Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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There are even fine “luxury” homes for birds to nest in the Back Bay.

Gibson House Museum tours

The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St. is a time capsule of domestic life from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries.

– The Museum will be open for tours at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays

– New Specialty Tour – Upstairs, Downstairs: Domestic Service at the Gibson House

will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 10; at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 15; at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 18; and at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

Explore the lives of the young, Irish immigrant women who worked in domestic service in the Back Bay. Rarely seen spaces, including the coal shed (the last surviving coal shed in Back Bay) and the fifth-floor servant bedroom will be on view.

Visit www.thegibsonhouse.org for more information and reservations (prices vary).

Evening garden stroll                                               

An evening garden stroll will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 (Rain date: 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 24) and Tuesday, Aug. 10 (Rain date: 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11) 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 www.emeraldnecklace.org/event 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 www.thebsra.org for more information and Zoom registration.

Yoga for a Cause Yoga                                                                    

Stonewall Sports Boston has teamed up with Down Under School of Yoga to provide Yoga for a Cause.

The outdoor yoga classes will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sundays through July 18 at Roberto Clemente Field, 160 Park Dr. (Boston Fens).

Each session is $10. All proceeds will be donated to St. Francis House and Women's House Place, to support our local unsheltered neighbors. 

Visit https://stonewallboston.leagueapps.com/events/2325159-yoga-for-a-cause for more information and 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 www.wgbh.org/events/beyond-the-page-people-we-meet-on-vacation for more information and registration.

Sunrise Yoga                                                                                                            

Join Anne Marie on the Community Boating dock (21 David G Mugar Way) for a free one-hour Kripalu-inspired slow flow class at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesdays through Aug. 25.

This class is appropriate for anyone who can access (and get up from) the earth. Modifications encouraged. This is an opportunity to move mindfully and breathe deeply from one of the most beautiful spots in the city. No sign up required, open to all.

Visit www.community-boating.org/calendar for more information.

LRC: More Curious, Less Furious                                                            

Many media and culture sources promote the idea that people should view those who disagree with them as enemies. This approach limits their ability to solve the major problems of this day. Research shows that curiosity which seeks multiple perspectives can open the mind, increase empathy, reduce fears, encourage self-awareness and promote humility.

Curiosity about how and why other people arrive at values and beliefs can lead to better solutions, understanding and appreciation.

Life experiences shape who people are, and sharing stories can help bridge gaps and encourage mutual respect. People can make a choice to become more curious and less furious.

In this facilitated conversation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, the group will share thoughts and experiences about choosing to be curious.

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

‘Dawnland’ & ‘Dear Georgina’ film screening and Q & A

The Upstander Project and the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center will present the Emmy-winning film Dawnland and Dear Georgina and live Q&A from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14.

For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being who they are. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. Dawnland goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

In Dear Georgina. a Passamaquoddy elder journeys into an unclear past to better understand herself and her cultural heritage.

After the live screening join Maine-Wabanaki Truth Commissioner gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag), educator and Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness Board Member Claudia Fox Tree (Arawak/Yurumein), linguist Roger Paul (Passamaquoddy), DAWNLAND filmmaker and Upstander Project director Adam Mazo and Upstander Project learning director Dr. Mishy Lesser.

Go to www.eventbrite.com/e/dawnland-dear-georgina-live-online-film-screening-and-q-a-tickets-157529925247?aff=Leventhal for more information and registration.

Summer Dock Party

The 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 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 music provided by 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 www.eventbrite.com/e/10th-annual-summer-dock-party-tickets-158741860177 for more information and reservations ($80-$100).

‘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 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15.

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

Understanding SNAP benefits                                                        

The Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center, in partnership with the Legal Services Center, will present this financial empowerment information session about SNAP from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 15.

SNAP is a federally-funded support program to supplement the food budget of families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. Join to find out if you are eligible, how to apply and what you can do if benefits are denied.

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

‘Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames’

​Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969) was an artist, an activist, a builder, an inventor, a birth control maverick and a leader of the woman suffrage movement in Massachusetts. She was a woman of privilege who was not afraid to shock polite society. Her name doesn't appear in most American history books. This, too, is part of her story. 

