Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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The gardens are alive with color at many of the homes in the Back Bay.

Saturdays at Stoneman 

Join the Esplanade Association and Boston Music Project at the Stoneman Playground on the Esplanade for family-friendly music and movement programming for children and families of all ages.

Stoneman sessions will be 45 minutes long and take place on the hour from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Aug. 21.

Each week, children will sing songs, dance to music, and enjoy storytime led by trained Boston Music Project teaching artists. Caregivers are encouraged to attend and take part in the music games with their children.

Visit for more information and tickets.

Boston Ballet School Summer Open House and Placement Class

Boston Ballet will hold an open house and placement class from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 19 Clarendon St. for those interested in Boston Ballet School’s programs.

– The open house invites children, 16 months to age 7, to experience a free class led by professional faculty and learn about the progressive curriculum.

– A placement class is required for all new students, ages 8 to18, interested in joining Boston Ballet School. This class allows expert faculty to determine the level of study most appropriate to the students’ abilities. Pre-registration is required and there is a fee for this class.

Visit 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:

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

– Sunday, Aug. 15: We Sing: Chinatown – Chin Park on The Greenway, Surface Road and Beach Street

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

Visit for more information and a link to register for each of the events.

Open Newbury Street

Newbury Street will be car-free from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. from Berkeley Street to Massachusetts Avenue on Sunday, Aug. 15, Aug. 22 and Aug. 29. (September dates to be determined).

Enjoy shopping, dining out, or just going for a walk in the mile-long, eight block stretch that includes a plethora of shops, salons, galleries and restaurants.

Visit for more information.

Free August Adventures with Highland Street Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation will partner with special Massachusetts cultural institutions to provide one free activity each day for 31 days in August. Here is a list of the Boston venues:

Aug. 17: Institute of Contemporary Art/ ICA Boston

Aug. 18: Boston Children's Museum

Aug. 28: Out of the Park, Boston Red Sox & City of Boston

Aug. 31: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

For safety reasons, many of the participating venues have limited capacity and are requiring advanced registration.

Available spots are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Visit for a downloadable August Adventures calendar, links to the venues and more information.

One World 2021 (virtual)

The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s 16th annual One World program – a series of free art and cultural events for children, ages 4 to 12 – will be held online from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays through Aug. 17.

Each week participants will learn about a different corner of the globe with cultural activities from the nations of Mexico, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Philippines, Aotearoa (Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand), Greece and India. Events will include live performances, arts and crafts, storytimes, and other fun.

Visit for more information and registration.

Etiquette of the Brahmin Summer

Before air conditioning, Brahmin (wealthy Boston) families retreated for the summer season to homes on the New England coast.

Join Robert B. Dimmick, Etiquetteer from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17 for an entertaining look at the rituals, pastimes and domesticity of the Gibson family and other Yankees. This virtual program will include images from the Gibson House and Gibson family archives.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration (Members: $10 | non-members: $12).

‘Republic of Detours’

The plan was as idealistic as it was audacious and utterly unprecedented. Take thousands of hard-up writers and put them to work charting a country on the brink of social and economic collapse with the aim of producing a series of guidebooks to the then-48 states - along with hundreds of other publications dedicated to cities, regions and towns while also gathering reams of folklore, narratives of formerly enslaved people and even recipes.

With this effort, America was documented, its families and their sensibilities brought to life by such celebrated authors as Nelson Algren, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright.

Join in for Scott Borchert’s discussion with genealogist Rhonda McClure about this remarkable, history-making Federal Writers’ Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)’s New Deal initiative, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17, presented by the American Inspiration Author Series in partnership with the State Library of Massachusetts

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

BIPOC Stories Book Club

The BIPOC Stories Book Club will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. to discuss An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

Visit for more information.

Life after COVID-19 – The New Normal? (Virtual)                                

Although one can’t provide any concrete answers to this complex question, one can examine empirical patterns that are already observable.

A panel including Dr. Michael Osterholm, White House advisor, epidemiologist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Rachel Silverman, policy fellow Center for Global Development, and Dr. Amesh Adalja Johns Hopkins, Center for Global Health and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security will predict what might change fundamentally and what lessons about preparedness we will have learned.

Join this far ranging and provocative discussion slated from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday Aug. 18 that will cap off the GBH Pandemic 2.0 series.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

River Fit: Johara Boston Pop-Up

Join the Esplanade Association for River Fit: Johara Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18 on Fiedler Field, part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

From slow serpentine moves such as figure eights, snake-arms, belly-rolls and undulations to fast and fiery hip-locks and shimmies, Johara will teach the basics of belly dance along with fun combinations.

This class is for everyone who wants to get a light cardio workout and all over body toning as they explore the treasures of the east.

Visit for more information and registration.

Landmarks Orchestra: Bach & Beethoven

Two favorite collaborators, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra and Mercury Orchestra, will share a program of orchestra favorites with works by Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18 at the Hatch Memorial Shell, 47 David G. Mugar Way.

Learn more at

Stories from the Archives: Family Bible Records

Family Bibles are not only treasured heirlooms, but they can also provide key genealogical information on the generations that came before you. They can act as vital record substitutes, detail family connections, and provide clues to what religious denominations your ancestor may have belonged.

Bible records have also been donated to archives and historical societies across the country, including the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections at American Ancestors.

