Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes

Duckling Day

The Friends of the Public Garden will host the annual Duckling Day at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 14. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Boston Common at the corner of Beacon and Park streets across from the State House. The parade starts at noon.

Children and their families will retrace the steps of the beloved characters, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their family of eight ducklings, based on the children’s classic “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.

Led by the Harvard University Band, children will parade from the Parkman Bandstand and into the Public Garden to the famous sculptures, dressed like characters from this story.

A face painter, magician, storytellers, the Knucklebones Crew and a puppet show will entertain the children from 10:30 a.m. to noon before the parade begins. Families can bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.

Tickets are $35 per family in advance, and $40 on the day and will include a special goody bag with toys and treats, snacks and entertainment.

For more information, call 617-266-5669 or visit

Women of Beacon Hill

Historic New England will celebrate Mother’s Day with “The Women of Beacon Hill” walking tour from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 14, meeting at the Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St.

The neighborhood tour will focus on the women who shaped the history and charm of Beacon Hill through the centuries such as Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Peabody and more. These women were wealthy and working class, black and white, artists, preservationists, reformers and entrepreneurs.

Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are recommended, as space is limited.

Visit for more information and to register.

Organ recital

Members of the Boston Organ Studio will perform in concert at the Old West Church, 131 Cambridge St., from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, May 15.

Admission is free. Visit for more information.

Boston Ballet story time

The West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., will offer story time with Boston Ballet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 15.

Children and families are welcomed to hear stories about a famous ballet or dancer. The story time is also supplemented with a movement experience that highlights major themes of the story. Boston Ballet faculty dance educators will lead the program, which is for children, ages 2 and up. Younger children will need parental supervision.

Call 617-523-3957 for further details.

Flute and harpsichord

A lunchtime concert will be held at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at King’s Chapel, corner of School and Tremont streets.

Flautist Alison LaRosa Montez, accompanied by Daryl Bichel on the harpsichord, will play works by J.S. and C.P. Bach.

A donation of $3 is requested; all contributions are given directly to the musicians. Visit or call 617-227-2155 for more information.

Challenges of ADHD

The Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon St., will present “ADHD’s Challenges and Controversies” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.

Dr. Leonard Rappaport of Boston Children’s Hospital, epidemiologist Dr. Kathleen Merikangas, neuroscientist Dr. John Gabrieli and journalist Alan Schwarz will discuss the challenges of diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, medical treatments, side effects of drugs, over-diagnosis and its increasing frequency in the population. They will discuss these controversies and ways to meet the challenges faced by individuals and their families.

This panel discussion is free and open to the public.

Call 617-720-7600 or visit for further details.

Bach’s organ music

The Old West Organ Society will present a free organ recital at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17 at the Old West Church, 131 Cambridge St.

Brian Edwards will perform Buxtehude’s “Präludium in G minor,” Bach’s “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß” and “Pièce d’Orgue” and Franck’s “Cantabile.”

A freewill donation is requested. For more details, call 617-739-1340 or visit

Movie musicals

The West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., is hosting a musical film series from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays during May.

The library will screen “Carousel” by Rodgers and Hammerstein on May 17; Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” starring Meryl Streep on May 24; and “Billy Elliot” with Jamie Bell on May 31.

Call 617-523-3957 for more information.

Author talk

Author Mimi Baird will be the guest of the Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon St., from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17.

Baird is the author of “He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him.”

In the late 1920s, Dr. Baird became fascinated with identifying the chemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it. By the time his groundbreaking results were published, he had been institutionalized many times and was estranged from his family.

Decades later his daughter Mimi recovered a manuscript he wrote during his brutal institutionalization, prompting her to piece together his life and bring his name and medical contributions to light.

Admission is free and registration is not required.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-720-7600.

Hidden gardens tour

The Beacon Hill Garden Club will present its 88th annual tour of hidden gardens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 18. The tour will proceed rain or shine.

The self-guided tour will open the gates to 10 hidden gardens and four ribbon gardens that are viewed from the street.

Complimentary tea and light refreshments will be served all day at the Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer St., where there will also be a small boutique offering books, postcards and posters.

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online in advance.

Proceeds will support horticultural, conservation and environmental projects across Boston.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 617-227-4392.

5K sunset run

The Esplanade Association will host the annual Esplanade 5K race along the pathways of the Charles River Esplanade at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

The race will be open to runners of all abilities and will include prizes, giveaways, refreshments and more. It will start and end at Fiedler Field and loop along the Boston side of the Charles River Esplanade, allowing runners to enjoy sunset views of the park. Participants are welcome to bring their dogs to run.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the association’s work to care for and improve the park and restore the historic Lotta Fountain.

Registration is $50. For further information and to register, call 617-227-0365 or visit

Walking tour of Jewish Boston

The Downtown Social Club and Boston By Foot will offer a walking tour of Jewish Boston from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, meeting at the Vilna Shul, 18 Phillips St.

Drinks and appetizers outside on the Vilna’s front plaza will follow this fascinating tour of the Jewish West End.

Tickets are $30.

Visit or call 617-523-2324 to purchase tickets and for more information.

Swan boats

The famous swan boats have returned to the Public Gardens. Spring hours of operation (now to June 20) are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting.

Established in 1877, the swan boats are a family-owned and -operated business with a unique tradition and place in the history and beauty of the city. A ride on a swan boat lasts about 15 minutes and provides a picturesque voyage on the waters of the lagoon.

Tickets are $3 or $2 for seniors and $1.50 for children. For more information, call 617-522-1966 or visit

Contemporary art in Boston

A new exhibition that sheds light on contemporary art in Boston is on display at the Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., now to Sept. 3.

This exciting exhibition will showcase contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs by New England artists. The works on display, drawings, watercolors, linocuts, lithographs, hand-toned silver gelatin prints, digital photographs, and more, reflect artistic interpretations of New England’s built and natural environment.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-227-0270.

Photographs of the West End

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., is displaying a new exhibition “Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord” now to Aug. 31.

The exhibit features photographs from a collection donated by Ira Tarlin that depicts the West End at the time of demolition. Eli Tarlin, Ira’s father, was an original resident who came to own numerous properties in the neighborhood. The demise of the community, says the family, was also Eli’s demise.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Call 617-416-0781 or go online to

Picturing Douglas

The Museum of African American History is presenting a new public exhibition “Picturing Frederick Douglass” at the African Meeting House, 46 Joy St., now through July 31.

Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century, more frequently photographed than Abraham Lincoln, and was immediately recognizable to millions in his own lifetime. Douglass used photography as a tool of reform and to elevate the image of the African-American in contradiction to the demeaning depictions of black life often seen in the 19th century.

Based on the book of the same name by Drs. John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd, co-curators of the exhibit, it features more than 90 objects, including historic photos, books, newspapers articles and original letters by Douglass.

Further information can be found by calling 617-725-0022, ext. 222 or online at