Borderland: The Life & Times of Blanche Ames Ames is a 55-minute documentary that chronicles the life of a woman who was born in the 19th century, worked to change the 20th century and whose wisdom still resonates in the 21st century.

A screening of the film will be followed by audience discussion with consulting historian Barbara F. Berenson from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15.

Visit https://masshist.org for more information and registration.

Twilight Music Series                                                          

Take in the sights and sounds of a warm summer evening accompanied by a live musical performance in three Emerald Necklace parks: Charlesgate Park – corner of Beacon St. and Charlesgate East (Back Bay); Olmsted Park – Allerton Overlook (Brookline) and Jamaica Pond – Boathouse Bandstand (JP).

Performances will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, July 22, Aug. 19 and Aug. 26.

Visit www.emeraldnecklace.org/event/twilight-music-series for more information, including the artists.

Ask The Expert: Summer of Birds                                                

Whether you’re an avid beginner or experienced birder, connect with author and illustrator David Allen Sibley of the Sibley Guide to Birds and ask your questions to this legendary birding expert from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 16. 

Visit www.wgbh.org/events/ask-the-expert-summer-birding-virtual for more information and online registration.

Concerts in the Courtyard Series: The Zaks Duo

Join the Boston Public Library for a classical performance by The Zaks Duo from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 in the courtyard of the Central Library in Copley Square. The program will also be broadcast to the BPL YouTube channel.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information.

We Sing: Boston                                                                   

The Boston Children’s Chorus, in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden, will host "We Sing: Boston" - a summer series of community singing events in parks throughout the area.

 “We Sing: Boston” invites community members of all ages and skill levels to join in singing, games, prizes and socializing (following COVID guidelines) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. as follows:

– We Sing: Chelsea – 8 Clark Ave. – Saturday, July 17 and Aug. 7

– We Sing: Roxbury – Clifford Playground, 160 Norfolk Ave. – Sunday, July 18 and Sunday, Aug. 1 

– We Sing: Chinatown – Chin Park on The Greenway, Surface Road and Beach Street –

Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, Aug. 15 

– We Sing: Dorchester – Town Field, 1545 Dorchester Ave. - Sunday, July 25 and Sunday, Aug. 8

– We Sing: Mattapan – Hunt-Almont Park, 40 Almont S. – Saturday, July 31

– We Sing: Mattapan – Harambee Park, 930 Blue Hill Ave. – Saturday, Aug. 14 

This summer series will culminate with a special, city-wide event on the Boston Common in September.

Visit www.bostonchildrenschorus.org/our-programs/we-sing for more information and a link to register for each of the events.

Friday Night Supper Program needs servers, donations

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.

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.

FNSP is also looking for help to serve the onsite and “to go” meals.

Visit www.Fridaynightsupper.org for more information.

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 through Aug. 25.

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

Registration is required at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ei2i4ogj51d9c923&oseq=&c=&ch= or contact joe.walsh@adaptivesportsne.org.

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.

Learn more at https://copleysociety.org/exhibition/national-show-connected-land-sea.

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 https://copleysociety.org/exhibition/sandy-oconnor-tipping-point.

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 www.lyricstage.com/to-go/walking-plays for more information and access to the plays.

Swan Boats operating

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

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

Visit https://swanboats.com/take-a-ride 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 www.community-boating.org/rentals/kayak-paddling-rentals 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 www.newenglandopenmarkets.com/events 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 https://zoom.us/j/8958866876 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 ascboston.org 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 July 27 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 bpl.org/events 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 www.ascboston.org 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 office@ascboston.org 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 www.oldsouth.org 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 livestream.com/oldsouth.

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 (www.youtube.com/channel/UCyL1hGegB4nbh71mB0tC_Lg). 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 www.tridentbookscafe.com/event/trivia-night-trident 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 stceciliarainbowministry@gmail.com.

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: info@nabbonline.org.

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 bpl.org to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at bostonpl.beanstack.org.

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 bpl.org/events 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 bpl.org/yearlong. Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit bpl.org 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 www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/youth.

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 www.bigsister.org.

Boston Ballet videos                                     

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

Support Boston Ballet at www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/Donate.

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.

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 www.womenslunchplace.org 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 www.omvusa.org/about/groups 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 www.commoncathedral.org for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

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 esplanade.org 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 friendsofthepublicgarden.org.