Boston (pronounced /ËbÉ'stÉn/) is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. Boston also serves as county seat of Suffolk County. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124Â km2) with an estimated population of 645,966 in 2014, making it the largest city in New England and the 24th largest city in the United States. The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5Â million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 7.6Â million people, making it the sixth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Its rich history helps attract many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting over 20Â million visitors. Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and first subway system (1897).
The area's many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation for a variety of reasons. Boston's economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, and government activities. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings. Boston is one of the eight cities in the United States considered an 'alpha city' by the study GaWC5.
Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine (after its "three mountains"â"only traces of which remain today) but later renamed it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent colonists had come. The renaming, on September 7, 1630 (old style), was by Puritan colonists from England, who had moved over from Charlestown earlier that year in quest of fresh water. Their settlement was initially limited to the Shawmut Peninsula, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The peninsula is known to have been inhabited as early as 5000 BC.
In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, John Winthrop, led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history; America's first public school was founded in Boston in 1635. Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their native allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid 18th century.
Many of the crucial events of the American Revolutionâ"the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's midnight ride, the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston, and many othersâ"occurred in or near Boston. After the Revolution, Boston's long seafaring tradition helped make it one of the world's wealthiest international ports, with rum, fish, salt, and tobacco being particularly important.
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-19th century, the city's industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance. Until the early 20th century, 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 facilitated shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads furthered the region's industry and commerce.
During this period Boston flourished culturally as well, admired for its rarefied literary life and generous artistic patronage, with members of old Boston familiesâ"eventually dubbed Boston Brahminsâ"coming to be regarded as the nation's social and cultural elites. Boston also became a center of the abolitionist movement. The city reacted strongly to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, contributing to President Franklin Pierce's attempt to make an example of Boston after the Anthony 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 4.7 square miles (12Â km2).
In the 1820s, Boston's population grew rapidly, 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, especially following the Irish Potato Famine; 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 settled in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Boston's core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrantsâ"Italians inhabited the North End, Irish dominated South Boston and Charlestown, 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 politicsâ"prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill, and John F. Fitzgerald.
Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its area through land reclamation by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront. The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 19th century; beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20Â ha) mill pond that later became the Haymarket Square area. The present-day State House sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End, the West End, the Financial District, 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 600Â acres (2.4Â km2) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of Boston Common with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. The city annexed the adjacent towns of South Boston (1804), East Boston (1836), Roxbury (1868), Dorchester (including present day Mattapan and a portion of South Boston) (1870), Brighton (including present day Allston) (1874), West Roxbury (including present day Jamaica Plain and Roslindale) (1874), Charlestown (1874), and Hyde Park (1912). Other proposals, for the annexation of Brookline, Cambridge, and Chelsea, were unsuccessful.
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. The 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 Dorchester 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. The Columbia Point complex itself was redeveloped and revitalized into a mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments from 1984 to 1990. 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 Bay during this time period. This boom continued into the mid-1980s and later began again. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital lead the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as Boston College, Boston University, the Harvard Medical School, Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory attract 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.
Boston is an intellectual, technological, and political center but has lost some important regional institutions, including 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 Charlotte-based Bank of America in 2004. Boston-based department stores Jordan Marsh and Filene's have both been merged into the Cincinnatiâ"based Macy's. Boston has 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 129th most expensive major city in the world in a 2011 survey of 214 cities. Despite cost of living issues, Boston ranks high on livability ratings, ranking 36th worldwide in quality of living in 2011 in a survey of 221 major cities.
On April 15, 2013, two Chechen Islamist brothers exploded two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring roughly 264.
Boston has an area of 89.6 square miles (232.1Â km2)â"48.4 square miles (125.4Â km2) (54.0%) of land and 41.2 square miles (106.7Â km2) (46.0%) of waterâ"and is the country's third most densely populated city that is not a part of a larger city's metropolitan area. This is largely attributable to the rarity of annexation by New England towns. The city's official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airport, is 19Â ft (5.8Â m) above sea level. The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill at 330 feet (100Â m) above sea level, and the lowest point is at sea level. Situated near the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is the only state capital in the contiguous United States with an ocean coastline.
