Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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The Park Street Church at 1 Park St. near the Boston Common was built in 1809. In normal times, it averages 2,000 in Sunday attendance and has around 1,000 members.

Shakespeare on the Common: ‘The Tempest’                  

Get ready for a magical evening of Shakespeare on the Common as the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company stages The Tempest, this year's annual family-friendly "Shakespeare in the Park" production of free Boston theater.

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, transports the audience to a mysterious and enchanting island. In this tale of magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness, the wise and powerful Prospero struggles to maintain the world he’s created as order is thrown off balance by those around him: his curious daughter, Miranda; a man who’s just washed ashore, Ferdinand; the half human, half monster, Caliban; two fools, Stephano and Trinculo; and the mystical spirit of the air, Ariel, among many others.

With elements of tragedy and comedy, the performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays from Wednesday, July 21 through Sunday, Aug. 8.

The production will remain free, but due to expected capacity constraints, attendees will be asked to register ahead of time. Registration will open the week of June 21.

Learn more at https://commshakes.org/free-shakespeare-on-the-common-2.

Curator's Choice: The Nuremberg Chronicle

Experience the Boston Athenaeum’s spectacular copy of one of the most famous of all rare books, the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493. Curator of Rare Books John Buchtel will guide attendees virtually through the Athenæum’s hand-colored copy of the most extensively illustrated printed book of the 15th century from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22.

Starting with Creation and finishing with the Apocalypse, this tour through the volume’s 1,800 illustrations will make stops at the Tower of Babel, Noah’s Ark, and recognizable views of such European cities as Venice and Rome.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club                                                                                                        

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22 to discuss Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/278106981 for more information and registration.

Up Close: Carvings and Quandaries

Join Boston Athenaeum docent Carolyn Hilles-Pilant from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, June 23 for an exploration of the life and work of Horatio Greenough and Thomas Crawford, two American Neoclassical sculptors who expatriated to Italy in the early 19th century despite quarantines and other misadventures.

The politics and popular aesthetics of their day provide a context for understanding the importance of these artists to their time, as well as ours. The tour will spotlight three sculptures in the Athenaeum's collections: Venus Vitrix and Judgement of Paris by Greenough and Adam and Eve by Crawford.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration.

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga                                                  

YogaHub will present an Older Adults’ Chair Yoga from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 - hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting on a chair or standing using a chair for support. Participants will learn calming postures and breathing techniques to open energy channels, release tension and alleviate pain.

This type of yoga is great to improve physical comfort, cultivate balance and move easily through daily activities.

Visit pbl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Jewish New England

The history of Jewish settlement in New England extends back hundreds of years and encompasses the entire length and breadth of the region. From Maine to Rhode Island, small towns to big cities, the 18th to the 21st centuries, Jewish communities have been an integral part of the fabric of New England life.

Join Historic New England at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 for a virtual panel on the diversity of the Jewish experiences in New England, featuring speakers from three of New England’s most important Jewish history sites: Maddie Beihl, roleplaying coordinator at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, N.H.; Lynne Krasker Schultz, director of public programming and community outreach at the Vilna Shul, Boston; and Rabbi Marc Mandel from the Touro Synagogue, Newport, R.I.

Each of these sites represents an important slice of Jewish life in a particular time and place, and also speak to the larger history and context of the Jewish community in New England.

Visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/11338/jewish-ne for more information and registration (Free; Donations encouraged).

Family Book Group: ‘Lucky Broken Girl’                                                                       

The librarian-moderated Family Book Group will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 to discuss the June Community Read – Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar.

Ruth Behar won the Pura Belpre Author Award for Lucky Broken Girl, her debut children's novel, in which Jewish-Cuban Ruthie Mizrahi must cope with not only the day-to-day struggles of school in New York City in the '60s, but also a terrible car accident that leaves her in a full-body cast.

Go to bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

The West End Museum open

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St. (Unit 7) is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Museum offers in-person, virtual, and strolling tours and hosts events.

Visit thewestendmuseum.org for more information.

Boston By Foot tours and Architectural Cruises resume

Boston By Foot has resumed their in-person public walking tours as well as the popular 

Architecture Cruises, presented in partnership with the Charles Riverboat Company.

Visit www.bostonbyfoot.org for more information, including a full schedule and list of tours/prices.

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Virtual Tour                                                      

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Virtual Tour will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

The tour will offer a new lens on the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill, which will be fresh, beautiful and inspiring – featuring seven enchanting and treasured gardens in a film created this May.

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening. All proceeds from the tour provide direct financial support to environmental, conservation and civic improvement projects.

Virtual ticket: $25; Virtual ticket and book - Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places: $45.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/hidden-gardens-of-beacon-hill-virtual-tour-2021-tickets-145307287007 for tickets.

Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel operating

The Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Tickets: $3/ride | 10 Ride Card for $25. Face Masks required.

Visit https://bostonfrogpond.com/frog-pond-carousel for more information

Simple morning meditation practice

Beacon Hill Friends holds a simple meditation practice that helps reduce stress and ease you into the morning. The meditation is 15 minutes long and begins and ends with a brief introduction to the practice. Orientation for newcomers begins at 8 a.m., and the practice begins at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays. 

Join once or join regularly – this meditation is free and open to the public.

