Sunday, October 12, 2014
How to Be a Jet Fan In New England
This coming Thursday, the Jets travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts, to take on the New England Patriots, the Boston area's pro football team, in a prime-time matchup.
The Jets don't play the Giants in the regular season except 1 in every 3. They played the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins even less often. And the Ravens, unlike their Baltimore predecessors, are not in the AFC East. The other AFC East teams are Buffalo and Miami, both further away. So the Pats are the Jets' geographic rivals, even before the New York vs. Boston, or New York Tri-State Area vs. New England, dynamic kicks in.
It does help that most Jet fans, due to the Shea Stadium/Queens/Long Island heritage of both teams, are Met fans rather than Yankee Fans. It doesn't help that, A, New England fans wouldn't care, they tend to be bastards to everyone; B, they see "New York," not "New Jersey" or "East Rutherford" or "Jets,"; and, C, they remember that it was the Mets who ruined their dreams in 1986. Granted, they won't hold the Giants' Super Bowl wins over them against you, but they still hate New York. And, on top of everything else, this is a night game, so they've had more time to drink.
So I urge a great deal of caution for anyone going up for this series. Be mindful of what you do, say and wear, and where you go. If you follow these instructions, the worst you should get is a bit of verbal abuse.
Before You Go. Boston weather is a little different from ours, being a little bit further north. Mark Twain, who lived the last few years of his life in nearby Hartford, said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.”
You should check the websites of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald before you leave. For the moment, they're saying Thursday and Friday (I'm including Friday because, unless you're driving, let's face it, staying over is a good idea) will be partly sunny in the mid-60s during the day, and mid-50s at night. Wind is sometimes an issue inside Fenway Park and outside the TD Garden, but it shouldn't be a big issue in Foxboro, which isn't close to Boston Harbor or the Charles River.
Packing your Jets jersey, cap, jacket, whatever else you've got if you're staying overnight, or simply wearing it in the car if you're driving up and back, shouldn't be an issue. I don't think anyone will try to fight you just for wearing your Gang Green Gear.
What you do not want to wear is the kind of T-shirt you see sold at the souvenir stands on River Avenue across from Yankee Stadium, with messages like “BAHSTON SAWKS CACK” or “There never was a curse, the Sox just sucked for 86 years!” If you have one (or more) of these, leave them at home. The Chowdaheads are already antagonized by our mere presence in their city, and there's no reason to make it that much worse. Besides, this isn't even a baseball game.
Massachusetts is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to change your timepieces.
Tickets. The Patriots averaged 68,756 fans per home game last season -- right about in the middle of the League, but, given their seating capacity, still a sellout. In other words, if Gillette Stadium could hold 75,000, or 80,000, it probably would. The days when a fan can simply show up at the ticket window in Foxboro on game day and buy a ticket for anywhere he wanted to sit are long gone.
The Jets are considered a "Marquee Game," so the Pats charge their highest ticket prices. In the Lower Level (100 sections): Midfield, $295; Sideline, $255; Corner/End Zone, $205. Mezzanine Level (200 sections): All $180. Upper Level (300 sections): Midfield, $150; Sideline, $135; Corner, $99.
Getting There. Boston, like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, is too close to fly from New York, and once you factor in fooling around with everything you gotta do at each airport, it doesn’t really save you much time compared to driving, the bus or the train. It certainly won't save you any money.
It's important to remember that the Patriots do not play in Boston, but in Foxboro, about halfway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. (In fact, it's a little bit closer to Providence's Kennedy Plaza than to Boston's Downtown Crossing.) Unlike in Boston proper, where I would never recommend driving, to Foxboro, driving is almost mandatory, especially for a prime-time game like this one.
It's 208 miles from MetLife Stadium to Gillette Stadium. Unlike Boston proper, where the best way to go is to take Interstate 95 to New Haven, switch to I-91 until Hartford, switch to I-84 to I-90/Massachusetts Turnpike, if you're going to Foxboro, it's best to take I-95 almost all the way up, along Long Island Sound in Connecticut, across Rhode Island including through Providence, into Massachusetts. (Be advised that there is currently construction on I-95 outside New London, Connecticut.) Once in Massachusetts, take Exit 6B onto I-495 (Boston's "beltway") North toward Worcester. Take Exit 14A onto U.S. Route 1 North. (Yes, the same Route 1 that goes through New Jersey, including the George Washington Bridge you'll be using early on, but it's not nearly as fast to take 1 all the way up as it is 95.) The stadium will be about 4 miles ahead on your right, as will the Patriot Place mall.
The official address is 1 Patriot Place. (The old stadium was 60 Washington Street -- Washington Street being Route 1.) Also, don't be confused by the spelling: While New Englanders may spell the town's name "Foxborough," and that is the official spelling of the town, it's the same place as "Foxboro."
I don't know where you're starting from, in New York or New Jersey. But if you do it right, once you get over the GW Bridge, the drive should take about 3 hours and 45 minutes: Half an hour in New York State, 2 hours in Connecticut, 45 minutes in Rhode Island, and half an hour in Massachusetts before reaching the stadium parking lot. How long it takes you to get from wherever you are to the GW Bridge, or to the Cross Bronx Expressway if you're already in The City, through a rest stop (New London is about the halfway point of the journey), and then off Route 1 into the stadium parking lot, remains to be seen.
For any of the other Boston teams, the train is a very good option. Boston’s South Station is at 700 Atlantic Avenue, corner of Summer Street, at Dewey Square. (Named for Admiral George Dewey, naval hero of the Spanish-American War, not New York Governor and 1944 & ’48 Presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey, and not for former Red Sox right fielder Dwight “Dewey” Evans, either.) It’ll be $214 round-trip from New York’s Penn Station to South Station, and it will take roughly 4½ hours.
South Station also has a bus terminal attached, and it may be the best bus station in the country – even better than New York’s Port Authority. If you take Greyhound, you’ll leave from Port Authority’s Gate 84, and it will take about 4½ hours, most likely making one stop, at Hartford’s Union Station complex, or in the Boston suburbs of Framingham, Worcester or Newton. New York to Boston and back is tremendously cheaper on the bus than on the train, usually $77 round-trip (it could drop to less than half that, $33, with advanced purchase), and is probably Greyhound’s best run. On the way back, you’ll board at South Station’s Gate 3.
