50 Years of ‘Best of Boston’: City Life

In honor of this year's 50th anniversary of Best of Boston, we're taking a look back. This month: civic improvements, tourist attractions and viral moments.

Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald


Best Disease

Mononucleosis. “The only cure: rest in bed.”

Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Best Tourist Attraction

Quincy Market. This downtown icon has been around since the 1800s, but it wasn’t until a multimillion-dollar restoration in the 1970s that it became the retail and dining hub it is today. Even then, though, Boston recognized its appeal among out-of-towners, calling it “Disneyland for consumers.”


Best Place to Meet Pols

The Last Hurrah. “They like the name.”


Best Resource, Local, Revamped

The Boston Public Library System “Look what money can do: all the branches are open again, the librarians don’t snap at you anymore, and the books are in their proper places on the shelves.”


Best Evening Strolls

Castle Island. Fifteen years before Whitey Bulger was nabbed in California, we honored his former stomping grounds, noting that “If you happen to run across him now while on your daily constitutional, we hear there’s a reward.”


Best Broker, Rentals

Sheila Golden, Itzkan & Marchiel. It seems not much has changed when it comes to finding a place to call home. “Oh what fresh hell is renting an apartment in this overcharged Boston real estate scene,” our intrepid researchers complained in 2000. Thankfully, Y2K lessees had Sheila Golden as their sherpa. She’s “in the know when it comes to finding apartments before they hit the market,” they noted.

Photo via Getty Images


Best Family Hangout, Fair-Weather

Franklin Park Zoo. “Sometimes pushing a stroller through the mall feels like navigating a herd of wildebeest; an afternoon at the playground, like dodging wild chimpanzees. On these days, wise parents escape to more civilized environs—namely, this parklike turn-of-the-century zoo, which offers 72 acres’ worth of roaming room.”

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Best Viral Moment

The “Rescued” Red Sox Banner. Remember the days when holding a lost Sox banner for pseudo-ransom was big news? We certainly do. In 2018, two fans named Louie Iacuzzi and James Amaral captivated Greater Boston in a viral video recorded by the Boston Globe. “We need to negotiate heah,” Iacuzzi said to the camera after finding the treasured signage on McGrath Highway in Somerville. As the editors at the time said, “They got squat, but we got a good, hearty laugh.”

Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images


Best Bittersweet Goodbye

Tom Brady Leaves the Patriots. “Did the GOAT jump the fence out of the Patriots’ pasture, or did Farmer Bill kick him out the gate? We probably won’t know until the best quarterback ever and the best NFL coach ever are long retired and finally start giving candid interviews. Either way, this much is undeniable: Our former Number 12 now looks hideously off-putting in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ red, orange, and pewter jersey.”

Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald


Best Long-Awaited Civic Improvement

Green Line Extension. We waited, we waited, and then we waited some more. And then, finally, the Green Line Extension to Somerville and Medford was unveiled. “Given the T’s well-documented struggles, it’s nice to see the beleaguered agency get a win for once, even if it is after a decadeslong financial and logistical boondoggle,” we wrote at the time. As we know now, that win was short-lived.

First published in the print edition of the June 2024 issue with the headline, “BOB 50: City Life.”