If you've paid attention to any of my posts or the bio on the site, you know I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where I spent the first 17 years of my life. When I was 12, my mom and I made our first trek up to Boston for a Mother's Day weekend getaway. A few years later we returned with my mom's friend and her son. Both trips were rather enjoyable. We saw all the sights, we ate all the food. Amazing food. I experienced my first sunny-side up egg at Quincy Market (it was an egg sandwich that I did not expect to see oozing everywhere, but I loved it). I cracked my first lobster at Durgin Park. I scarfed down Clam Chowder, of the New England variety. And I dove head first in Boston Creme Pie at the Omni Parker House.
At the time, growing up in Brooklyn, and on those childhood trips, I didn't know of any NY-Boston rivalry. Most of that time, my NY-area sports teams (Yankees, Nets, Giants, Devils) were bad. And most of the time, except for the Celtics, the Boston-area teams weren't any better. In NY, the rivalries were mostly with the other NY teams (Mets, Knicks, Jets, Rangers, Islanders).
But then I went off to college at a small engineering school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, NY. It was there that I was introduced to many young Bostonians, mostly fraternity brothers. Over the four years, I learned that in Boston, their rivalries were with the NY teams. And being away from NYC, my hatred of other NY teams quickly transitioned to Boston teams. There were many verbal (and sometime physical) sparring matches. Fortunately for me, during the period from 1993-1997, my Devils and Yankees became world champs, while Boston teams continued to flounder. Life was good.
What I didn't know at the time was that upon graduation, I would end up moving to Arlington, MA, a small town right outside of Boston. I would spend the next five years of my life there, enduring the local sports scene. It was painful. Fortunately again though, my Yankees and Devils thrived, and even the Nets got good briefly, knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs twice.
While dealing with the sports situation and the obnoxious fans was often challenging, here's where I must give Boston their props. The food was amazing. From seafood on the North Shore (and up the coast into New Hampshire and Maine), to Asian food in Chinatown, to the best of all, Italian food in the North End, there was never a shortage of quality restaurants and bakeries to fill my belly.
Tomorrow, I'll be heading up to Boston for a long weekend with my wife and son. Most of our trip will be spent near Springfield, MA for a college friend's daughter's Bat Mitzvah. But come Sunday at 5:30pm, we'll be sitting down to what is sure to be a delicious meal in the North End. There will be pasta. There will be meat. It will be magnificent. And just when we think we can't eat another bite, we'll wander around the corner to Mike's Pastry, an Italian bakery that isn't named for me, but it's got my name written all over it. Cannolis, Napoleons, Marzipan, Rainbow Cookies, and so much more. A mere box of 50 pounds of goodies ought to do it!
It's a painful time to return to my old stomping ground, what with all the damn championships recently, and the Bruins potentially on the verge of another. But for a few short hours, I'll just shut my ears, open my eyes narrowly just enough to get around, and open my mouth up big and wide and shove it full of yummy food. See you soon Boston, see you soon!