Now more than ever, as a city of hidden gems comes out of hiding, Holy Cross students embrace the spirit of their College's hometown.
By Mark Sullivan
The Miss Worcester Diner on Southbridge Street is a city icon. Sitting amid old factory buildings beneath the rusted overpass of the Providence and Worcester Railroad, it serves up comfort food in an unlikely setting. The roar of Harley Davidsons mixes with the aroma of home fries and the diner's signature French toast. Blue-collar workers and artists, bikers and college students share stools at the narrow counter.
Gritty exterior notwithstanding, the place is welcoming. It is a microcosm of Worcester, a city of 182,000 that is undergoing a renaissance.
"People not from around here think this area is shady and sketchy," says the diner's owner, Kim Knistern (right), spatula in hand, sleeves of tattoos on both arms. "But when they come in here, they become regulars." Certain time of the year, she says, "not a day goes by that we don't have a parent in here with a kid looking at colleges."
Above the door at the "Miss Woo" hangs a Holy Cross baseball cap. The players on the team have been coming to the diner since they were freshmen, Knistern says. Located a mile or so from campus, within walking distance for students who aren't allowed cars until junior year, the Miss Woo has been a longtime Holy Cross favorite. For its 50th reunion party, the Class of 1960 rented the entire dining car and decked it in purple and white.
On a Sunday morning in late April, four members of the Holy Cross men's lacrosse and women's soccer teams were in a booth sharing a French toast sundae covered with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Living in Worcester "definitely adds character" to the Holy Cross experience, said Emily Gallagher '15 of Duxbury, Mass., who described the circa-1948 flagship of the old Worcester Lunch Car Co. tucked beneath the railroad trestle as "kind of cool."
At the counter, Sarah Webster, Holy Cross assistant professor of biology, was having the blueberry ricotta-stuffed French toast. "I'm really glad I moved to Worcester," says Webster, who joined the faculty four years ago after doing her postdoctoral work at Children's Hospital in Boston. "It has a lot to offer that I didn't realize living in Boston."
"Hidden gems" is a phrase you hear a lot in connection with New England's second largest city, home to 10 colleges, a lively restaurant scene and a world-class art museum. "If you go looking for things to do, you will find them," says Victoria Aramini '14 of Westborough, Mass. "I've come across plenty."
Shrewsbury Street has become Worcester's "Restaurant Row." Holy Cross students head there for guacamole and chips at Mezcal Tequila Cantina, for velvety cupcakes at Sweet Bakery, and for espresso and cappuccino at InHouse Coffee. It's also the scene of the popular Shrewsbury Street Shuffle. Nicholas Tasca '13 of Cranston, R.I., says the event, held in the fall and only open to college students, is one of his "best Worcester memories." For $10, students get to sample dishes from the eateries up and down the street. "Each restaurant invites the 'shufflers' to walk in and taste a specialty off their menu," Tasca explains. "Be sure to go hungry, because you'll certainly leave satisfied."
On Highland Street, the Sole Proprietor seafood restaurant is the place to take visiting parents. Wooberry, across the street, is a frozen-yogurt mecca. Owner Ted Domville is used to seeing Crusader purple coming in the door. "When we opened, we were really hoping to see a lot of Holy Cross students, even though of all the colleges in Worcester, they're the farthest away from us," he says. "
And we really have. They're one of the schools we see the most of."
Wooberry hosts twice-monthly fundraisers, and Holy Cross groups including the women's crew team have taken part. "One of the groups that fundraised with us from Holy Cross set up a shuttle that ran to Wooberry on the hour and returned on the half-hour, from 6 until close," Domville recalls. "That was a great idea."
The city's Canal District, with restaurants and bars along Water and Green streets at Kelley Square, comes alive on weekends. Flavor fans flock to The One Love Cafe on South Main for Jamaican food at a Sunday jazz brunch.
Just two blocks away from campus on Southbridge Street, George's Coney Island Lunch, another favorite of students and locals alike, serves up classic hot dogs and pickles.
Worcester's appeal extends beyond its culinary offerings, of course. The Worcester Art Museum (WAM)-the second largest art museum in New England-draws visitors from around the world with its impressive collections of European and North American painting, prints, photographs and drawings; Asian art; Greek and Roman sculpture and mosaics; and contemporary art. Monet, Pollock, Homer, Gauguin, van Gogh and Picasso all live under the WAM's roof.