However, you would still have to get from South Station to Gillette Stadium. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs gameday service from South Station to Foxboro (the station is right outside the stadium), $15 round-trip. But there's only 1 such train per day. This Thursday night, it leaves South Station at 6:35 PM, and arrives at 7:40, about 45 minutes before kickoff. The return trains will leave about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game. So if the game ends at around 11:30, the train won't leave until after midnight, and won't get back to South Station until about 1:00 AM. (For most 1:00 PM starts, the train leaves South Station at 11:00 AM and arrives at 12:05 PM; for 4:00 to 4:25 PM starts, it leaves at 2:00 and arrives at 3:05.)
Either way you got to Boston, train or bus, the catch is that you won't get back to South Station in time to catch the 1:00 AM bus back to Port Authority. The next train back to New York is at 5:05 AM, and that's an Acela Express (formerly the Metroliner), and that'll cost extra. (Getting off, and getting back on, at the closer Route 128 station in Dedham won't help: It's only about halfway between Boston and Foxboro.) The next bus leaves at 7:00 AM, getting into Port Authority at 11:20.
So if you're going to this season's Jet game at Foxboro, you' re much better off either driving, or getting a hotel in Boston. Getting one near the stadium won't help: That commuter-rail service only works on Patriot gamedays, so getting back to Boston the next morning will be a hassle. I went to a game there between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution, on a Saturday night. But the MBTA doesn't run service to Foxboro on Revs game nights, only for the Pats. I had to take the MBTA commuter-rail service to the closest stop to Foxboro, in Walpole, Massachusetts, and then had to take a taxi the remaining 4 miles -- there and back, $18 each way. That $36 cost me almost as much as my Boston-to-Walpole round-trip train ticket and my game ticket combined. (MLS tickets are considerably cheaper than the 4 big North American sports.) The service also doesn't run on gamedays for the University of Massachusetts (a.k.a. UMass), which plays home games at Foxboro.
Once In the City. Named for the town of the same name (a shortened version of "St. Botolph's Stone") in Lincolnshire, in England's East Midlands, Boston is home to about 650,000 people, with a metropolitan area (including the areas of Hartford, Providence, and Manchester, New Hampshire) of about 7.6 million, making it the largest metro area in the country with only one MLB team (trailing the 2-team areas of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area). It is in the Eastern Time Zone, so adjusting your watch and your smartphone clock is not necessary.
And, of course, despite the silliness of the concept of “Red Sox Nation,” you do not need a passport to cross the New Haven City Line, or to change your money.
Boston is easily the largest city not just in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but in all of New England. The next-largest are Worcester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, each with around 180,000. The largest in Connecticut is Bridgeport with 145,000; New Hampshire's largest is Manchester with 110,000; Maine's is Portland with 66,000, and Vermont's is Burlington with a mere 42,000. Of New England's 100 largest cities and towns, 53 are in Massachusetts, 30 in Connecticut, 9 in Rhode Island, 4 in New Hampshire, 3 in Maine and 1, Burlington, in Vermont; only 2 of the top 17 are outside Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Counting New England as a whole -- except for the southwestern part of Connecticut, which tilts toward New York -- there are about 13.5 million people in the Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics/Bruins/Revolution market. This isn't even close to the top, when "markets" are viewed this liberally -- the Yankees have close to 20 million in theirs, and Atlanta leads with over 36 million -- but it does rank 4th out of 32 NFL markets.
Boston is also one of the oldest cities in America, founded in 1630, and the earliest to have been truly developed. (New York is actually older, 1626, but until City Hall was built and the grid laid out in 1811 it was pretty much limited to the 20 or so blocks from the Battery to Chambers Street.) It's got the history: The colonial era, the Revolutionary period its citizens did so much to make possible, the abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War, Massachusetts' role in that conflict, the Industrial Revolution. Aside from New York, it was the only city on the Eastern Seaboard to have grasped the concept of the skyscraper until the 1980s.
It also has America's first college, Harvard University, across the Charles River in Cambridge, and a few other institutions of higher learning of some renown in or near the city: Boston College, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, Tufts University, College of the Holy Cross, and so on. The particular instance of Harvard, funded by Boston's founding families, resulted in Boston and the surrounding area having a lot of "old money." And then there's all those Massachusetts-based writers.
All this gives Boston an importance, and a self-importance, well beyond its interior population. One of those aforementioned writers, Oliver Wendell Holmes (grandfather of the great Supreme Court Justice of the same name), named the city "the Hub of the Solar System"; somehow, this became "the Hub of the Universe" or just "The Hub."
Early 19th Century journalist William Tudor called Boston "the Athens of America" -- but, as a Harvard man, he would have studied ancient Greece and realized that, while contributing greatly to the political and literary arts, Athens could be pretty dictatorial, warmongering, and slavery-tolerating at times. Later sportswriters have called the Sox-Yanks (in that order) rivalry "Athens and Sparta." Remember, if not for Sparta, all of Greece would have fallen to the Persian Empire at the beginning of the 5th Century BC, and, at the end of that Century, Sparta kicked Athens' ass in the Peloponnesian War -- with Athens having pissed off so many people that the Persians actually allied with Sparta to teach Athens a lesson. Ah, but today, the Spartans are remembered as crazy warriors with no regard for anything except their own honor, while the Athenians are held up as an ideal society -- which they had been, but allowed themselves to become corrupted. It should be noted, though, that Sparta's allies demanded that Athens be burned to the ground and its people enslaved -- and Sparta refused. They only wanted to end Athens as a threat to them, not punish them.
Boston, "The Hub of the Universe"? To hell with that: We are New Yorkers. (I'm counting people from North and Central Jersey in as "New Yorkers," especially where sports is concerned.) New York is the greatest city in the world, and we don't even have to capitalize that.
Foxboro? (Or "Foxborough"? The former name is usually affiliated with the stadium, but the latter name is actually the correct spelling.) It's home to about 16,825 people, making it nearly twice the size of East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the Meadowlands Sports Complex. It was founded in 1778, and named for Charles James Fox, a prominent British politician of the era who had stood up for the rights of British America before independence. It's the hometown of singer Joanna "JoJo" Levesque. It was where South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu and his family lived after they had to flee after the fall of Saigon.
