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Boston (pronounced ) is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusettsmarker, and is one of the oldest cities in the United Statesmarker. The largest city in New Englandmarker, Boston is considered the economic and cultural center of the region and is sometimes regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England". Boston city proper had a 2008 estimated population of 620,535, making it the twenty-first largest in the country. Boston is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region includes six Massachusetts counties, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Worcester, all of Rhode Islandmarker and parts of New Hampshiremarker; it is home to 7.5 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.

In 1630, Puritan colonists from Englandmarker founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late 18th century, Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Partymarker. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hillmarker and the Siege of Bostonmarker, occurred within the city and surrounding areas. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the peninsula. After American independence was attained Boston became a major shipping port and manufacturing center, and its rich history now helps attract 16.3 million visitors annually. The city was the site of several firsts, including America's first public school, Boston Latin Schoolmarker (1635), and the first subway system in the United States.

With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city's economy is also based on research, electronics, engineering, finance, and technology—principally biotechnology. Boston ranks first in the country in jobs per square mile ahead of New York Citymarker and Washington, D.C.marker The city has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, and it remains high on world livability rankings.

History

Boston in 1772, compared with Boston in 1880
Boston was founded on September 17, 1630, by Puritan colonists from England. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony are sometimes confused with the Pilgrims, who founded Plymouth Colony ten years earlier in what is today Bristol Countymarker, Plymouth Countymarker, and Barnstable County, Massachusettsmarker. The two groups, which differed in religious practice, are historically distinct. The separate colonies were not united until the formation of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1691.

The Shawmut Peninsula was connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus and was surrounded by the waters of Massachusetts Baymarker and the Back Bay, an estuary of the Charles River. Several prehistoric Native American archaeological sites that were excavated in the city have shown that the peninsula was inhabited as early as 5,000 BC.Boston's early European settlers first called the area Trimountaine, but later renamed the town after Boston, Lincolnshiremarker, England, from which several prominent colonists had emigrated. Massachusetts Bay Colony's original governor, John Winthrop, gave a famous sermon entitled "A Model of Christian Charity," popularly known as the "City on a Hill" sermon, which espoused the idea that Boston had a special covenant with God. (Winthrop also led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, which is regarded as a key founding document of the city.) Puritan ethics molded a stable and well-structured society in Boston. For example, shortly after Boston's settlement, Puritans founded America's first public school, Boston Latin Schoolmarker (1635). Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid-18th century.

Map showing a British tactical evaluation of Boston in 1775
In the 1770s, British attempts to exert more-stringent control on the thirteen colonies—primarily via taxation—prompted Bostonians to initiate the American Revolution.The Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Partymarker, and several early battles—including the Battle of Lexington and Concordmarker, the Battle of Bunker Hillmarker, and the Siege of Bostonmarker—occurred in or near the city. During this period, Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride. After the Revolution, Boston had become one of the world's wealthiest international trading ports because of the city's consolidated seafaring tradition. Exports included rum, fish, salt, and tobacco. During this era, descendants of old Boston families were regarded as the nation's social and cultural elites; they were later dubbed the Boston Brahmins.

The Embargo Act of 1807, adopted during the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 significantly curtailed Boston's harbor activity. Although foreign trade returned after these hostilities, Boston's merchants had found alternatives for their capital investments in the interim. Manufacturing became an important component of the city's economy, and by the mid-1800s, the city's industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance. Until the early 1900s, Boston remained one of the nation's largest manufacturing centers and was notable for its garment production and leather-goods industries.A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region made for easy shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads facilitated the region's industry and commerce. From the mid-19th to late 19th century, Boston flourished culturally. It became renowned for its rarefied literary culture and lavish artistic patronage. It also became a center of the abolitionist movement.The city reacted strongly to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which contributed to President Franklin Pierce's attempt to make an example of Boston after the Burns Fugitive Slave Case.

In 1822, the citizens of Boston voted to change the official name from "the Town of Boston" to "the City of Boston", and on March 4, 1822, the people of Boston accepted the charter incorporating the City.At the time Boston was chartered as a city, the population was about 46,226, while the area of the city was only .In the 1820s, Boston's population began to swell, and the city's ethnic composition changed dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants. Irish immigrants dominated the first wave of newcomers during this period. By 1850, about 35,000 Irish lived in Boston.In the latter half of the 19th century, the city saw increasing numbers of Irish, Germans, Lebanese, Syrians,French Canadians, and Russian and Polish Jews settle in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Boston's core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants—Italians inhabited the North Endmarker, Irish dominated South Boston and Charlestownmarker, and Russian Jews lived in the West End. Irish and Italian immigrants brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston's largest religious community,and since the early 20th century, the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics—prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill, and John F. Fitzgerald.

Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its physical size by land reclamation—by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront—a process that Walter Muir Whitehill called "cutting down the hills to fill the coves." The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 1800s. Beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20 ha) mill pond that later became the Haymarket Square area. The present-day State Housemarker sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South Endmarker, the West End, the Financial Districtmarker, and Chinatown. After The Great Boston Fire of 1872, workers used building rubble as landfill along the downtown waterfront. During the mid-to-late 19th century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km²) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of the Boston Common with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. Also, the city annexed the adjacent towns of South Boston (1804), East Bostonmarker (1836), Roxburymarker (1868), Dorchestermarker (including present day Mattapanmarker and a portion of South Boston) (1870), Brighton (including present day Allstonmarker) (1874), West Roxburymarker (including present day Jamaica Plainmarker and Roslindalemarker) (1874), Charlestownmarker (1874), and Hyde Parkmarker (1912).