Holy Cross President Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., who visits the WAM a few times each semester, says the museum has become his favorite place in Worcester. "I am totally amazed that such a fine collection is housed in a city of our size," he observes. "I recently took 12 students there as a pilot for a larger program I will begin in the fall, which involves taking groups of first-year students to various sites in Worcester and environs that interest me and hopefully will interest them." Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Fr. Boroughs was raised in Seattle; just before moving to New England, he lived for nine years in Washington, D.C. In other words, this is a man who knows good museums. "I want Holy Cross students to get off of Mount St. James and discover the rich resources of our city," he adds, noting the Worcester Historical Museum, Elm Park and the EcoTarium. "Further, I hope they can see the wonderful architectural gems of our city and, in light of all the development going on, participate in the re-envisioning of Worcester's future."
The American Antiquarian Society on Salisbury Street is another Worcester gem on Fr. Boroughs' "must see" list. It is both a learned society and a major independent research library, housing the largest collection of books and other materials printed through 1876 in what is now the United States.
With financial help from the city's colleges and universities, including Holy Cross, the extensive renovation of an empty downtown theatre was completed in 2008, transforming the historic building into The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. Now recognized as one of the finest venues in the country, "The Hanover," as locals call it, enjoys a robust schedule, from Broadway shows to dance to concerts. Upcoming productions include "Jersey Boys" and "Man of La Mancha."
Over the years, Admissions Director Ann McDermott '79 has been pleased to see how Holy Cross students discover these local gems and embrace them as they adopt Worcester as their hometown. "It's the perfect 'give and take,' " she says. "Worcester has so much to offer our students, and our students have a lot to give the city in return." McDermott notes that the College makes it very easy for students to engage Worcester and make it their own. "Our students are do-ers," she adds. "They seek out where they can take part in the life of the city and celebrate the unique opportunities here."
A concerted effort is now being made to tie together the attributes that make Worcester unique. A major piece of that effort is a multi-million-dollar redevelopment that opens downtown Worcester to Shrewsbury Street, Union Station and the Canal District, an endeavor that is designed to bring new life to the heart of the city that calls itself the "Heart of the Commonwealth."
"Worcester's really coming back," says Edward Augustus Jr., a former state senator from Worcester who currently serves as Holy Cross' director of government and community relations. "And when Worcester shines, Holy Cross shines."
City Manager Michael O'Brien recalls a comment made to him by a JetBlue executive on a tour of the city prior to the airline's recent announcement that it would begin flights out of Worcester Airport: "How come I didn't know about this city before?" Adds O'Brien, "I don't want to be the 'best-kept secret' anymore," as he seeks to promote the message: "Rediscover Worcester. Who knew Woo?"
"The Woo," an affectionate nickname for a city plagued by mispronunciation (newcomers are warned not to call it "Worchester"), is part of a campaign to encourage residents to enjoy the city's vibrant cultural scene. The "WOO card" program, sponsored by the Worcester Cultural Coalition, gives cardholders discounts at restaurants, shops, concerts, street festivals, museums and more. The initial card fee is waived for Worcester's thousands of college students.
This winter, the city of Worcester invited area college students to the new Worcester Common Oval skate rink for an evening of free ice skating. The event was a thank you to the colleges, including Holy Cross, which sponsored the Oval project-a 12,000-square-foot rink (that's 4,000 square feet larger than the rink at Rockefeller Center) that offers skate rentals and concessions. "It is yet another success story for our downtown," notes O'Brien. "I am grateful to those in the community who continue to recognize the potential of our great city and step up time and time again to make things happen."
What is happening in Worcester is "not a buzz," says Ben Forman, research director for independent think tank MassINC. "It's real."
The $565-million CitySquare project, one of the largest public-private development projects ever in Massachusetts outside Boston, is seen transforming downtown Worcester into a hub that connects many of the city's most prominent destinations, while creating more than 2.2 million square feet of commercial, medical, retail, entertainment and residential space.
Express commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston has accompanied the move of the CSX rail facility from Allston-Brighton to Worcester, which has become the busiest rail port in New England. The two largest cities in the state are now potentially less than an hour away by train.
"This is a game changer," Augustus says. "If you look at what a house costs in Worcester versus a house in Boston, you can have a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a huge yard here for $250,000, or what you would pay for a 700-square-foot condo in the South End."