Oddly (for our purposes), it was the hometown of Seth Boyden, who moved to Newark and became New Jersey's leading industrialist in the mid-19th Century. A housing project named the Seth Boyden Houses was built -- and is currently targeted for demolition and replacement -- at 130 Dayton Street, across from Weequahic Park. This was the site of Dreamland Park, where the NFL Giants played their 1st game on September 25, 1925. (They beat a non-NFL team called the New York Red Jackets 3-0. It was counted in the NFL standings.)
The sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25 percent, less than New Jersey’s 7 percent and New York City’s 8.875 percent. However, aside from that, pretty much everything in Boston and neighboring cities like Cambridge, Brookline and Quincy costs about as much as it does in New York City, and more than in the NYC suburbs. In other words, a bundle. So don't get sticker-shock.
If you're going to the Boston area for more than just the game, instead of going up to Foxboro, see the game, and go back down, without spending time in Boston proper (and I do recommend spending a day or two in Boston, if you can spare the time)...
When you get to South Station, if you haven't already read The Boston Globe on your laptop or smartphone, pick it up. It's a great paper with one of the country’s best sports sections. There’s probably no paper that covers its local baseball team better, although the columns of Dan Shaughnessy (who did not coin but certainly popularized the phrase “The Curse of the Bambino” and wrote a book with the title) and Tony Massarotti (who started at the rival Herald and whose style is more in line with theirs) can be a bit acerbic.
You will also be able to pick up the New York papers at South Station, if you want any of them. If you must, you can also buy the Boston Herald, but it’s a tabloid, previously owned by William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch. Although neither’s man's company still owns it, it carries all the hallmarks of the papers that they have owned (Murdoch still owns the New York Post, the Hearst Corporation owned the New York Journal and its successor, the New York Journal-American, which went out of business in 1966). In other words, the Herald is a right-wing pack of sensationalism, frequently sloppy journalism, and sometimes outright lies, but at least it does sports well (sometimes).
Once you have your newspapers, take the escalator down to the subway. Boston had the nation’s first subway service, in 1897, along Boston Common on what’s now named the Green Line. Formerly known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, leading to the folk song “MTA,” in 1965 it became the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), or “the T,” symbolized by the big T signs where many cities, including New York, would have M’s instead.
(Here's a link to the most familiar version of the song, done by the Kingston Trio in 1959. Keep in mind that Scollay Square station is now named Government Center, and that the reason Mrs. Charlie doesn't give him the extra nickel along with the sandwich isn't that she keeps forgetting, but that they're acting on principle, protesting the 5-cent exit fare -- my, how times have changed.)
Boston was one of the last cities to turn from subway tokens to farecards, in 2006, a decade after New York's switch was in progress. A ride costs $2.50 with cash, the same as New York's subway, and if you're there for the entire series, it may be cheaper to get a 7-day pass for $18. (The MBTA 1-day pass is $11, so the 7-day pass is a better option.)
There are 4 lines: Red, Green, Orange and Blue. Don't worry about the Silver Line: That's basically an underground bus service designed to get people to Logan International Airport. (General Edward L. Logan was a South Bostonian who became a hero of World War I and then the commander of the Massachusetts National Guard. Boston kept the name on their airport in spite of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, leaving New York to name an airport after that great Bostonian.) Chances are, you won’t be using the Blue Line at all on your trip, and the Orange Line might not be used, either.
It's important to remember that Boston doesn't have an "Uptown" and "Downtown" like Manhattan, or a "North Side," "East Side," "South Side" or "West Side" like many other cities. It does have a North End and a South End (which should not be confused with the neighborhood of South Boston); and it has an East Boston, although the West End was mostly torn down in the late 1950s to make way for the sprawling complex of the new Massachusetts General Hospital. Note also that Boston doesn't have a "centerpoint," where all the street addresses start at 1 and move out in 100-segments for each block. It doesn't even remotely have a north-south, east-west street grid like New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, and so on.
So for subway directions, remember this: Any train heading toward Downtown Crossing (where the Red and Orange Lines intersect), Park Street (Red and Green Lines), State Street (Blue and Orange Lines) or Government Center (Blue and Green Lines), is "Inbound." Any train going away from those 4 downtown stations is "Outbound." This led to a joke that certain Red Sox pitchers who give up a lot of home runs have "been taken downtown more than the Inbound Red Line."
I should point out that Government Center station is closed for renovations until late 2016, which is a major pain since it's a key interchange. For anything that could be reached by that station, such as City Hall of Faneuil Hall, use State station.
Going In. Parking for Patriots games is a whopping $38.50. Maybe you should wait until next year, when a Jets-Patriots game at Foxboro might not be a midweek primetime game, and you can go on the weekend, and take Amtrak or Greyhound and then the Patriots Express train in from South Station.
Tailgating is allowed, starting 4 hours before kickoff, and in designated areas only. So if you want to tailgate, do not do so in the Patriot Place mall parking lot: Get as close to the stadium as you can. If you get routed into the mall lot, you're out of luck for tailgating purposes.
At the northeast corner of the stadium is a structure with the Patriots Pro Shop (more on that in "Stuff") on the ground floor. On the 2nd floor is The Hall at Patriots Place, a hall of fame and museum for the team. It's open on non-game days, and admission is $10.
You'll notice something odd by the north-end "lighthouse": A statue of a soccer player. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira -- usually just known by his first name -- was born in Mozambique, then a colony of Portugal, and starred for the Portuguese national team and the capital city's team Benfica in the 1960s. In 1975 (the year of Mozambique's independence), past his prime, "the Black Panther" came to America and played for the Boston Minutemen of the North American Soccer League, who played some (but not all) of their home games at the old Foxboro Stadium. He played for some other American teams, and closed his career in 1979 with the New Jersey Americans of the American Soccer League -- playing home games at Memorial Stadium in New Brunswick, just 8 miles from where I grew up. I could have seen him play, but I never heard of him until I was 38 years old. That's how poorly soccer was covered in America until the 1990s.
