Boston is a city of contradictions. It was founded by Evangelical protestants, but is now mostly comprised of Catholics and godless heathens. It’s a haven of higher learning and progressive politics, but it’s considered racist as fuck.
Nevertheless, one thing has been undisputed since the pilgrims crossed the Atlantic almost 400 years ago: The people of Boston are unapologetically arrogant. As Bostonians, we wear that label with pride, and the city’s many nicknames reflect that. The following is a breakdown of Boston’s most insufferably douche-tastic nicknames from the perspective of a true Bostonian*.
Note: In order to warrant consideration, a nickname must pass my highly scientific standard of appearing on the Boston nicknames Wikipedia page.
* Who has never actually lived in Boston
The Puritan City, City of Notions, America’s Walking City, The Olde Town – All uncommon and thoroughly boring. Not nearly bombastic enough.
Beantown – Though the most popular nickname among outsiders, it has not caught on with locals. Tied to regrettable history that involves Puritans, the slave trade, and something called “Old Home Week”, there’s nothing to hang your hat on here.
5. The City on a Hill
Kickin it off old school with the OG Boston bighead, John Winthrop. Quoting THE Jesus Christ in a 1630 sermon, Winthrop used this phrase to describe the Christian utopia the Puritans planned to create in Massachusetts. Boston was meant to be the shining light of virtue that the rest of the world looked to for inspiration.
Unfortunately, in modern times the name’s origin is often forgotten. Though historically tied to Boston, it’s mostly used by Conservative types and human hemorrhoids to describe America as a whole. It may have spurred today’s American exceptionalism, but The City on a Hill lacks the local flare of true Boston pomposity.
4. Cradle of Liberty
Solid and straightforward. The American Revolution was born in Boston. The Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s midnight ride, some of Ben Franklin’s favorite prostitutes, they were all here. Without them, the entire country would be having tea and crumpets with redcoats quartered in their homes during peacetime. Thank your lucky stars, America.
Unfortunately, this name loses points because a nearby goblin enclosure named “Philadelphia” maintains a somewhat defensible claim to it as well. That is one association Boston can do without.
3. Athens of America
This is a lesser known nickname, but a personal favorite of mine. It hits on both Boston’s proud history and it’s unparalleled elitism. Coined in the late 19th century by legendary fart-sniffers the Boston Brahmins, Athens of America equates Boston to the world’s intellectual capital and birthplace of democracy. It sends a clear message to the rest of the country: “You know that freedom and culture you love so much? You’re welcome.”
2. Titletown / City of Champions
I love these names because they prove how adaptable Boston hubris can be. Way, way, way back in 2001 AD, Bostonians prided themselves on how they supported their teams despite their general shittiness. The Cs, Bs, Pats, and Sox were enduring championship droughts of 15, 29, 35, and 83 seasons, respectively. However, according to Boston’s collective ego, the laws of cosmic justice decided that these brilliant fans deserved excellence. One magical run in 2001 quickly turned into an improbable stretch of 9 titles in 13 years. There is a palpable sense in the Boston area that we, as fans, earned each and every one of them. Of course, elsewhere in America this has bred jealousy, which in turn, has bred contempt. Especially when they see things like this.
“They hate ‘cause they ain’t us,” as the saying goes. That’s so Boston it hurts.
1. The Hub
Egotistical. Presumptuous. Baseless. Perfect. Coined by some 19th century poet, The Hub was originally a shortened form of “The Hub of the Solar System.” But that’s much too humble. Today, the phrase is usually expanded to the Hub of the Universe. Taken literally, this means that without Boston, the universe would fall apart, crashing into chaos Eugene-style. Think about that for a moment. Really drink it in. Does that make you feel gross? Do you want to punch yourself for ever having said something so smug? If so, get the fuck out. You don’t belong in Boston. Move to Worcester or some poser suburb like Milton.
The people of Boston know the truth. Where you were born determines your worth as a person, and Boston is the best place. Just accept it. And say Hi to your mother for me.