The 61 New Best Things About Boston
A Bostonian we love (and what he loves about Boston)
23. Joe Travassos, 41, window washer
Joe Travassos will pitch in on just about any chore around the house, but he won’t wash windows. Nobody, after all, likes to take their work home with them.
Travassos spends his days suspended 790 feet above the ground, meticulously scrubbing the 10,366 windows that make up the exterior of the John Hancock Tower. Starting next month, he and a partner, employees of a company called PureView, will devote 34 workdays to giving the Hancock its annual spring cleaning, then move on to other local buildings before returning to the skyscraper for its second polishing in the fall. Though Travassos has been tending to the tower for a decade, he still finds plenty about the job to keep him motivated: the sunrise over Eastie (#24); the way he can occasionally catch a glimpse of the stands at Fenway (#25); and how “on beautiful, cloudy days, the glass is like a mirror (#26).” —Francis Storrs
27. Cast-off (and Cut-rate) Fashions
It’s not that we’re averse to fads around here, we’re just a little…dubious when the runway reports tell us that we must, must get ourselves a new pair of 8-inch, open-toe, platform wedge booties, or dress the guys in our lives in those absurd men’s leggings. So while Boston certainly ranks as a stylish city, we’re not particularly trendy. And that turns out to be good news for the genuinely sartorially adventurous among us—because that combination also works out to make Boston the best city in the country for high-end fashion bargains. Drawn by the area’s affluence, luxury retailers like Barneys, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus keep opening new stores in the region, which means endless supplies of the latest Jimmy Choo pumps, Chanel clutches, and Chloé peasant tops. But in a market skeptical of the hippest threads, these stores are also forced to constantly slash prices to create room for next season’s styles. The result is overflowing upscale clearance bins and racks filled with scores (and here we speak from personal experience) like fabulous gold Prada flats that’ll set you back less than your weekly Starbucks allowance. —Rachel Baker
28. We Do Know How to Drive, Thank You Very Much
After enduring decades of undue ridicule as the world’s most dangerously honked-off motorists, Bostonians can at last flip our critics a well-justified bird. Fresh stats show our state actually has the nation’s lowest rate of auto deaths. Now maybe we’ll get our shot at dethroning the good people of Sioux Falls as “America’s Best Drivers,” a title bestowed by insurance giant Allstate. Pardon our golf clap, South Dakotans. You may not run yellows or bang ueys (nigh impossible on a tractor, anyway), but you also don’t face the adversity that forges truly great drivers: rain-slicked trolley tracks, feckless double-parkers, pedestrians springing from the curb like impala. We do, every day, and we do it impressively well. If not, perhaps, impressively politely. —J. L. Johnson
29. Hollywood Is Back for More
With Shutter Island (the latest Scorsese epic), Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Matthew McConaughey), The Surrogates (Bruce Willis), and The Proposal (Sandra Bullock) shooting here this year and more projects reportedly on the way, it seems certain Boston will top the record number of movies filmed around town in 2007. We’re going to have to get used to this Tinseltown-on-the-Charles thing. —F.S.