19 things Bostonians always have to explain to out-of-towners

“A liquor store is a “packie,” “jimmies” are sprinkles, a “spa” is a deli, “frappes” are milkshakes and it’s a “rotary” not a roundabout. Got it?”

Source: 19 things Bostonians always have to explain to out-of-towners

1. Yeah, that’s just a Colonial guy in breeches and spatterdashes. Ignore him.

They re-enact the Boston Tea Party, or something. It’s a tourist thing to do. Like Duck Tours and whale watching.

2. Our gods are The Sox, The Pats, the Bruins and the Celtics.

You must never blaspheme the gods in front of a Boston native. Praise the demi-gods Tom Brady, Robert Paxton Gronkowski aka “Gronk” and David Ortiz aka “Big Papi.”

3. A liquor store is a ‘packie,’ ‘jimmies’ are sprinkles, a ‘spa’ is a deli, ‘frappes’ are milkshakes and it’s a ‘rotary’ not a roundabout. Got it?

After I run this packie, I’ll take the second exit off the rotary to get a frappe with jimmies at Town Spa.

4. We nevah pronounce ouwah ah’s. (Translation: We never pronounce our R’s)

You’ve probably heard the famous phrase before. All tourists have fun with it. Let’s say it together, shall we? Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd. Not so hard, right? Don’t say it to a local.

5. Good luck parking your car in Harvard Yard, or anywhere for that matter.

Meter maids are on the prowl, all the time. You parked at 5:59 when the meter expires at 6? $25 to the City of Boston. If you drove in, leave your car at the hotel and take the T. Definitely don’t try to drive in if you’re attempting to go to a Red Sox game. You will not succeed in finding parking, unless you have a large disposable income.

6. Yes, the Fens and Revere Beach have nice scenic views, but you better beware of needles.

Massachusetts has a serious opiate addiction problem. It’s very sad. Also beware the junkies; you’ll know them when you see them, and you will see them.

7. If we dig out a space on the street for our car, you can’t legally park there.

Of course, we may have to mark our territory with some chairs or trash cans or a 36-pack of Natty Lite.

8. ‘Dunks’ is slang for Dunkin Donuts, and it is the elixir of life.

Munchkins from Dunks are a perfect treat to bring to work, a party, a museum event, a tailgate, your cousin’s wake, etc. Boston runs on Dunkin.

9. The T is our subway, metro, whatever.

It generally stand for ‘transit’ or ‘transportation’ and is part of the larger MBTA, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. It’s not very fast, especially on the Green Line that runs through universities like Boston University, Northeastern, Boston College, etc. But remember, patience is a virtue.

10. Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ is our anthem.

And our anthem. It’s played at every game, at the bottom of the eighth inning. It’s also not uncommon for a drunk guy, or kid (pronounced “khed,” though not actually a drunk child), to start up a chant on the T and get the whole car, including the driver, happily singing along.

11. “’Yankees Suck’ is our other anthem.

And it’s chanted at every sporting event. We’re confident that Jesus hates the Yankees, too.

12. Timberland boots are acceptable footwear no matter the season.

Also, “nice” cargo shorts are acceptable formal attire.

13. Every winter, we inform everyone that we’re moving south.

But we don’t. And every summer, we stick around to enjoy Martha’s Vineyard and “The Cape” aka Cape Cod.

14. We use ‘wicked’ as an adverb, both ironically and seriously.

Went to Kelly’s Roast Beef last night and got some chicken fingahs. It was wicked pissah.

15. In addition to Kelly’s Roast Beef for late-night bites, Santarpio’s Pizza in East Boston (Eastie) and Union Oyster House in Government Center are our Boston go-tos.

Don’t forget the D’Angelo’s chain for a variety of hot and cold subs. Yes, subs. Not heroes, not grinders, not even sandwiches.

16. Only we can pronounce our towns correctly.

Gloucester. Worcester. Cochituate. Leominster. Leicester. Haverhill. Spoiler alert! Nothing is pronounced phonetically.

