- See also Wikipedia's article about "Boston".
Boston is probably the most exciting city on the East Coast after New York, but that's not saying much. Columbia's admissions officer for the region actually refers to the city as "that little New England fishing village". New Yorkers visiting are advised to be leery of the city's notoriously barbaric baseball fans - and to carefully research nightlife options, lest they find themselves stuck in a ubiquitous Irish pub (one could be mistaken for thinking that Bostonians subsist entirely on a diet of Sam Adams beer and Dunkin' Donuts, which is even more proliferous here as Duane Reade is in New York).
Boston is supposedly important to early American history. Supposedly. As such, it has a few more buildings that look like Fraunces Tavern than New York does. Since Boston was founded by boring Puritans, a fact with devastating implications for Boston's social scene to this day, they tended not to be taverns.
Between then and 2013, when the Boston Marathon bombings happened, not much went on in Boston. Mostly what happened was this: the Red Sox lost quite a few games, earned the sympathy of millions, started winning again, and lost their sympathy not long after.
Also, practically all of Ireland moved there, making it a wicked horrible place to be on St. Patrick's Day.
A one-way bus trip generally takes about 4 hours, but it could easily be more if there is traffic in or between New York and Boston. All buses make only one food/toilet stop, usually at McDonald's or Burger King. The Boston stop is at South Station.
- Chinatown buses, including the Fung Wah Bus and the Lucky Star Bus, cost $30 for a round-trip. Fung Wah leaves from corner of Bowery Street and Canal Street, while Lucky Star leaves from Christie Street, right around the corner. The cost is the same, and your ticket is always valid, no matter when you buy it or what bus it's for. In fact, the buses are always first-come-first-serve, so it's best to arrive early to beat the lines. Lately, Fung Wah has been leaving a little more often than Lucky Star. The best way to get to the buses from Columbia is to take the yellow NRQW subway lines to Canal Street, then walk east. The Chinatown Bus has quite a loyal customer base from the old days when it had little competition, but nowadays one has more options. Not only is it a hassle to get to from campus, but your bus might /lose its wheels or explode.
- Bolt Bus leaves from the much more accessible location of corner of 34th Street and 8th Avenue. Take the 1 to 34th Street/Penn Station. Price varies, depending on when you buy, but a one-way ticket will never exceed $20. If you purchase the very first ticket of that particular bus, it costs you only $1. Veterans say that to secure these ultra-cheap tickets, you have to know that the ticket schedules are released in two-week blocks on Wednesday night 5 weeks before the first travel date. Also, there are laptop power sockets and (very slow) on-board wifi (for the strongest signal, select a seat towards the back of the bus). On the negative side, Bolt Buses have far less legroom than do the Chinatown buses.
- Greyhound (often marked as Peter Pan on these routes) costs $30 to $48, depending on when you buy and whether you buy refundable or non-refundable. Leaves from Port Authority Bus Terminal: take the 1 to 42nd Street, then follow the signs to Port Authority.
Amtrak is expensive ($60 to $140, depending on whether one takes the high-speed Acela or the Regional, and depending on the class of one's ticket), but it has its advantages over the buses:
- Trains are way more comfortable than buses. You can walk around, visit the snack car, and go to the bathroom with little grief.
- You will always be on time, unlike buses, which are strongly affected by traffic conditions.
The train takes about three and a half to four hours, depending, again, on whether one takes the Acela or the Regional. It leaves from Penn Station; take the 1/2/3 to 34th Street/Penn Station. The two central Boston stops are Back Bay and South Station.
Some crazy people still think it's worth it to fly between Boston and New York, despite the fact that the line for airport security will probably be longer than the flight itself. The expensive shuttle flights leave from LaGuardia Airport, which one can reach via the M60 bus - or an overpriced taxi.
There is no order to Boston's streets. It's best to just get drunk and stumble around - this is the way Boston's colonial government laid out the city's road network to begin with.
The Boston's subway is known colloquially as "the T". Subway rides cost $1.70 and buses $1.25 if you buy a CharlieCard, and includes a free bus transfer. Most out-of-towners, however, buy cheaper CharlieTickets, which price subway rides at $2.00 and buses at $1.50. Note that the T does not run 24 hours; it runs roughly from 5:00 AM to 12:30AM. This would be a serious buzzkill if Boston's bars were open more than an hour and a half after that.
Boston consists of bahnies and townies. Bahnies go to the univuhsities and ah wicked smaht. Townies keep it real in the neighbah-hoods. How you like them apples?
1000% of Bostonians identify as Red Sox fans. The remainder are no longer considered Bostonians.
Boston is primarily known for its institutions of higher education, notwithstanding the fact that New York has a greater number and a comparable percentage of students in its population. This is possibly because of the fact that there is nothing else of value and worth in Boston (except for maybe the museums owned by the universities...and maybe the hospitals owned by them, too).
Some universities you may have heard of:
- Harvard (actually in Cambridge, except for the business school, because it hates libruls, and the medical school, which is so far away it might not still be part of Harvard at all at this point, has anyone checked?)
- MIT (actually in Cambridge, because it engages in dangerous experiments)
- Boston University (actually in Boston, despite engaging in dangerous experiments)
- Boston College (actually mostly in the suburbs...because it kind of hates libruls)
- Tufts University (actually in Medford, because if it were closer to Boston people would mistake its campus for Harvard's, and it would have to admit it was a lesser school)
Mouth-frothing Red Sox fans. But since it's almost impossible to avoid these people, it's best to just not go.