They say criticism is the highest form of flattery. (Or is that imitation?) Mark my words, it is certainly uncommon to find a hardline New Yorker peel back the thinly-veiled veneer of their shell to admit that maybe all this “anti-Boston” sentiment originates from a point of jealousy.
For the sake of athletics, that is. Call a Boston bagel superior to a New York one and you’ve just bought yourself a ticket for a 10-minute spiel (pardon my Yiddish) about why those New York bagels have that special fluff — even if it isn’t the Catskill mountain water, we’ll still claim that it is. Wander out of the realm of sports at your own risk.
But hey! Despite my desperate deals with the devil and hapless arguments with Boston fans, Beantown just had a champion and has a legitimate chance to claim two more in the next six months. New York? Unless you’re unreasonably bullish on the Knicks’ ability to mount anything resembling a playoff push, you’re having a laugh.
Maybe it’s something in the water (and it certainly ain’t Catskill water), but Boston is as close to “Titletown” as any in the 21st century — my era of mindlessly consuming sports in any and all forms. Whether it was watching Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox came back from a three-game deficit to knock off the Yanks on my family’s small, square, standard definition television, or Kevin Garnett screamed “Anything is possible” to an endless EDM edit on YouTube, I noticed these events were converging in the same region. But why Boston? What about this city, this region, is conducive to success?
If you’re searching for a rigid anthropological study, by golly, you’ve stumbled upon the wrong source. Instead, I’m banking on 19 years of lived experience — disproportionately inhabited in New York over Boston — so take everything with the grainiest grains of salt. I do know one thing, and if you can tell anything by my style of prose, I’d like to express how my generally sharp pettiness is a product of Times-Square-sized expectations. Yankee fandom has turned me to loving beardless, pinstriped American-psycho robots because their winning certainly beats the alternative (*cough* Jets and Knicks). What do I crave? The ability to brag.
I’m sure Bostonians love a good brag. I’ve heard the whole pro-Boston ramble about the historical quaintness of the town and the shelly goodness of Legal Seafood, but it pales in comparison to a bagel berating or pizza pandering I could sling back at you. Perhaps your relative modesty (plus the might of a top 10 market, don’t forget) has elevated you to the top. You’re David Ortiz, not Alex Rodriguez. You’re Isaiah Thomas, not Carmelo Anthony. You rep your city, not your image.
A toast to Boston? Might as well, at this point. Think of it as my parting gift to you. Your gift to me? Well, I hear Kyrie Irving is a free agent, and I hear a certain New York team is knocking…