Boston has for too long been an after-thought of a city. It is not the pinnacle of American civilization that we all know it could be. Yet!
In the same way that I, as a child, learned everything that I know from my older neighbor Mr. Brommel (who, incidentally, was recently arrested for attempting to smuggle a giraffe out of the Bronx zoo), so too can Boston learn from its more prosperous, more renowned and more reputable neighbor city, namely, New York, New York. As Mr. Brommel used to say, before his death in police custody, “Good artists imitate; great artists steal giraffes.” So, Boston, in our quest to be the best city in America, nay, the world, let’s take a page out of our biggest competitor’s notebook, or, if you will, a giraffe out of their zoo.
Step One: Rebranding
Boston’s nickname is Beantown. New York City’s is The Big Apple. See the difference? No? Please allow me to expound.
First, NYC has an article. It’s
Big Apple, not Big Apple or A Big Apple. Thus, revision one of Boston’s nickname: The Beantown. A definite article for the definitive city.
Second, NYC has an adjective denoting its size: big. Boston has none, yet. The Big Beantown certainly has a nice alliterative ring to it, but we’re Boston, home to the finest universities in the world. We have big vocabularies and big thesauri. We can go bigger than big. Revision 2: The Enormous Beantown. Getting better.
Third, it’s The Big Apple, not The Big Apple City. Sounds silly, right? Let’s nix the “town.” We’re not a town anymore anyways!
Boston: The Enormous Bean.
Step Two: Environmental Enhancements
New York is a world-class city with a world-class ecological footprint. Its two major rivers, the Hudson River and the East River, are some of the most polluted in the world. There are countless memes, sketches and jokes about their world-famous toxicity. No one dares to kayak in them, let alone swim. Boston may have the occasional algae bloom, but for most of the year Bostonians make a mockery of the Charles River with their insipid paddling, silly sailing and drunken plunges. A respectable city has respectable rivers, ones its residents know are not to be trifled with. It’s no wonder why New York’s East River has dolphins while Boston has none.
Luckily, it will be very easy for The Enormous Bean to catch up with The Big Apple. From Waltham onward, we must divert all of our sewage into the Charles. NYC only pollutes its rivers when heavy rain overflows their drainage system. In Boston, we can make it constant.
Besides attracting more dolphins to the area, this step of the plan will also ease the gentrification of the uppity Charles River-adjacent neighborhoods of Cambridgeport, Charlestown and Beacon Hill by making them smell worse. Win-win.
Step Three: Scaffolding
This step should be obvious to anyone who has ever stepped foot in Manhattan. Scaffolding! Everywhere you turn, there’s scaffolding. You can’t walk down a single block without passing underneath scaffolding. New York City’s scaffolding is mostly there to present the illusion of a city hard at work building, improving, constructing, growing. But the scaffolding is also useful pedestrian infrastructure in all seasons. Scaffolding offers shelter from winter snow, guards against spring rain, provides shade on hot summer days, and is perfect for hanging spooky decorations in the fall.
On a good week, downtown Boston might have one or two buildings with scaffolding up , but we should strive for “Vision 100” - the elimination of scaffold-free sidewalks. Imagine a city with plentiful shade on both sides of the sidewalk. Dream, for a moment, of how industrious we would appear to tourists. We have a long way to go, but, as Mr. Brommel used to say, “The best day for a zoo heist was yesterday. The second best is today.”
Ever since the rabble-rousing, despot-defying, democracy-defining tea partiers began throwing their tea parties, Boston has been putting the elite in coastal and the coastal in elite. And yet, like so many first children, we haven’t gotten all the love we deserve. With your help and these three simple steps outlined above, we can finally get it and be the best city in the world, The Enormous Bean.