Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
Old South Church is a historic landmark in Copley Square. Today, it is a United Church of Christ Congregation, first organized in 1669.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s virtual gala/auction

For all of the people who watched Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s Virtual Gala/Auction live on Oct.14, the BLO apologizes for the technical difficulties with the stream. BLO has put together a polished recording of the event that can be watched by all on their website at

There is still time to donate to their Gala at

Yoga & Pilates for kids and parents

Start your weekend with an interactive, fun and creative yoga/pilates class for parents and kids, four years of age and older, from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 – hosted by the French Cultural Center.

Share a unique moment with your child while practicing yoga through poses, yoga games, mindfulness activities and breathing exercises - all in French.

French instructor Maïté will guide the practice via Zoom. The event will be in French.

Visit for more information and reservations (Members - $10; Non-members - $14).


The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and promoting the history of public transportation in the Greater Boston area and New England since 1959.

The BSRA typically meets on the first Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m. with a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Nov. 7: San Francisco Scenes, 1956-2002

Clark Frazier will present rail transit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of this show will focus on the San Francisco Municipal Railway in the 1950s and 1960s, but it will also include later PCC operation and the emergence of historic streetcar operation in the 1980s, plus a few bonus photos of cable cars, the Key System, and BART.

The BSRA online store is open.

Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.

Visit for more information.

‘Movement and Stillness’ 2020 Members Juried Exhibition

2020 Members Juried Exhibition Movement and Stillness will be on view from Saturday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 12 at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St.

The Guild's Annual Members Juried Exhibition is an invitation for the Guild's members to submit their best work in order to compete for prestigious awards.

The work in this year's exhibition encourages contemplation of the interplay between movement and stillness. Directed by the artist's hand, the viewer's eye traces lines and arabesques or settles gently on a passage or detail – the spirit soars and beauty hangs in the balance.

Movement and stillness are key to fine art and play an important role in everyone’s life. In this alternation between energizing movement and calming stillness, people find both rapture and relief.

Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and by appointment; Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Visit for more information.

Community Engagement Workshop for Teens

Want to learn how to mobilize and engage community members to create lasting impact? Join Boston Public Library from 3 to 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 to gain tangible tools and tactics to support your incredible ideas through the Community Engagement Workshop with TIE Boston. This workshop is for teens in grades 8 to 12 and will be offered via Zoom. Registered participants will receive meeting room details prior to program start.

Go to for more information and registration.

‘Massachusetts House Museums and Local History Orgs’

A conversation led by William Hosley, Terra Firma Northeast in the three-part series - “A Treasury of Massachusetts House Museums and Local History Orgs” - will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays as follows:

Nov. 9 – Part I: What is a House Museum

Massachusetts has more house museums and historical organizations than most states. In recent years there’s been a national conversation about the sustainability of house museums. The presenter argues that this widespread, mostly small class of museums vary tremendously. While many community-based historical organizations preserve and present their collections in historic houses, a house museum is something different. Participants will hear from three outstanding ones that are grappling with the usual challenges of audience engagement, preservation and interpretation.

Nov. 16 – Part II: Authors Houses

Massachusetts is a famously literary culture. At the birth of the house museum movement in the late 19th century, authors’ houses were among the first to be preserved, notably John Greenleaf Whittier and now others such as Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson and more. This presentation will explore three outstanding authors’ houses and how they grapple with the challenges of audience engagement, preservation and interpretation.

Nov. 23 – Part III: Hidden Gems

Most of Massachusetts’ 351 towns have a community-based historical organization. Many are volunteer-run. Collectively, they present and preserve the stuff and stories that make up history – usually with an emphasis on local art, industries and material culture. William Hosley has crisscrossed Massachusetts visiting them in every corner of the state. Attendees will hear from three of what he calls gems – house museums and historical places with amazing stuff and stories that fly a bit under the radar. They, too, are grappling with the usual challenges of audience engagement, preservation and interpretation.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Barre en français

Exercise your body and your vocabulary. Join the French Cultural Center for a barre class that will help you to focus on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from the comfort of your home.

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in their November practice from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome. When registering, please tell them your level of both so they can tailor the program to fit all needs.

Visit for more information and reservations (Member - $7; Non-member - $10).

‘Nature and the Radicalism of Sacco and Vanzetti’

This paper brings a fresh perspective to the study of modern American environmental thought as well as modern American radicalism by exploring the significance of nature in the lives and writing of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, following a narrative arc from their formative years in different parts of the Italian countryside to their final years as dedicated revolutionaries confined to Massachusetts prisons.

The Environmental History Seminar invites everyone to join the online conversation with Chad Montrie (UMass Lowell) and Federico Paolini (Università della Campania L. Vanvitelli) with comment by Avi Chomsky (Salem State University) from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, presented by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

‘His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life’

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Jonathan Alter, author of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

From one of America’s most-respected journalists and modern historians comes the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States and Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian.

