Boston (pronounced /ˈbɒstən/ or locally /ˈbɔstən/ ) is the capital of Massachusetts and its largest city, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States.
1) Largest New England city, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper, covering 48.43 square miles (125.43 square km), had a population of 617,594 (2010 U.S. Census).
Boston anchors 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 is home to 7.6 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
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.
2) In 1630, Puritan colonists from England 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 Party.
a) The city was the site of several firsts, including the United States' first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and the first subway system in the United States (1897).
b) Boston had a prominent role in the American Revolution and several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park. Many are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line of bricks embedded in the ground.
The city is also home to several prominent art museums:
c) Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
d) 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
e) John F. Kennedy Library housed at University of Massachusetts Boston campus on Columbia Point
f) The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States)
g) Boston Children's Museum
h) Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers)
i) Museum of Science, and
j) New England Aquarium.
3) Boston’s nicknames result from historical context and include:
a) The City on a Hill came from original Massachusetts Bay Colony's governor John Winthrop's goal to create the biblical "City on a Hill." It also refers to the original three hills of Boston.
b) The Hub is a shortened form of a phrase recorded by writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Hub of the Solar System. This has since developed into The Hub of the Universe.
c) The Athens of America is a title given by William Tudor, co-founder of the North American Review for Boston's great cultural and intellectual influence.
d) The Puritan City nickname references the religion of the city's founders.
e) The Cradle of Liberty derives from Boston's role in instigating the American Revolution.
f) City of Notions in the nineteenth century.
g) America's Walking City, because Boston's compact and high density nature has made walking an effective and popular mode of transit in the city. In fact, it has the seventh-highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any city in the United States, while neighboring Cambridge is the highest.
h) Beantown refers to the regional dish of baked beans. This nickname is almost exclusively used by non-Bostonians and is rarely used by natives. According to Boston-Online.com, back in colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans baked in molasses for several hours. Boston was part of the "triangular trade" in which slaves in the Caribbean grew sugar cane to be shipped to Boston to be made into rum to be sent to West Africa to buy more slaves to send to the West Indies. Sailors and traders called it "Beantown" The local residents did not refer to their city as "Beantown."
i) Titletown refers to Boston's historic dominance in the world of sports, specifically the Boston Celtics, having 17 NBA Championships.
j) City of Champions, much like Titletown, refers to Boston's recent streak of dominance in sports, with the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and New England Patriots each winning World (i.e., national) Championships in the last decade.
k) The Olde Towne comes from the fact that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is often used in reference to the Boston Red Sox (The Olde Towne Team)
4) 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.
a) These events include the week-long Harbor fest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
b) 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).
c) 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 Bosstones and The Allstonians.
5) Boston has been a noted religious center from its earliest days.
a) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston serves nearly 300 parishes and is based in the
Cathedral of the Holy Cross (1875) in the South End, while the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, with the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (1819) as its episcopal seat, serves just under 200 congregations.
b) Two Protestant faiths are headquartered in Boston: Unitarian Universalism, with its headquarters on Beacon Hill, and the Christian Scientists, headquartered in Back Bay at the
Mother Church (1894). The oldest church in Boston is King's Chapel, the city's first Anglican
church, founded in 1686 and converted to Unitarianism in 1785.
d) Other notable churches include Christ Church (better known as Old North Church, 1723), the oldest church building in the city, Trinity Church (1733), Park Street Church (1809), First Church in Boston (congregation founded 1630, building raised 1868), Old South Church (1874), and Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Mission Hill (1878).