10 Things People in Boston Are Irrationally Passionate About

Blame the dome of academia or the weather-induced grumpiness, but we Bostonians are an argumentative bunch. Still, there are some specific topics we tend to get especially passionate about. From sports to T commutes to ‘70s-era Museum of Science ads, there are just some subjects that get us hot under our North Face collars (not always in a bad way!). Want to pick up a native or start a bar fight? Here are 10 Bostonian pressure points.


Bob Kravitz. PSI. Ideal gas law. The Wells Report. Judge Berman. The appellate court. Roger $%*& Goodell. There’s nothing about Deflategate that we can’t dissect ad nauseum -- and we don’t even need to angrily call into Felger & Mazz to make it happen. Long after Tom Brady has hung up his Uggs, we’ll be regaling our children with tales of a collective bargaining agreement gone wrong and (hopefully) the 2016 Revenge II Tour that culminated in a fifth championship.

Whitey Bulger

Years before Johnny Depp donned those creepy-ass contact lenses, Bostonians could recite every last salient fact revealed in Black Mass. After all, what other town is lucky enough to have a notorious gangster AND a state senate overseen by said gangster’s brother? Folks either revile him or have a bizarre soft spot -- and everyone remembers where they were when the news broke he’d been captured in Santa Monica. Hell, local schoolchildren still write him in jail. Why? Because he responds.

Our Dunkin' Donuts orders

It’s a local totem, that DD -- it defines our region the way no other food chain does. In turn, our daily orders define us. Are you a wintertime iced coffee person? A medium regular, extra sugar? A devotee of the new cold brew? Whatever your poison, you’ll defend its honor to any Starbucks-sipping snob who’ll listen.

Stupid Boston nicknames

If you call it Beantown, you will face our wrath. Other no-nos: The Hub, B-town, and (shudder) SoBo to refer to South Boston. Sorry, New York Times, you will never live that one down.


It’s the oligarch we can’t escape. Everyone hates Comcast, sure, but this despot ruler seems to have especially clamped down on Boston with its insidious internet/cable bundling. College students, young professionals, retirees…. everyone has their Comcast outage tale and their subsequent Comcast customer service tale and their "we’re cutting the cord!" futility tale. Somehow they never get old.

Our weather forecast sources

Go to a Boston party between December and April, and you’ll be forced to engage in at least one entirely predictable conversation about the weather (sunshine good, snow and ice bad). But those conversations quickly devolve into a spirited debate as to which forecasting resource is the ne plus ultra. NECN’s Peter Bouchard? The Dark Sky app? Dave Epstein of @weatherwisdom? Bostonians can spend hours debating this.

The T (obvi)

It’s the worst. And we all think our line is the worst of the worst. But our collective obsession goes beyond that. It’s about commute times, and the comforts/deficiencies of our home stations, and the top-level corruption, and the unicorn status of the Green Line extension, and the Spare Change guy, and the track fires, and that kitten you once saw on the tracks, and the very occasional human injury (were they pushed?!). The T is our communal neurosis, even trumping parking woes and 93 traffic.

J.T. Farnham's vs. Clam Box vs. Woodman's

Which North Shore fried clams are the best? A newcomer might ask innocuously. Record scratch. Silence. And then, a deafening cacophony of opinion. No one sit this one out. Venture down this delicious rabbit hole, and suddenly you’re debating the nuances of frying fats and secret washes and flour options and clam size and the undersung value of the double fry. Want to keep the convo going? Ask about the city’s best lobster roll.

Vintage Boston ephemera

If you’re a newbie to Boston, you might be confused by some of the local references. What’s the Expressway? Who’s Bob Lobel? And what the hell is The Movie Loft? But longtimers can’t get enough of Boston-centric anachronisms. Like this. And this. And especially this. You think Boston is provincial now? You have no idea what it used to be like. But then, that’s what we sort of secretly love about this town.

Drinking laws

First, a question: do Salt Lake City residents obsess about their drinking moratoria as much as Bostonians do? OK, we know the answer to that one. No one understands our pain, which is why we can’t shut up about it. If you don’t live in Boston, it’s impossible to know how it feels to not be able to hit a happy hour, drink outside without ordering food, or buy booze before noon on Sundays. And it used to be much worse: no wine shipments, no BYOB, and no booze on Sunday, period. (If you’re a local of a certain age, you can probably tell a tale of driving to New Hampshire on a Sunday morning to buy beer before the football game). We’ll talk about our blue laws until we’re blue in the face. And if/when they one day all go away, we’ll talk about them some more. Because seriously, no happy hours?!

Sign up here for our daily Boston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Hub has to offer.

Meaghan Agnew (@meaghandeth) is irrationally passionate about many things. But seriously, don't get her started on Deflategate.