BPL President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of the Arc of History: Contested Perspectives series.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Old South Church in Boston, 1669-2019’ virtual lecture

In an incredible collaborative effort, Old South Church in Boston recently released Old South Church in Boston: 1669-2019 – A Concise, Theological, Historical and Whimsical Encyclopedia by its Members, Ministers and Friends. This valuable resource for local historians and Boston by Foot guides is an account of Old South’s story and its unique place in Boston and American history covering three and a half centuries.

Join BBF guide Liz Morgan, leader of the effort to produce this book, for an overview of the book’s 400+ articles covering 350 years of historical issues, people, movements, and surprises from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Go to to register.

Author talk with Leah Johnson

Join the Boston Public Library from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 for a Zoom author talk with debut author Leah Johnson, whose YA novel You Should See Me in a Crown is the first young adult book picked for Reese Witherspoon's book club

You Should See Me in a Crown follows Liz, one of the only Black kids at her school, as she runs for prom queen. Between her anxiety and her feeling that she doesn't really belong, running for prom queen was never something Liz expected to do. But when another scholarship falls through, the prom queen scholarship is the only way she'll be able to afford her dream college. Things get even more complicated when Liz starts falling for a new girl at school, who also happens to be running for prom queen...

Go to for more information and registration.

‘How We Go On: Three Lives of Persistence, Resistance and Resilience’

The New England Biography Series begins with an online discussion of three recent biographies, published during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Tufts University professor Julie Dobrow, author of After Emily, will chair a panel featuring Nicholas Basbanes (Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), Kimberly Hamlin (Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener) and John Loughery (Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century) to explore how their subjects prevailed in times of personal tragedy and public dissent, and how the authors learned to apply the lessons of their subjects to their own trials and travails as writers.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Nathaniel Philbrick discusses Mayflower

How did America begin? That simple question launched acclaimed author Nathaniel Philbrick on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind the most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony.

Join the Boston Public Library and American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) for an online talk at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 with Nathaniel Philbrick about Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War.

This talk is part of the BPL's Baxter Lecture series and GBH Forum Network. Ryan Woods, Executive Vice President and COO of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), will be the moderator and a representative of the State Library of Massachusetts will co-host, following an introduction from BPL President David Leonard.

Visit for more information and registration.

The Secret Life of Translators: Meet Paulette Boudrot

Want to learn more about the secret life of translators? Who they are, how they work with the author, what their role and input are? Can they take some freedom with the text?

Join the French Cultural Center on Zoom from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 and meet Paulette Boudrot, the American translator of former French Ambassador Alain Briottet’s book Boston, un hiver si court (Boston, my blissful winter). Boudrot will show the participants behind the scenes of the translators’ world.

Come ready with questions as this talk will be followed by a Q&A session. Event in English.

Visit for more information and registration (Members - $7 | Non-members - $10).

‘Virtual Making History Gala 2020’

The “Making History Gala 2020” will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The sponsor cocktail corner will start at 6 p.m. and the virtual program will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The program will feature Jon Meacham in conversation with Emily Rooney, Host of "Beat the Press" on GBH.

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian, contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review and contributing editor at TIME. His #1 New York Times

bestseller, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, looks at tumultuous periods in American history when presidents and ordinary citizens came together to rebuild a civic trust.

Honorary Chairs: Gov. Charlie Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker; Edward C. and Elizabeth B. Johnson; Henry Lee; CJ and Neil Musante and Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Proceeds support the Massachusetts Historical Society and its Center for the Teaching of History. All donations are tax-deductible.

Visit for more information, including tickets and sponsorships.

The Buddhist book discussions and meditations

Buddha's Belly and Arlington Street Meditation Center (feel free to come to one or both) meet via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

6 p.m. Buddha's Belly: a book discussion group that explores a variety of books from Buddhist teachings. All are welcome.

7 p.m. Arlington Street Meditation Center: these gatherings include seated meditation, a brief reading from Buddhist teachings, and conversation. Beginners and experienced meditators from all traditions (or none!) are warmly welcome.

Visit for more information and links to attend.

‘Girls Who Code’

Girls in Grades 3 through 5, come together weekly to learn simple computer programming, make new friends and learn to change the world with computer science.

“Girls Who Code” is a free eight-week afterschool Zoom club, taught by computer whiz Jennifer Greenberg.

Join for all eight classes being held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays through Dec. 7.

Those interested in registering should email Librarian Rebecca at

ESL Singing Group

Do you love music? Do you love to sing? Do you want to learn English and sing with new friends? Join the E.S.L. Singing Group.

Led by Associate Conductor Katherine Chan from the Back Bay Chorale, people will learn basic singing skills and songs in English. At the end of each class, participants will have the opportunity to make new friends and practice English conversation skills. No previous music skills required.

Free classes take place from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. on most Tuesdays through Dec. 8 on Zoom.

Please contact Katherine Chan, kchan@bbcboston, or the Boston Public Library Literacy Services Department at 617-859-2446,, for more information.

Register at and come ready to sing.

