Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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The Tortoise and the Hare bronze sculpture can be found near the Boylston Street – Dartmouth Street intersection in Copley Square. It was created by Nancy Schon and installed in 1994. It’s from the Aesop’s Fable story about how the slow-moving tortoise outraced the faster hare. The sculpture, which is near the Boston Marathon finish line, honors the runners from across the world who have taken part in one of the most well-known races.

Mark Shasha: ‘Breaking for Beauty’

“Braking for Beauty,” an exhibition featuring the work of Guild artist Mark Shasha, will be on view through Saturday, June 26 at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St. The show's 42 painted landscapes depict fleeting experiences that leave strong impressions: beauty that demands attention.

Visit for more information.

Barre en français                                                                 

Exercise your body and vocabulary at the French Cultural Center.              

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in a barre class that focuses on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday June 28 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome.

Visit for more information and reservations (Member: $8; Non-member: $12).

The story of Canada’s famous Hudson Bay Company

A spirited evening featuring scholar Stephen Bown and his narrative history of Canada’s famous Hudson Bay Company will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 28, just before Canada Day.

See Bown’s illustrated presentation and insights on this rich and peopled history and hear his discussion of Canada, then and now, with fellow countryman Jeff Breithaupt.

This event is part of the American Inspiration Author Series by American Ancestors at NEHGS and is co-produced by GBH Forum Network.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

A conversation inspired by the Mysteries of Mental Illness Series

Who is “normal?” Who gets to decide? How can our changing perception of normality help address stigma?

Industry experts and personalities featured in PBS’s “Mysteries of Mental Illness” series will engage in a live virtual panel discussion exploring the topic of America’s stigma surrounding mental illness and field questions from social media viewers.

This virtual panel discussion will stream live on GBH’s Facebook and YouTube channels at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 28.

Visit for more information.

Supporting youth artists in the virtual realm       

Join the Boston Public Library for this inclusive program from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29 about providing music events for and by teens.

Panelists will talk about the importance of running effective programs as well as the need for innovative and creative programming for teen audiences with special attention given to virtual spaces. They will also provide guidance to community and library representatives on how to interpret and promote the wants and needs of teen musicians, performers, artists and all-around visionaries.

BPL President David Leonard and BPL Teen Technology Coordinator Christopher Jacobs with serve as moderators for this informative, instructive, and inspiring discussion. 

Following the conversation, there will be a Q&A session and musical performances by teens.

Book Group for Adults on the Spectrum                                      

A monthly online book discussion group for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions or who identify as such will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month, co-hosted by the Boston Public Library and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).

On June 29, the group will discuss Rain Reign by Alice M. Martin. 

Visit for more information and registration.

Book Tasters                                                                                                 

Looking for a new book, a recipe or just something to do?

Join Book Tasters from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

The group will talk books, then craft, play games and chat over Zoom. At the end of the session, participants will get a new recipe to try at home.

Come for the book review, stay for the fun.

The group is aimed at Grades 4 through 6; Families welcome.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Author Talk: Mercury Rising

Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy and the New Battleground of the Cold War is a riveting history of the epic orbital flight that put America back into the space race and how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes.

Join the online conversation with author Jeff Shesol and E.J. Dionne from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

Visit for more information and registration.

Skip the Small Talk

Skip the Small Talk will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30 at Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St.

They will have cards with "big talk" conversational questions on them to get you started and lots of structure to make sure that you actually talk to people. 

Go to for more information and registration ($15).

Juventas: ‘Yearning to Breathe Free’

Juventas New Music Ensemble will present “Yearning to Breathe Free,” a concert exploring what it means to be patriotic in a country that has not always afforded freedom to everyone, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 1. It will be live streamed on YouTube.

This event is free and open to all.

Learn more at

2021 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular                                                  

The 2021 Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular to take place at Tanglewood at 8 p.m., where Keith Lockhart will lead a live televised and live streamed performance of patriotic favorites with special appearances by Jon Batiste, bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and legendary singer Mavis Staples. The fireworks finale – to take place from the Boston Common in partnership with the City of Boston from 10:30 to 11 p.m. – will also be broadcast as part of the live televised Broadcast. 

Live broadcast on Bloomberg TV, radio, and Also locally aired on WHDH-TV Boston.

Find out more at

Adaptive Sailing for Youth & Young Adults 

Adaptive Sports New England and Community Boating, 21 David Mugar Way, invite youth and young adults with a visual impairment and/or mobility impairment to sail from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from July 7 through Aug. 25.

No experience is necessary. Participants can bring a sibling or friend along.

Registration is required at or contact

‘Introduction to Medicare: Learn the Basics’                              

Are you approaching Medicare? Do you have questions about how it all works? The SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone on Medicare) program at ETHOS offers free, unbiased Medicare counseling services to guide people through the complexities of Medicare coverage. Learn about Medicare and how it works at the Boston Public Library’s “Introduction to Medicare” webinar with time for Q&A.