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has more than doubled its presence in downtown Worcester, while Quinsigamond Community College is opening a satellite branch in the former Telegram & Gazette building. The influx of college students is seen adding to a demand for shops, restaurants and cultural amenities that, it is hoped, will create a vibrant "18-hour day" downtown. Though none of the city's 10 colleges has been large enough to sustain a business district of its own, MassINC's Forman says a revitalized downtown potentially could be the college-town hub this city, with its more than 30,000 student population, has been missing.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is partnering with the city and private developers on Gateway Park, a life-science and bioengineering complex that will boost research and development in Lincoln Square at the north end of downtown. And the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the city's largest employer, continues to grow with the addition of the $400-million Albert Sherman Center, which has doubled the campus's research capacity.
"Education and medicine -'eds and meds'-are the two biggest parts of the Worcester economy now," says Augustus. "Once we made steel products and corsets. Now we're helping figure out how to cure HIV and cancer, and how to educate the next generation of leaders in every field imaginable."
Worcester once manufactured hoop skirts and wire for telegraphs, suspension bridges and the fencing of the Western prairie. This city made 75 percent of the crankshafts in America, says John Anderson '57, associate professor emeritus of history at Holy Cross and a former mayor and city councilor. The monkey wrench was invented here, as was Robert Goddard's prototype rocket.
But over the course of the 20th century, Worcester experienced the fate of other mid-sized industrial cities in New England, Anderson explains. Manufacturing jobs left. Residents, businesses and shoppers departed for the suburbs. The Massachusetts Turnpike bypassed Worcester, while the I-290 expressway bisected it. The downtown that once had five department stores deteriorated.
The Galleria, later the Worcester Common Outlets, attempted to recreate the suburban mall downtown-and failed. The downtown was cut off by a mall that acted as a "Berlin Wall," says Augustus.
Holy Cross, too, was effectively walled off from the city, says former longtime Telegram & Gazette editor Harry Whitin. Industrial Southbridge Street was a physical barrier, and then, so was I-290. The isolation was both geographical and psychological: A perception grew of the College as an ivory tower, Whitin says.
Mary Beth (Hearn) Burke '84, now an adjunct professor of political science at Assumption College, recalls when she attended Holy Cross in the early 1980s, "We didn't leave campus. The buses stopped running at 8 p.m."
Today, the walls are coming down.
The College has created a transportation department within the division of student affairs and public safety, centralizing the scheduling of vans and allowing a whole new flow of shuttles into the city, according to Jerry Maday, the College's transportation manager. "Students are getting daily shuttles to Shrewsbury Street, Wal-Mart, White City, the Auburn Mall and the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley," Maday says. Since the centralization, shuttle activity alone has nearly doubled as students take advantage of the availability of transportation.
And students aren't just leaving campus to grab a bite with friends or see movies-Crusaders are pitching in to remake their city. They provide more than 91,000 hours of volunteer service annually at family shelters, nursing homes, health clinics and schools in Worcester County. They are cutting trails at Cookson Park and engaged in the College's effort to extend the Blackstone Valley National Park to the Middle River at the edge of campus. They are speaking to high school athletes about teamwork and modeling respect for fellow players. They are using their tech skills to help the elderly learn how to connect with their grandkids in the digital age. (Maday notes a downtown shuttle runs three days a week during peak volunteer times.)
Most of these opportunities are organized through Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD), a student-founded, student-run community service operation sponsored by the Chaplains' Office. Consisting of more than 45 different outreach programs and boasting 700 active members, SPUD is the largest student organization at the College. This year, SPUD celebrated its 45th anniversary and continues its Jesuit tradition of standing in solidarity with and serving people in need.
"As Holy Cross students engage the people of Worcester, either through Community-Based Learning opportunities or service projects," Fr. Boroughs notes, "I hope that they let the people of our city teach them how to see the world from a variety of different perspectives. What does the world look like if you are a single mom raising your children alone with very limited resources, or a recent immigrant trying to find one's way in this country, or a middle school student of great intelligence but limited means trying to use his or her education to create a future?
"From these perspectives," he continues, "our students will gain a deeper sense of empathy and compassion as well as an increased desire to work for social change and justice."
Students often see a need and fill it with volunteer programs they create from the ground up. A couple of years ago, for example, a group of community- and environment-minded Crusaders noticed that each spring, as students cleared out of their residence halls, hundreds of perfectly usable items were being tossed in Dumpsters. They formed an effort dubbed "Trash or Treasure" and encouraged their classmates to donate those items instead. The collection effort now yields about five truckloads of lamps, televisions, clothing, housewares and more that head over to the Salvation Army and other Worcester organizations.
