The Clueless European’s Guide to Boston

1220888512Unlike many Americans tourists, we don’t claim to be Canadian to avoid the scorn of Europeans while traveling abroad. Of course, it helps that we’re from Boston.

“Boston is very European,” several Italians told us on our last international foray. But while our new friends love our city’s architecture and MIT, Mayor Tom Menino has found that many European business leaders don’t know much about the city he’s in Italy to promote.

“Everybody knows Boston,” said Federico Pastura, a European private equity executive who attended the session where Menino spoke yesterday. “The Big Dig, is it finished yet?”

Clearly, the mayor could use a little help in getting the word out about our city. After the jump, we provide a handy primer to Boston for our international friends.

First off, let’s answer Federico’s question about the Big Dig. Technically, this massive infrastructure project was completed on December 31, 2007. But it doesn’t seem finished to us natives, because our state’s financial solvency has been put in danger.

And then there’s the matter of the man your leaders have spent the past few days mingling with, the Honorable Thomas Menino. He made quite the joke during his remarks at the Ambrosetti Forum, but you guys didn’t get it.

He gave examples of short-term goals, such as setting up an advisory task force on eco-friendly development, and long-term goals, such as reducing carbon emissions in the city by 80 percent by 2050.

“I might still be mayor then,” he said with a grin. “I haven’t decided.”

Here in Boston, that remark would have elicited knowing chuckles, or shudders of dread. Menino (who’s referred to “Mumbles”) has been the mayor of our city for 15 years, and other politicians are reluctant to challenge him. Though if any of you want to move to Boston and take him on, we’d be happy to endorse you, largely because it’s bad for us when Menino feels too comfortable.

We’d also like you to know that we don’t subsist on lobster, clam chowder, and baked beans alone. Boston is home to America’s best new restaurant, upscale sushi spot O Ya. But we have the lower-end foods covered too—Speed’s Hot Dogs in Roxbury has been named the Best Hot Dog in America.

But some of what you’ve heard about us is true. We’re horrific drivers. Our cabs are terrible, despite efforts to improve them. And occasionally, a fan of one of our sports teams gets violent. But you guys are probably used to that.