Two identical sessions will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8 and Thursday, July15.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

African American Children in the Antebellum North

For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, most people still understand little about the lives of African American children. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches and unpublished documents is a rich archive that reveals the social and affective worlds of northern Black children.

Crystal Webster argues that young African Americans were frequently left outside the 19th century's emerging constructions of both race and childhood. They were marginalized in the development of schooling, ignored in debates over child labor and presumed to lack the inherent innocence ascribed to white children.

But Webster shows that Black children nevertheless carved out physical and social space for play, for learning, and for their own aspirations.

Join the online conversation with Crystal Webster from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8.


‘The Great Dissenter’ Justice John Marshall Harlan

They say that history is written by the victors. But not in the case of the most famous dissenter on the Supreme Court, Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911).

In celebration of the country the holiday week, author Peter S. Canellos will talk about his latest book, The Great Dissenter, and then join in a conversation with author and Professor Carlo Rotella of Boston College about Harlan’s life and times, and his work that set the stage for the country’s future including the legal revolutions of the New Deal and Civil Rights era.

Presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library and GBH Forum Network from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Reading the Rainbow Book Group            

Reading the Rainbow – a Boston Public Library online-exclusive book group geared towards members of the LGBTQ+ community – will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 9 for a lively discussion of Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity.

Visit for more information, including required registration.

Barre/Pilates/Cardio fusion class                                                   

A Barre/Pilates/Cardio fusion class will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 9, Aug. 6 and Sept. 17 at Greenway wharf district park (corner of Atlantic Avenue and India Street).

Join the French Cultural Center’s French teacher Chloé Mizuta for a class that will help people to focus on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing while listening to the birds singing and enjoying some fresh air.

All levels of French and fitness welcome. Event in English and French.

Visit for more information and reservations (Member: $8; Non-member: $12).

Evening Garden Stroll                                             

An evening garden stroll will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 (Rain Date: Saturday, July 24 at 10 a.m.) and Tuesday, Aug. 10 (Rain Date: Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.) starting at the Shattuck Visitor Center, 125 The Fenway.

Summer blooms, scented gardens, and a leisurely stroll all combine to make this one-hour guided walk the perfect antidote to the workday.

Visit for more information and reservations.

BSRA: South Coast Rail Project Update

The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) will meet online at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 for a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. (This meeting date changed to avoid holiday conflicts.)

Jean C. Fox, MassDOT Director of Public Engagement for South Coast Rail, will present an update of MassDOT’s project for extending MBTA Commuter Rail to communities in southeastern Massachusetts that currently have no service.

Fox will present an overview of the region, proposed stations, a summary of project benefits, and an update on the ongoing construction work. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity for questions and answers. All welcome.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Beyond the Page: People We Meet on Vacation (Virtual)           

Join the "queen of the beach read" Emily Henry at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 12 to discuss her book People We Meet on Vacation. Learn about her journey as a writer, her latest novel and her hit release from last year, Beach Read, and ask questions about her process.

Visit for more information and registration.

Teen Book Discussion Group: ‘Brown Girl Dreaming’               

The Teen Book Discussion Group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 15 to discuss "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson.

In this memoir, Woodson tells the moving story of her childhood in verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. She shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

This teen librarian led monthly group is part of the year-long #ReadingTogether challenge. Teens are encouraged to join the conversation and make book recommendations whether or not you have read the chosen book.

Visit for more information and Twitch registration.

National Marine Art Exhibition: ‘Connected Land and Sea’

Coastal New England is the inspiration for Connected Land and Sea, recognizing the Copley Society of Art’s legacy in the region and reflecting the important intersections between the land and the sea.

Copley is honored to welcome the renowned marine artist Donald Demers as the jurist for the 2021 National Marine Art exhibition. With more than 450 submissions, Demers selections include a wide range of thematic interpretations from artists across the United States including Seattle, Venice, Santa Fe and Illinois.

The exhibition will be on view in the Upper Gallery at Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. through Sunday, July 18.


Sandy O'Connor - ‘A Tipping Point: An Artists Perspective on Climate’

A solo exhibition by Sandy O'Connor will be on view in the Back Bay Room at Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. through Sunday, July 18.

The artwork comprises a series of eight watercolor landscapes titled, A Tipping Point: An Artist's Perspective on Climate Change on the Outer Cape.

Learn more at

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’                          

Let your imagination soar as you journey through Boston alongside these vivid characters and stories in The Walking Plays:

The six audio plays include On Paying Attention by David Valdes; Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus; Kill the Dogs, Knock Them Over! by Liana Asim; In Any Face by Miranda Austen ADEkoje; Living Water by Melinda Lopez and Micah Rosegrant; and Monstrat Viam by Patrick Gabridge.

Visit for more information and access to the plays.

