Students, Millennials and the Curse of the Bambino

Former Gov. Mitt Romney Helping To Remove "Reverse The Curse" Sign Over Storrow Drive, ca. 2004

Former Gov. Mitt Romney Helping To Remove "Reverse The Curse" Sign Over Storrow Drive, ca. 2004

I read an eye-opening article this year in the Globe. It said that one third of Boston are Millennials aged 20-34, the largest proportion of any major city. Or the second largest if you subscribe to this magazine. Millennials do not remember what the world was like without the Internet.  Someone who is 34 today was only 10 years old when the Internet went commercial in 1993.  They don’t remember the pre-cellphone days (late 1990s?).  Let alone do they realize what the world was like without a personal computer (pre-1984).  Millennials were weaned on Facebook as a way to socialize. They grow cold, panicky and stone-faced when asked what life would be like without cellphones.  They like taking selfies of everything and everyone.  But they are the most likely to hop into an Uber for a day for a road trip around greater Boston.

It dawned on me that they are a big reason why I want to write this blog.  Students and Millennials are some of the biggest users of Uber and Lyft, if not the biggest demographic spending categories in the Boston Metro area.  They are a driving force, so to speak, behind our economy.

Putting this into "Uber" perspective. I was recently gave a ride to a millennial out on Storrow Drive. We were passing under that curve down near the Esplanade below the Longfellow Bridge where a famous sign used to hang that read "Reverse Curve".

Babe Ruth (Source: Library of Congress)

Babe Ruth (Source: Library of Congress)

Well known to many long time Red Sox fans, this sign, which warned of a sharp reverse turn ahead, was later modified by a graffiti artist to read "Reverse The Curse." This was in reference to the mythical curse put on the Red Sox after Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees in 1920. This sign hung over Storrow Drive for 33 years until it was finally taken down after the curse was supposedly reversed in 2004 following the World Series victory.

To my surprise, when I mentioned to the rider that this was the spot of the famous (or infamous) sign, I got a blank stare.  No clue.  Frantically and excitedly she did a Google search and, to her great excitement, she learned the tale for the first time.  I'm not sure where this sign hangs now but she seemed to think that it is in a museum at Fenway Park. (Can anyone help on this?)

It dawned on me that there are probably thousands of students and Millennials in town who do not know the story of the sign and the curse. To help address this problem, here are a whole slew of articles and pictures that discuss all this.

And here are some statistics that revved my engine in wanting to design a Boston Auto Tour with the younger generation in mind:

There are 152,000 total students enrolled in the 50+ colleges around the Boston area

Source: Boston Redevelopment Authority

2015 Massachusetts Foreign Students

  • Total: 60,000

  • Total Spending: $2B

Source: U.S. Travel Association, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Ten States with the Largest International Student Populations, SY 2014-15


Source: Institute of International Education (IIE), “2015 Fast Facts,” Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (Washington, DC: IIE, 2015)

Top Ten Boston Area Colleges (Enrollment)

Top 10 International Student Countries of Origin, SY 1949-50, SY 1979-80, and SY 2014-15


Source: Data for SY 1949-50 and 1979-80 are from Institute of International Education (IIE), "All Places of Origin of International Students, Selected Years: 1949/50-1999/00," Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (Washington, DC: IIE, 2009). Data for SY 2014-15 are from Institute of International Education (IIE), “International Student Totals by Place of Origin, 2013/14- 2014/15,” Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (Washington, DC: IIE, 2015).

Total Number of Millennials in U.S. from an article by Pew Research

Millennial Population.JPG

It all adds up. What better way to give a painless history lesson to  Millennials and students than by Uber-whisking them around Boston (or any other city) with an engaged, history minded driver like myself at the wheel. Required reading for the course: the Boston Auto Tour blog.