The statue of Eusébio is identical to the one outside Benfica's Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light). So why a statue for a man who played just 1 season in Boston, in the area's 5th-most-popular sport? Because there is a large Portuguese community in New England, especially in the strip from New Haven through eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Boston-to-Providence corridor in which Foxboro sits. Most people in "Greater Boston," including Portuguese-Americans, never saw him play, but it's a tribute to them and their sporting spirit as much as to him. And, of course, having a statue of the greatest soccer player Africa has ever produced hasn't exactly hurt race relations in the area. He died earlier this year, but the statue was already there in 2010 when I first visited.
The stadium, like most NFL stadiums, is laid out (roughly) north-to-south. You're most likely to enter at either the northeast corner (the Patriot Place Ramp) or the northwest corner (the Bank of America Ramp). At the north end zone is a structure designed to look like an old New England lighthouse. The end zone seats below it become "The Fort," the leading supporters' section for the New England Revolution soccer team, filled by their biggest supporters' group, the Midnight Riders (named for Paul Revere and his April 19, 1775 compatriots). The Patriots have the east sideline, the visiting team the west. The playing surface is FieldTurf. The stadium, as are the Patriots, is owned Robert Kraft's Kraft Sports Group.
Gillette Stadium was built next-door to the facility known as Schaefer Stadium, Sullivan Stadium and Foxboro Stadium, which was torn down and replaced by the Patriot Place mall. The Pats played at the old stadium from 1971 to 2001 (their last game, a Playoff in January 2002, being the Snow Bowl or Tuck Game against the Oakland Raiders). In addition to the Minutemen, it was home to the New England Tea Men of the North American Soccer League and, from 1996 to 2001, of MLS’ Revs.
The U.S. national soccer team played 10 games at Foxboro Stadium, winning 7. They've now played 10 at Gillette as well, winning 6. Boston College played a couple of football games at the old stadium in the early 1980s, thanks to the popularity of quarterback Doug Flutie. The old stadium was basically an oversized version of a high school stadium, complete with aluminum benches for fans, and it was terrible. The new stadium is so much better.
Food. Gillette Stadium is one of the few NFL stadiums I've actually been to, although it was for an MLS game. And yet, I don't remember much about the food options -- and the Patriots' website is woefully inadequate to explaining the options.
I was only at the north end and on the east sideline of the lower level. But I do remember that they had McDonald's stands at both. There was also a Dunkin Donuts stand, a Premio Italian Sausage stand, and a stand selling that New England standby, clam chowder.
Team History Displays. The Patriots hang banners for their 2001, 2003 and 2004 World Championships (Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX, in 2002, 2004 and 2005) at the south end of the stadium. They do not, however, hang corresponding banners for their Conference Championships short of the Super Bowl (1985, 1996, 2007 and 2011), or for their AFL/AFC Eastern Division titles short of the Super Bowl (1963, 1978, 1986, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013).
As I said, the Patriots have The Hall at Patriots Place at the northeastern corner of the stadium. It includes the members of the Patriots Hall of Fame. With this year's induction of Ty Law, there are 22:
* From the 1960s: Founder-owner Billy Sullivan (the old stadium was named for him from 1983 to 1988), quarterback Babe Parilli (later Joe Namath's backup on the Super Bowl III-winning Jets), running back Jim Nance, receiver-kicker Gino Cappelletti (Number 20 retired, now a longtime broadcaster for the Pats), center Jon Morris, defensive tackle Jim Lee Hunt (Number 79 retired), defensive end Bob Dee (Number 89 retired) and linebacker Nick Buoniconti (better known as a Miami Dolphin). All but Morris and Nance were on the team, known as the Boston Patriots until their move to Foxboro in 1971, that played for their team that reached the 1963 AFL Championship Game.
* From their 1978 AFC East Champions: Sullivan, quarterback Steve Grogan, running back Sam "Bam" Cunningham (Randall's brother whose USC running stunned the University of Alabama into integrating its team), guard John Hannah (Number 73 retired), linebacker Steve Nelson (Number 57 retired), cornerback Mike Haynes (Number 40 retired), and broadcaster Gil Santos.
* From their 1985 AFC Champions: Sullivan, Grogan, Hannah, Nelson, Santos, receiver Stanley Morgan and linebacker Andre Tippett.
* From their 1996 AFC Champions: Santos, quarterback Drew Bledsoe, receiver Troy Brown, tight end Ben Coates, offensive tackle Bruce Armstrong (Number 78 retired), linebacker Tedy Bruschi and cornerback Ty Law.
* From their 2001, 2003 and 2004 World Champions: Santos, Brown, Bruschi and Law. Bledsoe lasted into their 2001 season, but it was his injury that led to the rise of Tom Brady -- thanks for nothing, Mo Lewis of the Jets. Bledsoe did, however, fill in for an injured Brady in the AFC Championship Game, which was the last game he played for the Pats. Most likely, Brady, running back Kevin Faulk, defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork, linebacker Mike Vrabel, safety Rodney Harrison, kicker Adam Vinatieri, and, of course, coach Bill Belichick will be named to their Hall; all of these made the Patriots' 50th Anniversary Team in 2009. Most likely, though, they will wait until after team owner Robert Kraft dies to elect him: It would be in bad taste for the owner to elect himself.
While the Patriots have 7 retired numbers, there is no display for them in the open areas of the stadium.
Stuff. As I said, the Patriots Pro Shop is at the northeast corner of the stadium, on the ground floor, below the Hall. You can get all kinds of Pats clothing, trinkets and doodads there, including some with the old Pat Patriot logo, and the new blue Patriot jerseys as well as the old red ones.
There are lots of DVDs featuring the Patriots, including an official NFL Films history of the team going up through 2008 (meaning all 3 Super Bowl wins and the Giants' 1st upset of them), the highlight films of the 3 Super Bowl wins, and a few others. Michael Holley of the Globe wrote Patriot Reign, about the Belichick years. He also wrote War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team in 2011. (Perfect? Not quite.)
During the Game. Safety will probably not be an issue. In this case, the dynamic is the reverse of baseball: The New York side hates the Boston side a lot more, while the Boston side feels it only has to mention that it's a lot more successful, rather than start any funny business. Most likely, you can wear your Jet gear in the parking lot and in the stadium, and avoid any harassment. So if you don't start anything, neither will they.