By the early and mid-20th century, the city was in decline as factories became old and obsolete, and businesses moved out of the region for cheaper labor elsewhere.Boston responded by initiating various urban renewal projects under the direction of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which was established in 1957. In 1958, BRA initiated a project to improve the historic West End neighborhood. Extensive demolition was met with vociferous public opposition.BRA subsequently reevaluated its approach to urban renewal in its future projects, including the construction of Government Center. In 1965, the first Community Health Center in the United States opened, the Columbia Point Health Center, in the Dorchestermarker neighborhood. It mostly served the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it, which was built in 1953. The health center is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.

By the 1970s, the city's economy boomed after 30 years of economic downturn. A large number of high rises were constructed in the Financial District and in Boston's Back Baymarker during this time period. This boom continued into the mid-1980s and has since begun again. Boston now has the second largest skyline in the Northeast (after New York) in terms of the number of buildings reaching a height of over 500 feet. New construction and proposals in recent years are enlarging the skyline of the city once again. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospitalmarker, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital led the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as Boston Universitymarker, Boston Conservatory, the Harvard Medical Schoolmarker and Northeastern Universitymarker attracted students to the area. Nevertheless, the city experienced conflict starting in 1974 over desegregation busing, which resulted in unrest and violence around public schools throughout the mid-1970s. In 1984, the City of Boston gave control of the Columbia Point public housing complex to a private developer, who redeveloped and revitalized the property from its rundown and dangerous state into an attractive residential mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments, which opened in 1988 and was completed by 1990. It was the first federal housing project to be converted to private, mixed-income housing in the United States, and served as a model for the federal HUDmarker HOPE VI public housing revitalization program that began in 1992.

In the early 21st century, the city has become an intellectual, technological, and political center. It has, however, experienced a loss of regional institutions,which included the acquisition of The Boston Globe by The New York Times, and the loss to mergers and acquisitions of local financial institutions such as FleetBoston Financial, which was acquired by Charlottemarker-based Bank of America in 2004. Boston-based department stores Jordan Marshmarker and Filene's have both been merged into the New York–based Macy's. Boston has also experienced gentrification in the latter half of the 20th century, with housing prices increasing sharply since the 1990s. Living expenses have risen, and Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, and was ranked the 99th most expensive major city in the world in a 2008 survey of 143 cities. Despite cost, Boston ranks high on livability ratings, ranking 35th worldwide in quality of living in 2009 in a survey of 215 major cities.

Geography

Owing to its early founding, Boston is very compact. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 89.6 square miles (232.1 km²)—48.4 square miles (125.4 km²) (54.0%) of land and 41.2 square miles (106.7 km²) (46.0%) of water. Boston is the country's fourth most densely populated city that is not a part of a larger city's metropolitan area. Of United States cities with more than 600,000 people, only San Franciscomarker is smaller in land area. Boston is surrounded by the "Greater Boston" region and is bordered by the cities and towns of Winthropmarker, Reveremarker, Chelseamarker, Everettmarker, Somervillemarker, Cambridgemarker, Watertownmarker, Newtonmarker, Brooklinemarker, Needhammarker, Dedhammarker, Cantonmarker, Miltonmarker, and Quincymarker. The Charles River separates Boston proper from Cambridge, Watertown, and the neighborhood of Charlestown. To the east lies Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Areamarker. The Neponset River forms the boundary between Boston's southern neighborhoods and the city of Quincymarker and the town of Miltonmarker. The Mystic River separates Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett, and Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor separate East Boston from Boston proper. Boston's official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airportmarker, is 19 ft (5.8 m) above sea level. The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill at 330 ft (101 m) above sea level, and the lowest point is at sea level.

Prime shopping time on Newbury Street, a major thoroughfare and shopping district located in the Back Bay neighborhood
Much of the Back Baymarker and South Endmarker neighborhoods are built on reclaimed land—all of the earth from two of Boston's three original hills, the "trimount," was used as landfill material. Only Beacon Hill—the smallest of the three original hills—remains partially intact; only half of its height was cut down for landfill. The downtown area and immediate surroundings consist mostly of low-rise brick or stone buildings, with many older buildings in the Federal style. Several of these buildings mix in with modern high-rises, notably in the Financial District, Government Center, the South Boston waterfront, and Back Bay, which includes many prominent landmarks such as the Boston Public Librarymarker, Christian Science Center, Copley Squaremarker, Newbury Streetmarker, and New England's two tallest buildings—the John Hancock Towermarker and the Prudential Centermarker.

