Size: 4 x 8.5 inches
Published: April 2007
Introduction to Moon Metro Boston
With only 600,000 people, Boston is on the small side for a world-class city. However, it earned its stature not from the size of its population or its area, but from the size of its ideas — Boston is a city that thinks big. More than 200 years ago, Boston patriots had the big idea to brew a few million gallons of tea in the harbor and start a revolution. A hundred years ago, one Bostonian had the audacity to call the Massachusetts State House the “Hub of the Solar System” for its inordinate influence in politics and the arts. This tradition continues today, as Boston emerges from the biggest construction project ever mounted in the nation, a mammoth effort to free up public land by burying a central expressway. Its name? The Big Dig, of course.
The dust from the Dig has begun to settle, but construction was halted in 2006 after a collapse in the new tunnel killed a driver on her way to the airport. Controversy and safety concerns continue to surround the project, but the city has reclaimed an estimated 300 acres for public use, morphing the eyesore of the elevated highway into parkland, tree-lined boulevards, and restored open space. Erasing one of the skyline’s ugliest elements has made room for improvements all over town — among them a convention center, a contemporary art museum, a rejuvenated waterfront, and enough cocktail lounges to outnumber its store of Irish pubs (well, almost).
In the eyes of residents, all these developments are returning Boston to its rightful place on the vanguard. After all, for 100 years after the Revolution, Boston, not New York, was the de facto capital of America. Declines in the whaling and textile industries in the 19th century led the Cradle of Liberty to be gradually eclipsed by its southern rival. Boston officially dropped out of the running when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, ushering in a championship drought it took 86 years to banish.
With Bambino’s Curse in the rearview and Bill Belichik in Foxborough, local sports fans have been forced to swap low expectations for the kind of smugness associated with the Yankees. The Puritan stronghold may never become a city that never sleeps, but it’s shaken off Gotham’s shadow in the arenas that matter most. Its picturesque downtown of winding colonial streets integrates effortlessly into a more modern metropolis, where history is as tangible as the latest trends in shopping, dining, clubbing, and entertainment.
As for Bostonians themselves, many are here for life, and they retain a proud and passionate local history — evident in the long yarns about politics, sports, and winter snowstorms that they’ll share over a pint (or a trendy cocktail) downtown. All things considered, they know that a world-class city doesn’t have to be the biggest, as long as it keeps having the biggest ideas.