The Patriots' mascot is Pat Patriot, a Revolutionary Minuteman wearing a Patriots home jersey. The Patriots also employ a corps known as the End Zone Militia. During each game, about 10 men dressed as Minutemen line the back of each end zone. When the Patriots score, the militia behind the opposite end zone fire a round of blanks from flintlock muskets. ESPN writer Josh Pahigian named this one of the top ten celebrations in the league in 2007.
The Patriots enter the field for pregame introductions with Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," and use the Dropkick Murphys' version of Woody Guthrie's "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" as a postgame victory song.
After the Game. Since Foxboro is suburban, you're not likely to face a crime issue. Both you and your car should be safe. However, since this will be a primetime game, and people are more inclined to get crazy at night, don't get caught napping.
If you're looking for a postgame meal, snack, or just a pint, the mall next-door has several places to eat, including a Five Guys (yum), a Red Robin (eh), an Olive Garden (boo hiss), and that great New England-born, New York-loved institution Dunkin Donuts. While you won't be as familiar with them, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop is a New England institution, and they have a Patriot Place outlet. D'Angelo's subs doesn't, but they're also a New England treasure. And, while one normally doesn't think of country singers in New England, the mall also has Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. (Of course, with the game ending around 11:30, don't count on the mall being open. This mention is essentially for future trips.)
Presuming that the mall is closed, Dunkin Donuts, founded in Boston's southern suburbs, is all over the place -- including inside the stadium. While Dunkin doesn't serve booze of any kind, it does serve snacks, and coffee, which you may need if you're driving back, since the game will probably end around 11:30 PM, and you probably won't be back in NYC or NJ until at least 3:30 AM.
Just as the Riviera Café off Sheridan Square in the West Village and Professor Thom’s on 2nd Avenue in the East Village are Sox-friendly bars in New York, there are places in Boston that welcome Yankee Fans. The following establishments were mentioned in a Boston Globe profile during the 2009 World Series: Champions, at the Marriott Copley Place hotel at 110 Huntington Avenue (Green Line to Copley); The Sports Grille, at 132 Canal Street (across from North Station and the Garden, Green Line to North Station); and, right across from Fenway itself, Game On! at 82 Lansdowne Street. I’ve also heard that Jillian’s, across from Fenway at 145 Ipswich Street, takes in Yankee Fans, but I’ve only seen it rammed with Chowdaheads, so I would advise against it.
The local Giants fan club meets at The Greatest Bar, 262 Friend Street off Canal, a block from the Garden. The Green Briar Pub, at 304 Washington Street in the Brighton section of town, is the local home of Jets fans. (Green Line to Kenmore, then switch to Number 57 bus toward Watertown Yard, get off at Washington Street at Waldo Terrace.) However, there's so little overlap between the MLB and NFL seasons that showing up at either place with a Yankee cap on a non-NFL gameday may not be a good idea.
Sidelights. Boston is probably America’s best sports city, per-capita, and the number of sports-themed sites you might want to check out is large:
* Fenway Park. I realize there are a lot more Met fans than Yankee Fans within Jetdom, but Fenway is still one of the most historic sports sites in America. Although, when there's a Sox home game going on, as Alec Guinness put it in Star Wars, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
In addition to the Red Sox, it was home to the Boston Braves' home games in the 1914 World Series (as they'd abandoned the antiquated South End Grounds and Braves Field wasn't ready yet), and football games were played there by Boston College, Boston University, and the Boston Redskins before they moved to Washington in 1937. It's hosted college hockey and, on New Year's Day 2010, the NHL Winter Classic, with the Bruins beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime. (This remains, through 2014, the only Winter Classic to be won by the home team.)
Tours are available year-round, and depart at the top of every hour from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $17 for the regular tour, and $25 for the Premium Tour that includes allowing children to take pictures with their mascot, Wally the Green Monster. You can also go on the warning track (but not the actual field), see the left field Wall -- the original Green Monster -- up close, and even touch it, and they'll take you to the seats on top of it, where they used to have netting to protect the buildings across the street from being hit by home run balls. That netting, which was the only thing that caught Bucky Dent's October 2, 1978 home run, is now gone. (I wonder where the ball is today. Hopefully, in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.)
I took the regular tour in 2002, before the Sox ended The Curse of the Bambino, kept my Yankee fandom to myself, and enjoyed it a lot. A tip: Stick a dollar bill in one of the Jimmy Fund boxes, as it's a charity raising money to fight pediatric cancer, with which the Red Sox have been involved since 1953 (and the Boston Braves before that since 1948).
4 Yawkey Way -- the address used to be 24 Jersey Street, and a Number 24 can still be seen on the big oak door that used to be the park's main entrance. Green Line B, C or D train to Kenmore Station. (Don't take the E, and, for some weird reason, there is no A.) When you come out of the station, hang a left onto Brookline Avenue, cross over the Mass Pike, and then the 2nd left onto Yawkey Way. (The 1st left is Ted Williams Way, formerly Lansdowne Street, which is fronted by the Monster, although you'll never recognize it from that angle. The field is below street level, so the Wall won't look its famous 37 feet, 2 inches of height.)
* Solomon Court at Cabot Center. This is part of Northeastern University’s athletic complex, and was the site of the Huntington Avenue Grounds, the only other home the Boston Red Sox have ever known, from their founding in 1901 to 1911. When the Sox won the first World Series in 1903, it was clinched here. At roughly the spot where the pitcher’s mound was, there is a statue of Cy Young, who pitched for the Sox in their 1903 and 1904 World Championship seasons. Huntington Avenue at Forsyth Street. Green Line E train to Northeastern.
* South End Grounds. This is still the most successful baseball location in Boston history. It was home to 3 ballparks, all named the Sound End Grounds. In 1871, the first such park was built there, and was home to the Boston Red Stockings of the first professional baseball league, the National Association. This team featured half the members of the first openly professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (hence the name), and also had a young pitcher named Al Spalding, who would later co-found the team now known as the Chicago Cubs and the sporting-goods empire that still bears his name. Those Boston Red Stockings team won Pennants in 1872, ’73, ’74 and ’75, and its strength (domination, really) was one of the reasons the NA collapsed.