Near the John Hancock Tower is the old John Hancock Building with its prominent weather forecast beacon—the color of the illuminated light gives an indication of weather to come: "steady blue, clear view; flashing blue, clouds are due; steady red, rain ahead; flashing red, snow instead." (In the summer, flashing red indicates instead that a Red Sox game has been rained out.) Smaller commercial areas are interspersed among single-family homes and wooden/brick multi-family row houses. Currently, the South End Historic District remains the largest surviving contiguous Victorian-era neighborhood in the U.S. Along with downtown, the geography of South Boston was particularly impacted by the Central Artery/Tunnel Projectmarker (or the "Big Dig"marker). The unstable reclaimed land in South Boston posed special problems for the project's tunnels. In the downtown area, the CA/T Project allowed for the removal of the unsightly elevated Central Arterymarker and the incorporation of new green spaces and open areas.

Boston Commonmarker, located near the Financial District and Beacon Hill, is the oldest public park in the United States. Along with the adjacent Boston Public Gardenmarker, it is part of the Emerald Necklace, a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to encircle the city. Jamaica Pondmarker, part of the Emerald Necklace, is the largest body of freshwater in the city. Franklin Park, which is also part of the Emerald Necklace, is the city's largest park and houses the Franklin Park Zoomarker. Another major park is the Esplanade, located along the banks of the Charles River. The Hatch Shellmarker, an outdoor concert venue, is located adjacent to the Charles River Esplanade. Other parks are scattered throughout the city, with the major parks and beaches located near Castle Islandmarker; in Charlestown; and along the Dorchester, South Boston, and East Boston shorelines.

Neighborhoods

Boston is sometimes called a "city of neighborhoods" because of the profusion of diverse subsections. There are 21 official neighborhoods in Boston used by the city. These neighborhoods include: Allstonmarker/Brighton, Back Baymarker, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestownmarker, Chinatown/Leather District, Dorchestermarker, Downtown/Financial Districtmarker, East Bostonmarker, Fenway/Kenmore, Hyde Parkmarker, Jamaica Plainmarker, Mattapanmarker, Mission Hill, North Endmarker, Roslindalemarker, Roxburymarker, South Boston, South Endmarker, SoWa, West End, and West Roxburymarker.

Climate

Boston is located within the northern limit of the humid subtropical climate and the southern limit of the humid continental climate zone, a phenomenon common to coastal southern New England. Summers are typically warm and humid, while winters are cold, windy, and snowy. Prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore affect Boston, minimizing the influence of the Atlantic Oceanmarker.

Spring in Boston can be warm, with temperatures as high as the 90s when winds are offshore, although it is just as possible for a day in late May to remain in the lower 40s because of cool ocean waters. The hottest month is July, with an average high of 82 °F (28 °C) and an average low of 66 °F (18 °C), with conditions usually humid. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 36 °F (2 °C) and an average low of 22 °F (−6 °C). Periods exceeding in summer and below in winter are not uncommon but are rarely prolonged. The record high temperature is 104 °F (40 °C), recorded on July 4, 1911. The record low temperature is −18 °F (−28 °C), recorded on February 9, 1934. February in Boston has seen 70 °F (21 °C) only once in recorded history, on February 24, 1985. The highest temperature recorded in March was 89 °F (31 °C), on March 31, 1998.

Boston's coastal location on the North Atlanticmarker, although it moderates temperatures, also makes the city very prone to Nor'easter weather systems that can produce much snow and rain. The city averages about 43 in (108 cm) of precipitation a year, with 40.9 in (104 cm) of snowfall a year. Snowfall increases dramatically as one goes inland away from the city (Especially north and west of the city)—away from the warming influence of the ocean. Most snowfall occurs from December through March. There is usually little or no snow in April and November, and snow is rare in May and October. Fog is prevalent, particularly in spring and early summer, and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane can threaten the region, especially in early autumn. Due to its situation along the North Atlantic, the city is often subjected to sea breeze, especially in the late spring, when water temperatures are still quite cold and temperatures at the coast can be ten to twenty degrees colder than a few miles inland, sometimes dropping by that amount near midday.

Demographics

According to the 2000 United States Census, there were 589,141 people, 239,528 households, and 115,212 families residing in the city. The population density was 12,166 people per square mile (4,697/km²). Of major US cities, only New York City, San Franciscomarker and Chicagomarker have a greater population density than Boston. There were 251,935 housing units at an average density of 5,203 per square mile (2,009/km²). The 2008 U.S. Census population estimate for the city is 620,535, a 5.3% increase from 2000. During weekdays, the population of Boston can grow during the daytime to about 1.2 million. This fluctuation of people is caused by hundreds of thousands of suburban residents who travel to the city for work, education, health care, and special events.

In the city, the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 35.8% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males. There were 239,528 households, of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 27.4% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.9% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 3.17.

Per capita income in the Greater Boston area, by U.S.
Census block group, 2000.
The dashed line shows the boundary of the City of Boston.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,629, and the median income for a family was $44,151. Males had a median income of $37,435 versus $32,421 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,353. 19.5% of the population and 15.3% of families are below the poverty line. Of the total population, 25.6% of those under the age of 18 and 18.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Since the 1950s with the advent of white flight the proportion of whites in the city has declined with the city becoming minority-majority in the 2000 Census. Surprisingly, a 2006 Census estimate suggests that this trend may have reversed, with whites again occupying a slight majority. The 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau estimates White American making up 56.3% of Boston's population; of which 50.0% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 23.5% of Boston's population; of which 22.2% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indian made up 0.4% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 8.3% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 8.9% of the city's population; of which 2.1% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.6% of the city's population; of which 1.4% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 15.6% of Boston's population.

