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An invigorated Menino back at City Hall

Mayor Thomas M. Menino was hospitalized for five weeks after falling ill during a trip to Italy with his wife.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino was hospitalized for five weeks after falling ill during a trip to Italy with his wife.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A remarkably stronger Mayor Thomas M. Menino held court Thursday in his office at City Hall, speaking with new vigor about his plans for Boston, reflecting on his eight-week hospitalization, and suggesting that he may indeed seek a sixth term this fall.

“I still have the energy,” Menino told a half-dozen reporters as he avoided directly answering a question about whether he will run for reelection. “If I believe I can make a difference and move the city forward, that’s my future. If I believe I’m going to just sit here and get the glories of the last 19 years, that’s not Tom Menino. I have a lot more things to do. I have a lot more things I want to accomplish in this city.”


Menino, 70, sat up straight in his chair, dominated the conversation, and waved off the attempt of an aide to stop the wide-
ranging press conference, which lasted more than 30 minutes. He talked about his daily physical therapy sessions, his struggle to ­regain muscle strength and walk after five weeks in a hospital bed, and his temporary living arrangement at the Parkman House, a city-owned mansion on Beacon Hill.

Menino weighed in on issues of the day, from the faltering Celtics to the push for a ­casino in East Boston and renewed national debate over gun control after the massacre of 20 children in Newtown, Conn. Menino said he had a recent phone conversation with Vice President Joe Biden, who, he said, vowed White House action on gun control by the end of the month.

Menino also said he spoke to the chief executive of a global company that was opening a 400,000-square-foot office in Boston. He shifted the conversation to the city’s harbor ­islands, saying the archipelago could be ripe for homes, commercial development, or a dock for liquefied natural gas tankers.


But perhaps the most striking news of the day was the physical change in the mayor.

Two weeks ago he appeared frail and disengaged at a physical therapy session at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. On Thursday he remained seated as he spoke, but he once again seemed like the power broker who has dominated City Hall for almost 20 years.

“It’s great to be back,” said Menino. “I’m not lying to you. I feel better today than I did nine months ago. I really do.”

The mayor made his first appear­ance at City Hall last week after an 11-week absence.

He had left Boston Oct. 14 for a two-week trip to Italy with his wife to celebrate their anniversary. Feeling ill after he got there, Menino cut the trip short, returned to Boston, and was admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Oct. 26.

Doctors initially diagnosed Menino with an upper respiratory infection and a blood clot that traveled from a leg to his lungs. Then, in the hospital, he suffered a spinal fracture. Menino had begun to recover from the fracture, doctors said, when he developed an infection in the same area. Tests showed that the mayor has Type 2 diabetes, which can cause greater susceptibility to infections.

Menino was transferred to Spaulding in late November and was released just before Christmas. He has continued to convalesce at the Parkman House.

Menino’s home in Hyde Park is a 30-minute drive from Government Center; living at the nearby Parkman House lets him schedule office hours around his daily physical therapy sessions. He is also able to take advantage of the mansion’s elevator, as climbing stairs still poses a challenge.


Menino did not say how long he planned to stay at the Parkman, but he made it clear he was eager to leave, referring to his residence in Hyde Park by its street address.

“I want to be at 102 Chesterfield St. as quickly as possible,” Menino said. “That’s my home. There is a difference between a house and a home.”

He talked about scaling back his schedule, which has long had him scurrying from neighborhood event to neighborhood event. Instead of attending three banquets a night, Menino said, he may start limited himself to one event an evening.

“I’m starting to realize I can’t be every place all the time,” Menino said. “I’m slowing down to a level that most people feel is full steam.”

The mayor also described the boost he felt from the notes he received from well-wishers across the country after being “really down in the dumps” as his illness kept him idle and trapped in his hospital room.

“You want to do so much,’’ Menino said. “You’re always an active person. And you can’t do it. But then you see the notes you get from people.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.