break from the city every so often to unwind?


    1. Oh Gemma, you must watch a Yankees/Red Sox game live sometime just to see the extent of these rivalries. Even the little girls deck out their dolls in team jerseys!

      I am a born and bred city girl so NY's frenetic pace is just right for me. I always walk and talk too fast and expect things to be done yesterday, like everyone else who lives here! But yes, unwinding and slowing down every now and then is definitely necessary to maintain sanity!