My first 15 weeks with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation have been an exciting whirlwind, meeting the people who give this region the momentum you can feel everywhere you go. My journey to get to know the many unique cities and towns of our County has just begun. But in a short period of time, I’ve already seen and learned so many things about Worcester, and those who call it home. While the list of reasons why Worcester is so special is endless, I’m marking my 15 weeks on the job with the top 15 things I’ve learned about this city since coming up from Providence: Worcesterites are fiercely loyal to their city. It’s pronounced “Wuh-staah.” I’ve even started doing my part by correcting people from outside the region who say it incorrectly. Rush hour on 290 is to be avoided at all costs! Traffic is one category where we definitely don’t want to be like Boston, and why enhancing public transit is so important. There’s great food here, starting with Shawarma Palace (run by the Dalli family from Lebanon) on the corner of Pleasant and Main. Just ask my staff how much I love it. Worcester is a city of neighborhoods. And going back to #1...people are also fiercely loyal to their individual neighborhoods. The Pawtucket Red Sox move to Worcester has unleashed a flurry of jokes, Rhode Island being at the butt of most of them. Some of these jokes are even funny… There are lots of beautiful green spaces here. This year’s Leadership Worcester class was challenged to visit all 60 of Worcester’s parks. (You can follow their progress on Facebook!) We’re going to have to concentrate on producing more housing. It’s great to see developers, city administrators, the business community and housing advocates all working together as the Worcester Chamber of Commerce leads this crucial policy conversation. Making sure housing is available for everyone is essential to keeping the Worcester renaissance going. There’s so much to do in the performing arts with so many great venues like Mechanics Hall and the Hanover Theatre and organizations like Music Worcester and Worcester Chamber Music Society , and so many more. I’m looking forward to getting to know them all. And culture...the Worcester Historical Museum and Ecotarium are wonderful! Don’t worry Matthias...I’m coming to the Worcester Art Museum soon! High School sports matter here. Especially that football rivalry between Doherty and Burncoat. Based on my previous experience throughout the region, I can tell you that Worcester understands its relationship to Boston better than any other city in New England. Coney Island Restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. Of course, that was the first day I tried to go! Talk of The Commonwealth with Hank Stolz has good conversations about relevant, important topics. I listen everyday on my commute. The 6 Degrees of Separation is only 2 degrees in Worcester because everybody knows everybody. I’m looking forward to my second 15 weeks at the Foundation. Coming soon -- a visit to the Webster-Dudley Boys & Girls Club !