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center we find the South End. This is not to be confused with South Boston which lies directly east from the South End. North of the South End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.
â" Author, Unknown - A common local colloquialism
Boston is surrounded by the "Greater Boston" region and is contiguously bordered by the cities and towns of Winthrop, Revere, Chelsea, Everett, Somerville, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Needham, Dedham, Canton, Milton, and Quincy. The Charles River separates Boston from Watertown and the majority of Cambridge, and the mass of Boston from its own Charlestown neighborhood. To the east lie Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (which includes part of the city's territory, specifically Calf Island, Gallops Island, Great Brewster Island, Green Island, Little Brewster Island, Little Calf Island, Long Island, Lovells Island, Middle Brewster Island, Nixes Mate, Outer Brewster Island, Rainsford Island, Shag Rocks, Spectacle Island, The Graves, and Thompson Island). The Neponset River forms the boundary between Boston's southern neighborhoods and the city of Quincy and the town of Milton. The Mystic River separates Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett, and Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor separate East Boston from Boston proper.
The city's water supply, from the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs to the west, is one of the very few in the country so pure as to satisfy federal quality standards without filtration.
Boston is sometimes called a "city of neighborhoods" because of the profusion of diverse subsections; the city government's Office of Neighborhood Services has officially designated 23 neighborhoods.
More than two-thirds of inner Boston's modern land area did not exist when the city was founded, but was created via the gradual filling in of the surrounding tidal areas over the centuries, notably with earth from the leveling or lowering of Boston's three original hills (the "Trimountain", after which Tremont Street is named), and with gravel brought by train from Needham to fill the Back Bay. Downtown and its immediate surroundings consists largely of low-rise (often Federal style and Greek Revival) masonry buildings, interspersed with modern highrises, notably in the Financial District, Government Center, and South Boston. Back Bay includes many prominent landmarks, such as the Boston Public Library, Christian Science Center, Copley Square, Newbury Street, and New England's two tallest buildingsâ"the John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Center. Near the John Hancock Tower is the old John Hancock Building with its prominent illuminated beacon, the color of which forecasts the weather. Smaller commercial areas are interspersed among areas of single-family homes and wooden/brick multi-family row houses. The South End Historic District is the largest surviving contiguous Victorian-era neighborhood in the US. The geography of downtown and South Boston was particularly impacted by the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (known unofficially as the "Big Dig"), which allowed for the removal of the unsightly elevated Central Artery and the incorporation of new green spaces and open areas.
Boston has a continental climate with some maritime influence, and using the â'3Â Â°C (27Â Â°F) coldest month (January) isotherm, the city lies within the transition zone from a humid subtropical climate (KÃ¶ppen Cfa) to a humid continental climate (KÃ¶ppen Dfa), although the suburbs north and west of the city are significantly colder in winter and solidly fall under the latter categorization; the city lies at the transition between USDA plant hardiness zones 6b (most of the city) and 7a (Downtown, South Boston, and East Boston neighborhoods). Summers are typically warm to hot, rainy, and humid, while winters oscillate between periods of cold rain and snow, with cold temperatures. Spring and fall are usually mild, with varying conditions dependent on wind direction and jet stream positioning. Prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The hottest month is July, with a mean temperature of 73.4Â Â°F (23.0Â Â°C). The coldest month is January, with a mean of 29.0Â Â°F (â'1.7Â Â°C). Periods exceeding 90Â Â°F (32Â Â°C) in summer and below freezing in winter are not uncommon but rarely extended, with about 13 and 25Â days per year seeing each, respectively. The most recent sub-0Â Â°F (â'18Â Â°C) reading occurring on February 16, 2015 when the temperature dipped down to â'3Â Â°F (â'19Â Â°C). In addition, several decades may pass between 100Â Â°F (38Â Â°C) readings, with the most recent such occurrence on July 22, 2011 when the temperature reached 103Â Â°F (39Â Â°C). The city's average window for freezing temperatures is November 9 through April 5. Official temperature records have ranged from â'18Â Â°F (â'28Â Â°C) on February 9, 1934, up to 104Â Â°F (40Â Â°C) on July 4, 1911; the record cold daily maximum is 2Â Â°F (â'17Â Â°C) on December 30, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 83Â Â°F (28Â Â°C) on August 2, 1975.
