City Smackdown

Super Bowl 2012 City Smackdown: New York vs. Boston

The Daily Beast pits the Super Bowl cities, New York and Boston, against each other in 30 categories.

Getty Images (2)

Getty Images (2)

There’s a reason the mayors of the two cities represented in the Super Bowl make silly bets every year. (This year, New York’s Michael Bloomberg and Boston’s Thomas Menino have put up an all-expenses-paid tour to the losing city for one lucky family from the winning city.) The mayors don’t just think they have the best team—they think they have the best city.

To put that theory to the test, The Daily Beast for the second year is pitting the Super Bowl cities head to head. For Super Bowl XLVI, it’s New York versus Boston (sure, the team is the New England Patriots, but Boston is its fan hub). We used our own database of rankings and lists, as well as rankings from other reputable media outlets and data sources, to find out which city is the off-the-field champ. Welcome to the real battle for bragging rights, and read on for the full play-by-play.

Mario Tama / Getty Images


Winner: New York

Highlights: Anger isn’t necessarily a good thing, but since our frame of reference here is a game in which players feed off hatred for their opponents, we’re going with New York. Boston didn’t even land in the top 10. Your anger is a gift, New York!

Score: New York 1, Boston 0

Steven Senne / AP Photo


Winner: Boston

Highlights: If you can make it in New York’s tough business climate you can make it anywhere, but with world-class university talent, Boston easily wins the business category.

Score: New York 1, Boston 1

Charles Krupa / AP Photo


Winner: Boston

Highlights: A few months back we looked at the cities that are leading the country out of the recession. Boston landed in a solid 11th place, while New York failed to make the list.

Score: New York 1, Boston 2

George Rose / Getty Images

Cost of Living

Winner: Boston

Highlights: According to recent cost-of-living scores from the Council for Community and Economic Research, New York is the most expensive city in America to live. Boston is up there, but nowhere near New York.

Score: New York 1, Boston 3

Karen Testa / AP Photo


Winner: Boston

Highlights: By our count, Massachusetts ranks among the best states when it comes to corruption (that is, there’s not a lot of it), when factoring in racketeering and extortion crimes, public corruption, fraud, forgery and counterfeiting, and embezzlement. New York falls in the middle as the 24th-worst state for corruption.

Score: New York 1, Boston 4

Thos Robinson / Getty Images


Winner: New York

Highlights: No surprise here. The constant flow of the human experience in New York City makes Boston’s college campuses look like the very picture of tranquility by comparison.

Score: New York 2, Boston 4

Seth Wenig / AP Photo


Winner: New York

Highlights: In the past decade or so New York has become one of the safest big cities in the world. According to 2010 FBI data, the most recent available, New York has about 582 violent crimes per 100,000 people, compared with 903 for Boston.

Score: New York 3, Boston 4

Dave Martin / AP Photo


Winner: Boston

Highlights: With a top 10 showing, Boston comes out on top of New York as a better city for dads.

Score: New York 3, Boston 5

Charles Krupa / AP Photo


Winner: Boston

Highlights: Looking for someone to spend Saturday night with? It’s not even close in the Boston–New York matchup. Boston clocks in as the 12th-best city to find a date, with New York failing to crack the top 25.

Score: New York 3, Boston 6

John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Winner: Boston

Highlights: Instead of Beantown maybe Boston should call itself Sudstown. Boston comes in first in our survey of the Drunkest Cities. Once again, New York fails to rank in the top 25.

Score: New York 3, Boston 7

Joe Corrigan / Getty Images

Environmental Responsibility

Winner: New York

Highlights: With Boston leading a touchdown to a field goal, New York comes through as the most environmentally responsible city in the country.

Score: New York 4, Boston 7

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Fiscal Fitness

Winner: New York

Highlights: Massachusetts comes out as the third-worst state in terms of fiscal health, with roughly $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities compared with New York’s $0.

Score: New York 5, Boston 7

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Football Fans

Winner: Boston

Highlights: Maybe there are just too many people in New York for enough of the population to care about football? No matter the reason, Patriots fans are more diehard than Giants fans, by our standards. Take solace, Giants fans—you rank one spot better than Jets fans.

Score: New York 5, Boston 8


Winner: New York

Highlights: With a comedy club seemingly on every corner in some parts of New York City, it’s no wonder the Big Apple is the 13th-funniest city. Boston doesn’t make the cut for the top 30.

Score: New York 6, Boston 8

David L Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Winner: Boston

Highlights: Where there is a high concentration of world-class colleges, world-class hospitals usually follow, thanks to a steady influx of medical-research dollars. Those colleges also help Boston rank as the fifth-healthiest city due to large endowments that help stave off layoffs—and subsequently, health-care coverage issues—during a tough economy.

