Edited by Alene Bouranova
We’ve loved them; we’ve loathed them; we’ve wondered why they taste like Robitussin. That’s right, Polar Pals, we’re talking about the Met Gala of the bubbly beverage world: Polar Seltzer’s summer and winter drops. A new year undoubtedly means new seasonal flavors for us all to develop weirdly passionate feelings about; the question is, what will Polar bless (or plague—cough cough, Vanilla Zen) us with in 2020? Are V-Day’s Red Hearts and Black Hearts coming back? Could we maybe get a paloma flavor for summer, please? Are we like, sure sure that cloudberries are real? For now, we can only speculate. But we do know one thing for sure: We’re all going to be drinking a lot of Polar in 2020. —Alene Bouranova
BOSTON, OUR TIME HAS COME: We’re finally getting our own recreational pot shops. Pending final approvals from the Cannabis Control Commission, Pure Oasis (the first Mass. dispensary to come from the CCC’s Economic Empowerment program) and Berkshire Roots Inc. are supposed to open their doors in Dorchester and East Boston, respectively, in the next few months. While Bostonians have been making good use of NETA, lines at the Brookline dispensary have been nuts since it opened for recreational use in the spring, and let’s be real, has anyone actually enjoyed purchasing weed from a somehow-less-fun former bank while being stared down by security guards? Cue these two new dispensaries, which together will ease the burden on the Brookline shop, allowing us all to pick up our pre-rolls and legal-again vape pens in a timelier fashion. —A.B.
Tis the season when those of us who dread winter in Boston begin asking ourselves why the hell we still live here. If you’re among this special (read: somehow even crankier) group of Bostonians, this news is sure to cheer you up: American Airlines recently announced that it will begin offering direct flights from Logan to Key West come February. Just think—sunshine! Warm Sand! Florida drivers! Okay, just kidding on that last part, but we’ll take risking our sanity on the scenic roads of this coral-reefed paradise over swearing in traffic on a snow-logged 93 any day. —Andrea Timpano
Free! Cool! Art! That’s more-or-less the rallying cry of MassArt’s soon-to-be-completed project, the MassArt Art Museum (that’s MAAM to you). When it opens in February, the new Huntington Ave. museum will display a whole bunch of contemporary art, from a kaleidoscopic lobby installation to an exhibition centered on video games. The best part: It will all be accessible to the public for the low, low cost of zero dollars. (Let’s say it again: Free! Cool! Art!) And even though it hasn’t opened, MAAM’s already given us some fun new vocabulary—it’s a kunsthalle, or a museum that doesn’t amass its own collections, but displays works on loan from other artists and institutions. So, a museum that’s free, cool, and good at sharing? Color us extremely on-board. —A.B.
For years, Boston has been creeping closer and closer to launching the state’s first safe injection facility, and this might finally be the year when one such facility opens its doors. This past August, Somerville mayor Joe Curtatone announced that the ’Ville plans to open a safe consumption site in 2020 to reduce stigma around addiction, and increase the resources Somerville provides for those battling addiction. But here’s the catch: U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling is firmly against SIFs, and has promised to fight any attempt to open one in Massachusetts. Curtatone, however, isn’t backing down, and one would imagine that the battle will come to a head next year. After all, there’s no time to lose—there were an estimated 1,974 opioid-related overdose deaths in the state in 2018, placing Massachusetts among the top 10 states in the nation for rates of overdose fatalities. —Alyssa Vaughn
Sign off of ClassPass, put down the celery juice, and get off the Stair Master, please and thank you. Health and fitness in 2020 is going to be about slowing down. It will be about going back to the basics, finding balance inside your own body and mind, and being able to show up better for those around us. You can feel the buzz in the air, from our extremely polarized country to the overall state of our climate—we’re all a little haywire. Never have we needed fitness so much, but never have we been more overwhelmed by all the options out there. If we’re looking ahead, we’re looking ahead to a decade in which we all pay a little more attention to what we need by silencing the flashy (albeit exciting) distractions in lieu of what really serves us—and that’s okay if it doesn’t come with a cool lavender towel to wipe your sweat and shiny branded workout pants. It doesn’t have to be pretty. After all, Boston was built on practicality and hard work. Trends may come and go, but what works is going to work forever—just take those 20-year-old Bean boots on your feet as a prime example.—Tessa Yannone
The road to a new Orange Line fleet has been…bumpier than anticipated. From an “uncommon noise,” to a derailment, to that time when the doors accidentally opened in transit, the new Orange Line cars trolled us all 2019 long, gliding glamorously down the tracks one day, only to be parked in the rail yard for the next week. Will 2020 finally be the year that works out all the kinks? There are definitely some bright spots on the horizon. The MBTA says that there are more new trains in testing, and the entire fleet is still scheduled to be replaced by 2022, so there are certainly more flashy new vehicles on their way. Plus, thanks to the T’s Capital Acceleration program, Orange Line signals and rail yards are getting upgrades, tracks are being repaired, and Haymarket, State Street, and Downtown Crossing are all getting facelifts. It may not feel like it now—but a smoother commute is in your future. —A.V.