Boston's coastal location on the North Atlantic moderates its temperature, but makes the city very prone to Nor'easter weather systems that can produce much snow and rain. The city averages 43.8 inches (1,110Â mm) of precipitation a year, with 43.8 inches (111Â cm) of snowfall per season. Snowfall increases dramatically as one goes inland away from the city (especially north and west of the city)â"away from the moderating influence of the ocean. Most snowfall occurs from December through March, as most years see no measurable snow in April and November, and snow is rare in May and October. There is also high year-to-year variability in snowfall; for instance, the winter of 2011â'12 saw only 9.3Â in (23.6Â cm) of accumulating snow, but the previous winter, the corresponding figure was 81.0Â in (2.06Â m).
Fog is fairly common, particularly in spring and early summer, and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane can threaten the region, especially in late summer and early autumn. Due to its situation along the North Atlantic, the city is often subjected to sea breezes, especially in the late spring, when water temperatures are still quite cold and temperatures at the coast can be more than 20Â Â°F (11Â Â°C) colder than a few miles inland, sometimes dropping by that amount near midday. Thunderstorms occur from May to September, that are occasionally severe with large hail, damaging winds and heavy downpours. Although downtown Boston has never been struck by a violent tornado, the city itself has experienced many tornado warnings. Damaging storms are more common to areas north, west, and northwest of the city.
Air quality in Boston is generally very good: during the ten-year period 2004â"2013, there were only 4 days in which the air was unhealthy for the general public, according to the EPA.
Some of the cleaner energy facilities in Boston include the Allston green district, with three eco-friendly housing facilities. Boston is also breaking ground on multiple green affordable housing facilities to help reduce the carbon footprint of the city while simultaneously making these initiatives financially available to a greater population. Boston's climate plan is updated every three years and was most recently modified in 2013. This legislature includes the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, which requires the city's larger buildings to disclose their yearly energy and water use statistics and partake in an energy assessment every five years. These statistics are made public by the city, thereby increasing incentives for buildings to be more environmentally conscious.
Another initiative, presented by Mayor Thomas Menino, is the Renew Boston Whole Building Incentive, which reduces the cost of living in buildings that are deemed energy efficient. This, much like the green housing developments, gives people of low socioeconomic status an opportunity to find housing in communities that support the environment. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to enlist 500 Bostonians to participate in a free, in-home energy assessment.
In 2010 Boston was estimated to have 617,594 residents (a density of 12,200 persons/sq mile, or 4,700/km2) living in 272,481 housing unitsâ" a 5% population increase over 2000. Some 1.2Â million persons may be within Boston's boundaries during work hours, and as many as 2Â million during special events. 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 21.9% at age 19 and under, 14.3% from 20 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65Â years of age or older. The median age was 30.8Â years. For every 100 females, there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males. There were 252,699 households, of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 25.5% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.08.
The median income for a household in the city was $51,739, and the median income for a family was $61,035. Full-time year-round male workers had a median income of $52,544 versus $46,540 for full-time year-round female workers. The per capita income for the city was $33,158. 21.4% of the population and 16.0% of families are below the poverty line. Of the total population, 28.8% of those under the age of 18 and 20.4% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
In 1950, whites represented 94.7% of Boston's population. From the 1950s to the end of the 20th century, the proportion of non-Hispanic whites in the city declined; in 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up 49.5% of the city's population, making the city majority-minority for the first time. However, in recent years the city has experienced significant gentrification, in which affluent whites have moved into formerly non-white areas. In 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated that non-Hispanic whites again formed a slight majority. But As of 2010, in part due to the housing crash, as well as increased efforts to make more affordable housing more available, the minority population has rebounded. This may also have to do with an increased Latino population and more clarity surrounding US Census statistics, which indicate a Non-Hispanic White population of 47 percent (some reports give slightly lower figures).