Pajama Story Time is moving to Zoom

Grab your coziest PJs and a favorite stuffed animal and join Librarian Rebecca for end-of-day stories, songs and movement from 6 to 6:45 p.m. on Thursdays. Wind down with a cozy craft inspired by the reading. This story time is ideal for toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Email Librarian Rebecca ( with your child's name and age to register and receive a link to the Boston Public Library’s Zoom room.

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

Family Book Club

Book lovers entering Grades K through 3 and their families can come together on Zoom to discover new chapter books, chat and tackle book-inspired games and crafts from 4 to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month.

Email librarians Patty and Rebecca ( to register and receive the link to the Boston Public Library’s Zoom room.

The Bach Cantata Series 2020 - 2021

The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Artistic Director Ryan Turner, has returned to Emmanuel Church for the 2020-2021 Bach Cantata Series. As they were originally written for worship services, these cantatas are presented at the culmination of the 10 a.m. Sunday liturgy at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., where Emmanuel Music is the Ensemble-in-Residence. The series will be held through May 9 with a special Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Those aiming to hear just the cantatas are welcome to join at approximately 11 a.m., but both organizations encourage all to join at any time during the service with the motto that “the longer you are here, the more you will hear.”

The services are open to all with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The service including the Bach Cantata will be streamed live on Emmanuel Music's and Emmanuel Church's Facebook pages.

For more information, visit and/or

Future Readers Book Club

The Boston Public Library will host the Future Readers Club for children, ages five years and younger, and their caregivers, with a goal of reading 1,000 books together before the child begins kindergarten.

Register at to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at

In addition, the BPL offers an assortment of programs as part of the Future Readers Club to engage children in stories, songs, finger play and crafts.

Visit for more information and registration to each event.

‘The Ghost Light Series’

The Ghost Light Series, a live music program filmed onstage at the Wang Theatre which premiered at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, will air every other week in the same time slot on New England’s Connection Network (NECN).

For centuries, theatres around the world have had what is known as a Ghost Light, a single lamp left shining when everyone has left. The legend is that this light protects actors, patrons and theatres from bad luck and ghosts. Each half-hour show in the Ghost Light Series will feature artists performing to an empty audience on the Boch Center stage illuminated only by the Ghost Light. There will be no amps and no spotlights – just the artists and their instruments, playing and sharing stories, and revealing what it is like to be a musician at a time when you are cut off from your audience.

Upcoming performance dates:

Nov. 20 - Will Dailey

Dec. 4 - Livingston Taylor

Visit for more information.

‘Dear Old New England’

“Dear Old New England” features 44 paintings by Guild artist Frederick Kubitz. Each of these pieces communicate the unique character of New England and its people.

This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St.

Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and by appointment; Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Visit for more information.

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.

Big Sister mentoring

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide award-winning (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit

Support the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade is the stretch of public green space that extends for three miles one way along the Boston shore of the Charles River from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University (BU) Bridge.

In addition to providing a beautiful natural landscape, the park is home to the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell, various historical monuments, recreational facilities and more than five miles of pathway for walking, running or biking.

Please consider making a donation to the Esplanade Association to help keep the green space thriving and the activities alive.

People’s support of Esplanade Association is more critical than ever before, especially since the annual Moonlight Gala was canceled and this event typically makes up 50 percent of their operating revenue. All donations are tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Visit for more information and links to donate.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information

Boston Eats will continue to provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth –

18 years of age and under – through Dec. 31. No ID or registration required.

Visit or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations and other information. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens is also included.

Visit for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

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

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.

Dream Boston: Five-minute audio plays

Welcome to Dream Boston, a future vision of this city that is somewhere between dream and reality, powered by the Huntington Theatre.

Through short audio plays, “Dream Boston” asks local playwrights to imagine their favorite locations, landmarks and friends in a future Boston when everyone can once again meet and thrive in the city.

These micro-plays take place at locations such as the MIT Great Dome on the 4th of July while the sounds of the “1812 Overture” float in the background, at the Boston Public Library during a minor dust-up between two bookworms, and a not-so-perfect first date on the edge of the Boston Common.

Visit for more information and links to listen on your favorite podcast platforms.

Boston Ballet

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at and/or

Support Boston Ballet at

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs need help

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury 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 supplies listed on their Amazon account.

2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits and granola bars.

3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.

Visit for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

Friday Night Supper Program emergency appeal

The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 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 Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.

Visit to make a donation.

Support Women’s Lunch Place

Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. continues to serve women while maintaining all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.

WLP is open every day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides one take out package that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch with extra snacks to sustain their guests.

Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.

Visit for more information.

‘BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception’

From 17th century attempts to woo European settlers to the New World with maps that exaggerated natural resources, to a 2019 Sharpie-enhanced weather map designed to reshape the politics of disaster planning, maps and visual data have always been tools for manipulating reality.

In a wide-ranging, year-long initiative comprising exhibitions, programs and educational activities, “BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception” at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map & Education Center (Copley Square), offers a critical look at how to understand the world as it appears in geographic representations.

The show features historical and contemporary documents and interactive displays designed to show visitors the power of persuasive mapmaking and will be on view through May 2021.

Visit for more information.