When the National League was founded in 1876, the Red Stockings were a charter member. They won Pennants in 1877 and ’78, and by the time they won the 1883 Pennant, they were popularly known as the “Boston Beaneaters.” No, I'm not making that name up. Building a new park on the site in 1888, they won Pennants in 1891, ’92 and ’93. But on May 15, 1894, in a game against the NL version of the Baltimore Orioles, a fight broke out, and no one noticed that some kids had started a fire in the right-field seats. (Or maybe it was the ashes of a grown man’s cigar. Both have been suggested, probably nobody knew for sure.) It became known as the Great Roxbury Fire, and the story goes that the park and 117 (or 170, or 200) buildings burned to the ground, and 1,900 people were left homeless – but nobody died. (I don’t buy that last part at all.)
A new park was hastily built on the site, while the Beaneaters temporarily played at the home of the city’s team in the 1890 Players’ League. This last South End Grounds hosted the Braves' 1897 and '98 Pennant winners, and lasted until 1914, when, with the team now called the Braves (owner James Gaffney had been a “Brave,” or officer, in New York’s Tammany Hall political organization), decided it was too small for the crowds the team was now attracting. So he moved the team to Fenway, and played their 1914 World Series games there, and opened Braves Field the next season. Overall, 12 Pennants were won here, in a 44-year span -- one more than the Red Sox have won at Fenway Park in 102 seasons.
Parking for Northeastern University is now on the site -- and save your Joni Mitchell jokes. Columbus Avenue at Hammond Street. Orange Line to Ruggles.
* Third Base Saloon. There’s some question as to what was the first “sports bar”: St. Louis Brown Stockings (the team now known as the Cardinals) owner Chris von der Ahe’s place on the grounds of Sportsman’s Park, or Michael T. McGreevy’s establishment that opened just outside the South End Grounds, both in the 1880s. “I call it Third Base because it’s the last place you go before home,” McGreevy would tell people. “Enough said.” McGreevy used that phrase to settle any and all arguments to the point where not only did “Nuf Ced” become his nickname, but he had it (spelled that way) laid in mosaic tile on the bar’s floor.
Third Base Saloon became the headquarters of the Royal Rooters, a Beaneaters’ booster club, founded in 1897. In 1901, when the American League and the team that became the Red Sox was formed, Beaneaters founder-owner Arthur Soden made one of the dumbest mistakes in sports history: Despite competition practically next-door to his team, he raised ticket prices. This infuriated the working-class Irish fan base of the NL club, and they immediately accepted Nuf Ced’s suggestion of switching to the AL outfit. (I wonder if they built their park near Nuf Ced's place for just that reason, to get his customers?)
Nuf Ced and the Rooters stayed with the Sox after their 1912 move to Fenway, until 1920 when Prohibition closed him down. He died in 1930, and to this day, no Boston baseball team has ever won a World Series without him being present at all home games. (Not legitimately, anyway.) A park with a bike trail is now on the site, so the address, 940 Columbus Avenue, is no longer in use. As with the site of South End Grounds, take the Orange Line to Ruggles.
A new version, named McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon, was founded by Dropkick Murphys member Ken Casey, with “an exact replica of McGreevy’s original barroom.” 911 Boylston Street. Green Line B, C or D train to Hynes-Convention Center.
* Matthews Arena. Built in 1910 as the Boston Arena, this is believed to be the oldest currently-used multi-purpose athletic building in use in the world. Northeastern still uses it, while BC, BU, Harvard, MIT and Tufts all once played home games here. It was the Bruins' first home, from 1924 to 1928, and the Celtics played the occasional home game here from 1946 to 1955, on occasions when there was a scheduling conflict with the Garden. In 1985, the Celtics played an alumni game here, with the opposing teams coached by Red Auerbach (his players wearing the white home jerseys) and Bill Russell (who didn't play, his players wearing the road green).
A gift from NU alumnus George J. Matthews led the school to rename the arena for him. In spite of its age, the building is fronted by a modern archway. Massachusetts Avenue at St. Botolph Street. Green Line E train to Symphony. Symphony Hall, Boston's answer to Carnegie Hall, is a block away at Massachusetts and Huntington Avenues.
* Site of Braves Field/Nickerson Field. Although Boston University no longer has a football team, it still plays other sports at Nickerson Field, which opened in 1957. Its home stand is the surviving right field pavilion of Braves Field, where the Braves played from 1915 until they left town. In return for being allowed to play their 1914 World Series games at Fenway, the Braves invited the Sox to play their Series games at Braves Field, which seated 40,000, a record until the first Yankee Stadium was built. The Sox played their home Series games there in 1915, ’16 and ’18. The Braves themselves only played one World Series here, in 1948, losing to the Indians, who had just beaten the Sox in a one-game Playoff for the AL Pennant at Fenway, negating the closest call there ever was for an all-Boston World Series.
The Braves’ top farm team was the Triple-A version of the Milwaukee Brewers, and, with their team in decline after the ’48 Pennant and the Sox having the far larger attendance, they gave up the ghost and moved just before the start of the 1953 season, and then in 1966 to Atlanta. But they already had Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews, and, ironically, if they’d just hung on a little longer, they would have had Hank Aaron (they’d already integrated with Sam Jethroe in 1948, 11 years before the Sox finally caved in to the post-1865 world and added Pumpsie Green). They could have played the 1957 and '58 World Series in Boston instead of Milwaukee. If this had happened, once Ted Williams retired in 1960, interest in the declining Sox would have faded to the point that Tom Yawkey, not a Bostonian, could have gotten frustrated, and the Red Sox could have moved with the Braves staying. If so, while the 1967, ’75, ’86, 2004, ’07 and '13 World Series would have been played somewhere else, Boston would have gained the 1957, ’58, ’91, ’92, ’95, ’96 and ’99 World Series, and, because of the proximity, there would be a big New York-Boston rivalry in baseball, but it would be Mets-Braves. (Of course, this would have meant the Yankees' main rivals would be the Baltimore Orioles -- who are, after all, the closest AL team to them, closer than the Red Sox.)
Instead, the Braves moved, and BU bought the grounds and converted it into Nickerson Field. The NFL’s Boston Redskins (named for the Braves) played their first season, 1932, at Braves Field, before playing 1933-36 at Fenway and then moving to Washington. The AFL’s Boston Patriots played at Nickerson 1960-62, and then at Fenway 1963-68. The former Braves Field ticket office still stands, converted into the BU Police headquarters. Unfortunately, the field is now artificial.
