CFC: Need to Know about Boston

It’s 10 days and counting til the Creative Freelancer Conference and HOW Design Live — and Jody Shyllberg of JS Graphics (guest blogger, veteran CFC-er and a Boston local) shares a few whimsical definitions, pronunciations hints and other “need to know” info about Boston, for those who plan to venture beyond the event (and you should!).


  • Soda means CLUB SODA.
  • Pop refers to DAD.
  • If it is carbonated and flavored, it is tonic.
  • When we want Tonic WATER, we will ask for TONIC WATER.
  • Frappes are made with ice cream; milkshakes are not.
  • Scrod is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish. (If you paid more than $7/pound, you got scrod.)
  • It is not a water fountain; it is a bubblah.
  • It is not a trashcan; it is a barrel.
  • It is not a spucky, a hero, or a grinder; it is a SUB
  • It is not a shopping caht; it is a carriage.
  • It is not a purse; it is a pockabook.
  • They are not franks; they are haht dahgs; franks are money used in Switzahland.
  • Police do not drive patrol units or black and whites; they drive a crewza. If you take the bus, you’re on the looza crooza.
  • It is not a rubber band; it is an elastic.
  • “Going to the islands” means going to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.
  • The Sox = The Red Sox
  • The Cs = The Celtics
  • The Bs = The Bruins
  • The Pats =The Patriots

There is no school on School Street, no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square, and no water on Water Street.

Plus, the underground train is not a subway. It is the T, and it does not run all night (fah chrysakes, this ain’t Noo Yawk).


  • Worcester : Wuhsta (or Wistah)
  • Gloucester : Glawsta
  • Leicester : Lesta
  • Woburn : Woobun
  • Dedham : Dead-um
  • Revere : Re -vee-ah
  • Quincy : Quinzee
  • Tewksbury : Tooks ber ry
  • Leominster : Le-min-sta
  • Peabody : Pee-ba-dee
  • Waltham : Walth-ham
  • Chatham : Chaddum
  • Samoset: Sam-oh-set or Sum-aw-set, but nevah Summerset!

Things not to do:

  • Do not pahk your cah in Hahvid Yahd. They will tow it to Meffa (Medford) or Summahville (Somerville).
  • Do not sleep on the Common. (Boston Common)
  • Do not wear orange in Southie on St. Patrick’s Day.


Back Bay Boston streets are in alphabetical awddah: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, etc. So are South Boston streets: A, B, C, D, etc. If the streets are named after trees (e.g Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you are on Beacon Hill. If they are named after poets, you are in Wellesley.

  • Massachusetts Avenue is Mass Ave.
  • Commonwealth Avenue is Comm Ave.
  • South Boston is Southie.
  • The South End is the South End.
  • East Boston is Eastie.
  • The North End is east of the former West End.
  • The West End and Scully Square are no more; a guy named Rappaport got rid of them one night.
  • Roxbury is The Burree.
  • Jamaica Plain is J.P.

Things you should know:

There are two State Houses, two City Halls, two courthouses, and two Hancock buildings (one is very old; one is relatively new).

The colored lights on top the old Hancock tell the weatha:

  • “Solid blue, clear view.”
  • “Flashing blue, clouds due.”
  • “Solid red, rain ahead.”
  • “Flashing red, snow instead.” Except in summer, flashing red means the Red Sox game was rained out! (Most people live here all their life and still do not know what is going on with this one.)

If you’re driving, you need to know that Route 128 South is I-95 south. It is also I-93 north. And it is not a traffic circle or a ROUNDABOUT, it is a rotary.

If you’re drinking, order the cold tea in China Town after 2:00 am, you will get a kettle full of beer. And the smallest beer is a pint.

And finally:

  • Bostonians think that it is their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.
  • Bostonians think that there are only 25 letters in the alphabet (no Rs, except in idear.)
  • Bostonians think that three straight days of 90+ temperatures is a heat wave.
  • Bostonians refer to six inches of snow as a dusting.
  • Bostonians always “bang a left” as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it.
  • Bostonians believe that using your turn signal is a sign of weakness.
  • Bostonians think that 63 degree ocean water is warm.
  • Bostonians think Rhode Island accents are annoying. and don’t think BAWSTON accents are the same as NH, MAINE OR VT.  (It’s insulting)

Did we miss anything?