People of Irish descent form the largest single ethnic group in the city, making up 15.8% of the population, followed by Italians, accounting for 8.3% of the population. People of West Indianmarker ancestry are another sizable group, at 6.4%, about half of whom are of Haitian ancestry. Some neighborhoods, such as Dorchester, have received an influx of people of Vietnamese ancestry in recent decades. Neighborhoods such as Jamaica Plain and Roslindale have experienced a growing number of Dominican Americans.

Boston additionally has a sizable Jewish community, estimated at between 210,000 people, and 261,000 or 5-6% of the Greater Boston metro population, compared with about 2% for the nation as a whole. Contrary to national trends, the number of Jews in Boston has been growing, fueled by the fact that 60% of children in Jewish mixed-faith families are raised Jewish, compared with roughly one in three nationally.

The City of Boston also has one of the largest LGBT populations per capita. It ranks 5th of all major cities in the country (behind San Franciscomarker, and slightly behind Seattlemarker, Atlantamarker, and Minneapolismarker respectively), with 12.3% of the city recognizing themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Dialect

The "Boston accent" is widely parodied in the U.S. as the speech of the Kennedys and Harvard graduates. It is non-rhotic (i.e., drops the "r" sound at the end of syllables unless the next syllable starts with a vowel) and traditionally uses a "broad a" in certain words, so "bath" can sound like "bahth". Boston English has many dialect words, such as "frappe", meaning "milkshake made with ice cream". The accent originated in the non-rhotic speech of 17th century East Angliamarker and Lincolnshiremarker.

Crime

The city has seen a great reduction in violent crime since the early 1990s. Boston's low crime rate in the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century has been credited to the Boston Police Department's collaboration with neighborhood groups and church parishes to prevent youths from joining gangs, as well as involvement from the United States Attorney and District Attorney's offices. This helped lead in part to what has been touted as the "Boston Miracle". Murders in the city dropped from 152 in 1990 (for a murder rate of 26.5 per 100,000 people) to just 31—not one of them a juvenile—in 1999 (for a murder rate of 5.26 per 100,000).

In the 2000s, however, the annual murder count has fluctuated by as much as 50% compared with the year before, with 60 murders in 2002, followed by just 39 in 2003, 64 in 2004, and 75 in 2005. Although the figures are nowhere near the high-water mark set in 1990, the aberrations in the murder rate have been unsettling for many Bostonians and have prompted discussion over whether the Boston Police Department should reevaluate its approach to fighting crime.

Economy

Boston's colleges and universities have a major impact on the city and region's economy, with students contributing an estimated $4.8 billion annually to the city's economy. Not only are Boston's schools major employers, but they also attract high-tech industries to the city and surrounding region. Boston is home to a number of technology companies and is a hub for biotechnology, with the Milken Institute rating Boston as the top life sciences cluster in the country. Boston also receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Healthmarker of all cities in the United States.

Tourism comprises a large part of Boston's economy. In 2004, tourists spent $7.9 billion and made the city one of the ten-most-popular tourist locations in the country. Some of the other important industries are financial services, especially mutual funds and insurance. Boston-based Fidelity Investments helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial cities in the United States. The city is also the regional headquarters of major banks such as Bank of America and Sovereign Bank, and it is a center for venture capital. State Street Corporation, which specializes in asset management and custody services, has its is headquarters in the city. Boston is also a printing and publishing center—Houghton Mifflin is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin's Press, Beacon Press, and Little, Brown and Company. Pearson PLC publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to four major convention centers—the Hynes Convention Centermarker in the Back Bay, the Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester, and the World Trade Center Boston and Boston Convention and Exhibition Centermarker on the South Boston waterfront. Because of Boston's status as a state capital and the regional home of federal agencies, law and government are another major component of the city's economy.

Some of the major companies headquartered within the city are the Liberty Mutual insurance company; Gillette (now owned by Procter & Gamble); and Teradyne, one of the world's leading manufacturers of semiconductor and other electronic test equipment. New Balance has its headquarters in the city. Boston is also home to management consulting firms The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company, as well as the private equity group Bain Capital. Other major companies are located outside the city, especially along Route 128. Route 128 serves as the center of the region's high-tech industry. In 2006, Boston and its metropolitan area ranked as the fourth-largest cybercity in the United States with 191,700 high-tech jobs. Only NYC Metro, DC Metro, and Silicon Valleymarker had bigger high-tech sectors. The Port of Boston is a major seaport along the United States' East Coast and is also the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemispheremarker. Boston is classified as an "incipient global city" by a 2004 study group at Loughborough Universitymarker in England. A 2008 study ranked Boston among the top 10 cities in the world for a career in finance.


Culture

Boston shares many cultural roots with greater New England, including a dialect of the non-rhotic Eastern New England accent known as Boston English, and a regional cuisine with a large emphasis on seafood, salt, and dairy products. Irish Americans are a major influence on Boston's politics and religious institutions. Boston also has its own collection of neologisms known as Boston slang.

