One thing that is wonderful about Boston is the sense of pride and belonging. DC never felt that way.
Yes, there’s transition all around us, wherever we go. Sure, us people in our 20s are notoriously hard to pin down. And yup, Boston may be have about four billion colleges, with students constantly coming and going. But for all that, there’s something about Boston — some reason that more people seem to feel “home” here.
I had a home in DC, and loved my time there. The neighborhoods, my friends, my house. It was amazing. But while I had a home there, the city never felt home. It was always a stop along the way.
Do I feel more at home because I’m from the Boston area? Sure. I know a lot of people here. But I think there is something to Boston. I was open to DC becoming home. It just didn’t happen.
Here are three reasons why I think Boston has some of its pull:
Family. People are from here. A lot of them. People in DC … well, most move. Majority of people in the Northwest quadrant of DC aren’t from DC. They’re there because of work, because of transition, because of something. Yet, in Boston, a sort of generational stability has led to a culture. (Being originally from the suburbs, I can’t even claim to be 100% part of it.) But in living in Boston, no matter what, you pick up parts of it. In DC, you pick up political knowledge, if that. DC is all about the politics — or it’s about not being part of the politics, depending on where you fall.
Sports. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of sports, you can’t help but be aware of the passion for games here. (I think it stems from these brutally cold winters making us want to enjoy the hell out of the warmer months.) From hockey to soccer to basketball to football, the passion abounds. Baseball, in Boston, deserves a category of its own. Yes, Red Sox fans can be annoying nowadays, but man did 86 years of misery band us together. More than many towns, people up here not only care about sports, they also know about sports. There’s a damn good chance that in mid-June, I could approach some random girl in some Boston bar and she’d be able to name the Sox starting nine. In DC, I doubt any girl at a bar knows half the starting nine of the Nats.
College town. I’d guess that the fact that Boston is a college town works to its advantage. A new influx of people is introduced to its culture every year. They don’t all stay, but I’m sure a certain percentage does. It makes the city alive. DC has the Federal Government turn over leadership every 4 years, causing people to move and transition. But Boston has seniors graduate every spring and freshmen arrive every fall. This yearly give-and-take probably makes the impact more gradual. These college kids bring part of themselves to Boston and take part of Boston culture with them. (Good marketing for a city, really.)
I’m sure there are more possible reasons that are escaping me right now, but I blame that mostly on Saint Patrick’s Day fun in Southie. St. Patty’s in good ol’ Irish South Boston. Now there’s debauchery for you. Even in all this rain.