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 Indian ancestry are another sizable group, at 6.0%, 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. The city and greater area also has a large immigration population of South Asians, including the tenth-largest Indian community in the country.
The city has a sizable Jewish population with an estimated 25,000 Jews within the city and 227,000 within the Boston metro area; the number of congregations in Boston is estimated at 22. The adjacent communities of Brookline and Newton are both approximately one-third Jewish.
The city, especially the East Boston neighborhood, has a significant Hispanic community. Hispanics in Boston are mostly of Puerto Rican (30,506 or 4.9% of total city population), Dominican (25,648 or 4.2% of total city population), Salvadoran (10,850 or 1.8% of city population), Colombian (6,649 or 1.1% of total city population) and Guatemalan (4,451 or 0.7% of total city population) ethnic origin. When including all Hispanic national origins, they number 107,917. In Greater Boston, these numbers grow significantly with Puerto Ricans numbering 175,000+, Dominicans 95,000+, Salvadorans 40,000+, Guatemalans 31,000+ and Colombians numbering 22,000+.
The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5Â million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 7.6Â million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
Like many major American cities, Boston has seen a great reduction in violent crime since the early 1990s. Boston's low crime rate since the 1990s 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 31â"not one of them a juvenileâ"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, 61 in 2004, and 73 in 2005. In 2008 there were 62 reported homicides. 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.
Demographic breakdown by zip code
Data is from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
A global city, Boston is placed among the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world. Encompassing $363Â billion, the Greater Boston metropolitan area has the sixth-largest economy in the country and 12th-largest in the world.
Boston's colleges and universities have a significant effect on the regional economy. Boston attracts more than 350,000 college students from around the world, who contribute more than $4.8Â billion annually to the city's economy. The area's schools are major employers and attract industries to the city and surrounding region. The city 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 receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health of all cities in the United States. The city is also considered highly innovative for a variety of reasons that include the presence of academia, access to venture capital, and the presence of many high-tech companies.
Tourism comprises a large part of Boston's economy, with 21.2 million domestic and international visitors spending $8.3Â billion in 2011. 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. The city is a major seaport along the United States' East Coast and the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere.
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 home to the headquarters of Santander Bank, and Boston is a center for venture capital firms. State Street Corporation, which specializes in asset management and custody services, is based in the city. Boston is a printing and publishing center â" Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin's Press and Beacon Press. Pearson PLC publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to three major convention centersâ"the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, and the Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston waterfront.
Several major companies headquartered within Boston or nearbyâ"especially along Route 128, 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.
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.
Boston has been called the "Athens of America" for its literary culture, earning a reputation as "the intellectual capital of the United States." In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in Boston. Some consider the Old Corner Bookstore, where these writers met and where The Atlantic Monthly was first published, to be "cradle of American literature. In 1852, the Boston Public Library was founded as the first free library in the United States. Boston's literary culture continues today thanks to the city's many universities and the Boston Book Festival.
Music is cherished in Boston. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the "Big Five," a group of the greatest American orchestras, and the classical music magazine Gramophone called it one of the "world's best" orchestras. Symphony Hall (located west of Back Bay) is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, (and the related Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, which is the largest youth orchestra in the nation) and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The British newspaper The Guardian called Boston Symphony Hall "one of the top venues for classical music in the world," adding that "Symphony Hall in Boston was where science became an essential part of concert hall design." Other concerts are held at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. The Boston Ballet performs at the Boston Opera House. Other performing-arts organizations located in the city include the Boston Lyric Opera Company, Opera Boston, Boston Baroque (the first permanent Baroque orchestra in the US), and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). The city is a center for contemporary classical music with a number of performing groups, several of which are associated with the city's conservatories and universities. These include the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Boston Musica Viva. Several theaters are located in or near the Theater District south of Boston Common, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Colonial Theater, and the Orpheum Theatre.
There are several major annual events such as First Night, which occurs on New Year's Eve, the Boston Early Music Festival, the annual Boston Arts Festival at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, and Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints. The city is the site of several events during the Fourth of July period. They 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 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 art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Institute of Contemporary Art is housed in a contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts Boston campus on Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children's Museum, Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are within the city.
