Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
The gardens are alive with color at many of the homes in the Back Bay.

HOH Virtual Game Night Series

Join Havurah on the Hill at the Vilna Shul - Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture - to laugh, engage and connect through social clue-giving games such as Codenames, Just One and Pictionary. Never heard of these games? Even better! Come check them out and meet some new friends.

These virtual entertainment experiences are professionally produced by Eureka: On the Spot. Join once or for the entire series to be held on June 27, July 11, July 22, July 31, Aug. 10, Aug. 14 and Aug. 29.

Game nights will begin at 7 p.m. The Friday night events will include candle lighting, Hamotzi and Kiddish. Saturday night events will include a short Havdalah service.

HOH events are designed specifically for people in their 20s and 30s. For those who were born after the debut of the Rubik Cube, register in order to receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link.

Visit for more information.

Spectacle Island Virtual 5K

Run, walk or roll a 5K anyway you want through June 30. You choose the time, the views and the surface. You can get up early and run along the Harborwalk in South Boston, go out on your lunch break and jog or walk the sidewalks in your neighborhood, or get on your treadmill as the sun is setting and crank out 3.1 miles while you watch your favorite show. You do not have to be local to participate – challenge your friends and family wherever they might be.

The registration fee is $20.

All the proceeds will benefit Boston Harbor Now. Register and learn more at

MassArt Made Virtual Spring Market 2020

The MassArt Made Virtual Spring Market is a temporary online showcase of student and alumni artwork available through Etsy and other independent e-commerce websites through Tuesday, June 30.

Shop artwork, jewelry, fashion and more from more than 200 student alumni-owned businesses

For Dial-In Information:

For more information, go to

Community Boating Kayak and SUP Rentals

Community Boating (21 David G Mugar Way) is open and offering safe boating opportunities. Two-hour sit-on-top kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are $30 per person for non-members, available Wednesdays through Sundays with advanced reservations.

At this time, paddling is limited to the basin between the Mass Ave. Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge following face covering and social distancing guidelines. Lockers and bathrooms are not available at this time.

A full year paddling pass may be purchased in the Community Boating Portal for $199 and includes access to sit-on-top Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for 12 consecutive months. Click here to purchase.

A full year sailing and paddling pass may be purchased in the Community Boating Portal for $359 and includes access to the entire fleet for 12 consecutive months.

Visit for more information.

Barre en francais

What better way to start the week than by exercising your body and vocabulary?

Join the French Cultural Center for a morning barre class that will help you to focus on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from the comfort of your home from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, June 29 via Zoom.

This event is in French. All levels of French and barre welcome.

Visit to register for the Zoom link.

Book discussion: ‘A People’s History of Heaven’

Join the BPL for a discussion of A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 29.

In the tight-knit community known as Heaven, a ramshackle slum hidden between luxury high-rises in Bangalore, India, five girls on the cusp of womanhood forge an unbreakable bond. Muslim, Christian and Hindu; queer and straight; they are full of life, and they love and accept one another unconditionally. Whatever they have, they share. Marginalized women, they are determined to transcend their surroundings.

When the local government threatens to demolish their tin shacks in order to build a shopping mall, the girls and their mothers refuse to be erased. Together they wage war on the bulldozers sent to bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that wishes that families like them would remain hidden forever.

Visit for more information and required registration.

Basics of Improv for Teens

Need a laugh? Teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join professionals from Improv Boston for an interactive class teaching the basics of improve from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30.

This program will run remotely and will focus on teaching students how to get started in improv. Attendees will get a chance to participate in a variety of fun (and funny) improv exercises.

Participants will be emailed the link Zoom the day of the event.

Visit for registration and more information.

‘Jewish Life in Rural New England’

From 2002 to 2006, Michael Hoberman conducted 50 interviews with more than 60 Jews form various parts of rural New England for his book How Strange It Seems.” In this talk called “Jewish Life in Rural New England: How did the Jews get to Mars Hill, Maine and Other Stories from the Field,” slated for 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, he will tell the story of how he found, interviewed and maintained contact with this generationally, observationally and occupationally diverse group of people.

Visit to register for this webinar, hosted by The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Curator's Choice: (Anti)SUFFRAGE

To close out Boston Athenӕum’s commemoration of PRIDE month, Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture Theo Tyson will explore how Victorian ideas of womanhood - including sexuality and heteronormative, patriarchal standards - played a key role in opponents' arguments against suffrage from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30.

