Bad Boston

27 things that drive us crazy about the city we love
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  January 17, 2007


Why are Bostonians so damn mean? It’s weird. There’s so much to love about this place. Our leafy thoroughfares and Victorian embellishments. The Red Sox and the Patriots. Our world-class educational and arts institutions. Our (now) fabulous cuisine and little “ethnic” eateries. Our complicated relationship with liberalism. Our leading-edge and ever-coming new bands. And let’s not forget, we’re still a two-newspaper town — no small thing. Blessed with such bounty, you’d think we’d greet each other with a good-natured spark in the eye.

But no. We drive like homicidal sociopaths, our sports fans are renowned for their unparalleled blood lust, we glower at each other from territory we’ve staked out on the T or sit there glumly in a mood of quiet desperation. We walk with our heads bowed, we greet friendly overtures with suspicion, we’re all too ready to come to fisticuffs over the merest slight. Dealing with us blows a frosty chill down the back of the neck.

Ask any out-of-towner, and one of the first things he or she will say with an air of bewilderment is, “What’s wrong with you people?” As our own Emerson once put it, “Why so hot, little sir?”

It’s all too easy to blame the Puritans. Or, though you hear less about them, the Victorian moralists and the Irish political class that built this city in its later formative years. There’s not a whole lot we can do about the emotional logic of culture except wait for the wheel of time to grind along, softening the edges laid down by the past.

Meanwhile, there are tons of little things in this city that bring out our worst, whatever its origins, and they’re made all the more aggravating because they could be so easily addressed.

The staff of the Boston Phoenix decided to take a stab at laying it all out in one place. We’re not suggesting any total policy overhauls here — that’s for another day. But a few minor adjustments here and there might help us all crank down the hostility level a notch. If you disagree, then fuck you.

New York state of mind
Boston isn’t New York. It’s not supposed to be New York. So why embarrass ourselves trying to make it New York? East Boston isn’t E-Bo, no matter how many realtors say otherwise. On a related note, there’s no such thing as SoWa. And Barney’s decision to open a Boston store doesn’t mean we’ve arrived. For God’s sake, let’s drop this STUPID ONE-SIDED RIVALRY WITH NEW YORK. It’s pathetic.

It should be easy being green
It isn’t as bad as last year, when it was basically an open-air-dumpster and parking lot for assorted heavy machinery. But THE GREENWAY STILL LOOKS LIKE SHIT — it’s not green, for starters — and the once-grand vision for the project is slowly but surely being whittled down. C’mon, people; this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake the heart of Boston. Please don’t screw it up.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Deval Patrick, Politics, Boston Redevelopment Authority,  More more >
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