And speaking of new train cars…get ready to re-experience that special mix of luck and awe that is a fancy new train ride: The Red Line is ALSO rolling out new cars in 2020. The first cars arrived this fall, and after some testing, they’re set to embark on their journeys sometime in 2020. Will they be pretty much like riding the new Orange Line trains? Maybe! But red, which is very different. And hey, at least this doubles your chance of actually riding a new train sometime.—Lisa Weidenfeld
The day when we finally see dockless e-scooters zipping around the streets of Boston may be just around the corner. California-based Bird ruffled a lot of feathers in Somerville and Cambridge in 2018 when it went rogue, deploying its scooters in those cities without asking. But a town-sanctioned pilot program in Brookline this year, which allowed three scooter companies to operate there temporarily, was relatively well-received, attracting some 200,000 riders and demonstrating just how much demand there is for the things. Meanwhile, the state legislature is chewing on regulations that might finally clear the way for the overdue e-scooter revolution. At that point, all we’d need is sign-off from City Hall to let the hottest trend in micromobility arrive in Boston next year. And let’s face it, the next time the MBTA grinds to a maddening halt and you’re in need of a convenient motorized alternative, you’ll be glad it’s here. —Spencer Buell
Our young people are not okay. Suicide rates among 15 to 19-year-olds are at a staggering high, according to a recent report. This has become especially clear in Massachusetts, where we’ve had two high-profile suicide-coercion cases in the past few years. Michelle Carter and Inyoung You have both faced legal action for encouraging their boyfriends, Conrad Roy and Alexander Urtula, respectively, to commit suicide through series of texts and phone calls. Because Massachusetts is one of only 10 states that doesn’t have a law on the books regarding coerced suicide, both women were charged with involuntary manslaughter, which can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. With “Conrad’s Law,” a proposed bill so-named for Roy, it would a) explicitly become a crime to coerce someone with a “known propensity for suicidal ideation” into committing suicide, and b) set a maximum penalty (up to five years in prison) more in-line with the nature of the cases. “We believe this law is a better way to address such tragic cases than by charging perpetrators with manslaughter, which carries a 20-year maximum prison penalty, and has led to lengthy legal battles that cause victims’ families further trauma,” said senator Barry Finegold, who’s cosponsoring the bill with Representative Natalie Higgins, at a November hearing. We’re hoping it passes, because if it does, it will make an unimaginably painful process a little more humane for all involved. —A.B.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but in the event that a certain football team makes it all the way once again this season, it could be a real banner year for Pats superfans and Massachusetts’ population of snowbirds. That’s right—come Super Bowl Sunday early next year, a pair of teams will be facing off at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Again, do not want to jinx things, but there is a very real possibility that folks headed to see the big game in person in 2020 could be raising a glass to a seventh ring one day, and chilling on the beach the next. In February. Not bad. —S.B.
It’s an old cliché around these parts that in politics, there’s always a Massachusetts connection. Well, this year, when it comes to the 2020 election, there are four. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is, of course, actually in contention for the Democratic nomination. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who appears to be testing how much attention several hundred million dollars can buy you these days, is from Medford. Bill Weld, in case you forgot, is still technically running on the Republican ticket. And Deval Patrick is giving it a shot, bless his heart. Seth Moulton briefly was in the running, but saw the writing on the wall and backed out. Anybody else want to give it a shot? Paging Mark Wahlberg: There’s still time! —S.B.
We get it—keeping up with our dumpster-fire political system is exhausting. But one reason to stay in-the-know this election year: the inevitable moments of digital justice. Here in Mass., we’re blessed with female politicians known for firing off thunderous clapbacks. From Liz to Ayanna to Michelle, our elected ladies prove time and time again that they do not suffer fools. Remember Jacob Wohl’s cry for help press conference where he accused Elizabeth Warren of conducting an affair with a 20-something Marine? Liz embraced her cougarship and pivoted to her campaign without missing a beat. Or what about when Kellyanne Conway called a disagreement between Nancy Pelosi and the Squad a “major meow moment?” Ayanna dragged her ass into the next dimension. And when Airbnb tried to start an email campaign against Michelle Wu? She was having exactly none of it. As we draw closer to election day, it’s safe to predict that political tempers will flare. Pols from all sides will be on edge, and cheap shots are likely to fly. Luckily, as our representatives have shown, they can not only take the heat, but can give it back and then some. So, want to come for a Massachusetts woman? We can’t wait to see you try. —Amanda Lucidi