Go to bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and the Zoom link.

Online ESL conversation groups                                       

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on most Mondays, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on most Tuesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on most Wednesdays, and from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on most Fridays through Aug. 31. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Online elementary, intermediate and advanced ESL classes are also offered at select times.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

‘MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness’

The Beacon Hill Friends will host MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos is open to everyone.

Go to bhfh.org/midweek for more information about the facilitators and the practices they offer along with program details and Zoom registration. These closed-captioned programs are free, although donations to support their work are welcome.

Parks Fitness: Yoga with Friends of The Public Garden                        

Yoga with Friends of The Public Garden will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Sept. 30 on Boston Common, 38 Beacon St.

Visit boston.gov/events for more information and registration.

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga                                                                     

Unwind with Gentle Yoga – sponsored by Hands to Heart Center and the Boston Public Library – will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The yoga classes are geared for beginners with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels.

The class will be live-streamed on YouTube/Hand to Heart Center – Yoga for the People.

You can also get the link at bpl.org/online events. The recorded sessions will remain online.

Operation ABLE                                                                              

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St.) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds.

All services, including distance learning, coaching, and wrap-around services, are being conducted remotely. Class enrollments are open for computer skills training and Health Care and Social Services training, among others.

Visit operationable.net for more information and registration.

Hill House summer programs and camps registration  

Registration for the summer programs and camps at Hill House, 127 Mount Vernon St., is open for all participants.

Summer Art & Music Classes (for 1-to-3-year-olds and their caretakers) include Art in the Park and Art in Nature and music with Little Groove.  

Hill House Camps (Kiddie Kamp for 3-to-5-year-olds and Day Camp for 5-to-12-year-olds) offer weekly Kiddie Kamp onsite adventures; Day Camp field trips; expanded enrichment opportunities; sailing, theatre, sports and film camp options; weekly themes; extended day options for Day Campers; and expanded LIT program for 13-to-15-year-olds.

Give to Hill House's 2020-2021 Fundraising Appeal to help keep programs running.

Visit www.hillhouseboston.org for more information and sign ups.

BPL reading challenge                                                        

As the pandemic drags on and Boston residents remain cooped up in their homes, the Boston Public Library invites readers throughout the city to participate in “Reading Together.”

In the challenge, each month has a distinct theme and participants are asked to read a book tied to the theme.

The library offers recommended book lists for the monthly themes for adults, teens and children at bpl.org/yearlong. Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit bpl.org for more information.

MOS experience onsite/online

The Museum of Science has reopened following health and safety guidelines – face coverings and reservations are required for admission.

Highlights of your visit can include permanent and temporary exhibits and a variety of shows in the Planetarium and newly refurbished Mugar Omni Theater.

MOS at home also offers an array of programs and events. Schedules change weekly and may include a weekly STEM challenge; virtual planetarium visits; live animal visits; science stories; science-related question and answer panels; and Sub-space events.

Visit www.mos.org for more information and reservations.

Boston Athenæum online/onsite 

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond. They also offer a tour of the first floor of their landmark building and artworks from the special collections.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/covid-19-response for more information.

Museum of African American History online/onsite                   

The Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

Visit https://www.maah.org for ticket and scheduling information along with virtual programs and events.

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 (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 www.bigsister.org.

Blessing Barn Beacon Hill                                                                                       

The Blessing Barn at 122 Charles St. is a thrift and antique shop, as well as a self-described “sharing center,” that accepts donations of and sells new and gently used clothing, linens, home decor, furniture, kitchen items, toys, records, books and wall art, among myriad other items.

BBBH exists to provide simple, short term housing for patients and their support individuals needing medical care away from home. They are proud to provide a room in the city.

Join them by giving in the following ways: Offer to be a host home; Pay for a room in the city for one night; Purchase items in their store; Give a monetary donation using their secure form.

Visit theblessingbarn.com for more information.

Free meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information is also included.

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

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed                   

There are times when we could all use a helping hand and other times when we could lend one, and that’s the underlying sentiment behind Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed (NIN NID) – a program that connects St. Joseph’s parishioners with neighbors who could use a little assistance or just some cheering up.

If you are in need of anything – or are willing to assist them in outreach – please email office@stjosephboston.org or call the office at 617-523-4342 with your name, phone number, email, and a list of items needed, or availability to serve.

Old West Church Community Lunch/Dinner

Everyone is invited to the community meals at the Old West Church at 131 Cambridge St. – served rain or shine and holidays, too. While these meals primarily serve people who are housing insecure or elderly, it’s for anyone.

The Community Lunch is served from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Community Dinner is served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

During the pandemic, the meals are served to go. Everyone is welcome to come by and grab a hot meal to takeaway.

Visit www.oldwestchurch.org for more information.

Wednesday Night Supper Club – ‘Takeout Meal in a Sack’

The Wednesday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center Auditorium, 5 Park St. Place. At this time, they have shifted to a “takeout meal in a sack.”

The Paulist Center volunteers have been serving more than 200 people a week who don’t have access to a good hot meal. The program has been running for more than 50 years. 

Visit www.paulistcenter.org to volunteer to help out in any way (cook, serve, clean up; donate supplies, food or money; etc.) or for more information.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership                                                  

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks - the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall - remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at friendsofthepublicgarden.org.