‘Pretty Cute Watching Boston Residents Play Daily Game Of ‘Big City’ ” runs the much-discussed headline in the satirical publication The Onion, a sharp jab with some uncomfortable truth. To be a “world class city” has been our aspiration for decades, a regular refrain from the Menino administration. We wish it were so, but worry it’s not. The Onion rubs it in: Boston’s “a live-action role-playing adventure in which Bostonians buzz about their daily routines in a delightful hubbub of excitement as if they lived in a major American metropolis.”
And what really is a major metropolis? In The Onion’s estimation, it’s places such as New York, Los Angeles, and (perhaps) Chicago. By some measures we stack up. When it comes to traffic jams, for example, we shine. LA is second worst in the nation, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, while New York is fourth. But we’re next in line — fifth — and Chicago is seventh. So at least when it comes to the misery we inflict on our drivers, we’re comfortably in the top 10.