Can Boston hold no title of its own anymore?? It is not the greenest city (though it made the top 10 in the 2007 MSN City Gude; it was #11 in 2006 according to thegreenguide.com). It is not the best city to find a job in (didn’t even make top 25). It is not the best place to live, although our near neighbor Milton made #7 (and I’m sorry, but f* cnn money, what do they know about how we want to live). It is not the most cultural city (#5). It is not the best city for shopping (#8). It is not the best ‘after dark’ city (#12, god help us). We do not have the best people (#15, um ouch). Best food? no. We don’t even make the top 10 underrated cities. Need I go on?
But Best City for Walking?? Surely that is ours. Alas, no longer; the self-proclaimed title has been stripped:
With its tightknit residential neighborhoods, its boulevards lined with cafes, shops, and parks, Boston officials for years have smugly considered the Hub the best city for a stroll.
Hotel, tourist, and advertising executives two decades ago coined the phrase “America’s Walking City” and made it part of an international ad campaign. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is fond of calling the city “the most walkable in America.”
There has never been any empirical data for the boast.
“We just claimed title to it,” said Pat Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Just let someone else dispute it.”
Well, someone has.
Damn the Brookings Institution.
A report by a venerable think tank, the Brookings Institution, declared yesterday that Boston is, in fact, not number one. Brookings instead bestowed top honors on the nation’s capital, saying Washington D.C.’s urban planners have created “the national model of walkable urban growth.”
Boston ranked second, ahead of San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Ore.
The response from Boston officials was confusion, then indignation. (Some noted that Brookings is based in Washington. Coincidence?)
Granted, it is cold outside. But, as orangemenace puts it: “I say we’re still first – walking around DC is begging for a mugging.” My ninja, please.