Summer Dock Party

Esplanade Association’s 10th Annual Summer Dock Party will be held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 22. Set against the incomparable backdrop of the Charles River at sunset, as well as in the lovely Eliot Garden, the 10th Annual Summer Dock Party has become a social highlight for Bostonians.

Approximately 300 guests will enjoy a sunset dinner and drinks, as well as dancing to a live DJ from DJs of Boston on the docks at Community Boating, Inc. The funds raised at this year’s event will support the Esplanade Association’s work to revitalize, enhance, program, and maintain the park, while providing the community with free summer programming.

Visit for more information and reservations ($80-$100).

Swan Boats operating

Enjoy a ride on the Swan Boats as they sail the waters of the Boston Public Garden. Swan Boat drivers will paddle passengers around the Public Garden Lagoon for a peaceful, 15-minute cruise. Masks required.

Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day

Visit for more information and reservations (Tickets: Free to $4.50).

Community Boating kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals

Community Boating offers an opportunity to view Boston from an angle rarely seen. Rent a kayak and explore the Charles River Basin and Frederick Law Olmstead esplanade lagoon system while enjoying breathtaking views of historic Back Bay, Beacon Hill, MIT and the Zakim and Longfellow bridges. Available through Sunday, Sept. 26.

Two-hour kayak (single or tandem) and stand-up-paddle-boards rentals are available for $32 per person plus taxes and fees. Membership includes kayaks and SUPs at no cost (not including Wicked Basic Sailing Pass).

Visit for more information and registration.

Boston Open Market at Copley Square

In partnership with the Friends of Copley Square, New England Open Markets will operate the Boston Open Market - a new weekly arts market held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 27.

Visit for more information.

Copley Square Farmers Market

The Copley Square Farmers Market – Boston's biggest and busiest farmers market featuring more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers offering a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays through Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Accepts: SNAP, HIP & Nutrition Vouchers

Monday Mettā                      

Join Rev. Kim at the Arlington Street Church at noon on Mondays for a half hour of loving kindness meditation. She will give brief instructions, and the group will join in sending loving kindness to ourselves and to the world. No meditation experience necessary.

Join with video at or participate by phone by dialing 929-436-2866. For either option, the meeting ID is always 895 886 6876.

Gay Men's Coffee Connections

Gay Men's Coffee Connections will meet at 5 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month.

Feel free to listen or engage in discussion about experiences as gay men.

Visit for more information, including the week’s discussion prompt and the Zoom link.

BPL’s New Parent Group                                                                           

The Boston Public Library’s New Parent group will meet from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through June 29 for an informal – and informative – program for families with infants, birth to 12 months.

It’s a great way to meet other new parents and learn from guest speakers.

Visit for more information, including a weekly speaker/topic and Zoom registration.

The Buddhist book discussions and meditations

Buddha's Belly and Arlington Street Meditation Center (feel free to come to one or both) will 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.

Kundalini Yoga Class

Experience fun exercises and poses, breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and deep relaxation in this unique class at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Moving energy through your body brings positive change and growth.

There is a $10 charge that goes to the Arlington Street Church.

Email for Zoom access. All are welcome.

A safe space for people of all colors

If you identify as a person of color, Old South Church invites you to a time of connecting, a moment of breath, a reprieve from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. The group is open to people of all ages.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Virtual Jazz Coffee House                                                              

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

Music for Food concert series                                                         

In this time of crisis, neighbors who experience food-insecurity are among the hardest hit. In lieu of their regular concerts, Music for Food is presenting online performances to support multiple food pantries.

A weekly series of videos will be released at noon on Fridays on MFF’s YouTube Channel ( Each video features MFF Artists and friends from all over the world.

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host a weekly Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

The event will feature seven rounds of general knowledge trivia with a few wildcards along the way (follow on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the evening's categories) and excellent prizes for the top three teams. 

Visit for more information.

LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings                                              

LGBTQ Catholics Unite meetings are held virtually at 1 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month. The meetings provide an opportunity for LGBTQ Catholics and friends to gather and openly discuss relevant topics, scripture, and current events and share faith experiences, thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

Hosted by the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry, they hope that all LGBTQ+ Catholics will know that “God loves you, God created you, God is on your side, Jesus cares about you, and the church is your home.” All, including allies, are welcome.

For more info on how to connect via Zoom, email

BB Mom’s Group

The Mom’s Group is being revived for Moms in the Back Bay to meet and connect. Their goal is to offer support and be a resource for local Moms. When possible, outdoor events will be planned. 

For more information on joining, send an email to:

Future Readers Book Club/Events

The Boston Public Library hosts 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.

BPL reading challenge                                                        

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 Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

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 (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

Boston Ballet videos                                     

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

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 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 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.

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 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Saturday serving breakfast and lunch along with essential care packages.

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

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 distribute sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries and take time to listen to the stories of the men and women they encounter.

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

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

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

common cathedral and BostonWarm programs need help         

common cathedral and the BostonWarm 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, granola bars and water.

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 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. 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.

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