She will look at 19th century photographs of renowned suffragists with their partners and anti-suffrage propaganda that touted engendered constructs; both ultimately contributing to redesigning women’s roles and responsibilities for generations and centuries to come.

Tyson recently curated (Anti)SUFFRAGE at the Athenaeum that presented 13 rare books, broadsides, paintings, photographs and other items from the Boston Athenӕum’s special collections.

(Anti)SUFFRAGE also presented the complexities of the struggle to secure and protect voting rights for women and people of color in the past and today.

Visit for more information, including required registration for this virtual event. People will receive an invite from BA Events via ClickMeeting once registration closes at 5 p.m. the evening before the event.

Book group for adults on the Spectrum

Join the monthly online book discussion group for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions or who identify as such from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays hosted by the Boston Public Library and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).

On June 30, the attendees will be reading a novel, short story, memoir, self-help book, essay, etc. of their choice and report back to the group. The idea is to get suggestions as to what other books or reading material may be interesting to read.

Visit for more information and the link to Zoom.

Jewish Artist Experience Lynne Avadenka

Join the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture and artist Lynne Avadenka to explore her newest endeavor, an artistic investigation into Jewish women’s involvement in early Hebrew printing from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30 via Zoom.

Visit for registration and more information.

The Cabinet and George Washington

Lindsay M. Chervinksy will present “The Cabinet: George Washington & the Creation of an American Institution” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

On Nov. 26, 1791, George Washington convened his department secretaries - Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox and Edmund Randolph - for the first cabinet meeting. Faced with diplomatic crises, domestic insurrections and constitutional challenges, Washington decided he needed a group of advisors he could turn to.

He modeled his new cabinet on the councils of war he had led as commander of the Continental Army.

Lindsay M. Chervinsky reveals the far-reaching consequences of Washington’s choice to create what has become one of the most powerful bodies in the federal government: the presidential cabinet.

Visit for more information, including registration. Registrants will receive an email with links and instructions on how to join the online program.

‘Skip the Small Talk’

Do you wish you could have more of the conversations you have late at night where you feel safe talking about the real stuff?

“Skip the Small Talk” at the Trident Bookstore and Café will be held online from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

The hosts will be offering cards with “big talk” conversational questions on them to get you started, and there will be lots of structure to make sure that you actually talk to people and that it’s not awkward.

Visit to register for this free event (donations welcome to keep Skip the Small Talk running).

Kanopy Club: ‘Midsommar’

The Boston Public Library invites people to watch the film “Midsommar” on, and then join the discussion on Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2.

“Midsommar” is about a couple who travel to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled midsummer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

Visit for more information, including registration. A Zoom invite will be emailed.

‘Energy Released: Ceramics’

Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St., Third Floor will be open for regular hours with limited access and by appointment.

“Energy Released: Ceramics” by Ken Matsuzaki will be on view through Sunday, July 5. People can also take a 360-degree virtual tour of this exhibition online.

Visit for more information.

Gold Rush: A Virtual Escape Room for Teens

The Boston Public Library is back with an all-new, premium escape room experience for its teen patrons – and this one’s a true Golden opportunity.

BPL’s esteemed partner Escape Game Remote Adventures brings you “Gold Rush:” a virtual escape room with a compelling Live component – your very own prospector navigating a physical escape room in real time from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays through July 7.

In “Gold Rush,” up to eight intrepid participants will work together to direct the live prospector to locate and solve a variety of puzzles in order to discover cleverly hidden gold. A simple online inventory will help keep track of everything that you find, but it will take focus, cunning and logic to put all the pieces together before the mob arrives.

A generous hint system offered by a live room host ensures that even beginner-level gold-diggers will enjoy the hunt.

Each participant must have access to Zoom videoconferencing software and an Internet browser in order to communicate and collaborate with others throughout the experience.

Visit for more information, including registration. All registrants will receive essential confirmation emails prior to the live event.

Facebook Live Story Time: Tuesday Tales

Join Librarian Laura for a live-streamed story time for children, ages 2 to 4 years old, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays through June 30 at

Visit for more information.

Welcome to BOSPUBLIA: A Live Animal Crossing Twitch Stream

For many across the globe, Nintendo's adorable Animal Crossing island simulation has been a welcome respite from the daily doldrums of lives spent mostly walled-in due to current events. Now, thanks to an elite team of Boston Public Library Youth Librarian staff armed with both Switches and Twitches, the library will see new life on its very own Animal Crossing island - known to visitors as BOSPUBLIA. This is free to all.