Bostonians are often considered to have a strong sense of cultural identity, perhaps as a result of its intellectual reputation; much of Boston's culture originates at its universities. The city has a number of ornate theatres, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston Opera Housemarker, Citi Performing Arts Centermarker, the Colonial Theater, and the Orpheum Theatre. Renowned performing-arts organizations include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Lyric Opera Company, OperaBoston, and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). The city is also a major center for contemporary classical music, with a number of performing groups, some of which are associated with the city's conservatories and universities. There are also many major annual events such as First Night, which occurs on New Year's Eve, the annual Boston Arts Festival at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints, and several events during the Fourth of July period. These events include the week-long Harborfest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.

Because of the city's prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Parkmarker. Many are found along the Freedom Trailmarker, which is marked by a red line of bricks embedded in the ground. The city is also home to several prominent art museums, including the Museum of Fine Artsmarker and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museummarker. In December 2006, the Institute of Contemporary Art moved from its Back Bay location to a new contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro located in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts campus at Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Librarymarker. The Boston Athenaeummarker (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children's Museum, Bull & Finch Pubmarker (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Sciencemarker, and the New England Aquariummarker are within the city.

Boston is also one of the birthplaces of the hardcore punk genre of music. Boston musicians have contributed significantly to this music scene over the years (see also Boston hardcore). Boston neighborhoods were home to one of the leading local third wave ska and ska punk scenes in the 1990s, led by bands such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the The Allstonians. The 1980s' hardcore punk-rock compilation This Is Boston, Not L.A. highlights some of the bands that built the genre. Several nightclubs, such as The Channel, Bunnratty's in Allstonmarker, and The Rathskeller, were renowned for showcasing both local punk-rock bands and those from farther afield. All of these clubs are now closed. Many were razed or converted during recent gentrification.

Media

The Boston Globe (owned by The New York Times Companymarker) and the Boston Herald are two of Boston's major daily newspapers. The city is also served by other publications such as The Boston Phoenix, Boston magazine, The Improper Bostonian, Boston's Weekly Dig, and the Boston edition of Metro. The Christian Science Monitor, headquartered in Boston, was formerly a worldwide daily newspaper but ended publication of daily print editions in 2009, switching to continuous online and weekly magazine format publications. The Boston Globe also releases a teen publication to the city's public high schools. The newspaper Teens in Print or T.i.P. is written by the city's teens and delivered quarterly within the school year.

Boston has the largest broadcasting market in New England, with the Boston radio market being the eleventh largest in the United States. Several major AM stations include talk radio WRKO 680 AMmarker, sports/talk station WEEI 850 AMmarker, and news radio WBZ 1030 AMmarker. A variety of FM radio formats serve the area, as do NPR stations WBURmarker and WGBH. College and university radio stations include WERS (Emerson), WHRB (Harvard), WUMB (UMass Boston), WMBRmarker (M.I.T.), WZBCmarker (Boston College), WMFOmarker (Tufts University), WBRSmarker (Brandeis University), WTBU (Boston University, campus and web only), WRBBmarker (Northeastern University) and WMLNmarker (Curry College).

The Boston television DMA, which also includes Manchester, New Hampshiremarker, is the seventh largest in the United States. The city is served by stations representing every major American network, including WBZ 4marker and its sister station WSBK 38marker (both CBS), WCVB 5marker (ABC), WHDH 7marker (NBC), WFXT 25marker (Fox), WUNI 27marker (Univision), and WLVI 56marker (The CW). Boston is also home to PBS station WGBH 2marker, a major producer of PBS programs, which also operates WGBX 44marker. Most Boston television stations have their transmitters in nearby Needhammarker and Newtonmarker along the Route 128 corridor.

Sports

The Boston Red Sox, a founding member of the American League of Major League Baseball in 1901, play their home games at Fenway Parkmarker, near Kenmore Squaremarker in the Fenway section of Boston. Built in 1912, it is the oldest sports arena or stadium in active use in the United States among the four major professional sports. Boston was also the site of the first game of the first modern World Series, in 1903. The series was played between the AL Champion Boston Americans and the NL champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Persistent reports that the team was known in 1903 as the "Boston Pilgrims" appear to be unfounded. Boston's first professional baseball team was the Red Stockings, one of the charter members of the National League in 1871. The team played under that name until 1883, under the name Beaneaters until 1911, and under the name Braves from 1912 until they moved to Milwaukeemarker after the 1952 season. Since 1966 they have played in Atlantamarker as the Atlanta Braves.

The TD Gardenmarker (formerly called the FleetCenter and the Shawmut Center) is adjoined to North Stationmarker and is the home of three major league teams: the Boston Blazers of the National Lacrosse League, the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League; and the Boston Celtics, the 2008 National Basketball Association champions. The arena seats 18,624 for basketball games and 17,565 for ice hockey venues. The Bruins were the first American member of the National Hockey League and an Original Six franchise. The Boston Celtics were founding members of the Basketball Association of America, one of the two leagues that merged to form the NBA. The Celtics have the distinction of having won more championships than any other NBA team, with seventeen.

While they have played in suburban Foxboroughmarker since 1971, the New England Patriots were founded in 1960 as the Boston Patriots. A charter member of the American Football League, the team joined the National Football League in 1970. The team has won the Super Bowl three times, in 2001, 2003, and 2004. They share Gillette Stadiummarker with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. The Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer, which formed in 2009, play their home games at Harvard Stadium in Allstonmarker.

