I moved to Boston because after college everyone I knew was either going to Boston or to New York, and I figured, “hey, I already know New York, let me try Boston.” I’ve never left.
Perhaps there’s something special about any city but when I’m at Fenway and the first few notes of “Tessie” start playing after a win I get chills. There’s the cash-only red sauce Italian restaurant we wait hours for a seat at, the food trucks that gather at the Sunday market, the parks that our dogs have taken over quasi-illegally, the 5Ks and 10Ks that occur around the city, the Pride Parade, the walk around Jamaica Pond, the first Sullivan’s grilled cheese of the season at Castle Island, the friends you seek out because it’s 4th of July and they have a roof deck – maybe everyone feels this way about their city. But it feels special.
Now that I commute by bus and train (and/or walking) rather than by car, I feel even more connected to the city. I knew that my new job would be easier on me and on my family because it was a shorter commute, but I didn’t know that it would change how I felt about Boston.
Commuting this way, I’ve run into neighbors and friends serendipitously, I’ve heard Sinatra standards in Spanish in T stations, I’ve learned about events in the city from ads on the bus, and I’ve seen things in shop windows I’d never otherwise pass by. I’ve walked by the Make Way for Ducklings statues in different garb, I’ve watched the progress on the Longfellow Bridge project (note: not much), and I’ve walked by the Back Bay fire memorial at Ladder 15/Engine 33 house.
Sure, Bostonians can be harsh and rude, but I’ve seen people give up seats for pregnant women, hold doors longer than necessary, hold a bus someone was running for, and return a carelessly dropped monthly T pass to a certain curly-haired product marketer on the second day of the month.
And on no day of the year does Boston feel better than it does today, Marathon Monday. In the years before the bombing tragedy, it was hands-down many people’s favorite day of the year. A holiday just when the weather was starting to get nicer, celebrating…umm…a day Sox game and the marathon? Not sure we really know what “Patriots” are being recognized today but we sure do love it. And it’s almost the degree to which Boston loves this day that made our recovery from the marathon attack so strong. As David Ortiz so eloquently put it, “This is our f*ing city.”
This weekend, the weather broke into beautiful, and Boston was teeming with visitors – many of them running the marathon. At the supermarket yesterday there were dozens of runners milling around with bananas and coconut water and vying for the last few bottles of Gatorade. Each year, I look forward to seeing the unique marathon colors in the form of the warmup jackets people get when they register throughout the weekend. This year, it was a mix of the new blue and orange with many people still sporting last year’s colors.
This morning on the T there were runners headed to the busses out to Hopkinton. The Marriott whose lobby I cut through had water, granola bars, and bananas out for the runners, and the driveway was full of people packing up cars and getting ready to run or to root. The Starbucks staff were all in “Boston Strong” T-shirts.
I’m sure there will be days this winter when I am splashed by a bus a la Carrie in Sex and the CIty, when my train is delayed, and when I am slogging the 10 minutes from the T station to my office. I’ll look back at this blog post and wonder if I couldn’t be this happy in, say, San Diego. Or Jacksonville.
But I know I couldn’t.
Boston, you’re my home.