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This is nice but we have much better ice cream places in New York.
July 8, 2012 2:38 PM   Subscribe

What do I tell New Yorkers when they disparage Boston, my home town?

I've just moved to NYC last weekend and was at a small rooftop party for the Fourth to watch the fireworks, and one of the first people I meet there asks where I'm from, and when I say "Boston", his response is "I'm not going to beat about the bush, Boston is the worst city in the world." Then he goes off on a tirade about drunk Irish dudes getting into fights at bars and the non-existent nightlife and the too-homogenous population.

I just said my experience was different as I moved in different circles.

Another example from the party: we had a great view of the river and I say to my boyfriend, a New Yorker: "Wow, this looks just like Boston!" He goes to our host and repeats my comment and they all laugh heartily.

Yesterday on a walk in Central Park we come to a pretty pond, and my boyfriend says to me: "You don't have this in Boston, do you?"

Also, when my boyfriend and his daughter visited me in Boston, they would constantly comment that New York had better ice cream, bagels, Spanish food, nightlife... I was offended as their hostess.

So, hive mind, help me figure out a good comeback to stop this unnecessary and hurtful display of arrogance. Of course a city vastly more populous will have more and better options. Why do they feel the need to compare in the first place?
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (71 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think a quizzical look and, "Are you 5 years old?" should do nicely.
posted by purpleclover at 2:41 PM on July 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


I find that "Christ, what an asshole" works well. I mean, seriously, dignifying this shit with an argument is a waste of everybody's time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:42 PM on July 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Take the high road, your statement "my experience was different" is all you need to say, you're not going to convince these people anyway.

And, you seriously need friends that aren't (word redacted before deletion) not very nice.
posted by HuronBob at 2:42 PM on July 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Much like the New Yorker you mention, I'll not beat around the bush: these people are acting like assholes and should be told as much. I live in the Boston area and have been to NYC many times and nobody has ever belittled or crapped on the city to my face.

The next time they say something, just say "OK." and leave it at that. Don't acknowledge that they insulted your hometown, just move through it.

(And the fact your boyfriend is doing this is something I find very problematic.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


"wow, you sure are insecure about this NY v Boston thing!"

Though personally I might be more inclined to say "wow, you're a jerk!"
posted by ghharr at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Or, "It's so cute the way New Yorkers go on and on about Boston!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2012 [33 favorites]


What do I tell New Yorkers when they disparage Boston, my home town?

"mm." and nod noncommittally.

Why do they feel the need to compare in the first place?

Because of a longstanding rivalry between the Sox and The Yankees, like two shitty siblings being shitty at each other.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


ok, I botched that sentence with the edit.. I should have just said "assholes" and let it stand at that.
posted by HuronBob at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2012


That's silly. I can't believe adults are acting like this.

You don't need to smack these folks down. An eyeroll and your "my experience was different" is perfectly fine.

I'm rather fond of Sidhedevil's response as well.

Rise above it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:45 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a random party guest, your response was perfect.

For the boyfriend, I would start saying something like "Okay, enough with that." Best case scenario is he thinks he's ribbing you good-naturedly. Worst case scenario he's just being a jerk. Either way you have to say something to put a stop to the whole thing if you want it to stop.

The whole thing about using it to make fun of you to the group is kind of beyond shitty though.
posted by bleep at 2:46 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Ignorance can easily be defined as contempt prior to investigation."

I lived in NYC for six years and have lived in or near Boston since the '90s. Yep, there's nowhere like NYC, but Boston has a hell of a lot to offer. If anyone thinks that all Boston has to recommend it are drunk white dudes and roast beef joints, they're willing victims of their own bias.