17. Anyone from Mass is going to tell you that these towns are all ‘half an hour away and two towns over.’

We aren’t always lying. Unless the town is in Western Mass. Might as well be its own state, the Yankee lovers.

18. Yes, we are aggressive drivers. But we don’t care if you call us a ‘Mass-hole.’

Mass-holes drive fast, recklessly and cut other drivers off with wanton abandon, so much so that MassDOT, the Department of Transportation, has put signs on the highway that say “USE YAH BLINKAH.”

19. And our pedestrians are not much nicer.

So don’t say hi to strangers on the street. It’s creepy and may get you beat up. Mass-holes love a good fight. 

Hell Has Frozen Over

winter in Arlington, Massachusetts

Surviving Boston Winters is no easy feat.

From fear of being impaled by icicles to being stranded without the MBTA, the struggle has been really real.

It’s been 64 days in this frozen tundra they call Boston. I begin each day like the last, buried in a mountain of blankets like my city is buried under blankets of snow, fearing the moment when any uncovered skin meets the shocking draft from New England’s famous uninsulated windows and walls. I dress in a hurry, the muscles in my neck and back tensing as I shiver without the shelter of my bed. To prepare for my journey to the bus stop, I don a pair of leggings before I put on my jeans, and on top I wear a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, two sweatshirts, a heavy winter coat. Not to mention a hat, gloves, scarf, two pairs of socks and my finest Timberlands. Fur-lined hood stays erect. Layers upon layers, only to be removed within seconds of arriving at your destination, cast off to the side one at a time in a hurried, anxious, claustrophobic haze caused by strong indoor heating.


I am not the only New Englander huddled against the cold on their daily commute, faces scrunched against the arctic gusts of wind biting the skin on our faces.

Northeast Snow

Every journey outside is treacherous. The monstrous snow banks are only growing in stature, stationary yetis to block your path and hinder your vision and tower over you like prison guards.




even my pup hates snow banks
even my pup hates snow banks

Danger lurks with each step- some black ice here to land you on the flat of your back, potholes filled with slush there, waiting for you to wander into their filthy, icy abyss and soak you to your socks. Each day, I worry that one of the icicles hanging from the rooftops will truly be the death of me.




A snow plowman might unknowingly swipe you while you break your back shoveling out your car as he tries in vain to control the ever-falling snow, a total of 72.6 inches in Boston, which they’re talking about dumping in the ocean just to get it off our streets. Then he’ll bury your car anew. And you’ll dig out a spot again and put chairs or boxes or whatever you can find in your spot while you’re at work so everyone knows that, by law, it’s your spot. And then someone will take your spot. And you’ll never leave your house again.

cars in snow

The time spent waiting during the daily commute is one of the worst parts. Waiting for your car to warm up, waiting for traffic to loosen. Waiting for the MBTA which has broken down a million times that day and will break down a million more. And all the while you are cold to your core, something inside you has frozen so that you can survive the winter, and only Dunkin Donuts can thaw out your freezer burned soul a little. Sometimes we find humor in our situations, laughing at the mess our city has made of our public transportation, grasping each other for support on the T as any one of the trains jerks forward, the rusted gears and brakes obvious with every metal stutter. But for the most part, we turn against each other, hoping only that we will make it onto this train or bus or into that lane. Me, me, me. I have to get to work on time. Fuck everyone else. Here, have a shoulder in your ribs. Don’t mind my foot tripping you. Stand behind the yellow line? Yeah, OK. I’ll DIE if I don’t get on this train.

We are starting to go insane. You can do some serious flirting before realizing the person you’re courting is actually homeless. Please are even jumping out of apartment windows and into snow banks for sport. We’ve found a way to think of flannels as not only acceptable evening-wear, but even as something sexy to just throw on.

I long to feel the sun on my shoulders, the breeze from the Caribbean on my flesh. I don’t even remember what my skin looked like when it was healthy and warm, how my feet feel without socks on constantly.

Springtime, Boston is calling!


by Rebecca Bellan