Commonwealth Avenue at Babcock Street and Harry Agganis Way. (Agganis was a BU quarterback who briefly played for the Red Sox before getting sick and dying at age 24 in 1955.) Green Line B train at Pleasant Street.
* TD Garden and site of Boston Garden. The TD Garden, formerly the Shawmut Center, the FleetCenter and the TD Banknorth Garden (TD stands for Toronto-Dominion Bank), opened in 1995, atop Boston’s North Station, as a replacement for the original Boston Garden, home to the NHL’s Bruins starting in 1928 and the NBA’s Celtics starting in 1946. The old “Gahden” (which stood on the site of the parking lot in front of the new one) and the new one have also, since 1953, hosted the Beanpot hockey tournament, contested by BC, BU, Northeastern and Harvard.
The Celtics finally ended their drought in 2008, winning their 17th NBA Championship 22 years after winning their 16th in the old Garden, and the Bruins ended a drought in 2011, winning their 6th Stanley Cup 39 years after winning their 5th. (However, they still haven’t clinched at home since Bobby Orr’s “Flying Goal” in 1970, 2 days after Willis Reed limped onto the court and gave the Knicks their 1st title).
The Beatles played the old Garden on September 12, 1964. Elvis Presley played it on November 10, 1971. The new Garden is also home to the Sports Museum of New England. 150 Causeway Street. Green (outbound, so no letter necessary) or Orange Line to North Station.
NCAA basketball tournament games have been held at the TD Garden, the Hartford Civic Center (now the XL Center), the Providence Civic Center (now the Dunkin Donuts Center), the Worcester Centrum (now the DCU Center), and the University of Rhode Island's Keaney Gymnasium in Kingston. But no New England building has ever hosted a Final Four, and none ever will, due to attendance requirements, unless the Patriots put a dome on Gillette Stadium.
No school within the city limits of Boston has ever reached the Final Four. One Massachusetts school has, at least according to current NCAA records: Holy Cross, in Worcester, winning the National Championship in 1947 with George Kaftan, "the Golden Greek," and reaching the Final Four again in '48 with Bob Cousy (a freshman in '47 and ineligible under the rules of the time).
The University of Massachusetts, with its main campus in Amherst, made the Final Four in 1996, under coach John Calipari, but had to vacate the appearance when later Knick Marcus Camby admitted he'd accepted money and gifts from agents. The University of Connecticut (UConn, in Storrs, closer to Boston than to Manhattan) has made it 5 times, winning it all in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014, and losing in the Semifinal in 2009. The only New Hampshire school to make it is Dartmouth, in Hanover, in 1942 and 1944, losing in the Final both times. The only Rhode Island school to make it is Providence, in 1973 and 1987 (coached by future Big East Commissioner Dave Gavitt and future preening schmo Rick Pitino, respectively). No school from Maine or Vermont has ever reached the Final Four.
* Garden Bars. Several noted drinking emporiums are near TD Garden. Perhaps the most famous, and once rated the best sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated, is The Fours, at 166 Canal Street. It’s named for “the Miracle of the Fours”: 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4, overtime (therefore the 4th period), winning goal scored by Number 4, Bobby Orr, while tripped up by Noel Picard, Number 4 of the St. Louis Blues, to clinch the Bruins’ 4th Stanley Cup. (Some people like to point out that it was Orr's 4th goal of the Finals, but in fact it was his 1st.)
As mentioned, the Sports Grille Boston is at 132 Canal Street. McGann’s is at 197 Portland Street; while The Greatest Bar – a name, if not an apt description – is at 262 Friend Street.
* Alumni Stadium. Boston College has played football here since 1957, and the Patriots played their 1969 home games here. Prior to 1957, BC played at several sites, including Fenway and Braves Field. Beacon Street at Chestnut Hill Drive. Green Line B train to Boston College.
* Harvard Stadium. The oldest continually-used football stadium in America -- the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field is on the oldest continually-used football site -- this stadium was built in 1903, and renovations (funded by those wealthy Harvard alums) have kept it in tip-top condition, if not turned it into a modern sports palace.
This stadium is responsible for the legalization of the forward pass in football. When the organization that became the NCAA was founded in 1906, rules changes were demanded to make the game safer. One suggestion was widening the field, but Harvard – at the time, having as much pull as Notre Dame, Michigan and Alabama now do, all rolled into one – insisted that they’d just spent all this money on a new stadium, and didn’t want to alter it to suit a rule change. Much as Notre Dame has sometimes been a tail wagging college football’s dog, the Crimson were accommodated, and someone suggested the alternative of legalizing the forward pass, which had occasionally been illegally done.
Today, the stadium is best known as the site of the 1968 Harvard-Yale game, where the two ancient rivals both came into the game undefeated, and a furious late comeback from 29-13 down led to the famous Harvard Crimson (school newspaper) headline “HARVARD BEATS YALE 29-29” and a tie for the Ivy League Championship. (Actor Tommy Lee Jones, then listed as "Tom Jones," started at guard for Harvard in that game. His roommate at Harvard was future Vice President Al Gore.) The Patriots played 1970, their first season in the NFL and last under the name “Boston Patriots,” at Harvard Stadium.
Although its mailing address is 65 North Harvard Street in “Allston, MA,” and the University is in Cambridge, the stadium is actually on the south, Boston side of the Charles River. Harvard Street at Soldiers Field Road. Unfortunately, it’s not that close to public transportation: Your best bet is to take the Red Line to Harvard Square, and walk across the Anderson Memorial Bridge.
* Suffolk Downs. Opened in 1935, this is New England's premier horse-racing track. On their last tour, on August 18, 1966, the Beatles played here. However, as horse racing has declined, so has the track, to the point that New England's best known race, the Massachusetts Handicap (or the Mass Cap) hasn't been run since 2008. Previously, it had been won by such legendary horses as Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Riva Ridge and Cigar.
So, unless you really loved the film Seabiscuit or are a huge Beatlemaniac, I'd say that if you don't have the time to see everything on this list, this is the first item you should cross off. 525 McClellan Highway, at Waldemar Avenue, in the East Boston neighborhood, near Logan Airport. Blue Line to Suffolk Downs station.