And maybe Boston offers better choices of companionship than NYC, if you catch my drift.
posted by Currer Belfry at 2:47 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd probably say something like, "If New York is so great why are you so insecure about it?" but that would not really FIX anything.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 2:48 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


You should try being from Philly. In my experience folks from New York just can't stop doing this. The pizza is better, the bagels are better, blah blah blah. Just let it go. Say 'excuse me, gotta take this phone call.'
posted by fixedgear at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Three of your four examples are about your boyfriend - straighten this out with him and you're 75% of the way there. I mean, I will give you friendly ribbing about your sports teams, but can't imagine why someone would disparage the whole city. Most people who live in New York are from elsewhere.
posted by valeries at 2:51 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'd go with "ohhhhhkay!" and a change of subject. Getting into that argument is like trying to out-reason a three year old -- merely by engaging, you have already lost.
posted by KathrynT at 2:51 PM on July 8, 2012


I personally hate when people do this, but if you want to shut people up, tell them to stop being so sensitive. The glory of this is that either they shut up, which to them will feel like admitting defeat, or they keep arguing which just makes you look right (that indeed, they are being sensitive).

Him: Boston sucks! New York is great!
You: Hey, don't be so sensitive! Both cities are great!
Him: Boston blows!
You: It's OK man, I believe you!

I consider this to be a conversation A-bomb. It tends to infuriate people and some will think you're being a dick, but hot-damn is it satisfying.
posted by Nightman at 2:52 PM on July 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


"what a fun sexy time for you!"

I mean really, there's no point in responding with anything reasoned.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:56 PM on July 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just call them dirty loyalists and be done with it ( New York bent way more British supporting in the revolutionary war)
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on July 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Remind them how NYC smells like poop on fire in the summertime; gaze at them suspiciously as though you are pondering whether or not to hold them personally responsible.
posted by elizardbits at 3:01 PM on July 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


They're doing it b/c they honestly believe that new York is not simply the best, but the only place worth being in America. I know b/c I was this person till I moved to St. Louis. (You think Boston's bad, try telling New Yorkers how cool St. Louis is.)

I'd say something along the lines of "You haven't traveled much I guess, huh? Too bad. Well, I guess you couldn't what with the rents here." I also like The Whelk's answer, that's just...ouch.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:05 PM on July 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've moved to the US from Australia and have spent most of my 3 years here hearing how x is better in the US than anywhere else in the world. I would try to explain that in my experience it wasn't so, but finally it dawned on me I just smile and say "That's an opinion." most people don't realise just what I've said I've not worn myself down explaining that while you have a pretty good x I have seen some other ones and I rather liked them too.

In the case of NY I wonder if some of it might not be that most people there seem to have moved there from someplace else so by going on about how great it is they are hiding their own insecurities about the place.
posted by wwax at 3:06 PM on July 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


"You know, no one is going to take away your 'I <3 NY' mug if you acknowledge that some other cities sometimes have some cool things about them too. Heck, I'd even fill that mug up with coffee for you for life if you'll stop talking about one of the cities that I love like such an ass with a superiority complex. Thanks."
posted by argonauta at 3:08 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Criticizing things is a NYC pastime and is often in the "gentle teasing" category of interaction. NYC gentle teasing is "I want you to punch me" in most other places.

So you have two options: one, be like "LOL you are so right why did I live in Boston for so long! Ha ha! What a cow town" or two, be like "yeah it's amazing how NYC is like 3 times a big but has 20 times as many assholes" or something else mildly witty and insulting. They will laugh at either one of these. If they don't then they aren't teasing, they're genuinely being assholes.

Oh and visiting another city and then bitching about how it's not like NYC is just rudeness, the response is "I didn't expect you to be so provincial".
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:08 PM on July 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Why do they feel the need to compare in the first place?

Because, in most cases, they've spent a lot of money and made a lot of sacrifices to live in New York instead of Boston (or Chicago, or Charlotte, or whatever.) When you say "this looks just like Boston" it's the same as telling somebody with a fancy car "This is a really sweet ride, it reminds me of my Honda Civic." Nobody likes to be told they're wasting their resources.