Boston has been a noted religious center from its earliest days. 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. Unitarian Universalism has its headquarters on Beacon Hill. The Christian Scientists are headquartered in Back Bay at the Mother Church (1894). The oldest church in Boston is First Church in Boston, founded in 1630. King's Chapel, the city's first Anglican church, was founded in 1686 and converted to Unitarianism in 1785. Other 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), Old South Church (1874), Jubilee Christian Church and Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Mission Hill (1878).
Boston has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues plus Major League Soccer, and has won 35 championships in these leagues, As of 2013. It is one of six cities (along with Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia) to have won championships in all four major sports. It has been suggested that Boston is the new "TitleTown, USA", as the city's professional sports teams have won nine championships since 2001: Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004, and 2014), Red Sox (2004, 2007, and 2013), Celtics (2008), and Bruins (2011). This love of sports has made Boston the United States Olympic Committee's choice to bid to hold the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. See Boston bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The Boston Red Sox, a founding member of the American League of Major League Baseball in 1901, play their home games at Fenway Park, near Kenmore Square in the city's Fenway section. Built in 1912, it is the oldest sports arena or stadium in active use in the United States among the four major professional American sports leagues, encompassing Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League. Boston was 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 Association in 1871, and of the National League in 1876. 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 Milwaukee after the 1952 season. Since 1966 they have played in Atlanta as the Atlanta Braves.
The TD Garden, formerly called the FleetCenter, is adjoined to North Station 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 of the National Basketball Association. The arena seats 18,624 for basketball games and 17,565 for ice hockey games. 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 Foxborough since 1971, the New England Patriots of the National Football League were founded in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, changing their name after relocating. The team won the Super Bowl after the 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2014 seasons. They share Gillette Stadium 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 Dilboy Stadium in Somerville.
The area's many colleges and universities are active in college athletics. Four NCAA Division I members play in the cityâ"Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University. Of the four, only Boston College participates in college football at the highest level, the Football Bowl Subdivision. Harvard participates in the second-highest level, the Football Championship Subdivision.
One of the best known sporting events in the city is the Boston Marathon, the 26.2-mile (42.2Â km) race which is the world's oldest annual marathon, run on Patriots' Day in April. On April 15, 2013, two explosions killed three people and injured hundreds at the marathon. Another major annual event is the Head of the Charles Regatta, held in October.
Parks and recreation
Boston Common, located near the Financial District and Beacon Hill, is the oldest public park in the United States. Along with the adjacent Boston Public Garden, it is part of the Emerald Necklace, a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to encircle the city. The Emerald Necklace includes Jamaica Pond, Boston's largest body of freshwater, and Franklin Park, the city's largest park and home of the Franklin Park Zoo. Another major park is the Esplanade, located along the banks of the Charles River. The Hatch Shell, 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 Island; in Charlestown; and along the Dorchester, South Boston, and East Boston shorelines.
Boston's park system is well-reputed nationally. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that Boston was tied with Sacramento and San Francisco for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities. ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes the city's median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.
Boston has a strong mayor â" council government system in which the mayor (elected every fourth year) has extensive executive power. Marty Walsh became Mayor in January 2014, his predecessor Thomas Menino's twenty-year tenure having been the longest in the city's history. The Boston City Council is elected every two years; there are nine district seats, and four citywide "at-large" seats. The School Committee, which oversees the Boston Public Schools, is appointed by the mayor.
In addition to city government, numerous commissions and state authoritiesâ"including the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)â"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 federal facilities, including the John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building, the Thomas P. O'Neill Federal Building, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Federally, Boston is split between two congressional districts. The northern three-fourths of the city is in the 7th district, represented by Mike Capuano since 1998. The southern fourth is in the 8th district, represented by Stephen Lynch. Both are Democrats; a Republican has not represented a significant portion of Boston in over a century. The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Elizabeth Warren, first elected in 2012. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Ed Markey, who was elected in 2013 to succeed John Kerry after Kerry's appointment and confirmation as the United States Secretary of State.