Every new year ushers in a slew of exciting restaurant openings from top chefs. That’s a given. But 2020 will also be the year, following some protracted rollout periods, when we finally get a few of those ballyhooed food halls that we’ve been promised. Hub Hall should open by winter’s end at the glittery new TD Garden-side complex, Hub on Causeway, and has been teasing vendors like Apizza, a New Haven- and Roman-style pizza purveyor from chef Douglass Williams; Lily P’s, a small spinoff of a fried chicken joint that just opened in Cambridge; and Momosan Ramen, a full-service restaurant from famed “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto. Then there’s High Street Place, imminently opening downtown, where not one, but two new projects from star chef Tiffani Faison (Sweet Cheeks Q, Tiger Mama, Fool’s Errand, Orfano) are among the high-profile occupants. We suppose it remains to be seen whether or not these sprawling food courts—courts, halls, to-may-to, to-mah-to—turn into tourist traps like Quincy Market somewhere down the line. But right now, at least, we’re excited to sink our teeth into some very promising new social-dining destinations. —Scott Kearnan
The Jack’s Abby Beer Hall tapped a house-made hard cider on draft in late September, the Framingham brewery’s first-ever non-beer alcoholic option. Night Shift Brewery also made a cider in 2019, available exclusively at its two Boston beer gardens this past fall. These local breweries were on the cutting edge of the latest beer industry trend—and it wasn’t beer at all. In 2020, we’re excited to see—er, sip—what’s next for these, and other breweries: Lamplighter Brewing Co. has announced plans to open a distillery in East Cambridge, and critical darlings Tree House Brewing Company appear to be making similar moves, too. Which all begs the question: Is craft beer, as we’ve known it, over? Definitely not, beer people agree. “We’re restless creative types always looking to pursue more passions,” says Lamplighter cofounder Cayla Marvil. “I just think there are other exciting avenues to explore as well.” —Jacqueline Cain
Jagged Little Pill has journeyed off to Broadway, where we can only assume audiences are equally enamored of the tearing-off-the-roof performance of “You Oughta Know” each night. Which can only mean one thing: ART’s resident theater mastermind is back at the drawing board. Artistic Director Diane Paulus is bestowing her directorial talents on the old school musical theater fave, 1776, for her next effort. We’re guessing this is not going to be a traditional revival, since that’s not really her style. Will John Adams do some kind of acrobatics? Could we safely say this was inspired by the popularity of a certain other Revolutionary War-era musical? Maybe. But at this point, it’s pretty safe to trust in Paulus’ theater instincts. Catch the new adaptation this May. She’ll also have a play about Gloria Steinem going up in January, if musicals aren’t your thing.—L.W.
It’s not like Cambridge’s own Mindy Kaling has been out there slacking off since her eponymous show, The Mindy Project, went off the air in 2017. She wrote and starred in Late Night, had a kid, and is currently appearing on The Morning Show. Oh, and she created the Four Weddings and a Funeral Hulu revival. Hmm, also she starred in Ocean’s 8. The woman keeps busy. But her next project sounds like it could be a lot more personal: a Netflix show inspired by her own childhood. Details on the show are pretty spare (OK, we’re not totally positive this thing will see the light of day in 2020), but we generally trust in Mindy. We would trust in Mindy even more if the show ended up being set in Cambridge, and maybe they came here to film, and Mindy was just like, going out for dinner at Alden & Harlow and you ran into her! Boy, that would be something. —L.W.
It’s official: Little Fires Everywhere premieres March 18. The Hulu miniseries is based on the 2017 bestseller by another Cambridge lady (and Best of Boston winner!), Celeste Ng. And not to brag or anything, but the cast for the show we’re claiming as our own (the fact that it’s set in Ohio is irrelevant right now, thanks) is ridiculously impressive: Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon anchor the show as rival matriarchs Mia Warren and Elena Richardson, respectively. And based on the series teaser trailer, both of the actresses/producers are bringing the heat. But like, literally—as fans of the book know, Little Fires Everywhere covers the usual suburban tropes: adoption, arson, and antagonism. We won’t spoil anything, but buckle up, guys—this show is gonna take you for a ride. —A.B.
Whether you’re admitting it or not, there’s a pretty decent chance that Taylor Swift was your Spotify artist of the decade. She’s spent the past fourteen years churning out hit after hit, and snake emojis aside, how can you not love “Delicate?” (Or “Style,” or “Holy Ground,” or “Picture to Burn?”) In fact, her track record earned her an actual “Artist of the Decade” nod from the American Music Awards last month. Her nostalgic performance, besides reminding us of how talented of a musician she really is, only cemented her influence on pop culture. (We know you know every line of “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off.”) Come July 31, you can experience the Swiftacle for yourself at Lover Fest East, at Gillette Stadium. Swift’s personal music festival is one of her only two U.S. tour dates this year—the other being Lover Fest West, in L.A.—which makes this two-day affair an extra-hot ticket item. Opening acts are still TBD, but with Swift’s coterie of famous friends, they’re obviously gonna be big. Who knows, maybe we’ll finally get a “Senorita” that ends in a kiss—if anyone could make it happen, it’s Swift. —A.B.
And a shameless plug to round it off: We love Best of Boston, and we know you love Best of Boston. Our annual issue and party fete all the things that make this city so much fun to live in, local personalities, donut shops, and neighborhood bars included. While our picks may be divisive—hey, you try choosing between Blackbird and Union Square Donuts—our summer celebration is always one helluva good time. On July 15, join us in the Warehouse at Flynn Cruiseport for an evening of drinking, dancing, and snacking with your favorite Boston staffers and a whole bunch of our as-yet-to-be-determined winners. (And if you’re wondering, yes, we really do test and research every single category.) We’re not spilling the beans on any of our picks, but we guarantee it’s a night you won’t want to miss. —A.B.
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