The ultimate grassroots effort was this year's "Working for Worcester," the brainchild of hockey player and Russian scholar Jeffrey Reppucci '14. "Working for Worcester is a city wide project designed to promote pride and ownership while, at the same time, providing necessary improvements to Worcester's recreational spaces," Reppucci explains. With a core cadre of friends as site managers who adopted his infectious passion for the project, the group held its inaugural project day on April 20. Working for Worcester mobilized a group of about 600 students, faculty and local volunteers who fanned out across Worcester to make more than $60,000 of improvements at 12 community sites.
"Projects like Working for Worcester go beyond the impressive physical improvements made to our recreation spaces," says Margaret Kettles, a child advocate at The Village Shelter for families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. "They help Worcester college students learn about and gain connection to the Worcester community and help strengthen relationships between colleges and neighbors." Working for Worcester volunteers modernized the shelter's teen lounge with a computer station and game tables, and upgraded the blacktop basketball court and the play area for younger children.
At Worcester's South High School, another Working for Worcester site, principal Maureen Binienda marveled at the updates tackled by volunteers from Holy Cross and Unum, which funded the South High projects. The group expanded the play space that serves the children of current South High students by installing a new fence, play structure and sandbox. "The children in the day care and preschool are so happy with the new play area. Everything is so beautiful!" Binienda says. "They finally have the play space that these wonderful children deserve."
Children are, perhaps, where Holy Cross' efforts in social justice and community building have the most significant impact. Every second-grader in the city this past year received a library card through Libby, the mobile library the College sponsors. And, in addition to the big splash made this spring by Working for Worcester, hundreds of Holy Cross students serve as Big Brothers and Big Sisters all four years they are on the Hill (see related story, Page 22). Dozens more work each week as tutors and mentors in the public schools, including Elm Park Community School, Quinsigamond Elementary School and Vernon Hill Elementary.
"You're that friendly face who is there every week, someone to count on, who can help kids with their multiplication, be there to talk with them about how their day at school was, and instill academic aspiration," says Brittany Geoffroy '13, who oversaw school volunteer opportunities for SPUD this past year. "You're that college example. We really take pride in being that for kids."
Debbie Mitchell, principal of Quinsigamond Elementary School, concurs. "The Holy Cross volunteers who work in the classrooms at our school provide not only academic support, but even more important, they are excellent role models for urban students. Having your teachers tell you that getting a great education is the key to success is expected," she says, "but seeing young college kids who are living examples of this truth makes it real for our students."
During their visits, Crusaders get to play games and go to the gym with the young students, and they "serve as great listeners to children who crave the one-on-one attention," according to Mitchell. "Quinsig's affiliation with the Holy Cross volunteers has been a win-win situation. Our students are inspired by these bright, caring and fun young people, and the volunteers experience that great feeling you get when you reach out to others."
A spirit of coming together to get things done animates the Worcester comeback, says Frederick Eppinger '81, president and CEO of Hanover Insurance, developer of the CitySquare project and naming benefactor of The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. Eppinger points to the Theatre's renovation efforts as an example of how Worcester's comeback strengths differ from those of other cities.
"When you go to the theatre, look at the people who have contributed," he says. "Just look at the names. We don't have millionaires in Worcester. We don't have lots of wealthy people. These are people who have lived here their whole lives. These are people who come from every neighborhood in this city, who decided they wanted to be part of that."
He says he finds the "grassroots commitment to the city" remarkable. "A lot of other cities have four wealthy families that do everything. We don't have that in Worcester. Here, it takes a village. That is what I like most about this city."
The College shares that feeling of being invested in its hometown.
"Holy Cross has been a major educational resource in Worcester for 170 years," Fr. Boroughs says. "In years past and continuing today, you can find our alums serving in our city's political, business, health sciences, educational and ecclesial leadership, making Worcester a great place to live and work." ■
Mark Sullivan, a freelance writer in Ashland, Mass., has written for newspapers and college publications across New England.
Next page: Holy Cross' student athletes prove the the Crusaders are still "Worcester's Team."
Still Worcester's Team
"They were our guys," recalls John Anderson '57, associate professor emeritus of history and a former mayor and city councilor. He is referring, of course, to the Crusaders, who made Cousy, Heinsohn, Lockbaum, Kelly, Osmanski and Foley household names in Worcester-and beyond.
Says former longtime Worcester Telegram & Gazette editor Harry Whitin: "The guy on the street in Worcester had the feeling Holy Cross was his team."