Of course, what they should hear isn't "New York's no better than Boston" but "New York's no better than Boston for me, a person from Boston, while for you, a person who has chosen to live in New York for reasons particular to yourself, the calculus is probably completely different." But it's hard to listen in such a refined way.
posted by escabeche at 3:08 PM on July 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tell them the truth: that deep down they must know that NYC's a shithole with a subway and that their need to constantly put down other places speaks volumes about their insecurity. See also: guys in denial of their true sexuality who make it a point to tell you how much they hate gay people.
posted by MattMangels at 3:10 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, anytime Los Angeles comes up on mefi you should see the amount of snarking that happens. And it's like ok, fine, don't come here it really is harder to find good bagels and whatever. Just leave me to all of these delicious tacos and lovely weather. Vive la difference!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:28 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Former New Yorker (but Long Island, not NYC), Boston transplant here. I'd suggest you get new friends, but the boyfriend part is a bit more troubling. Why does he feel the need to act that way about your former home? Better yet, why was he okay with ridiculing you at that party? I think you need to sit down and talk to him about how this behavior makes you feel. If you two were on the same page, he could help field some of the comments from others.

A far as comebacks... you boyfriend does know that Olmstead designed both Central Park and the Emerald Necklace, right?
posted by divisjm at 3:28 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You might read this and it could possibly help you figure this out on your own... http://gawker.com/5922392/i-used-to-love-her-but-i-had-to-flee-her-on-leaving-new-york
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:31 PM on July 8, 2012


Also, as a NY bagel and pizza snob, I've had some excellent versions of both in Boston. Sure, tastes vary by region, but just because the Boston standard may be different doesn't mean that you can't find some good stuff here in the same style as that in NY.
posted by divisjm at 3:31 PM on July 8, 2012


I used to work at a company just outside Boston, and we hired a young woman from NYC. Every Friday, she would drive to New York to spend the weekend there, and come back late Sunday night. Every chance she had, she would walk around the office talking about how much better New York was, what was wrong with Boston, etc. It was getting pretty bad.

One day in the kitchen, she was talking down about Boston and made some comment like, "this is a nothing city. It's smaller than Central Park."

One of my colleagues, who had reached his limit with her, whipped around and said, "Central Park is 1.3 square miles. Boston is 90 square miles. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!" It did the trick.

Lesson learned: When you can, use facts to defend your position.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:39 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to turn the conversation away from you and Boston entirely, you can always say "could be worse, right? could be LA!"

sorry LA
posted by elizardbits at 3:39 PM on July 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Are those people actually real native New Yorkers or just transplants? As a native, I find fake New Yorkers the worst and I would ride them on their shitty hometowns as much as you can.
posted by cazoo at 3:40 PM on July 8, 2012


"Huh. Sorry to hear you feel that way about a place I happen to really like."
posted by bunji at 3:47 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh the other alternative is to agree with them but in a ridiculously over the top parody of their nonsense. "Yeah, Robert Moses actually invented ponds in the 60's. References to ponds in English literature were all retconned to make non-New Yorkers feel better about themselves."
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:52 PM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd arch my eyebrow (or think I was arching it, I don't think I really can) and coolly with, "Yes, I'm sure it does." Withering remarks are good for shutting people down.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 3:55 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weird. I grew up in Boston and have now lived in NYC for 20 years. The only people I have ever heard any "Boston sucks" folderol out of have been avid sports fans (mostly Yankee fans, but also the occasional Jets, Giants or Knicks fan). My best advice would be to hang out with a better class of person, frankly. It is true that NYers can get a bit chauvinistic about how much better of everything we have around here. But I think you can just say, like I occasionally do, that every city has its advantages and disadvantages, and that you found Boson a pretty great place to live when you were there.
posted by slkinsey at 3:55 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just laugh. Laugh and laugh and cackle and guffaw like Bill Mirray himself has appeared before you and is carrying Steve Martin on his back. Slap your thighs, hold your sides, gasp for breath, trail off with a long "Whoooo..." and wipe the tears from your eyes.