This webinar, presented by Judy Lucey and Todd Pattison from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19, will look at some of the items in their collection - detailing the stories behind them and provide tips for preserving Bible records in your personal archive.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Teen Book Discussion Group: ‘Where We Go From Here’        

The Boston Public Library’s Teen Book Discussion Group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 to discuss Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha.

Originally published in Brazil, this YA novel follows three young men as they navigate the realities of living with HIV and/or dating people who are HIV positive.

Visit for more information and Twitch link.

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, Aug. 19 and Aug. 26.

Visit for more information, including the artists.

River Fit: IJE Company Pop-Up

Join the Esplanade Association for River Fit: IJE Company Pop-Up from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 on Fiedler Field as part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

Ije Company's free training classes work with 8-12th grade students currently in or interested in sports. Ije’s goal is to increase overall physical movement, body awareness, motivation, and athletic performance. They welcome students and athletes of all levels, backgrounds, genders and sports.

Visit for more information and registration.

‘Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America’

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center for an online talk with Eyal Press, author of Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America. Professor of history at New York University Kim Phillips-Fein will moderate this discussion from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19.

Visit for more information, including book synopsis, and Zoom registration.

Beyond the Page: ‘When No One Is Watching’                                                    

Why do Sydney Green’s neighbors mysteriously disappear once new developments arise? Can a remaining neighbor reveal the eerie truth? Find out in Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching, a spine-tingling tale of race, mystery and gentrification.

Join GBH Beyond the Page Book Club from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 for a live discussion with the author where people can ask her questions about her featured work, experience as a writer and more.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Concerts in the Courtyard Series: Crowes Pasture

Join the Boston Public Library for a folk performance by Crowes Pasture from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20 in the Courtyard of the Central Library in Copley Square.

A roots-infused, contemporary folk duo, Crowes Pasture performs original music and eye-opening covers that reflect a mutual passion, sense of discovery and celebration of life.

The romantic clawhammer banjo playing by Monique Byrne and expressive guitar picking by Andy Rogovin are enlivened by their personal chemistry and intimate harmonies.

The program will also be broadcast to the BPL YouTube channel.

Visit for more information.

‘Upstairs, Downstairs: Domestic Service at the Gibson House’              

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

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

will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21 and Sunday, Aug. 29 and at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26.

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.

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

​Visit for more information and reservations (prices vary).

River Fit: Lynx Saturday Workouts

Instructors from Lynx Fitness Club will lead participants through an hour-long high intensity interval training (HIIT) class that incorporates bodyweight strength training with high-intensity cardio bursts for maximum calorie burning effect, set to fun and upbeat music from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 14 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade, part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

Register at

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.

‘River Fit: Kick It by Eliza’

Join the Esplanade Association for “River Fit: Kick It” by Eliza from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sept. 7 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade, part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

Kick It is a 13-round fitness method that is music-driven and kickboxing-inspired. No equipment is needed except for a yoga mat, if desired. Some rounds target specific body parts (such as legs or arms), but most of the class is cardio focused. Plenty of options to modify are provided along the way, so this class truly is for everyone.

Register at

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.

River Fit: Sunrise Yoga with B/SPOKE

Join the Esplanade Association for Sunrise Yoga with B/SPOKE from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays through Sept. 8 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

B/SPOKE Yoga is a vinyasa based practice for all levels with an emphasis on music that ebbs and flows with each portion of the class. Each class will begin with guided breath work and end with a mindful moment that will allow you to take the intention of class into your life. Bring a Yoga mat, if desired.

Register for River Fit 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 through Aug. 25.

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

Registration is required at or contact

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. All are welcome.

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

Email for Zoom access. 

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

Tiffany stained-glass windows

The Tiffany Education Center at the Arlington Street Church, 20 Arlington St. offers self-guided tours with an audio guide as well as docent-guided tours. Experience the resplendent beauty and history of the 16 Tiffany opalescent stained-glass windows – the largest Tiffany window collection of its kind in any one church.

The visitors center will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays (closed Tuesdays). Group tours are also available.

common art: ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ exhibition

The virtual exhibit – “Fruit of the Spirit” – organized by Unbound Visual Arts in partnership with the common art program, will be on view through Tuesday, Aug. 31 at “Unbound Visual Arts: common art” exhibit. All works – including paintings, sculptures, stained glass, jewelry, drawings, writings, and other crafts – are available for sale.

common art, a program of common cathedral, offers a creative space, art supplies and pastoral support to unhoused and low-income individuals to explore their artistic abilities within a spiritual community. They are also served breakfast and lunch.

While access to art lessons and creative materials are vital to their program, the true soul of common art is being a resilient, diverse and inclusive congregation that learns together. During the pandemic, they focused on and consciously practiced “The Fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) – to affirm and remember that their purpose as a congregation is to be supportive of each other.

This is who they are, and they will continue to be common art with hearts and doors open to all.

All are welcome to join them from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St.

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 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

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.

Friday Night Supper Program needs help

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.

FNSP offers seated, family-style dinners at the church at 5 p.m. on Fridays or hot to-go meals for those who prefer or if room reaches its limited capacity due to the pandemic.

The Clothing Closet will also be opened every other Friday.

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 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.

BostonWarm/common art and common cathedral programs need help           

The drop-in center, BostonWarm; the art program, common art; and common cathedral, all 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) Purchase supplies from BostonWarm and common art Amazon wish lists.

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.

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.

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