To enthusiastic applause and cheers, a smiling Boston Mayor Thomas M Menino walked into Faneuil Hall tonight to deliver his 20th State of the City address, using a cane but appearing much recovered from the health problems that have dogged him since last fall.
“I have some words of wisdom. You don’t want to hear my words of wisdom?” he quipped as he took to the lectern.
When the crowd quieted down, someone yelled, “Four more years!” Menino laughed and another round of applause swept through the hall.
A host of elected officials from the local, state, and federal levels, including US Representatives Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch who are expected to battle for the Democratic nomination in a special election for the US Senate, had gathered at the historic hall for the speech.
Menino’s 50-foot walk on the red carpet and the way he intones his remarks were expected be closely scrutinized because Menino is returning to the public stage after the longest absence of his career, a trying stretch that has included an eight-week hospital stay and continued convalescence as he has struggled to walk.
Boston politicians gathering in the 271-year-old building are wondering if this is their year as they watch the 70-year-old mayor. Menino has not said whether he will run for mayor again.
Beyond the drama of whether Menino will appear recovered from his health problems, Menino is also expected to announce his vision for the upcoming year.
One initiative will be an effort to bring edX, the online college course site, to Boston’s community centers, the Globe reports today.
Edx provides online courses and other learning opportunities to roughly 600,000 people globally. The goal in Boston will be to nurture clusters of people taking the courses together.
The new initiative will be dubbed BostonX.
“Imagine a day when our community centers are little campuses in their own neighborhoods full of vibrant groups of neighbors exchanging ideas and making progress together,” Menino said in a draft of his remarks.
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.