And then go on like nothing had happened.
posted by Etrigan at 3:56 PM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


If your goal is to get into an argument and/or avoid making friends, just about anything you say to let the person know you think they're being an asshole will work. These range from "Why are you being such an asshole about this?" to "Wow, everyone told me New Yorkers were incredibly insecure!"

If your goal is to get along, start making friends, and minimize conflict, changing the subject, saying neutral things that sound like agreement ("Yes, it's quite a change!" "I'm looking forward to eating all of your great food!") work, too.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:59 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Have you ever had a Boston Pissah?"
"What?"
"How can you badmouth Boston if you've never had a Boston Pissah?"
"Well, I.."
"Do you want one?"
"Uh, sur-"
And then knee them in the crotch. Saying, "I thought New Yoirkers were smarter than that." is completely optional.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:00 PM on July 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


Also the fact that they're saying this stuff to you (repeatedly?) is just plain obnoxious. I said above that I used to be like this but I meant the thought part of it. I didn't openly mock people about the hometowns they told me they liked. Not all New Yorkers will do that! They might silently pity you a bit, but really, you can totally find nicer people to be around.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:00 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Ell-oh-ell"
posted by rhizome at 4:06 PM on July 8, 2012


What do you tell them? That they're jerks. You can change the subject by asking them where they're from originally, what's their favorite thing about New York, etc. That said, I'm sure other people do this but New Yorkers are particularly aggressive and obnoxious about it. I'm from Buffalo, NY and went to the university there with countless New Yorkers. It was really frustrating because their favorite pastime was harping on how much better New York was.

I would agree that the fact that your boyfriend does this is the most upsetting, especially since he's apparently teaching his daughter to do the same thing. My husband is from New York and one of the things that I love love love about him is that he love love loves Buffalo. It's great because not only does he get excited when I want to go visit but he also is there for me when other people talk shit about Buffalo. Recently, we met someone from Boston (no joke) who made fun of Buffalo sports teams. Besides that, we liked this guy and when we were leaving the bar, I said to my husband, dude, what was that guy's problem?! And he was like, I don't know, that was uncalled for.

Anyway, talk to your boyfriend. That's not necessarily a deal-breaker but it's just not cool.
posted by kat518 at 4:08 PM on July 8, 2012


mostly Yankee fans

Yeah, I was wondering this myself. It is possible that there is just simply no hope for your boyfriend and his friends.
posted by elizardbits at 4:11 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is possible that the comments your boyfriend made when he was visiting you in Boston were a misguided attempt to convince you to move to NYC.

The comment in Central Park could be seen in a similar light, he may have been trying to make you feel good about having made the move.

If these are the case saying to your boyfriend something like "I am glad I moved to NYC to be with you; I am not looking to move back to Boston but I still love the city and you disparaging my hometown is not going to make me feel more welcome" might help.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:12 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Boston and I've lived in both; New York does have better night life and more cultural stuff. As a friendly warning, if you continually compare New York to Boston you're going to come off like a rube. New York is just much bigger, it's more important in most fields of endeavour and it has a higher global profile. It just does.

New Yorkers are extremely arrogant about this, but living in New York is stressful in itself in a way that makes people defensive --- after all, if it wasn't the greatest city in the world, you'd be a real idiot for spending $2,000 a month to live in a roach infestested shoebox on the LES, you know? New Yorkers are up their own assholes about this and there's nothing to be done about it.

But here's the thing: I'm saying all this because though, yes, it is true that New York is a bigger, more important, more famous city, as far as living in them goes? You can have just as much fun, maybe more, living in Boston. There are many ways in which it has a far higher quality of life than NYC, and I was just chatting with a friend this weekend who was planning to move to New Orleans soon from NYC and was talking about the dozens of boxes they were trying to tick to do before they went that they'd never got round to in almost a decade of living there, because for the most part people in New York do the same stuff people in every other city do, go to bars and movies and sports games and hang out with their friends. Enjoy New York for what it is, and have confidence that Boston is awesome in its own way.
posted by Diablevert at 4:17 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Stockholm syndrome's a bitch, ain't it?"
posted by soma lkzx at 4:47 PM on July 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


These comments are definitely rude. People have given you suggestions for passive responses and aggressive responses. If you want to diffuse without burning bridges, I might try for a more sentimental approach, like maybe "Haha, yes New York is such a rich city, but I do love Boston, it will always be home to me." Hopefully anyone who is not being a jerk on purpose will realize that you are not trying to engage in some inter-city debate about objective quality, just that you are a person who loves their home. And then they will stop.

