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‘MegaCambridge’: City Councilor Calls to Annex Boston in $5,000 April Fools’ Joke

In an elaborate April Fools' Day prank, Cambridge City Councilor Burhan Azeem paid for 77 billboards calling for Cambridge to annex Boston to form a "MegaCambridge"
In an elaborate April Fools' Day prank, Cambridge City Councilor Burhan Azeem paid for 77 billboards calling for Cambridge to annex Boston to form a "MegaCambridge" By Erick Contreras-Rodriguez
By Ayumi Nagatomi and Avani B. Rai, Crimson Staff Writers

Cambridge City Councilor Burhan Azeem has a “400-year-old grudge against Boston” — and it’s no laughing matter.

Azeem rolled out his proposal for a “MegaCambridge” on Monday, spending $5,000 of his own campaign money to erect 77 billboards calling for Cambridge to annex Boston.

To spread the word about his next big proposal — a hoax in honor of April Fools’ Day — Azeem blasted messages across billboards in locations including MBTA Stations in Copley and Downtown Crossing. He also set up a website, which redirects to his campaign site, and circulated a petition for constituents to sign their support.

In an interview with The Crimson, Azeem lamented Cambridge’s demotion from Massachusetts’ state capital nearly 400 years ago. In 1630, the City of Cambridge was selected to be the capital of Massachusetts — a title that was “taken,” Azeem said, by the City of Boston just four years later.

“Cambridge has got it all — world renowned universities, the hottest companies, good governance, and, of course, great elected officials,” Azeem’s site reads. “Don’t you think it’s time we do Boston a favor and annex them?”

The City of Boston did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Azeem’s scheme was met with laughs from residents and social media onlookers, some of whom jumped at the chance to plot for a greater Cambridge domain.

Steve Dalla ’25, who has lived in nearby Quincy, Mass., his entire life, lauded the annexation proposal as “a great idea.”

But Dalla was not on board with Azeem’s proposed name for the new region: MegaCambridge.

“I think they’ve got to think of something a little bit better than that,” he said.

Residents of the greater Boston area chimed in on X as well.

“I love him to death,” @timczerwienski tweeted, “but Councilor Azeem has gone too far.”

Three minutes later, the user seemed to have joined Azeem’s ranks.

“That said, if MegaCambridge can help restore the traditional borders of the Holy Dorchester Empire from South Boston to the Foxborough line, we’ll help them take Brookline,” the thread continued.

The annexation campaign also garnered attention from those experienced with high-profile politics, with former Massachusetts House of Representatives hopeful Robert Orthman tweeting, “I do not support this but I respect this.”

Azeem’s grand plan for Cambridge to gobble up its neighbors has been in motion for some time now.

Since his election to the Cambridge City Council in 2021, Azeem has pulled large-scale pranks to mark every April Fools’. In 2022, Azeem proposed a resolution to annex Somerville. Last year, in collaboration with councilors from Somerville and Boston, Azeem made a video statement announcing that he had received permission to annex both Boston and Somerville.

Though the billboards, website, and petition are a joke, Azeem said the yearly ritual comes from his hope for greater regional collaboration in the future.

“Each individual city is too small to build anything new or to get it up and running,” Azeem said.

Azeem said collaboration allows for more effective initiatives, citing the recent MBTA Communities Act — a law requiring at least one zoning district where multi-family housing is permitted within a half mile of public transit — as an example.

“If we combine forces, there’s a lot of benefits to be gained,” he said.

—Staff writer Ayumi Nagatomi can be reached at ayumi.nagatomi@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @ayumi_nagatomi.

—Staff writer Avani B. Rai can be reached at avani.rai@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @avaniiiirai.

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