Drink 35: Ward 8

The Date: June 7

The Friend: Howard Leibowitz

The Place: The Ruby Room at the Onyx Hotel

The Drink: Ward 8

HowardThe Story: In 1994, I was a co-op for the Boston Globe in the City Hall bureau. Adrian Walker was the bureau chief and my boss. It was one of these crazy city holidays where city workers have the day off but no one else does, so City Hall was quiet.

Adrian got a call from an editor about some story tip – it had something to do with signage around the city. He called the Mayor and told him about the signs. It being a slow day, the Mayor said something to the effect of “come on down, we’ll go for a drive and look at those signs.” Adrian hung up and said “let’s go,” inviting me to go along, too.

We rode around Boston with the Mayor for an hour or so, looking at whatever signs the editor had called about and talking. I had recently returned from seven months in Ireland, and chatted with the Mayor about that.

When we returned to City Hall and got out of the car, the Mayor said to me: “why do you always work for The Globe? Why don’t you come work for me?” At the time, I was a sixth-year senior at Northeastern taking one class each semester and working full time. The Globe had recently informed me that I couldn’t co-op for a year straight, so I needed a job for the next semester. I asked him who I should get my resume to and he said, “give it to Howard.”

At the time, Howard was pretty much the only person in the administration that I actually knew, since his offices were next door to ours on the 9th floor. I couldn’t have been more excited about the turn of events and had a resume ready for Howard the next day, telling him the Mayor had asked for it.

I ended up working for Peter Welsh, the Mayor’s Chief of Policy, for six months, and then for more than four years after I graduated.

During my City Hall years, Howard became a great friend. He was always there when I had a question, whether it was about something tactical or something more political, like how the wind was blowing on a certain situation or who I should call on a particular topic. He was, and still is, one of the Mayor’s right hand men, but he was also my personal guide to all things City Hall.

Howard and I have maintained our friendship for the 13 years or so since I left City Hall. We have a standing date each year to go to a Red Sox game. The Red Sox are one of Howard’s passions and, instead of buying season tickets, Howard picks up seats all over the ballpark every year. I’ve sat in some fun places with him on our annual dates, including a luxury box, ooooohhh la la. And, as a true Sox fan, Howard can’t stand ‘the wave,’ grousing every time a kid in the bleachers starts one and it makes its way through the Fenway stands.

This year, though, he suggested that we skip our annual date to Fenway in favor of a trip to the Boston Garden to see Game 6 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami – a reasonable trade, I’d say.

Sadly, the game was a loss, and the Celtics lost Game 7 to Miami a few days later, but the date was great, as it always is, and I’m looking forward to our next one.

The Ward EightThe Drink: I was intent on doing something fitting for how I knew Howard, so I pretty much didn’t give him a choice on this one. I knew the perfect drink for my City Hall pal was a Ward Eight, the traditional Boston drink.

Harking all the way back to 1898, the Ward Eight was created at Locke Ober, the bastion of Brahmin Boston, to honor Marin Lomasney’s election to the State Legislature, and named for the ward which historically had delivered his winning margin.

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