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24 quotes about Boston that fill us with immense pride

These luminaries capture the magic spark at the heart of the Hub.

Written by
Eric Grossman

Boston isn’t going anywhere. While others may be predicting the city’s demise, we know the Hub is here to stay. (And we would know—we’re constantly writing about it every single day!)

However, it’s hard to capture in a few short words just what makes this metro area so special. Luckily, plenty of famous luminaries have given it a go—from famous writers to politicians, activists and many, many fictional characters.

Like these quotes about the city? You can also find them at Time Out Market Boston, currently open in the heart of the Fenway. They’re emblazoned on social distancing partitions attached to tables throughout the space as an extra little show of our hometown pride.

1. "Massachusetts has been the wheel within New England, and Boston the wheel within Massachusetts. Boston therefore is often called the ‘hub of the world’ since it has been the source and fountain of ideas that have been reared and made America." —The Rev. F.B. Zinckle. Last Winter in the United States (1968)

2. "That's all I claim for Boston—that it is the thinking center of the continent, and therefore of the planet." —Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet, physician and polymath (1809-94)

3. "I know of no large city where there is so much mutual helpfulness, so little neglect and ignorance of the concerns of other classes." —Harriet Martineau, considered the first female sociologist (1802-76)

4. "In Boston they ask, ‘How much does he know?’ In New York, ‘How much is he worth?’ In Philadelphia, ‘Who were his parents?’ Tomorrow night I appear for the first time before a Boston audience: 4000 critics.” —Mark Twain, writer and humorist (1835-1910)

5. “Here were held the town-meetings that ushered in the Revolution Here Samuel Adams, James Otis and Joseph Warren exhorted Here the men of Boston proved themselves independent, courageous freemen, worthy to raise issues which were to concern the liberty and happiness of millions yet unborn.” —sign at the entrance of the Old South Meeting House, author unknown

6. "Boston is an oasis in the desert, a place where the larger proportion of people are loving, rational and happy." —Julia Ward Howe, poet who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (1819-1910)

7. “The spring in Boston is like being in love: bad days slip in among the good ones, and the whole world is at a standstill, then the sun shines, the tears dry up, and we forget that yesterday was stormy.” —Louise Closser Hale, actress, playwright, novelist and graduate of Emerson College (1872-1933)

8. “Boston is actually the capital of the world. You didn't know that? We breed smart-ass, quippy, funny people. Not that I'm one of them. I just sorta sneaked in under the radar.” —John Krasinski, locally-raised actor

9. “They're here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don't get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that's here for you.”Fever Pitch (2005)

10. "What happened with Boston? Do the people eat baseball and drink baseball? It's unbelievable. I don't really have the words to describe how good it feels to be a part of it....Boston has it all: incredible sports, great people and culture, an amazing food scene, the ocean and so much more.” —Pedro Martinez, Red Sox legend

11. "Yet Boston has never lost her universal supremacy for being independent in character, original in enterprise, unwilling to follow whenever she is reasonably equipped to lead. If she has surrendered any of her intellectual heritage, she is still too occupied in serving the humanities and human beings to pause for an audit." —David McCord, poet and education fundraiser (1897-1997)

12. “Boston's freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains." —Bill Bryson, author

13. “When you think about Boston, Harvard and M.I.T. are the brains of the city, and its soul might be Faneuil Hall or the State House or the Old Church. But I think the pulsing, pounding heart of Boston is Fenway Park.” —John Williams, film score legend and Laureate Conductor of the Boston Pops

14. "It’s just a really interesting place to grow up. The sports teams, the colleges, the racial tension, the state workers, the boozing, the anger. All of that stuff. I don’t think I ever appreciated the amount of maniacs that live in Massachusetts until I left. When I lived here, I took it for granted that everyone was kind of funny and a bit of a character." —Bill Burr, comedian

15. “This jersey that we're wearing today doesn't say Red Sox. It says Boston. This is our f-cking city. And no one’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong!” —”Big Papi” David Ortiz, baseball player and adopted son of the city speaking after the 2013 marathon bombing

16. “I'm gonna tell you a big fat story, baby; Aw, it's all about my town; Yeah, down by the river; Down by the banks of the river Charles; Aw, that's what's happenin' baby; That's where you'll find me; Along with lovers, muggers, and thieves; Aw, but they're cool people; Well I love that dirty water; Oh, Boston, you're my home; Oh, you're the number one place” —Ed Cobb, from the song "Dirty Water" by The Standells (1966)

17. “Tessie, Nuff Ced McGreevy shouted; We're not here to mess around; Boston, you know we love you madly; Hear the crowd roar to your sound; Don't blame us if we ever doubt you; You know we couldn't live without you; Tessie, you are the only, only, only; Don't blame us if we ever doubt you; You know we couldn't live without you; Boston, you are the only, only, only; Don't blame us if we ever doubt you; You know we couldn't live without you; Red Sox, you are the only, only, only” —Will R Anderson x The Royal Rooters x Dropkick Murphys, from "Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphys (2004)

18. “Down around here positive minds meet; Plotting dreams into plans that manifest into beats; Well here you got a problem speak it coolly and calmly; Cause we're supporting those with evolved mentalities; Boston here fluent in stroll; The people's confidence is full in control; You'll find me at 42 longitude 71 latitude; Only European-style city in the US man; It's arguable Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, my worn out sneaks; Just hanging out on rooftops un-caged and free” —from the song “Down Around Here” by Big D and the Kids Table (2009)

19. “We are Dorchester, Mattapan, Brighton and Allston; Roxbury, JP represent Boston; Orange Line, Red Line, Green Line, Blue Silver Line; These are all parts of our commute; Route 128 to Mass Pike at night; Might help me clear my mind; With the future in sight; In this great place for me to grow and be embraced; By some hard working people who won't compromise taste; We're not LA; And we are not New York; We've got our own thing of the quite unusual sort; That's why I'm proud I rep for my town; We are always on the rise; And you ain't keeping us down; Yup, yup we're moving on; Yup, yup we're moving right along; That's because we're Boston Strong” —from the song “Boston Strong” by Mr. Lif (2013)

20. "Boston has opened and kept open, more turnpikes that lead straight to free thought and free speech and free deeds than any other city of live or dead men." —Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet, physician and polymath (1809-94)

21. "We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors." —Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist, poet, transcendentalist leader (1803-82)

22. "Boston is just a village, sprawling far and wide, more human than New York City." —Frederich Engels, German philosopher, sociologist and journalist (1820-95)

23. “Boston has two seasons: August and winter.” —Billy Herman, Boston Braves player (1946), Red Sox manager (1964-66)

24. "Let me hasten to say that I come to Massachusetts not to condemn but to encourage. It was from these shores that the vision of a new nation conceived in liberty was born, and it must be from these shores that liberty must be preserved; and the hearts and lives of every citizen preserved through the maintenance of opportunity and through the constant creation of those conditions that will make justice and brotherhood a reality for all of God’s children." —Martin Luther King Jr. (the civil rights leader earned his Ph.D in philosophy at Boston University, this is from his 1965 address at the State House)

Stay tuned to Time Out Boston for the latest news about all the things that make the Hub special.

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