Saturday, June 29, 2013

Boston Vs. Chicago: A Comparison of Two Cities

(work in progress: last updated 06/29/13)

The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks recently finished an epic National Hockey League finals series that was epic to watch. These are two great American cities. How do they compare with each other? Having lived in both of these cities for extended time periods, I feel I can help answer that question. "Who's Best?" is always a subjective question, but in various ways one city is more equal than the other...

Physical Location: Boston is within reasonable driving distance of New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and many other locations along the Eastern seaboard. There are nice places to visit in Michigan and Wisconsin, but if you want to go to another major city from Chicago, you'll need to get on a plane. Advantage: Boston

Food: You can eat very well in Boston - the best clam chowder I've ever had was in Beantown. But in terms of quantity, variety, and quality at all price levels, only New York City has Chicago beat. Advantage: Chicago

Pro Sports Teams: Counting up the number of modern era (post-1950) championship titles, Chicago has the Michael Jordan Bulls (6), the Mike Ditka Bears (1), the Ozzie GuillĂ©n White Sox (1), and of course the Blackhawks (2). Boston has the Celtics (17), Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Patriots (3), Bruins (3), and Red Sox (2). Chicago's hockey team looks like it may be working on a dynasty, but for now, this one isn't close. Advantage: Boston

College Sports Teams: Being a gigantic college town, Boston has engaging college athletics happening at all levels in all sports year round. College sports just isn't as big a priority in Chicago. Only one major university in the area, Northwestern, gets national attention for its sports programs, mainly through its association with the Big Ten. It seems strange that a city that loves hoops so much can't field a major college basketball team. Advantage: Boston

Higher Education: Chicago has two of the biggest university names in the country: Northwestern and University of Chicago, as well as a solid group of "2nd tier" schools like DePaul University and community colleges. However, Boston also has its share of prominent institutions, including a small liberal arts college that gets some press from time to time and a technology trade school that you might have heard about. Advantage: Boston

Music: There's a reason there's not a "Chicago sound" - There's just too much going on. Chicago has a rich history of musical genres developing in the city and coming in from elsewhere. Most recently Chicago has been at the forefront of Soul, House Music, Hardcore Punk, Post-Rock, Modern/Avant-Garde Jazz, and Rap. There are always things going on in Boston, but not at the scale of Chi-Town. Advantage: Chicago

Classic movies based in Boston: Altered States, The Departed, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Gone Baby Gone, Good Will Hunting, Legally Blonde, Love Story, Mystic River; Now, Voyager; The Spanish Prisoner, The Thomas Crown Affair

Classic movies based in Chicago: Barber Shop, The Blues Brothers, Call Northside 777, Chicago, Dick Tracy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Fugitive, High Fidelity, Home Alone, A League of Their Own, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Mean Girls, Medium Cool, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Ordinary People; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; A Raisin in the Sun, The Man with the Golden Arm, Risky Business, The Untouchables, Wayne's World

Advantage: Chicago

TV Shows:
Successful TV shows based in Chicago: The Bob Newhart Show, Boss, ER, Family Matters, Good Times, The Good Wife, Happy Endings, Married... with Children, Mike & Molly, My Boys, Punky Brewster, The Steve Harvey Show, Webster, Whitney

Successful TV shows based in Boston: Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, Cheers, Fringe, The Practice, Rizzoli and Isles, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, St. Elsewhere, Spenser: For Hire

Advantage: Chicago

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