Join the group from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through June 30 on BPL’s Teen Services Twitch channel ( to inspect, inquire, invest, and invent with them as they build new, thriving versions of their own temporarily-closed libraries in this charming, family-friendly online space.

Drop in anytime to chat with them live using only Twitch, but if you’d like to play alongside them and own the game, drop a line in their Discord by emailing and they will set you up with a Dodo Code.

Buddha’s Belly Book Group – on line via Zoom

Buddha’s Belly – the Buddhist Book Group – meets from 6 to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston St.

The group discusses issues of spiritual practice from a Buddhist perspective. Members come from many different faith traditions and religious practices. All are welcome.

For more information, visit

Meditation and Conversation – on line via Zoom

The Arlington Street Meditation Center group meets from 7 to 8 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston St.

The gathering includes seated and walking meditations, a brief reading from Buddhist teachings, and conversations. A walk in the Public Garden (dress for the weather) is optional. Beginner and experienced meditators from all traditions (or none) are warmly welcomed.

For more information, visit

Twitch Remote Gaming for Teens

Join the Boston Public Library’s teen librarians for a series of wacky, irreverent online games, all of which are designed to be played by large audiences from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays through July 2. Kids in the 6th through 12th grade are invited to join the games and conversations in Twitch.

Visit for more information.

Virtual Jazz Coffee House

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be live streamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at

Women in 19th century American Bookbinderies

Have you seen the recent film Little Women and want to learn more about book production in the 1860s? This was a time of dynamic changes for bookbinding in America as binderies evolved from small shops employing a handful of workers to large factories.

Todd Pattison and Dr. Elizabeth DeWolfe will examine these changes and the crucial role that female labor played in the industrialization of bookbinding in the middle part of the nineteenth century from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, hosted by the American Ancestors Research Center.

Visit for more information, including registration for this free webinar.

Reading the Rainbow: ‘Fun Home, a Family Tragicomic’

The Boston Public Library’s newest book club – LGBTQ-Reading the Rainbow – will meet from 2 to 3 p.m. on second Thursday of the month.

Join the group on July 9 for a discussion of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

All communication will take place on the messaging platform Slack: no webcam or microphone needed. All book club titles are available on

Visit for more information, including required registration. Access to the book group’s Slack will be provided on the registration confirmation page.

Kanopy Club: ‘First Reformed’

The Boston Public Library invites people to watch the film “First Reformed” on, and then join the discussion on Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 9.

About “First Reformed:” Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary parish pastor at a small church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. The church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life.

When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future.

Visit for more information, including registration. A Zoom invite will be emailed.

The Adam Family

Join Curt DiCamillo for “The Adam Family: The Scottish Architects Who Changed the World” as he brings the sublime beauty of the Adam Style in all its permutations to life. The Adam brothers reigned supreme in Britain during the last half of the 18th century as the ultimate arbiters of taste and style – designing everything from lavish country houses and London townhouses to theaters, bridges, and government buildings.

The American Ancestor’s Research Center will host this special webinar from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Friday, July 10.

Visit for more information, including registration.


The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. online store remains open.

Visit for more information, including the status of the meeting on Saturday, July 11.

Two new exhibits at Pucker Gallery

Two new exhibitions will be on view at the Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St., 3rd floor from July11 through Sept. 20.

A booklet with colorful illustrations outlining the exhibition of Ongoing Conversation: Birds in the Art of Samuel Bak & a fine collection of art depicted in Fine Choices 2020 is available for perusing online priming you for the Gallery viewing.

Visit for more information, including gallery hours.

Emmanuel Music

Emmanuel Music, an Ensemble-in-Residence at Emmanuel Church at 15 Newbury St. continues to share recordings from their Bach Cantata Series online.

During this time of high anxiety and uncertainly, they hope that you will find solace, meaning and beauty through the music of J.S. Bach.

Over the coming weeks and months, their staff looks forward to engaging you further through complementary online resources, including video interviews, written reflections, program notes, and translations.

Visit for more information.


As of June 22, patrons can pick up physical items at the Boston Public Library with the new “BPL to Go” program.

Using the library website, phone line, or the “BPL to Go” iPhone app, patrons will be able to “order” (place a hold on) items such as books, DVDs, and CDs.

