Axios Boston

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Welcome to Wednesday.

Today's weather: Rainy with a high of 61.

Situational awareness: The Celtics play the Miami Heat at home tonight at 7pm in Game 2 of their playoff series.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to Axios Boston members Susan Gillespie and Caitlin Tompkins!

Today's newsletter is 898 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Boston kids face opportunity gaps

Data: Brandeis University; Map: Jared Whalen and Alice Feng/Axios

A new analysis illustrates how metro areas like Boston can rank so highly in education while significant childhood opportunity gaps remain within the region.

Why it matters: Childhood opportunity has significant influence throughout a person's life, factoring into educational and career progress, life expectancy and more.

How it works: The Child Opportunity Index 3.0, from the project at Brandeis University, seeks to quantify opportunity based on factors tied to where a child lives, including education, health, environment and socioeconomics.

  • Based on those factors, the report assigns a score of 1–100 to each census tract.

Boston has one of the highest overall "Opportunity Scores" (86) among the country's 100 biggest metros, joining Bridgeport, Connecticut (88) and San Jose, California (87), based on data from 2021.

Yes, but: There are large scoring gaps within the Boston metro, reflecting internal inequities.

  • Parts of Dorchester, Roxbury and Hyde Park scored "very low," while neighborhoods in nearby Brookline, Newton and Lexington ranked among the highest. Chelsea, Lynn and Framingham also had "low opportunity" spots.
  • Racial chasms prevail nationwide, with Black and Hispanic children typically living in relatively lower-opportunity neighborhoods in comparison with white and Asian children.
  • More than half of children in Boston and San Jose grow up under the best conditions and with the most resources for healthy development, per the report.
  • Yet Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Providence's metro areas were among the 10 metros with the highest concentration of Latino children in low-opportunity neighborhoods.

The report points to the nation's history of exclusionary zoning as a major factor contributing to these inequities seen even within a city.

What they're saying: "These inequities ... are neither natural nor random," Brandeis professor and report author Dolores Acevedo-Garcia said in a statement.

  • "They're driven by systemic inequities such as high segregation and policies that enable opportunity hoarding."

Go deeper: How Boston schools target gaps for funding

2. 🏋️ Life Time comes to the Pru

Photo: Courtesy of Life Time

A Life Time athletic club will replace the now-shuttered Barnes and Noble at the Prudential Center late next year.

Zoom in: The space will be Life Time's seventh Boston-area location, per the company.

  • The club will include a training floor, casual cafe, work lounge and a co-ed wet spa, the Boston Globe first reported.
  • The wet spa will feature a steam room, sauna, whirlpool and cold plunge.

Flashback: Harvard Book Store had planned to open a second location in the old Barnes and Noble space, but the expansion fell through earlier this year.

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3. Back That Mass Up: North Quincy legal fight

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An affiliate of Bozzuto, the real estate firm overseeing The Abby residential complex in North Quincy, is suing ICON Architecture over alleged design errors that cost the firm more than $3 million in damages (BBJ)

  • The complex opened in 2021 with more than 600 units, a Target and a seven-story parking garage.
  • Boston-based ICON "disagrees completely" with Bozzuto's allegations, the company president said.

A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit by the sister of Justin Root, the man killed by police outside Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2020. (UHub)

  • The court ruled the officers had reason to fear for their lives and the safety of others partly because Root had pulled out what appeared to be a gun.
  • Root was shot 31 times in 3 seconds by Boston and state police.

4. 🍕 The ultimate Boston-area pizza guide

A slice of pepperoni from Armando's. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

👋 Steph here. For five years, I have traversed the Boston area in search of pizzerias that replicate the magic of a New York slice.

Who am I to question our institutions? Well, I'm a fatty from New Jersey with nearly three decades of pizza-eating under my belt.

  • Today, we start with three solid choices: Armando's Pizza & Subs, Florina Pizzeria & Paninoteca and Galleria Umberto.
A Sicilian slice of pizza with a massive extra blob of mozzarella from Armando's in Cambridge.
Don't let the ugly glob of mozzarella fool you. The Sicilian slice from Armando's was solid. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Armando's Pizza & Subs

The first time I visited Armando's in Cambridge, the owner was juggling back-to-back phone calls with to-go orders from regulars stopping in five minutes after opening.

  • I quickly learned why.

What I ordered: A slice of pepperoni and a Sicilian slice.

  • What I got: The closest thing to a New York slice in the Boston area — a slightly greasy thin crust that held together a proper ratio of well-seasoned sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
  • Also, a solid Sicilian slice — a crunchy, but airy crust with more sauce and a generous heap of cheese.

Price: $3.75 for the pepperoni slice; $4.50 for Sicilian. Cash only.

A slice of pepperoni pizza from Florina on Beacon Hill.
A slice of pepperoni (AKA two slices) from Florina. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Florina Pizzeria & Paninoteca

Depending on the day, the time and the way the wind blows, Florina on Beacon Hill serves either the best pizza in Boston or a greasy, flimsy mess.

What I ordered: A massive pepperoni slice and a Sicilian.

  • What I got: A thin crust that held its own, but the pepperoni could have used some extra sauce.
  • Also, a margherita pizza Sicilian slice (they didn't have regular cheese). No sauce, which was disappointing, but the crust was A+.

Price: $4.25 for the pepperoni; $4.75 for the Sicilian.

The bottom line: I've had excellent pizza from Florina on other visits, but you can't be the best around Boston when your pies are inconsistent.

A Sicilian slice from Galleria Umberto in Boston's North End.
The Sicilian slice from Galleria Umberto. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Galleria Umberto

Galleria Umberto in the North End doesn't fall into the New York-style pizza category, but its taste and price make it worth trying.

What I ordered: A Sicilian slice (that's the only pizza they sell).

  • What I got: A thin crust for Sicilian, but it held a generous helping of charred cheese and tomato sauce.

Price: $2.25. Cash only.

More slices later this week. Bookmark our guide.

Deehan doesn't think this Rhode Island kid's one-liner about Dunkin deserves going viral.

Steph has eaten way too much pizza the last three months.

This newsletter was edited by Jeff Weiner and copy edited by James Farrell.