If they don't stop maybe get aggressive?
posted by newg at 4:47 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Option 1) raise an eyebrow and with a voice dripping with lazy sarcasm say "riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight" and then immediately move on in the conversation.

Option 2) "cool story bro"
posted by nathancaswell at 4:48 PM on July 8, 2012


Stop comparing New York to Boston and start comparing it to Newark?
posted by MikeMc at 4:57 PM on July 8, 2012


Hi, New Yorker here.

The first thing to remember is that they are probably not knocking Boston, they're emphasizing the superiority/One True City-ness of New York. They would do the same thing wherever you came from. It has nothing to do with Boston, except insofar as Boston is not New York.

The second thing is that it is generally friendly ribbing - it's not meant to offend.

Third, when we do this, we're often trying to get the person to move, because we like them.


I think the best way to avoid this is to stop comparing the cities. "This is just like Boston" is kind of like painting a big target on your head and asking for people to fire.

That said, if it's serious for you, I'd say something. I bet no one's actually trying to be an asshole.
posted by corb at 4:57 PM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I grew up in Boston and have lived in NYC for a little over a decade. Unless you're talking about Boston WAY more than you realize (and thus these comments stem from "enough already" irritation) your friends are being unusually jerky about this. I had people roll their eyes at me occasionally when I went on and on about how much the West Village reminded me of the Back Bay, but I never had anyone make rude comments about my hometown to my face. Usually, it's the opposite -- people telling me about a time when they visited Boston and the fun stuff they did there.

This isn't a New Yorker problem, it's a jerk problem. I would follow the excellent conversational redirection suggestions above if this ever comes up again.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:59 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding MattMengels above, you should just give them shit about whatever dumpy town in the Midwest they invariably hail from. In my experience the biggest NYC cheerleaders are not actually from New York (and I say this as a transplant myself).
posted by pravit at 5:19 PM on July 8, 2012


Grew up and lived in NYC, and still do. I went to school and lived in Massachusetts for maybe 6 years. I've thought of moving back at least weekly ever since, and we're talking 14 years. I am continually mystified about this.

It's been so bad in the past that I had to stop wearing an old Brooklyn Dodgers ballcap (not a fan, just like to wear hats and this one was cool). I can't even begin to quantify how many times I had to say "no, it's not a Boston Red Sox hat." So many that I stopped wearing it. I currently work someplace with an audience and an audience warmup. Not a single night goes by without at least one Boston joke, if not several, between the talent and the warmup guy.

I agree that it's probably in general a sports thing. Really, NY fans, get over it. The only complaints about NYers I heard about in Massachusetts were along the lines of "they're obsessed with hating us."

To answer your question, I think there's got to be an equitable mix of smiling and dealing with it along with something snide and nasty a la "bless your heart." I'm at a loss. I got to answering people about that stupid hat with "really, wtf is it with people?"

Now, if you want to talk about the fact that all of the worst driving experiences of my life (and I've driven in almost every single state, including LA) were in Mass, we can do that.
posted by nevercalm at 5:27 PM on July 8, 2012


"Yeah, we don't have as many bagel shops, but New York is full of assholes and you can always make your own bagels." (Substitute current topic in as necessary.)

