Memorial Day Weekend in BostonTuesday, 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.