Boston's many colleges and universities are active in college athletics. Four NCAA Division I members play their games in the city — Boston Collegemarker (Atlantic Coast Conference), Boston Universitymarker (America East Conference), Harvard Universitymarker (Ivy League), and Northeastern Universitymarker (Colonial Athletic Association). Of the four, only Boston College participates in college football at the highest level, the Football Bowl Subdivision. Harvard and Northeastern participate in the second-highest level, the Football Championship Subdivision. Boston University does not have a football team. All but Harvard belong to the Hockey East conference; Harvard belongs to the ECAC in hockey. The hockey teams of these four universities meet every year in a four-team tournament known as the "Beanpot Tournament," which is played at the TD Garden over two Monday nights in February.

One of the most-famous sporting events in the city is the Boston Marathon, the 26.2 mile (42.2 km) run from Hopkintonmarker to Copley Square in the Back Bay. The Marathon, the world's oldest, is popular and heavily attended. It is run on Patriots' Day in April and always coincides with a Red Sox home baseball game that starts at 11:05 AM, the only MLB game all year to start before noon local time. Another major event held annually in the city is the Head of the Charles Regatta rowing competition on the Charles River.

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Boston Red Sox MLB Baseball Fenway Parkmarker 1901 7 World Series Titles
12 AL Pennants
New England Patriots NFL Football Gillette Stadiummarker 1960 3 Super Bowl Titles
6 AFC Championships
Boston Celtics NBA Basketball TD Gardenmarker 1946 17 NBA Titles
Boston Bruins NHL Hockey TD Garden 1924 5 Stanley Cups
New England Revolution MLS Soccer Gillette Stadium 1995 1 U.S. Open Cup, 1 Superliga
Boston Cannons MLL Lacrosse (Outdoor) Harvard Stadiummarker 2001 None
Boston Blazers NLL Lacrosse (Indoor) TD Garden 2008 None
New England Riptide NPF Softball Martin Softball Field 2004 1 Cowles
Boston Breakers WPS Soccer Harvard Stadium 2001 None


Government

Boston has a strong mayor – council government system in which the mayor is vested with extensive executive powers. The mayor is elected to a four-year term by plurality voting. The current mayor of Boston is Thomas Menino. Boston City Council is elected every two years. There are nine district seats, each elected by the residents of that district through plurality voting, and four at-large seats. Each voter casts up to four votes for at-large councilors, with no more than one vote per candidate. The candidates with the four highest vote totals are elected. The president of the city council is elected by the councilors from within themselves. The school committee for the Boston Public Schools is appointed by the mayor. The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Zoning Board of Appeals (a seven-person body appointed by the mayor) share responsibility for land-use planning.

In addition to city government, numerous commissions and state authorities—including the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Massachusetts Port Authority —play a role in the life of Bostonians. As the capital of Massachusetts, Boston plays a major role in state politics. The city has several properties relating to the United States federal government, including the John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building and the Thomas P. O'Neill Federal Building. Boston also serves as the home of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Boston is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (the First District of the Federal Reserve). The city is in the Eighth and Ninth Congressional districts.

Education

Map of colleges and universities within Boston's Inner Core
Boston's reputation as "the Athens of America" derives in large part from the teaching and research activities of more than 100 colleges and universities located in the Greater Boston Area, with more than 250,000 students attending college in Boston and Cambridge alone. Within the city, Boston Universitymarker exudes a large presence as the city's fourth-largest employer, and maintains a campus along the Charles River on Commonwealth Avenue and its medical campus in the South Endmarker. Northeastern Universitymarker, another large private university, is located in the Fenway area, and is particularly known for its Business and Health Science schools and cooperative education program. Boston Collegemarker, a private Catholic Jesuit university, whose original campus was located in the South End, now straddles the Boston (Brighton)-Newton border, with planned expansions further into Brighton. Boston's only public university is the University of Massachusetts Bostonmarker, located on Columbia Point in Dorchestermarker and Roxbury Community College and Bunker Hill Community Collegemarker are the city's two public community colleges.

Boston has several smaller private colleges and universities including, Wheelock Collegemarker, Massachusetts College of Art and Designmarker, Simmons Collegemarker, Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Wentworth Institute of Technologymarker are founding members of the Colleges of the Fenway and are located adjacent to Northeastern University. Suffolk Universitymarker, a smaller private university, is known for its law school and is located in Beacon Hill. New England School of Law, a small private law school located in the theater district, was originally established as America's first all female law school. Emerson Collegemarker, a small private college with a strong reputation in the fields of performing arts, journalism, writing, and film, is located near Boston Common.

Boston is also home to several conservatories and art schools, including The Art Institute of Boston (Lesley University), Massachusetts College of Artmarker, New England School of Art and Design (part of Suffolk University), and the New England Conservatory of Musicmarker (the oldest independent conservatory in the United States). Other conservatories include the Boston Conservatory, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Berklee College of Musicmarker.

Several major national universities located outside Boston have a major presence in the city. Harvard Universitymarker, the nation's oldest, is located across the Charles River in Cambridgemarker. The businessmarker and medicalmarker schools are in Boston, and there are plans for additional expansion into Boston's Allstonmarker neighborhood. The Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker (MIT), which originated in Boston and was long known as "Boston Tech," moved across the river to Cambridge in 1916. Tufts Universitymarker administers its medical and dental school adjacent to the Tufts Medical Center, a 451-bed academic medical institution that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and the Floating Hospital for Children.