* Museum of Fine Arts. This is Boston’s equivalent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’m not saying you have to visit, but you should see one major Boston tourist site that doesn’t involve sports, and it’s a 10-minute walk from Fenway and a 5-minute walk from the sites of the Huntington Avenue and South End Grounds. 465 Huntington Avenue at Parker Street. Green Line E train to Museum of Fine Arts station.
* Freedom Trail. Boston’s most familiar tourist trap is actually several, marked by a red brick sidewalk and red paint on streets. Historic sites include Boston’s old and new City Halls, Massachusetts’ old and new State Houses (old: Built 1711, with the State Street subway station somehow built into it; “new”: 1798), the Old North Church (where Paul Revere saw the two lanterns hung) and the Old South Meeting House (where Samuel Adams started the Boston Tea Party and would be horrified at the right-wing bastards using the “Tea Party” name today), Revere’s house (said to be the oldest standing house in Boston), the Boston Tea Party Ship, the U.S.S. Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument.
The Trail starts at Boston Common, at Park and Tremont Streets. Green or Red Line to Park Street.
* Cambridge. Home to Harvard and MIT, it is not so much “Boston’s Brooklyn” (that wouldn’t be Brookline, either, but would be South Boston or “Southie” and neighboring Dorchester) as “Boston’s Greenwich Village,” particularly since Harvard Square was the center of Boston’s alternative music scene in the Fifties and Sixties, where performers like Joan Baez and the aforementioned Kingston Trio became stars. Later, it would be rock acts like Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band and the Dropkick Murphys that would make their names in Cambridge.
The city is also home to the Longfellow House, home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And while it is worth a visit, no, you cannot, as the old saying demonstrating the Boston accent goes, “Pahk yuh cah in Hahvuhd Yahd.” Harvard Yard does not allow motorized vehicles. Centered around Harvard Square at 1400 Massachusetts Avenue. Red Line to Harvard Square.
* John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Unlike the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, which is a 2-hour drive north of Midtown Manhattan in Hyde Park, closer to Albany, the JFK Library is much more accessible – not just to drivers and non-drivers alike, but to anyone. Maybe it’s because it’s more interactive, but maybe it’s also because FDR is a figure of black-and-white film and scratchy radio recordings, while JFK is someone whose television images and color films make him more familiar to us, even though he’s been dead for over 50 years now. (Incredibly, he’s now been dead longer than he was alive.)
Sometimes it seems as though his Library is less about his time than it is about our time, and the time beyond. While I love the FDR Library, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best Presidential Library or Museum there is. Columbia Point, on the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. Red Line to JFK/UMass, plus a shuttle bus.
Other Massachusetts Presidential sites include the JFK Tour at Harvard, JFK’s birthplace at 83 Beals Street in Brookline (Green Line B train to Babcock Street), those involving John and John Quincy Adams in Quincy (Red Line to Quincy Center – not to “Quincy Adams”), the house at 173 Adams Street in Milton where George H.W. Bush was born (Red Line to Milton, now has a historical marker, although the house itself is privately owned and not available for tours), and the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum, in Northampton where he was Mayor before becoming the State’s Governor and then President (20 West Street, 100 miles west of Boston, although Greyhound goes there). Closer than Northampton are sites relating to Franklin Pierce in Concord and Hillsboro, New Hampshire.
Salem, home to the witch trials, is to the north: MBTA Commuter Rail Newburyport/Rockport Line out of North Station to Salem. Plymouth, where the Pilgrims landed and set up the Massachusetts Bay Colony, is to the south: MBTA Kingston/Plymouth Line out of South Station to Kingston, then switch to FreedomLink bus.
Lexington & Concord? Lexington: Red Line north to its terminal at Alewife, then switch to the 62 or 76 bus. Concord: MBTA Fitchburg/South Acton Line out of North Station to Concord. Bunker Hill? 93 bus on Washington Street, downtown, to Bunker Hill & Monument Streets, across the river in the Charlestown neighborhood, then 2 blocks down Monument.
The Bull & Finch Pub, which was used for the exterior shot and the basis for the interior shot of Cheers, was at 84 Beacon Street at Brimmer Street, across from Boston Common and near the State House. It's since been bought and turned into an official Cheers, with the upstairs Hampshire House (the basis for the show's rarely-seen seafood restaurant Melville's) also part of the establishment. Green Line to Arlington. A version designed to look more like the one on the show, complete with an "island bar" instead of a "wall bar," is at Faneuil Hall. Congress & Market Streets. Orange or Blue Line to State, since Government Center is closed for renovations.
The Suffolk County Court House, recognizable from David E. Kelley's legal dramas Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal, is at the Scollay Square/Government Center complex. The official address is 3 Pemberton Street, at Somerset Street. Again, use State, due to the closure of Government Center.
The Prudential Tower, a.k.a. the Prudential Center (not to be confused with the Devils' arena in Newark), at 749 feet the tallest building in the world outside New York when it opened in 1964, contains a major mall. 800 Boylston Street. The finish line of the Boston Marathon, and the site of the 2013 bombing, is at 755 Boylston at Ring Road. Green Line B, C or D to Copley, or E to Prudential.
There are two John Hancock Buildings in Boston. The older one, at 197 Clarendon Street at St. James Avenue, went up in 1947 and is better known as the Berkeley Building. It is 495 feet high counting a spire that lights up, and is a weather beacon, complete with poem:
Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.
If it's flashing red during baseball season, when snow is not expected (except maybe in April), that means that day's Red Sox game has been postponed. When the Sox won the Series * in 2004, '07 and '13, it flashed red and blue.
The glass-facaded newer building, at 200 Clarendon across from the old one, was completed in 1976 and is 790 feet tall, making it not just the tallest in Boston, in Massachusetts, or in New England, but the tallest in North America east of Manhattan. Green Line to Copley.
I know Jet fans hate the Patriots, with good reasons. So, what better way to mark yourself as a Jet fan -- aside from the chance you get, once every 3 years, to beat the Giants at the Meadowlands -- than to go to Foxboro and, as they say in English soccer, "take the piss on their manor"?
Good luck, and remember: Safety first. Despite Boston's reputation of having several fine medical centers, if given a choice, it's better to be an uninjured coward than a hospitalized tough guy.