Today, Holy Cross athletes keep the bond strong between College and city. In addition to ticket programs that allow local parents to enjoy a night of football, baseball, hockey and more with their kids without breaking the family budget, teams across the board are deeply involved in the Big Brother and Big Sister programs, making a difference in the lives of Worcester children by becoming companions, mentors and friends.
Holy Cross athletes, men and women for others, remain Worcester's Team. At an early May field day for Little Brothers and Little Sisters on campus, Holy Cross Magazine caught up with several Crusader athletes and their "Littles."
CONOR MOYNIHAN '13 pitcher, baseball and ELIESER, age 12
Elieser on what they do together: "We talk about everything at home, how school has been, troubles-and then we just have fun."
Elieser on a benefit of having a Big Brother: "When we play basketball, he forces me to my right." Conor: "He's a lefty, so he's got to work on his right hand."
What Elieser hopes to do when he grows up: "Be in the NBA."
Conor on having a Little Brother: "I'm from Worcester, so this is my hometown. As we got to know each other better, it became like having another younger brother, which is awesome. It's too bad it's only once a week."
KELCEY GERMAIN '13 hammer thrower, Women's Track & Field and PERSIS, age 10
Persis on what she likes about having a Big Sister: "I like the feeling of being noticed."
What they talk about: Persis: "About school, about life."
Kelcey: "Boys!" Persis: "Really."
WHAT Persis HOPES TO BE WHEN SHE GROWS UP: "A doctor."
Kelcey on having a Little Sister: "My Little Sister is awesome. I myself have gained a lot from the experience, watching her grow. She really inspires me everyday. It's great to know that I mean so much to someone."
KATIE DEGENNARO '14 forwared, Field Hockey and ALI, age 9
Ali on what she likes about having a Big Sister: "It's fun. We go out to dinner, get ice cream, do homework, get our nails done."
What color? "Orange."
Katie on having a Little Sister: "I love the way Ali grounds me. When we're together, there's never a dull moment. We never stop talking."
Ali on what she wants to do when she grows up: "Go to Holy Cross and be a Big Sister."
JOHN HANNAN '13 midfielder, men's lacrosse and LANDON, age 12
Landon on what he likes about having a Big Brother: "Having a good time. Basketball, football and baseball, of course-I love baseball."
What Landon wants to be when he grows up: "A fireman."
John on having a Little Brother: "I love going down to the Canterbury School and just hanging out with him and his friends and helping them out with homework. It's nice to get away from school for a while and hang out with the kids. It's really changed my last four years, because I've done it every year I've been here. It's been a really nice experience, and it's great that our whole team does this as well."
GARY ACQUAH '14 defensive lineman, football, and FERNANDO, age 13
Fernando on what he likes about having a Big Brother: "We get to play sports and go to the football games. My favorite time was when we had box seats at the Celtics game."
Fernando on what he hopes to do when he is older: "Play in the NBA. Holy Cross is my first college choice. Kentucky is my second."
Gary on having a Little Brother: "There's a lot of stress between school and sports. One hour a week makes a difference for us-and our 'Littles.' " ■
Next up: Two Holy Cross alumni discuss their role in changing the city, and we ask "What can our city become?"
What Can Our City Become?
MICHAEL F. COLLINS, M.D., '77, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
I'm bullish on Worcester. It's an important moment in the city because there is so much opportunity here. We can attract great science-if you look at the building we've done, the folks we've been able to attract, the fact that a relatively new medical school can already have had a faculty member win the Nobel Prize, the fact that we're the state's medical school and part of a great state university-these are all very important formulae for our success. We've been able to leverage our position to acquire the Biotech Park, to build some new facilities here, both the Ambulatory Care Center and the Albert Sherman Center over the last decade. That positions us very well, and it also positions us to attract additional business to the community.
Worcester is the second largest city in New England. I think we've got a lot going on here that perhaps isn't fully appreciated. We have no problem recruiting faculty to come and live in our community. There's a vibrancy now in the arts, with The Hanover Theatre, and the leadership of the Worcester Art Museum. There's a vibrancy in the social fabric of the city, and there's a group of people who work and live here who find it a very attractive place to raise their families and educate their children and live their lives. I think that's a terrific formula for success. Our businesses are equally vibrant. We're in a renaissance period, if you will. We were largely a manufacturing city at the turn of the century. The manufacturing has now switched: It's now about science and education. While we were known as a manufacturing hub, I think we're going to be known as a knowledge generator. The contribution we're going to make to the economy is going to be based on the knowledge we create and disseminate, and the impact that has on the world. It will be known that it was discovered in Worcester.