Or, more practically, for repeat offenders that you would like to keep talking to, just stare straight at them and say "dude, that got old a long time ago, cut it out".
posted by anaelith at 5:31 PM on July 8, 2012


In similar situations, I usually go with a totally deadpan, "Huh." And then let it sit there.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:37 PM on July 8, 2012


You can't argue with OMG NEW YORK IS THE BESTEST EVER people, I think. Or at least it's probably not worth the drama.

I try to remind myself that you know, we've all got our different opinions. Some people like things that I think are awful (Twilight, anyone?), some people hate things that I think are great--hell, I found out today one of my friends doesn't like Say Anything. It's shocking, yes, but it doesn't help anything for me to act all shocked and hurt, or try to defend the thing I love against someone who for whom it's Not Their Thing. It's just easier to go "Huh," and let it go. Especially if you are the minority in this particular conversation, surrounded by diehard New Yorkers. Who I hear are especially in love with the greatest city ever ever ever no other city compares, etc.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:54 PM on July 8, 2012


Oh, people. I'm a life-long New Yorker, have trouble imagining anywhere else being even remotely liveable, and even I will admit that Boston has better ice cream and a bunch of really amazing people and social circles. I mean, you can just gloat at them about Toscanini's!
posted by 168 at 6:09 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm from Western Mass originally and I moved to the Bronx from Philly a handful of years ago. I hear you on this issue. It took me a few years to get used to all the pinstripes, references to "The City" and NYCentricicism. But I will say that it does get easier over time. Ask them how much a beer costs in a bar, that seems to help. Ask them when they moved to New York, because most of them aren't from NYC.

Not strictly relevant, but ...

One of the great comparisons I enjoy making of Red Sox and Yankees fans is:
It used to be respectable to be a Red Sox fan. You knew how to suffer, how to have your hopes dashed at the last minute and how to swear at the television as you watched them throw it all away year after year. People respected that kind of fan - a true fan through thick and through thin. Then they started winning and now Red Sox fans are just like Yankees fans, they're just kinda jerks.

And the comment about Central Park - tell them to come up to the Bronx, we've got bigger parks than that.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:33 PM on July 8, 2012


I believe that this is a time where a solid "Bless your heart, aren't you just so cute?" combined with an arched eyebrow would suffice. Learned this from Ask Mefi, it has done the trick on many an occasion.
posted by so much modern time at 6:50 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry this is not a direct answer to your question, but I am a diehard NY native and would never say stuff like that to anyone about their hometown, except as a joke. (I will, for instance, heckle Red Sox fans.)

I think for comments like "you don't have this in Boston, do you?" your boyfriend is probably trying to convince you/himself that your move was a positive thing. For the other stuff there's really no excuse.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:19 PM on July 8, 2012


Ask them when they moved to New York, because most of them aren't from NYC.

This strikes me as the very best response of all. First, it shows that you're not naive enough to believe their blase cosmopolitan shtick, and you know they're from somewhere else. Second, it endorses their desire to talk about the city they love. Third, it makes it about them, which everyone loves, and you'll learn something about these folks which goes a long way to making new friends (or at least sussing out who would be good/not good to be friends with). Fourth, it's non-defensive, non-combative, and non-confrontational.
posted by Miko at 7:54 PM on July 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Tell them "I realize it's no Baltimore, but Boston's got its good points!"
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:11 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up in the DC area but spent 18-25 in Boston and now live in NYC. I say: just own your past in Boston and don't worry about what people say. I'm a New England Patriots fan and have suffered much abuse through TWO Superbowls in which what the heck Giants and just hearing Eli Manning's name gives me a headache and everyone knows this and thinks it's funny. But I just don't care, i was in Boston when they were winning everything and I just love them. I can argue Bill Belichick and Brady and VideoTapeGate all day and twice on Sunday.

I will say that comparing skylines and such of anywhere else to NYC is kind of inviting ridicule because that's what we're known for, and I personally believe it's just stunning.