Boston Public Schools, the oldest public school system in the U.S., enrolls 57,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12. The system operates 145 schools, which includes Boston Latin Schoolmarker (the oldest public school in the United States, established in 1635; which, along with Boston Latin Academymarker, is a highly prestigious public exam school admitting students in the 7th and 9th grades only and serving grades 7–12), English High (the oldest public high school, established 1821), and the Mather Schoolmarker (the oldest public elementary school, established in 1639). In 2002, Forbes Magazine ranked the Boston Public Schools as the best large city school system in the country, with a graduation rate of 82%. In 2005, the student population within the school system was 45.5% Black or African American, 31.2% Hispanic or Latino, 14% White, and 9% Asian, as compared with 24%, 14%, 49%, and 8% respectively for the city as a whole. The city also has private, parochial, and charter schools and approximately 3000 students of racial minorities attend participating suburban schools through the Metropolitan Educational Opportunity Council, or METCO.

Healthcare

The Longwood Medical and Academic Area is a region of Boston with a high concentration of medical and research facilities, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Bostonmarker, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical Schoolmarker, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Massachusetts General Hospitalmarker is near the Beacon Hill neighborhood, with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital nearby. St. Elizabeth's Medical Center is in Brighton Center of Boston's Brighton neighborhood. New England Baptist Hospital is in Mission Hill. Boston has Veterans Affairs medical centers in the Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury neighborhoods. The Boston Public Health Commission, an agency of the Massachusetts government, oversees health concerns for Boston residents.

Many of Boston's major medical facilities are associated with universities. The facilities in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area and in Massachusetts General Hospital are well-known research medical centers affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Tufts Medical Center (formerly Tufts-New England Medical Center), located in the southern portion of the Chinatown neighborhood, is affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine. Boston Medical Center, located in the South End neighborhood, is the primary teaching facility for the Boston University School of Medicine as well as the largest trauma center in the Boston area; it was formed by the merger of Boston University Hospital and Boston City Hospital, which was the first municipal hospital in the United States.

For providing medical care when time is a factor, many of the Boston area hospitals are supported by Boston MedFlight, who provides for critical air ambulance transport services from surrounding communities.

Utilities

Water supply and sewage-disposal services are provided by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The Commission in turn purchases wholesale water and sewage disposal from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The city's water comes from the Quabbin Reservoirmarker and the Wachusett Reservoirmarker, which are about and west of the city respectively. NSTAR is the exclusive distributor of electric power to the city, though due to deregulation, customers now have a choice of electric generation companies. Natural gas is distributed by National Grid plc (originally KeySpan, the successor company to Boston Gas); only commercial and industrial customers may choose an alternate natural gas supplier.

Verizon, successor to New England Telephone, NYNEX, Bell Atlantic, and earlier, the Bell System, is the primary wired telephone service provider for the area. Phone service is also available from various national wireless companies. Cable television is available from Comcast and RCN, with broadband Internet access provided by the same companies in certain areas. A variety of DSL providers and resellers are able to provide broadband Internet over Verizon-owned phone lines.Galaxy Internet Services (GIS) has also moved to the forefront to deploy municipal WiFi Broadband Internet throughout areas of the city of Boston.

Municipal steam services are provided by Trigen Energy Corporation, formed from the defunct Boston Heating Company.

Transportation

Logan International Airportmarker, located in the East Bostonmarker neighborhood, handles most of the scheduled passenger service for Boston. Surrounding the city are three major general aviation relievers: Beverly Municipal Airportmarker to the north, Hanscom Fieldmarker in Bedfordmarker, to the west, and Norwood Memorial Airportmarker to the south. T.marker F.marker Green Airportmarker serving Providence, Rhode Islandmarker, Bradley International Airportmarker outside of Hartford, Connecticutmarker, and Manchester-Boston Airportmarker in Manchester, New Hampshiremarker, also provide scheduled passenger service to the Boston area.

Many of Boston's roads were based upon horse and cart paths from the 17th century.
A few horse carriages are still found in the city today.
Downtown Boston's streets were not organized on a grid, but grew in a meandering organic pattern from early in the seventeenth century. They were created as needed, and as wharves and landfill expanded the area of the small Boston peninsula. Along with several rotaries, roads change names and lose and add lanes seemingly at random. On the other hand, streets in the Back Baymarker, East Bostonmarker, the South Endmarker, and South Boston do follow a grid system.

Boston is the eastern terminus of cross-continent I-90, which in Massachusetts runs along the Mass Pike. Originally known as the Circumferential Highway, Route 128 carries I-95 over a portion of its route west and north of the city. U.S. 1 and I-93 run concurrently north to south through the city from Charlestown to Dorchester, joined by Massachusetts Route 3 after the Zakim Bridgemarker over the Charles River. The elevated portion of the Central Arterymarker, which carries these routes through downtown Boston, was replaced with the O'Neill Tunnelmarker during the Big Digmarker, substantially completed in early 2006.

