Rick Rushton, personal tour guide (updated)

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

This article has probably been making the rounds via email and Twitter this morning, but it’s worth a link on our blog.

Back in February Globe columnist Brian McGrory, in the midst of a column-length dig at the MBTA and their timeliness problems, got in a shot at Worcester — something about wondering why anyone would be in a rush to come here. I’d give you the exact quote, but I was stopped by the paper’s paywall.

Anyway, Rick Rushton sent off an email to McGrory (initially without telling him he was a city councilor) and offered him a personalized tour of Worcester. Guess what McGrory wrote about for today:

So there I was, in the passenger seat of his SUV as he admired something I couldn’t see. All I noticed were potholes, warehouses, a transmission shop, and a sushi restaurant that looked like it took a wrong turn at the Centrum.

Rushton talked about the videogame initiative, the food, David Clark Co. and enlisted the help of UMass Chancellor Michael Collins and the optimism of Mayor Joe O’Brien.  McGrory ladles on the sarcasm, but ends up with a nice farewell:

All right, Rick, you win. It’s all great — the people, the history, the whole grand metropolis that is Worcester.

(Also mentioned: Rushton described as “baby-faced” and a voicemail from Lt. Governor Tim Murray.)

Update: What was Rushton’s reaction?

Rushton says he sent McGrory an email this morning pointing out the snarkiness, but despite the editorial attitude, the headline “Wowed in Worcester” sends a message.

“I wasn’t going to get that declarative sentence: ‘Worcester is a city on the move,'” but he did like the line we highlighted above.

Meanwhile, Globe commenters are alternating between bashing Worcester, bashing McGrory and genuinely wanting to know where to go and what to do here. Give ’em tips.



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12 responses to “Rick Rushton, personal tour guide (updated)

  1. cmsnell

    “All right, Rick, you win. It’s all great — the people, the history, the whole grand metropolis that is Worcester. Just please, nothing personal, but my long weekends are already booked.” – not exactly a “nice” end on that thing at all.

  2. Frankly1

    Could someone who lives in Worcester tell me something I’ve been dying to know?

    Where, exactly, is the “nice” part of Worcester?

    That may sound sarcastic, but it really isn’t. I have considerable occasion to go to Worcester — my son is in med school there — but the limited areas I’ve seen in Worcester so far don’t inspire any desire to stick around.

    Where do you go for good restaurants? Any art scene to speak of, or a “Bohemian” part of town? Where are the nicest neighborhoods?

  3. Clubthumb3

    I have lived in various states and cities around this country and Worcester ranks among the WORST. I have been here for three years which should be a reasonable amount of time to form an opinion. How many full service hotels? One. Dining? Worcester Magazine gleefully suggests Panera next to the Home Depot as one of the “many” outdoor dining spots to enjoy in the summer. Coffee Shops? Couldn’t count them on one hand even though there are 10 colleges. How about the roads? Could you have fewer East/West thoroughfares? (Though to be fair driving in Boston is the absolute worst) Are you into fashion? Well Worcester’s main mall boasts a T.J. Maxx, Old Navy, and Big Lots. It is totally delusional to say that Worcester has “everything” that any large metropolis has to offer. Because most medium tolarge cities don’t have a downtown district featuring an abandoned mall.

  4. bostonjimmy12

    If you’re relying on WoMag for dining suggestions, there’s not much I can say here. And if Panera Bread and a handful of coffee shops is all you’ve found the city has to offer in three years you must spend all day in a cubicle and drive directly home at night

  5. girlshy

    Brian, right on! I lived in Worcester for 30 years – since moved to the Boston suburbs. Worcester is unfortunately a mere shell of its former self. It is a dying (dead?) city. They have nothing. It’s a shame. Lots of good people there. The spin the Worcester folks put on their fine city is laughable. How many times has its super cool outlet mall opened and closed? I would never move back there. Nor would I want my kids to grow up there. Adios Worchester (sarcasm implied).

  6. worcestermag

    Ah yes, good ol’ Proquest. The quote: “Let’s give MBTA executives the benefit of the doubt and assume that it may never have occurred to them that anyone would be in a rush to get to Worcester.”

  7. Joe Scully

    “Haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love.”

  8. Frankly1, If you really aren’t being sarcastic as you said, check out Nu Cafe, then: Mechanics Hall, Hanover Theater, Worcester Art Museum, (if you like to create works of art, there’s Worcester Center For Crafts), Tuckerman Hall/Massachusetts Symphony, Ecotarium, Broadmeadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Union Station, DCU Center, Higgins Armory, Elm Park, Institute Park, Salisbury Park, Lake Park, and — if you like to golf, there’s Green Hill Park.. For good restaurants: Shrewsbury Street down closer to the Union Station end (at least I’m told those restaurants are good — I can’t afford any of them); Northworks on Grove is pretty popular too; also Highland Street and Park Ave.. The best neighborhoods: Institute Park and Salisbury Park area (Massachusetts Ave., Regent St., etc.), Salisbury Street and its offshoots, Indian Lake area (Holden St., etc.), Worcester State University area (Flagg St., etc.), and part of the Becker College neighborhood — esp. the westernmost section of William St. (the first couple of blocks of the one-way street going east off of Russell right behind Elm Park). As far as I know, there isn’t a “Bohemian” section of the city — maybe the Canal District will become one when it’s finished.. And hopefully City Square will also be finished and will have something good to offer you guys before your son graduates.

  9. Liberal

    Worcester has Jim Polito on the radio, reason enough to leave. Besides it looks best in a rear-view mirror anyway. The old song sums it up best ; Gotta Get …. Outa Wista …Gotta Get …. Outa Wista………

  10. Greg

    Worcester is certainly in need of some revamping…. but, to answer your question, Clubthumb3, try WorcesterScene restaurants. Although I know Worcester is in need of improvements, I am disappointed that he didn’t get a tour of some of the nice things in the city.

  11. Andrew J.

    Greg, please tell the public what the nice things in Worcester are.
    After almost two years living here I still haven’t found them.

    Honestly, I can’t think of one local restaurant that I would visit a second time.

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