Agree with everyone else that there is a sense of people in NYC feeling that it's better than everywhere else, but the other piece of this is that a lot of us are making our home here. I have friends having kids and settling down and I want to...make my home here despite most of the world's impression that NYC is just a Times Square trash hole. That's part of why people feel uptight about it -- a lot of people leave because they feel they want something better and those of us who think being here is the best are a bit defensive of our position. But for me and a lot of others it's less about the flash or nice restaurants and such but just that this is where I live and where all my business contacts and friends live and this is where my life is. It's not a trash hole full of assholes.

It troubles me as well though that your BF is saying these things. he needs to knock it off.

But ice cream? Hello, Toscaninis, NYC can shut the hell up.
posted by sweetkid at 8:33 PM on July 8, 2012


This might not be it, but count the number of times you say "Boston" in one day. This doesn't explain the guy at your party, but your boyfriend might be either concerned you are homesick and not liking NYC, or he might be tired of hearing how great Boston is.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:32 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course a city vastly more populous will have more and better options. Why do they feel the need to compare in the first place?

Provincialism hiding in groupthink? Relentless oneupsmanship as a balm for insecurity? Dunno, but this is a deeply ingrained habit in NYC. Warning: Claims of preeminence in all things may extend beyond the realm of opinion into errors of fact. Should you calmly cite a correction, you may be surprised to learn that [thing] was irrelevant until NYC discovered it.

Hell, at least you Bostonians stick up for yourselves. Some Philadelphians are so self-defeatist that they'll roll over onto their underdog bellies and agree. Anyway, I recommend going with "when did you move to NYC" and calling them out for being "so sensitive."

But to be fair, the obnoxious version of this is by no means universal; I don't paint all proud New Yorkers with the same brush. I have a greatly entertaining running scoreboard of a friendly discussion with my NY-native coworker on NYC versus Philly, pros and cons. (No argument that NYC wins for bagels and a far superior subway system.)
posted by desuetude at 10:09 PM on July 8, 2012


If you're comfortable with a little back-and-forth, you could try "Yeah, I really wanted to live in Paris, but it just didn't work out. So yeah, I don't mind settling for New York."

Because New York is really great, but Paris.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:40 PM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Most New Yorkers who give you a hard time about Boston give everyone a hard time about everywhere. We can come across as jerks but it's more just that we can often be very proud and weirdly loyal and feel superior. It is a tough place to live, so you feel like you have earned something when you conquer it. So, don't think of it as you specific or Boston specific. We equally hate on any city ;) Especially LA! Also probably don't attempt to change people's minds. Frustrating on all ends. I would either try playfully ribbing them about stuff that sucks about NYC (a lot of material!!) or smile, nod, and start a new conversation.

FWIW, seems like your bf either wants you to live in NY and is being insensitive about dropping hints, or he's just insensitive in general. Or like bluedaisy said, you're mentioning Boston a ton. Either way, talk to him about it! Jerks at parties you don't need to talk to, but if it's this big of an issue with the bf, communicate about it.
posted by manicure12 at 1:40 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't like it when my fellow NY friends disparage the so-called "flyover states" (which I like to visit) and I certainly hate it when people from those places crap all over NYS and NYC, especially when they haven't been there, or were there only once when they were barely old enough to remember the experience.
Try your best to "turn the other cheek."
posted by morecoffeeplease at 4:02 AM on July 9, 2012


Most "New Yorkers" who like to make fun of Boston are from Ohio. Or Staten Island. Or whatever. They wish they could experience a city as lovely and green and good smelling as Boston.

Seriously, the New York complex is a big part of the reason why I moved to LA. Hey New York: Shut up! Other cities don't have this weird negative one-upsmanship thing going on - people in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. have only nice things to say about New York, if they're thinking about NYC at all.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:43 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most "New Yorkers" who like to make fun of Boston are from Ohio. Or Staten Island.

You know, I know none of us like to admit it, but Staten Island is actually a borough of NYC.
posted by corb at 2:03 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


My grandfather is from NYC. I'm coming to understand so much about my family through this thread...
posted by victory_laser at 12:58 AM on July 10, 2012


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