With the Boston Marathon coming in just a few weeks, there will be thousands of people joining in on the excitement. As a fellow runner, I can’t wait to partake in the Boston Marathon one day with the bustling crowds and the longstanding history.
But for those of you visiting our famous town for the first time, how much do you know about it? And for those of you who are Boston natives, how much do you know about your own hometown? Below are some fun facts, geared to help you make the most of your time in Boston:
1. The North End: Famous for Italian food or molasses
The North End should be on your list of places to check out (especially for those of you looking to carbo-load before the big race). The North End houses a variety of different Italian restaurants and the famous Mike Canollis (though be warned the line is always very long here. I recommend going to Modern Pastry which is right down the road and just as good).
What you may not know about Boston’s Little Italy is that in January 1919, there was a tsunami that flooded the streets, killing about 21 people and injuring more than 150. The wave – according to reports- was more than 40 feet tall. But waves like this don’t exist in Boston, which rests along a quiet bay. So what happened?
2.3 million gallons of molasses burst from a gigantic holding. The sheer force knocked a firehouse from its foundation and overturned vehicles. Since this was winter, the force of the molasses was extremely detrimental, since the syrup would harden making it harder to rescue people.
2. What’s the weather? Ask the Old John Hancock
Colored lights on top of the old John Hancock tower (or 200 Clarendon) tells the daily weather forecast:
- Solid blue – Clear skies
- Flashing blue – a cloudy day or clouds are coming
- Solid red – There’s rain coming
- Flashing red -SNOW! (or the Red Sox game is rained out in the summer)
- Flashing blue and red – This happened in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series
And having trouble remembering the colors? This poem from the 1950s mights help (Please note, the last line was added in 2004)
Steady blue, clear view
Flashing blue, clouds due
Steady red, storms ahead
Flashing red, snow instead
Flashing blue and red, when The Curse of the Bambino is Dead!
3. Beware of Art Thieves
The biggest art theft to date occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (highly recommend you visit this. It’s very close to the MFA at the Museum of Fine Arts stop.) $100 million worth of paintings were stolen. Empty slots remain the stolen pieces in the museum itself in the hopes that they will be returned.
4. Boston invented pretty much all of your favorite things.
Dunkin Donuts. The first chocolate factory in the US. The first public garden. Chocolate chip cookies. Thanksgiving (Plymouth is close enough). And…America. Yes, you’re welcome 😉
5. The Boston Marathon: An Iconic Race
As you cheer or race the Boston Marathon, remember that this is the oldest race in the country and it is held on Patriot’s Day, a holiday celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine, to celebrate the first battles of the Revolutionary War. How much more patriotic can you get?
So as join the other 500,000 spectators (about 80% of Boston’s population), we hope you enjoy our city and have fun at one of the most highlighted events of the year.