Boston - Life in the Hub

Looking toward the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston from the Simches Research Center.

Living in Boston will provide you with an unmatched opportunity to grow culturally and socially as well as intellectually. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), home of the Department of Molecular Biology, is situated on the mouth of the Charles River at the foot of historic Beacon Hill, gateway to downtown Boston. Just across the river is Cambridge, the oldest college town in the country and an integral part of the greater Boston educational community. Scenic Memorial Drive, which begins at the Museum of Science just across the river from the hospital, follows the Charles past Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University, and Harvard. Over 200,000 students are enrolled in 34 universities and colleges, with each institution contributing a special quality to the intellectual vibrancy of the region.

The Hub

Provincially referred to as the Hub of the Universe, Boston is a compact cosmopolitan city of over 600,000, bordered by an intriguing collection of historic small cities and townships. Together with Boston, these towns comprise a diverse metropolis of over three million, the heart of New England and Yankee tradition.

Contemporary Boston is a center of banking, insurance, investment management, and biotechnology. Perhaps the most important industry, however, is health care, with a large number of internationally-renowned university-affiliated teaching hospitals and three great research-oriented medical schools.

Historic Boston is Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church, the Boston Tea Party and Massacre sites, Faneuil Hall, the U.S.S. Constitution, and much, much more. All serve as a living museum of revolutionary America and constantly remind Boston of its rich historic heritage.

The Boston-Cambridge area has been an intellectual center for three centuries; numerous important religious and philosophical threads through Boston-Cambridge history: New England Puritanism; the spiritual energy of the American Revolution; transcendentalism; Unitarianism; abolitionism; the pragmatism of William James and Christian Science. The writers -- Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, Dickinson, Howells, Frost, and the Lowells -- were shaped by the region's uniqueness.

One convenient subway stop from the hospital brings you to downtown Boston. Its great museums, symphony orchestra, theater, ballet, and opera are complemented splendidly by a host of university museums, lectures, films, concerts, and plays. On a lighter note, and regardless of your own loyalties, you can cheer the city's professional sports teams — the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, New England Revolution (soccer), Breakers (women's soccer) and those sometimes-heartbreaking Red Sox.

One six-minute subway ride the other direction brings you into Cambridge and deposits you at Harvard Square. It is for all area students the social center of the universe. There reside over fifteen bookstores, Bogart festivals, sidewalk trinket peddlers, street musicians, bluegrass concerts in coffee houses and bars, audio stores, and the world's greatest ice cream (local vendors vie each season for the honor of `Best of Boston').

To the North of Boston proper lie the maritime towns of Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, and Rockport. Each is a perfect place for a picnic on the seacoast. Beyond are the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for skiing, camping, and backpacking. To the South are Cape Cod and the National Seashore, Provincetown, and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Fall is a glorious time to enjoy the foliage, pick apples, or sit on the shore of Thoreau's Walden Pond in historic Concord.


Much like the city itself, the MGH complex is an interesting mixture of old and new, a metropolis of modern health care and scientific research facilities steeped in tradition. The main campus complex interconnects almost three million square feet of buildings that employ 20,000 and serve 35,000 in-patients and over half a million outpatients annually. A ten-minute ride on the Hospital Shuttle brings you to the MGH East campus, located in the Charlestown Navy Yard. This campus contains over an additional million square feet of research, clinical, computer, and administrative services. The renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Shriners Burn Institute are affiliated with MGH and are connected to its main campus. MGH is also a founding member, along with Brigham and Women's Hospital, of the Partners Healthcare Network.

The Bulfinch building, the Hospital's first structure and home of the historic Ether Dome, the site of the first surgery performed under anesthesia, sits in the center of the main campus at the base of a grassy courtyard which looks out onto Beacon Hill and entices staff, patient, and visitor alike to lunch on one of its several patios. The courtyard is flanked by four other buildings, including the 150,000-square-foot Wellman Research Building, built in 1984, former home of the Department of Molecular Biology.

A two-block walk south from the hospital brings you to the heart of Beacon Hill. Renovated townhouses and apartments dating back to the 1800's are nestled among the most diverse collection of specialty shops and restaurants found anywhere in the region.

To the west, a stroll over the Storrow Drive footbridge brings you to Charles River Park, where weekend sunbathers and softball players coexist with sailors and joggers. A bike path follows the river and park along Storrow Drive past the landmark hatch shell, where music from free Boston Pops concerts fills the air on many summer evenings. Every Fourth of July, over 800,000 people descend on the park to listen to the Pops' thunderous rendition of the 1812 Overture and watch a spectacular half-hour fireworks display.

The unequaled offering of area recreational activities is a welcome supplement to the vigorous intellectual climate which prevails in the classroom and laboratory.