[At UMass Medical School] our commitment is to change the course of the history of disease. You never know where the next discovery is going to take you. Whether it's RNA biology, which is what Professor [Craig] Mello won the Nobel Prize in-we have perhaps the world's finest collection of RNA biologists that exists. You look at neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal diseases-those are areas in which we have centers of excellence. We have no problem recruiting-right now when we see people for a position, we see the top five people in the world.
Holy Cross has always been an important entity for our community. It occupies an important part of the city; it's engaged in the community. One of the things that is great about the Jesuits is that they're present in society. I think that the Jesuits' presence at Holy Cross and in the greater Worcester community is very dearly felt. Holy Cross is one of the leading institutions in the city; Fr. Boroughs is a terrific leader for our community; our alumni are actively engaged. There are a lot of leaders in the community who went to Holy Cross. We all know who we are, and we respect that.
FRED EPPINGER '81, President and CEO, The Hanover Insurance Group
Worcester is a very strong, vibrant city with unlimited potential. It's well poised to grow and prosper moving forward-to be a distinctive second city for the state.
With Boston situated on the ocean, growth obviously must occur to the west. With that in mind, Worcester is uniquely positioned, given its proximity to Boston, its location in the heart of New England and its successful transition from an old industrial-based economy to a new, innovative, technology- and information-based economy. Young professionals and businesses are attracted to urban settings like Worcester, with, among other things, a strong arts and education culture, including our colleges and universities. Very few cities have everything we have to offer.
The ability for us to take off here is real. To do that well, you have to have an energetic downtown. We've made great progress on that front in recent years, and we continue to do so. A lot of what we've tried to accomplish has been creating a vibrant downtown that attracts people, particularly young professionals, [so] people want to live here. It's why we've been doing so much around things like The Hanover Theatre, which has brought people downtown and made Worcester more of a 16-hour city. The theatre blows people away: You walk into the building and can see how incredible it is. And once you go the first time, you go again. If you look at the demographics of all the people from the western suburbs who are now coming to Worcester for entertainment at the theatre, it's extraordinary.
Our company is actively involved in the redevelopment and revitalization of the city. We've been involved in CitySquare, for instance, because we think it can be a catalyst for much more growth and development. The CitySquare project will connect the neighborhoods with the downtown and will create some additional settings for mixed use and corporate headquarters. I think Worcester is going to be one of the great stories of the next couple of decades.
The biggest change I have seen in the last 10 years is attitudinal. We've largely turned away the cynicism that once inhibited our progress. Is it all gone? No. But, compared to 10 years ago, it's like night and day. Success breeds success. When we started to renovate the theatre, they said, "You can't raise $5 million to get that theater done." We raised $30 million. When we sought to bring a minor league baseball team to the city, they said, "You can't bring a baseball team in." We brought in a baseball team. Today, there is a much greater sense of optimism and a can-do attitude. People and organizations are committed to working together and we are having great success.
This city is small enough to know everybody, and it's small enough to know that you can make a difference. ■
Next page: HCM asked 100 students to name their favorite spots in "The Woo."
HCM asked 100 students to name their favorite spots in "The Woo." Here's what came out on top!
Best restaurant for a special date: Via
Best live music/theater venue: three-way tie The DCU Center, The Hanover Theatre and Mechanics Hall (Lauren Nepomuceno '14 also suggests Bocado: "Thursday night salsa dancing!")
Best place to take the folks on Parents' Weekend: The Sole Proprietor
("Happy hour with half-priced entrees; Mom and Dad will love it ... and hopefully pay," says Sean Hagan '14)
Best movie theater: tie Holy Cross' Seelos Theater and Blackstone Valley Cinema de Lux
("Because of the half-off movie tickets on Tuesdays!" advises Michaela Johnson '13)
Best pub: Mahoney's (close second? The Blackstone Tap)
Best bakery: Sweet
Best breakfast: tie Culpeppers and "Kimball on a Saturday morning," says Tim Konola '15
Best pizza: Corner Grille
Best fancy dessert: The Flying Rhino ("They have this awesome fried dough," raves Julietta Gratta '14)
Best place for vegetarians: EVO
Best spa/salon: Orange Salon
Best coffee: InHouse Coffee
We'd love to hear your favorite Worcester spots...pop the editor an email at firstname.lastname@example.org