The pilot program will launch first at the Central Library in Copley Square, the Codman Square Branch, the East Boston Branch, the Jamaica Plain Branch, and the Mattapan Branch and will then gradually be deployed to other branches.

All branches will continue to offer a wide range of digital events and online resources.

Visit to learn more.

Copley Square Farmers Market open

The Copley Square Farmers Market – Boston’s biggest and busiest – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays through Nov. 24.

The Farmers Market will offer a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat from more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers.

Copley Square vendors accept SNAP/EBT/HIP/Nutrition Vouchers for all eligible products.

Visit for more information - including shopping protocol.

Boston Ballet online

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, performance clips, and articles on along with exclusive, ballet videos at


Support Boston Ballet at

Genealogy for the next generation

Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at

These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.

Huntington @ Home

Huntington @ Home, a series of new programs to connect with their audiences, includes:

- Special online performances and messages from artists;

- One-on-one phone calls with staff – they’ll bring you a short monologue about past productions or a conversation about how the theatre created one of their plays or musicals;

- Huntington@HomeSchool for distance learning and short classes, educational resources and virtual performance opportunities for students and other artists

Visit for more information.

Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen

The Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen BBMSK (“Bumsk”) is a group of young adults who minister to the homeless on the streets of Back Bay. They take sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries to distribute, and take time to listen to the stories of the men and women they encounter.

The group meets Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. on the front steps of the St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, 1105 Boylston St.

They are always looking for volunteers to help and donations (money/gift cards, toiletries, socks, and supplies) to help prepare and package the food.

Contact Eli at 703-638-2019 or visit and/or for more information.

Covid device donation

Please consider donating any iPads/phones and chargers not in use to Covid hospital floors to allow loved ones to be in touch with patients.

People can donate these items from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cabot and Company, 213 Newbury St. in Boston. Items should be placed in a plastic baggie with your name and phone number.

Please e-mail for device clearing instructions.

Ecclesia Ministries and Manna Programs needs help

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St.) in partnership with their sister Ministry, MANNA, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont St.), needs partners to help them serve the increasing number of homeless and underserved during this critical time.

There are three specific ways that you can help make a difference:

1) Donate masks, socks, underwear, hand sanitizers and phone chargers from their Amazon wish lists.

2) Donate lovingly prepared homemade or purchased food such as individually packaged mac and cheese, chicken salad or BLTs, soft fruits and granola bars.

3) Volunteers to share your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers that are always welcomed and valued.

Donations can be dropped off as follows:

1) Boston Warm/Common Art Day Center programs outside the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with prayer service at 11 a.m.

2) MANNA Programs at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont St. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

3) The Common Cathedral Outdoor Service at the Brewer Fountain on the Common – a simple meal is served at 12:30 p.m. followed by a 1 p.m. service.

Visit and/or and/or for other information, including links to volunteer or ways to make financial and/or other donations.

Friday Night Supper Program spring emergency appeal

The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.

Your donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards. Help fill the gap with their Spring Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.

Visit to make a donation.

Trident Bookseller & Café new offerings

Here’s how Trident Bookseller & Café, 338 Newbury St. can help you enjoy a good meal and escape in the pages of a book:

*In Store Shopping: from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week (follow house rules)

*Outdoor Dining: Patios are open with social distancing guidelines; serving full menu

*Food Delivery: Order food and have it delivered via Trident’s Toast delivery partner (saves them high commissions on third-party delivery and you earn and redeem Trident rewards points)

*Curbside Pick-Up: Order books and all retail items (games, puzzles, gifts, cards and more) online and pick them up at curbside.

Book Delivery: Shipping books and all retail items anywhere in the US

Gift Cards: It's an easy way to support their independent business

Visit for more details.

Support Women’s Lunch Place

Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. remains open and continues to serve women every day. Their new hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.

They are continuing to maintain all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.

Each day they provide one take out package that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch with extra snacks to sustain their guests.

Women’s Lunch Place is looking for donations, including money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities to keep their mission going.

Visit for more information.

Free 'grab-and-go' meals for children and adults

The City of Boston, in partnership with Project Bread, YMCA of Greater Boston, Boston Centers for Youth and Families and other community organizations, will provide free “grab and go” meals for Boston residents (adults and children) in need. No ID required.

Visit and/or for a list of meal sites. There will also be a list of food pantries and soup kitchens.

Phone 617-635-3717 or email with questions or concerns or for other information.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.