When he walked into the Capital Grille on Newbury Street the night after his 1993 election, every well-dressed diner rose to shower this relatively obscure politician with applause. But even then, as they celebrated his elevation to the mayoralty, the city had no idea what was to come.
Some 20 years and a record-setting five mayoral terms later, Boston knows. It knows that a mayor who is hardly book-smart has effectively led a city famous for its institutions of higher learning. It knows that a mayor in constant battle with the English language has accomplished unimaginable things through force of personality and ferocious work. It knows that a mayor who was derided by some as lacking vision has presided over a city that exudes it.