This year's State of the City speech didn't quite have the momentousness of last year's, which signaled a return from COVID-19 and a resumption of city business as usual. But it still contained plenty of noteworthy nods to the way things have been operating in the Wu administration — and to how they might function in the future. Here are a few:

She's claiming Mass and Cass as a win

Just five months ago, the mayor was telling talk-show host Jimmy Hills with palpable frustration that Boston needed to try something radically different in the neighborhood where Boston's addiction, homelessness and mental-health crises have intersected for years. But on Tuesday night, Wu argued, essentially, that Mass. and Cass is on the right track and that improvement there will continue. In fact, she gave that claim pride of place, making it the first of the various policy victories she touted.

"With unprecedented coordination, we delivered unprecedented results," Wu said while referencing the abundance of organizations that have collaborated with the city. "Today the encampments are gone, and hundreds of people are housed and on the path to recovery."

Given that those encampments have been cleared before, only to return again, and given the intractability of the problems on display there, saying Mass. and Cass is firmly headed in the right direction is a bold move. But that's exactly what Wu did, while allowing in passing that there will be more "progress to come" — a reference, perhaps, to ongoing plans to rebuild the now-defunct recovery campus on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

Menino's influence was palpable

Wu got her start in Boston city government interning for then-Mayor Tom Menino, who served for a record-breaking two decades. Menino was known for his everyman approach, an aversion to lofty language and a passion for making the nuts and bolts of city government function as well as they possibly could.

Wu does soaring rhetoric in a way Menino never could: on Tuesday, for example, her speech started off with a paean to Boston as a community that shows the rest of the country what's possible at a time when possibility seems constrained. But Wu also made it clear that she relishes a city government with fine-tuned mechanics just as much as Menino did — bragging, among other things, about the 7,000 potholes the city filled in 2023, the 300 speed humps it installed to slow traffic, and the eight new parks and playgrounds it opened up. That's exactly the sort of thing Menino would have touted, too.

Boston's racial reckoning will be a constant theme of Wu's mayoralty

The mayor's recent apology for the city's actions in the Charles Stuart murder case was a seminal moment that was widely and rightly treated as such. To my surprise, at least, it went unmentioned in Wu's speech. But other references served as reminders that her commitment to rectifying the excesses and inadequacies of Boston's well-documented racist past will be a constant of this term and, if she seeks and wins another, will almost certainly continue.

The hype video that played before Wu's remarks made prominent mention of this year's national NAACP convention in Boston. And in her speech, Wu touted a significant increase in city contracts awarded to people of color; talked up the diversity of this year's class of police recruits and cadets; and acknowledged that, 50 years after Judge Arthur Garrity ordered the desegregation of Boston's public schools, the longtime quest of parents of color for equal educational quality for their children remains unfulfilled.

On the latter front, Wu argued, things are changing for the better, with (for example) chronic absenteeism declining, universal pre-K steadily expanding, and opportunities proliferating for high school students to move into college-level learning and acquire skills that can help them launch a career. Whether stakeholders in the system agree is an open question. But so many aspects of public K-12 education in Boston have been notoriously dysfunctional for so long that, even if some parents and educators might find Wu's gloss on the status quo a tad optimistic, they may also be inclined to give her time to realize her vision of a system in which educational equity is a reality.

All that said, do keep an eye on how the reparations conversation plays out in Boston as the year progresses. It's a huge, complicated, potentially incendiary topic, and one that Wu elided Tuesday.

One of the most interesting storylines in city politics went unmentioned

As many readers know, Wu was unusually active in this year's City Council elections, explicitly endorsing four candidates and fundraising for four others. That's eight councilors on a 13-member body who owe some type of debt of gratitude to the mayor as their new term begins. At the same time, two councilors who frequently tried to pull Wu further to the left — Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo — lost their jobs and are no longer around to continue their efforts. (Arroyo, it's worth noting, will be replaced by Enrique Pepén, a Wu administration alum who ran with her overt backing.)

Which raises the question: just how often will the council stand in the way when the mayor wants to get something done? New council president Ruthzee Louijeune, who was a beneficiary of Wu's fundraising, told me recently that the council won't be a rubber stamp for the mayor. Still, if anyone's inclined to bet on politics, it's worth a wager that relations between Wu and the council will be more harmonious in 2024 than they were for much of last year.

Sometimes, leaving fraught issues unmentioned is the politically smart thing to do

After last year's state of the city, I noted that Wu hadn't referred at all to ongoing contract negotiations with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, the union that represents the vast majority of BPD officers, and the push for reform that accompanied them. One year later, the Wu administration can claim to have used the collective bargaining process to radically reshape the way the BPD does business, including convincing the union to cede the right to grieve certain disciplinary actions through arbitration. From the vantage point of Boston's police, that's a massive concession. In her speech, Wu talked up the new contract but also praised police, saying they'd "set a national precedent for community policing."

We'll never know what would have happened if Wu had used last year's speech to apply public pressure. But in hindsight, silence looks to have been a wise strategy.