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Okay, so you’re not a Boston Brahmin, descended from the Forbes line, a product of prep school and Yale. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try on a little of the Kerry lifestyle for size. To enjoy a glimpse of how the patrician senator (and, we hope, future president) lives, all you need is access to Boston. (A family fortune is not required, though it never hurts.) Whether you live here already or are just visiting, it’s easy to follow in the Democratic nominee’s long, tall footsteps.
Hope you like fish
For a literal taste of the Kerry experience, check out some of the restaurants he has graced with his presence. When he was still a swinging single, he was known to toss one back at 29 Newbury, a hip eatery for the pretty set with stars in their eyes and stocks in their portfolios. The hot dish at 29 these days is Kobe beef with truffled cheese. (Mmm, I smell an expense account ...)
Before both John Kerry and restaurateur Todd English developed national reputations, Kerry was reportedly a regular swell at English’s flagship venue, Olives, in Charlestown. The Mediterranean-influenced restaurant doesn’t take reservations unless you’re extremely well-known or a years-long regular — which means Kerry, who is both, never has to worry about getting a seat.
More recently, Kerry-spotters have seen those craggy features crinkling with delight at No. 9 Park, where James Beard Award–winning chef/owner Barbara Lynch caters to indulgence in seven- and nine-course dinners. A pattern is beginning to emerge (and not just when the bill comes): all three places feature extremely dressed-up presentations of codfish. Either Kerry’s love of the sea extends beyond windsurfing, or he just likes to be reminded that homely creatures can be popular.
After a meal, you can’t enjoy a more Kerry-specific treat than chocolate-chip cookies. The candidate actually made and sold gourmet chocolate-chip cookies as a sideline a few years back (he used Lindt chocolate, not Nestlé, thank you very much). Though you can’t buy his brand anymore, the next best thing is available at the Ritz-Carlton, which is offering what it claims are his "favorite" cookies.
The right side of the tracks
When you walk in John Kerry’s moccasins — well, loafers, actually — you’ll find yourself on a lot of cobblestones. Start at the top (literally, not just metaphorically) by taking a stroll in lovely Louisburg Square. Formerly home to Vanderbilts and Alcotts, this cobblestone square comprises townhouse mansions surrounding a gated private park. Check out Kerry’s ’hood by descending (in altitude, if not entirely in attitude) to gas-lamp-lined Charles Street, the middle blocks of which are home to antique shops and modern retailers offering the kind of luxe furnishings that any heiress’s townhouse would need.
You won’t have to go all the way to Yale for a flashback to Kerry’s college days. Just head off to the park-like environs of Boston College Law School, in Newton, where he earned his law degree. Stroll 40 acres of manicured lawns and lovely gardens, dotted with grand buildings you’d expect to see in a movie about the Ivy League. Then check out nearby Newton Centre, home to upscale boutiques like Moth, as well as more student-friendly thrift stores.
Or, if you’d like to kneel in his pew, visit the Paulist Center, where masses are said every day and the Roman Missal is the ritual liturgy. And while there, light a votive for Kerry’s win in November.
Both sides now
To help reconcile the two faces of Kerry — the blueblood and the populist — one might look at two very dissimilar businesses he’s proud to patronize. First, there’s Hermès of Paris, located in a prime spot on the Public Garden; here, you’ll find the elegant ties that photograph so well on the campaign trail (including at least one with a fish print — it’s a theme!). But when he wants to rumble (now that’s an image), he hops his Harley and turns to the 86,000-square-foot Harley-Davidson/Buell store, in Everett, for the Wide Glide that he rides. That’s right, Everett. (What he was doing on the Revere Beach Parkway is anybody’s guess.)
So what are you waiting for? You want to be an informed voter, right? John Kerry’s city is waiting.
David Valdes Greenwood can be reached at email@example.com
Issue Date: July 23 - 29, 2004
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