Do two cities hate each other as much as New York and Boston? Okay, I’m guessing Mumbai and Karachi aren’t good friends, and Tokyo and Seoul surely aren’t peas in a pod. But those cities are really far away and thus not on our minds, so let’s just agree that — with due respect to New York-L.A. and Toronto-Montreal — the Big Apple and Beantown have the best city-versus-city rivalry in the western world.
That rivalry has of course been heightened in recent years, with the Red Sox making history by coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS en route to their first World Series championship since the Yankees induced the Curse of the Bambino 85 years prior.
The year prior to that, the Yanks had already taken the sports rivalry to another level by delivering a devastating ALCS victory over the Yankees with a walk-off home run from Aaron Boone in extra innings in Game 7.
And then, of course, there was this:
But this is a rivalry that goes beyond Manning-to-Tyree and Big Papi and Aaron Boone and even the 1919 trade that saw Babe Ruth go from Boston to New York. The Celtics hate the Knicks and vice versa. The Bruins hate the Rangers and vice versa. And while the Giants and Patriots now have more bad blood than arguably any of those rivalries, it’s the Pats and the Jets, who share a division, that have the much more longstanding hatred for each other in the world of professional football.
This goes beyond geography. Philadelphia is twice as close to New York, but Philly and NYC don’t have the same tension that Boston and New York do. It helps that the two cities are only 200 miles apart, but a series of events have added fuel to the fire.
It also probably helps that while Philly and Chicago and Detroit have had their share of struggles, New York and Boston sports teams have been unbelievably successful, particularly in the last 15 years.
Each of Boston’s four major sports teams have won at least one championship in the last eight years and they’ve won a total of seven titles in the last decade.
Overall, the Celtics have won 17 championships — the most in NBA history — while the Yankees have won 27 titles, which is the highest total in North American professional sports.
At one point, the Celtics won eight championships in a 13-year span. The Yanks once won six straight World Series, and took four out of five titles to close out the 1990s — an astonishing feat when you consider that no one has been able to repeat since then.
Between the Celtics, Bruins, Pats and Red Sox, Boston has won 33* championships, which is the second-highest total in the country. New York is of course tops on that list with 43* championships, but the city has also benefited from having two hockey teams (the Islanders and Rangers have each won four Stanley Cups), two baseball teams (the Mets have won twice) and two football teams (the Jets and Giants have won a combined four Super Bowls). But while on a per-team basis Gotham actually trails Boston (8.2 to 7.9), it should definitely be noted that it’d still have a sizeable lead without “newer” teams such as the Islanders, Mets, Jets and Giants.
* Important asterisk here: the Braves won a World Series in Boston, while the Giants won five World Series in New York. When you take those titles into consideration, it tips the scales further in New York’s direction.
Here’s what’s interesting (at least to me): If you only take the winningest current team from each sport in each city, New York has 36 championships, while Boston has 33.
So with a combined 82 championships it’s easy to understand why there’s so much venom between the sports fans in each city.
In true city vs. city fashion, here’s a broader comparison:
New York: 8 million
Fortune 500 companies
New York: 27
Claims to fame
New York: 47 million tourists visit NYC each year; Broadway; Statue of Liberty
Boston: America’s higher education Mecca
Baltimore: The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, Gotham
New York: Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Anne Hathaway
Boston: Chris Evans, Mark Wahlberg, Jay Leno, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
New York: Hayden Panettiere, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde, Emmy Rossum
Boston: Maria Menounos, Eliza Dushku, Daniela Ruah