Nearly a third of Bostonians use public transit for their commute to work. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates what was the first underground rapid transit system in the United States and is now the fourth busiest rapid transit system in the country, having been expanded to 65.5 miles (105 km) of track, reaching as far north as Maldenmarker, as far south as Braintreemarker, and as far west as Newtonmarker – collectively known as the "T." The MBTA also operates the nation's sixth busiest bus network, as well as water shuttles, and the nation's fifth-busiest commuter rail network, totaling over 200 miles (321 km), extending north to the Merrimack Valley, west to Worcestermarker, and south to Providencemarker.

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Chicago lines originate at South Stationmarker and stop at Back Baymarker. Fast Northeast Corridor trains, which service New York City, Washington, D.C.marker, and points in between, also stop at Route 128 Stationmarker in the southwestern suburbs of Boston. Meanwhile, Amtrak's Downeaster service to Mainemarker originates at North Stationmarker.

Nicknamed "The Walking City", pedestrian commutes play a larger role than in comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as the compactness of the city and large student population, 13% of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country out of the major American cities.

Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling magazine named Boston as one of the worst cities in the U.S. for cycling three times; regardless, it has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting. In September 2007, Mayor Menino started a bicycle program called Boston Bikes with a goal of improving bicycling conditions by adding bike lanes, racks, and offering bikeshare programs. In 2008, as a consequence the same magazine put Boston on its list of its "Five for the Future" list as a "Future Best City" for biking.

Sister cities

Boston has eight official sister cities as recognized by Sister Cities International. The date column indicates the year in which the relationship was established. Kyoto was Boston's first sister city.

City Country Date References
Kyoto Japanmarker 1959
Strasbourgmarker Francemarker 1960
Barcelonamarker Spainmarker 1980
Hangzhoumarker People's Republic of Chinamarker 1982
Paduamarker Italymarker 1983
Melbournemarker Australia 1985

Taipeimarker Republic of Chinamarker (Taiwanmarker) 1996
Sekondi-Takoradimarker Ghanamarker 2001


Boston also has less formal friendship or partnership relationships with an additional three cities.

City Country Date References
Boston, Lincolnshiremarker United Kingdommarker 1999
Haifamarker Israelmarker 1999
Valladolidmarker Spainmarker 2007


See also



Notes

  1. www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Boston_Worchester_Manchester_DemographicProfile19.doc
  2. Included in the CSA: MA counties: Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester; NH counties: Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford; RI counties (entire state): Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington (South County)
  3. . Also see
  4. Roessner, Jane. "A Decent Place to Live: from Columbia Point to Harbor Point – A Community History," Boston: Northeastern University Press, c2000. Cf. p. 80, "The Columbia Point Health Center: The First Community Health Center in the Country."
  5. Cf. Roessner, p.293. "The HOPE VI housing program, inspired in part by the success of Harbor Point, was created by legislation passed by Congress in 1992."
  6. After New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. Many cities, such as Paterson, New Jersey, are denser but are part of a larger city's metropolitan area.
  7. http://www.massbike.org/bikeways/neponset/
  8. Official Boston neighborhoods, defined here.
  9. Includes only cities larger than 250,000
  10. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=Boston&_cityTown=Boston&_state=&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010
  11. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=16000US2507000&-qr_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_DP3YR5&-ds_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-_sse=on
  12. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/frappe
  13. http://www.bu.edu/mfeldman/Boston/tok.html
  14. AeA ranks Atlanta 10th-largest U.S. cybercity.
  15. Leading World Cities, GaWC, Loughborough University
  16. Top 10 Cities For A Career In Finance
  17. Please note: This source, like many others, uses the erroneous "Pilgrims" name that is debunked by the Nowlin reference following.
  18. Galaxy Internet Services
  19. Trigen Energy Corporation
  20. Theodore Newton Vail and the Boston Heating Company, 1886–1890
  21. Of cities over 250,000


References



Further reading

  • Boston: A to Z (2000), Thomas H. O'Connor, ISBN 0674003101
  • Built in Boston: City and Suburb, 1800–2000 (2000), Douglass Shand-Tucci, ISBN 1558492011
  • Lost Boston (1999), Mariner Books, ISBN 0395966108
  • Boston: A Topographical History, Third Enlarged Edition (2000), Belknap Press, ISBN 0674002687
  • When in Boston: A Time Line & Almanac (2004), Northeastern, ISBN 1555536204
  • Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston (2003), Nancy S. Seasholes, ISBN 0262194945
  • Boston's Secret Spaces: 50 Hidden Corners In and Around the Hub, (2009), Globe Pequot; First edition ISBN 0762750626
  • AIA Guide to Boston, 3rd Edition: Contemporary Landmarks, Urban Design, Parks, Historic Buildings and Neighborhoods, (2008), Michael Southworth and Susan Southworth, GPP Travel, ISBN 0762743379
  • Boston: A Pictorial Celebration (2006), Jonathan M. Beagle, Elan Penn (photographer), ISBN 1402719779
  • City in Time: Boston (2008), Jeffrey Hantover, Gilbert King (photographer), ISBN 1402733003
  • Mapping Boston (2001), Alex Krieger (editor), David Cobb (editor), Amy Turner (editor), Norman B. Leventhal (Foreword by) MIT Press, ISBN 0262611732
  • Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views (2008), D. Brenton Simons, University Press of New England, ISBN 1584657405
  • Boston (forthcoming, Jan. 2010), Firefly Books, ISBN 1554075912


External links




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