Score: New York 6, Boston 9

Getty Images


Winner: Boston

Highlights: We’re not talking about elevation, we’re talking about the other kind of highness. How high is Boston? By our estimation Boston is the second-place pot capital in the country, behind only Tallahassee. New York ranks a respectable but not-quite-high-enough eighth place.

Score: New York 6, Boston 10

VisionsofAmerica / Joe Sohm


Winner: Boston

Highlights: The land of accomplished research professors strikes again as the smartest city in the land. New York is no dummy at 16th place.

Score: New York 6, Boston 11

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo


Winner: New York

Highlights: In a simple look at male and female life expectancies over the last decade, neither city got in the top 20. But our full records show that New York beat out Boston by 14 spots for longevity.

Score: New York 7, Boston 11

Mark Wilson / The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Winner: Boston

Highlights: Hands down, Boston beats New York for both dads and moms. For mom-friendliness, Boston comes in 15th place, while New York is not even top 50–worthy.

Score: New York 7, Boston 12

Don Emmert / Getty Images


Winner: New York

Highlights: Can New York stage a comeback this late in the game? With a 14th-place showing in our most-charitable cities ranking, compared with Boston’s 19th, New York scores a point for philanthropy.

Score: New York 8, Boston 12

Kathy Kmonicek / AP Photo

Physical Attractiveness

Winner: New York

Highlights: No shock that the center of the fashion industry—not to mention a first or second home to many beautiful actors—outscores brainy Boston in the looks category.

Score: New York 9, Boston 12

Kathy Kmonicek / AP Photo

Physical Fitness

Winner: New York

Highlights: A comprehensive public transit system encourages New Yorkers to walk rather than drive, and helps keep residents svelte.

Score: New York 10, Boston 12

Boston Globe / Getty Images

Quality of Drivers

Winner: Boston

Highlights: New York might get a bad rap as a tough place for auto enthusiasts to enjoy the open road, but it turns out New Yorkers are among the best drivers in the country—but they’re outdone by Boston, whose drivers ranked slightly better, according to our survey.

Score: New York 10, Boston 13

Diane Bondareff / AP Photo

Raising Kids

Winner: New York

Highlights: Looking at quality of education, housing, health care, and other factors critical to happy families, New York comes out just six spots ahead of Boston.

Score: New York 11, Boston 13

Frank Franklin II / AP Photo


Winner: New York

Highlights: Neither city has a serious smoking problem, but New York has stringent anti-smoking policies, and edges Boston when factoring for the percentage of smokers, cigarettes per day among smokers, and the percentage of smokers who’ve tried to quit, according to our findings. We’ve got a game now.

Score: New York 12, Boston 13

William B. Plowman / Getty Images

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Winner: Boston

Highlights: Boston’s rates of STDs are quite a bit better than New York’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On a per 100,000 basis, Boston has 311 cases of chlamydia to New York’s 476; 41 cases of gonorrhea to 92; and 12 cases of syphilis to 28.

Score: New York 12, Boston 14

Jim Davis / The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Winner: Boston

Highlights: Beantown can be stressful, but nowhere near as stressful as New York. Between its high cost of living and super-packed commutes on the subway, New York ranks No. 2 in the country for stress.

Score: New York 12, Boston 15

Ramin Talaie / Getty Images


Winner: New York

Highlights: With high rates of same-sex couples and a diverse population, New York is the 12th-most tolerant city, while Boston doesn’t land in the top 20.

Score: New York 13, Boston 15

JP Yim / Getty Images


Winner: New York

Highlights: We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that vanity and narcissism are bad things. Believe it or not, Boston is (slightly) more vain than New York—more of Boston’s population belong to a gym, and they tend to spend more on monthly personal care than New Yorkers. With just one category remaining, this one’s going to come down to the wire.

Score: New York 14, Boston 15

Getty Images (2)


Winner: Tie

Highlights: In the statistical equivalent of a missed field goal as time expires, we have a tie. In New York and Boston, the sun shines a yearly average of 58 percent of the time between sunrise and sunset, our criterion for determining which city has the better weather. With that tie the game clock is at 0:00 and the contest has been decided by the slimmest of margins: after a back-and-forth slugfest, Boston claims The Daily Beast’s 2012 Super Bowl City Showdown. Can Tom Brady and the New England Patriots steal another Boston victory over Eli Manning and the New York Giants this Sunday?

Final score: New York 14, Boston 15