Primary and secondary education
The Boston Public Schools enrolls 57,000 students attending 145 schools, including the renowned Boston Latin Academy, John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science, and Boston Latin School. The Boston Latin School, established 1635, is the oldest public high school in the US; Boston also operates the United States' second oldest public high school, and its oldest public elementary school.
The system's students are 35% Black or African American, 40% Hispanic or Latino, 13% White, and 9% Asian. There are private, parochial, and charter schools as well, and approximately 3,300 minority students attend participating suburban schools through the Metropolitan Educational Opportunity Council.
Some of the most famous universities in the United States are located in the Boston area. Four members of the Association of American Universities are in Greater Boston (more than any other metropolitan area): Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Brandeis University. Hospitals, universities, and research institutions in Greater Boston received more than $1.77 billion in National Institutes of Health grants in 2013, more money than any other American metropolitan area. Greater Boston has more than 100 colleges and universities, with 250,000 students enrolled in Boston and Cambridge alone. Its largest private universities include Boston University (the city's fourth-largest employer) with its main campus along Commonwealth Avenue and a medical campus in the South End; Northeastern University in the Fenway area; Suffolk University near Beacon Hill, which includes law school and business school; and Boston College, which straddles the Boston (Brighton)â"Newton border. Boston's only public university is the University of Massachusetts Boston, on Columbia Point in Dorchester. Roxbury Community College and Bunker Hill Community College are the city's two public community colleges. Altogether, Boston's colleges and universities employ over 42,600 people, accounting for nearly 7 percent of the city's workforce.
Smaller private schools include Babson College, Bentley University, Emmanuel College, Fisher College, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Simmons College, Wheelock College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, New England School of Law (originally established as America's first all female law school), and Emerson College.
Metropolitan Boston is home to several conservatories and art schools, including Lesley University College of Art and Design, Massachusetts College of Art, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, New England Institute of Art, New England School of Art and Design (Suffolk University), Longy School of Music of Bard College, and the New England Conservatory (the oldest independent conservatory in the United States). Other conservatories include the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, which has made Boston an important city for jazz music.
Several universities located outside Boston have a major presence in the city. Harvard University, the nation's oldest institute of higher education, is centered across the Charles River in Cambridge but has the majority of its land holdings and a substantial amount of its educational activities in Boston. Its business and medical schools are located in Boston, and there are plans for additional expansion into Boston's Allston neighborhood. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which originated in Boston and was long known as "Boston Tech", moved across the river to Cambridge in 1916. Tufts University, whose main campus is north of the city in Somerville and Medford, locates its medical and dental school in Boston's Chinatown at 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.
The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are two of the city's major daily newspapers. The city is also served by other publications such as Boston magazine, The Improper Bostonian, DigBoston, 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, called Teens in Print or T.i.P., which is written by the city's teens and delivered quarterly within the school year.
The city's growing Latino population has given rise to a number of local and regional Spanish-language newspapers. These include El Planeta (owned by the former publisher of The Boston Phoenix), El Mundo, and La Semana. Siglo21, with its main offices in nearby Lawrence, is also widely distributed.
Various LGBT publications serve the city's large LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community such as The Rainbow Times, the only minority and lesbian-owned LGBT newsmagazine. Founded in 2006, The Rainbow Times is now based out of Boston, but serves all of New England.
Radio and television
Boston has the largest broadcasting market in New England, with the radio market being the eleventh largest in the United States. Several major AM stations include talk radio WRKO 680 AM, sports/talk station WEEI 850 AM, and CBS Radio WBZ 1030 AM. WBZ (AM) broadcasts a news radio format. A variety of FM radio formats serve the area, as do NPR stations WBUR and WGBH. College and university radio stations include WERS (Emerson), WHRB (Harvard), WUMB (UMass Boston), WMBR (MIT), WZBC (Boston College), WMFO (Tufts University), WBRS (Brandeis University), WTBU (Boston University, campus and web only), WRBB (Northeastern University) and WMLN (Curry College).
