If we could dream up a 2020 all-star squad of heroes, champions, and advocates, it would look a lot like this: Community organizer Gladys Vega (1) of the Chelsea Collaborative, who has spent the past two decades fighting for social justice but swiveled her focus to feeding 11,000 residents each week as the coronavirus ravaged her city. Public health advocate and Harvard professor of epidemiology Marc Lipsitch (2) would also make the team, in no small part due to his consistent and clear message, whether speaking to us in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Boston Globe: Never underestimate COVID-19. Our best city politician is Julia Mejia (3), the first immigrant and Latina on the Boston City Council, who fought back against racist harassment after taking office in early 2020. She has also worked to improve bilingual communications in Boston and even made a series of TikTok videos with her daughter to liven up the mood at City Hall during the early days of the pandemic. Ibram X. Kendi (4), meanwhile, is the man of the hour and our hope for humanity. A bestselling author, the 2019 Guggenheim Fellow recently became a history professor and the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, where he’ll lead many of the country’s brightest minds to solve problems of racial inequity. His books, including How to Be an Antiracist, are already required reading among those in the know around town. As for the best social justice advocate in Boston? That’s Monica Cannon-Grant (5), a Roxbury mother of six children who rallied tens of thousands of residents to Franklin Park to peacefully protest police brutality. She also runs a victim-assistance program that supports men, women, and children of color through her organization Violence in Boston. And though he’s best known for his moves on the court, Celtics star Jaylen Brown (6) is our clear choice for celebrity ambassador—he’s peacefully protested, regularly speaks about race in America, and was honored at the State House this year for his charity work with children. We’re proud to have him on our home team.
As with all of B&C's stock, the prices are a bit higher, but the quality is way higher. So is the variety, which rotates on some regularity. Our favorite: the monster green olives stuffed with cloves of garlic. Funky, but yummy. All locations, .
We've tried it at home. We've done the booth. We've stood stark naked before strangers and had every inch of our bodies airbrushed, only to emerge St. Barts brown on one side, Back Bay white on the other. But we never got the elusive all-over glow until we went to Bella Santé, where an almost painfully thorough full-body exfoliation precedes careful application of Phytomer's clear (!) bronzer. It won't streak when you sweat or rub off on your clothes, which means that even after a sticky, slow ride to the beach, we pulled up looking as if we had been there all summer long. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, bellasante.com.
In the rarified world of A-circuit equestrian and competition, the choice of an instructor is as personal as the selection of one's custom-made boots. At the European-style Hamilton Riding Club, master trainer David Boley and his staff fervently pursue show-jumping excellence, while his two-legged charges still have a whole lot of fun. 354 Highland St., Hamilton, MA .
It’s easy to see what drew Vinny Paz and Tommy Lee Jones to this watering hole: Here, conversation flows and the beverage selection is ample (including the most affordable pour of Woodford Reserve we’ve ever seen). 84 Bennington St., Boston, MA 02128, kelleyssquarepub.com.
Boston’s style mavens count on Leslee Shupe to bring them the cr&_egrave;me de la cr&_egrave;me in high-end fashion — and 18 years after taking over Serenella, she continues to deliver, with a gorgeous selection of Bottega Veneta clutches, Missoni zigzag frocks, and whimsical portrait-collar blouses from Patou. In fact, even during a difficult time for the retail industry, Shupe managed to expand, launching a second Nantucket boutique devoted solely to La DoubleJ, a wildly popular Italian clothing and home-goods line, and apothecary products by Acqua Di Parma. It’s a testament to her impeccable eye for beautiful things — and to her devoted customers. 134 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, serenellausa.com.
If you've got the project, they've got the product: More than 24,000 home-maintenance tools and supplies cram the shelves at this emporium of all things useful. Need an obscure garden tool? A specific brand of all-weather paint? The gregarious employees have a talent for putting their hands on it fast. The store's old-fashioned setting is paired with an up-to-date outlook—it has, for example, one of the city's best displays of eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs—making it a primo resource for the modern home. 54 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, charlesstsupply.com.
Each summer, city dwellers of all stripes—sunbathing nonnas, bronzed Adonises, giddy teens—flock to this urban oasis, making it one of the top people-watching spots in town. Not to mention one of the best bargains: A season pass costs a mere $20. In other words, a whole lot less than a trip to the Cape. 475 Commercial St., Boston, MA 02109, boston.gov/community-centers.
When Lana Barakat decided to rethink her two Beacon Hill clothing-and-gift boutiques, she envisioned one store catering to home décor and another specializing in apparel and accessories. This divide-and-conquer strategy created more room for something Boston has been sorely lacking: high-end women’s footwear. Handcrafted by European and American designers, Barakat’s collection includes everything from metallic leather boots with an offset heel to cheetah-print loafers to sneakers with a velvet knot tie—perfect for navigating the cobblestones in style as you stroll up Charles to check out what other treasures await at the December Thieves home store. 51 Charles St., Boston, MA decemberthieves.com.
The first Ethiopian restaurant in town and, one would hope, not the last. 333 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA .
The frills are few at the humble but festively colorful Tu y Yo, but none of that matters once you experience the authenticity of the expertly prepared food. Traditional family recipes are executed to perfection, from the shredded chicken breast slow cooked in chipotle peppers and tomatoes to the jumbo shrimp grilled in bay leaves, garlic, oranges, and chipotle sweet-sour sauce. The friendly staff tries hard to make every visitor here feel at home (a quality we're sure, like the recipes, has been passed down for generations) and is adept at guiding diners through the almost shamefully inexpensive entrées (all well under $20) and intriguing wine selection. 858 Broadway, Somerville, MA tuyyo2.com.
For announcing that he, uh, would not be running for, uh, governor in 1990. And oh, by the way, me and uh, Sheila, have come to, uh, a separation of the, uh, we're separating.
Kate Straley Marx and Hthaiwon Layne know that two hands are better than one—and in the case of their vintage collective, many hands: Vendors from all over New England stock the racks with well-sourced styles, from Escada denim to ’70s tees. This past spring, Recollective moved into a larger space in Southie and added a home-goods vendor into the rotation, making it the rare vintage store in town where you can buy a ’90s Champion sweatshirt and a midcentury-modern lamp in one visit. 416 W. Broadway, Boston, MA 02127, shoprecollective.com.
Ambitious. Playful. Revelatory. Sound like a theater review? Well, indulging in one of chef Peter Ungár’s nine-course tasting menus is a lot like sitting down for a critically acclaimed performance. And it truly is an immersive one, as ticket-holding diners get to watch the chef and his team cook and plate each intricate dish—seaweed-cured kampachi with shiitake custard, tender pork shoulder in a pool of fermented red chili curry—in the small open kitchen. Applause, please. 14 Tyler St., Somerville, MA 02143, tastingcounter.com.
Donning yoga pants on the mainland is one thing, but what you wear on Nantucket is an entirely different ball game. The bolder and more colorful the print, the better — and Current Vintage, a boutique vintage clothing and home-goods store in downtown Nantucket, is here with everything you need to look island-chic. Proprietor Elisabeth English has put together a collection of vibrant, hard-to-find apparel that’s classy, not costume-y (think: Emilio Pucci and vintage Lilly Pulitzer, originally known as the Lilly), along with wine, cheeses, and other goodies you’ll surely want to bring back home. 4 Easy St., Nantucket, MA 02554, currentvintage.com.