The Boston television DMA, which also includes Manchester, New Hampshire, is the seventh largest in the United States. The city is served by stations representing every major American network, including WBZ 4 and its sister station WSBK 38 (the former with CBS, the latter an MyNetwork TV affiliate), WCVB 5 (ABC), WHDH 7 (NBC), WFXT 25 (Fox), and WLVI 56 (The CW). The city is also home to PBS station WGBH 2, a major producer of PBS programs, which also operates WGBX 44. Spanish-language television networks, including MundoFox (WFXZ 24), Univision (WUNI 27), Telemundo (WNEU 60), and Telefutura (WUTF 66), have a presence in the region. Most of the area's television stations have their transmitters in nearby Needham and Newton along the Route 128 corridor. Six Boston television stations are carried by Canadian satellite television provider Bell TV and by cable television providers in Canada.
Films have been made in Boston since as early as 1903, and it continues to be both a popular setting and a popular site for location shooting.
The Longwood Medical and Academic Area, adjacent to the Fenway district, is home to a large number of medical and research facilities, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Prominent medical facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are located in the Beacon Hill area. St. Elizabeth's Medical Center is in Brighton Center of the city's Brighton neighborhood. New England Baptist Hospital is in Mission Hill. The city 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 city residents.
Many of Boston's medical facilities are associated with universities. The facilities in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area and in Massachusetts General Hospital are 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.
Logan Airport, located in East Boston and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), is Boston's principal airport. Nearby general aviation airports are Beverly Municipal Airport to the north, Hanscom Field to the west, and Norwood Memorial Airport to the south. Massport also operates several major facilities within the Port of Boston, including a cruise ship terminal and facilities to handle bulk and container cargo in South Boston, and other facilities in Charlestown and East Boston.
Downtown Boston's streets grew organically, so they do not form a planned grid, unlike those in later-developed Back Bay, East Boston, the South End, and South Boston. Boston is the eastern terminus of I-90, which in Massachusetts runs along the Massachusetts Turnpike. The elevated portion of the Central Artery, which carried most of the through traffic in downtown Boston, was replaced with the O'Neill Tunnel during the Big Dig, substantially completed in early 2006.
With nearly a third of Bostonians using public transit for their commute to work, Boston has the fifth-highest rate of public transit usage in the country. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTAâ"known as the "T") operates the oldest underground rapid transit system in the Americas, and is the fourth-busiest rapid transit system in the country, with 65.5 miles (105Â km) of track on four lines. The MBTA also operates busy bus and commuter rail networks, and water shuttles.
Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Chicago lines originate at South Station, which serves as a major intermodal transportation hub, and stop at Back Bay. Fast Northeast Corridor trains, which serve New York City, Washington, D.C., and points in between, also stop at Route 128 Station in the southwestern suburbs of Boston. Meanwhile, Amtrak's Downeaster service to Maine originates at North Station, despite the current lack of a dedicated passenger rail link between the two railhubs, other than the "T" subway lines.
Nicknamed "The Walking City", Boston hosts more pedestrian commuters than do other comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as the compactness of the city and large student population, 13 percent of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country out of the major American cities. In 2011, Walk Score ranked Boston the third most walkable city in the United States. As of 2013, Walk Score still ranks Boston as the third most walkable US city, with a Walk Score of 79, a Transit Score of 74, and a Bike Score of 68.
Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling magazine named Boston three times as one of the worst cities in the US for cycling; regardless, it has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting. In 2008, as a consequence of improvements made to bicycling conditions within the city, the same magazine put Boston on its "Five for the Future" list as a "Future Best City" for biking, and Boston's bicycle commuting percentage increased from 1% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2009. The bikeshare program called Hubway launched in late July 2011, logging more than 140,000 rides before the close of its first season. The neighboring municipalities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline joined the Hubway program in summer 2012.
Many older buildings in certain areas of Boston are supported by wooden piles driven into the area's fill; these piles remain sound if submerged in water, but are subject to dry rot if exposed to air for long periods. Groundwater levels have been dropping, to varying degrees, in many areas of the city, due in part to an increase in the amount of rainwater discharged directly into sewers rather than absorbed by the ground. A city agency, the Boston Groundwater Trust, coordinates monitoring of groundwater levels throughout the city via a network of public and private monitoring wells.
Boston has nine official sister cities as recognized by Sister Cities International.
Boston has less formal friendship or partnership relationships with three additional cities.
- Boston City League (high school athletic conference)
- Boston nicknames
- Bostonâ"Halifax relations
- List of diplomatic missions in Boston
- List of people from Boston
- List of tallest buildings in Boston
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Boston, Massachusetts
- Boston bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics
- Bluestone, Barry; Stevenson, Mary Huff (2002). The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis. Russell Sage Foundation. ISBNÂ 978-1-61044-072-1.Â
- Bolino, August C. (2012). Men of Massachusetts: Bay State Contributors to American Society. iUniverse. ISBNÂ 978-1-4759-3376-5.Â
- Christopher, Paul J. (2006). 50 Plus One Greatest Cities in the World You Should Visit. Encouragement Press, LLC. ISBNÂ 978-1-933766-01-0.Â
- Hull, Sarah (2011). The Rough Guide to Boston (6 ed.). Penguin. ISBNÂ 978-1-4053-8247-2.Â
- Kennedy, Lawrence W. (1994). Planning the City Upon a Hill: Boston Since 1630. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-87023-923-6.Â
- Morris, Jerry (2005). The Boston Globe Guide to Boston. Globe Pequot. ISBNÂ 978-0-7627-3430-6.Â
- Vorhees, Mara (2009). Lonely Planet Boston City Guide (4 ed.). Lonely Planet. ISBNÂ 978-1-74179-178-5.Â
- Wechter, Eric B. et al. (2009). Fodor's Boston 2009. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBNÂ 978-1-4000-0699-1.Â CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
- Beagle, Jonathan M.; Penn, Elan (2006). Boston: A Pictorial Celebration. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBNÂ 978-1-4027-1977-6.Â
- Brown, Robin; The Boston Globe (2009). Boston's Secret Spaces: 50 Hidden Corners In and Around the Hub (1 ed.). Globe Pequot. ISBNÂ 978-0-7627-5062-7.Â
- Hantover, Jeffrey; King, Gilbert (2008). City in Time: Boston. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBNÂ 978-1-4027-3300-0.Â
- O'Connell, James C. (2013). The Hub's Metropolis: Greater Boston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth. MIT Press. ISBNÂ 9780262018753.Â
- O'Connor, Thomas H. (2000). Boston: A to Z. Harvard University Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-674-00310-1.Â
- Price, Michael; Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (2000). Boston's immigrants, 1840â"1925. Arcadia Publishing. ISBNÂ 978-0-7524-0921-4.Â
- Krieger, Alex; Cobb, David; Turner, Amy, eds. (2001). Mapping Boston. MIT Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-262-61173-2.Â
- Seasholes, Nancy S. (2003). Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-262-19494-5.Â
- Shand-Tucci, Douglass (1999). Built in Boston: City & Suburb, 1800â"2000 (2 ed.). University of Massachusetts Press. ISBNÂ 978-1-55849-201-1.Â
- Southworth, Michael; Southworth, Susan (2008). AIA Guide to Boston, 3rd Edition: Contemporary Landmarks, Urban Design, Parks, Historic Buildings and Neighborhoods (3 ed.). Globe Pequot. ISBNÂ 978-0-7627-4337-7.Â
- Vrabel, Jim; Bostonian Society (2004). When in Boston: A Time Line & Almanac. Northeastern University Press. ISBNÂ 978-1-55553-620-6.Â
- Whitehill, Walter Muir; Kennedy, Lawrence W. (2000). Boston: A Topographical History (3 ed.). Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-674-00268-5.Â
- Official website
- Â "Boston". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.Â
- Historical Maps of Boston from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library
- Boston Streets: Mapping Directory Data from Tufts University, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Bostonian Society
- NewEnglandFilm official website
- Massachusetts Film Office official website
- Maps of income, landfill growth, public transport, and squares from Radical Cartography
- Boston Evening Transcript, Google news archive. â"PDFs of 14,086 issues, dating from 1851 to 1915.
- Boston at DMOZ