Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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These people are enjoying a fine day by the Charles River along the Esplanade.

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.

‘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).

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. 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.

Socialist Night School: ‘What is Class?’

 Socialists frequently say that people have a “class” analysis, talk about the power of the working “class,” want a “class”less society. Understanding class is the first essential step in understanding socialist perspective and strategy.

Join the Boston Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA’s) Socialist Night School from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22 as they present “What is Class?”

Through a short lecture, brief Q&A and small group discussions, attendees will learn what is meant when they talk about class – what it is, where it comes from and how it works – and why the working class is so important for a socialist movement.

Socialist Night Schools are an introductory, low-barrier to entry series. No prior experience with socialism or theory is needed. Amateurs and experts alike are welcome to join.

This event is part of a three-part series on Class.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training’

Join the Boston Public Library from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24 for an online talk with Adam Stern, MD, author of Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training. Stern recounts his four-year psychiatry residency at Harvard Medical School in a heartfelt memoir of working in psychiatric wards, grappling with impostor syndrome, and experiencing love and loss.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group

Geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s, the Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Central Library in Copley Square will meet online from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24 to discuss My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Free guided tours on the Esplanade                                                                                  

The Esplanade Association will offer free guided walking tours on the Esplanade to share the park’s amazing stories, plants, trees and wildlife. Guided walking tours will last about an hour-and-a-half and cover roughly a mile of the Esplanade and more than 150 years of history.

The 2021 Guided Tour Program Schedule:

– Guided Tree Tour at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25

– Guided Bird Tour with Feminist Bird Club at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8

– Guided History Tour at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 and at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16

– Guided Art in the Park Tour at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6

Visit for more information and registration.

Living Room Conversations VI: Legalized Marijuana

As the push for legalization spreads across the US, a different conversation emerges around marijuana. Proponents see this as an advance in freedom and liberty, trusting adults to decide what is best about a substance that is equated with alcohol and nicotine. On the other side, critics see the march to legalization as yet another step in the loosening moral discipline of our country. What are the new questions to ask? How do we envision our lives where/when marijuana is legal? What are results from states with early legalization? How should tax revenues be allocated?

Join this Boston Public Library facilitated living room conversation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 where participants can practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Landmarks Orchestra: Amazing Grace & Sousa Marches

The Landmarks Orchestra forms a concert band for the first time at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at DCR’s Hatch Memorial Shell. (Rain Date: Aug. 26)

Beginning with English masterpieces, the music moves across the pond to the States. In addition to well-loved Sousa marches, American influences range from jazz to “Amazing Grace.” Composer Omar Thomas’ Come Sunday marks the central role of the Hammond organ in the Black church.

Visit for more information.

Poetry Open-Mic Night at Trident Booksellers

A fun evening of open-mic poetry will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St.

Bring your own works and perform them in front of a supportive crowd. Find your voice and share it with the world. 

Visit for more information.

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. 26.

Visit for more information, including the artists.

‘Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River’

A memoir about the power of place to shape generations, Home Waters is John N. Maclean's remarkable memoir of his family's century-long love affair with Montana's majestic Blackfoot River, the setting for his father's classic novella, A River Runs Through It.

Maclean returns annually to the simple family cabin that his grandfather built by hand, still in search of the trout of a lifetime. When he hooks it at last, decades of longing promise to be fulfilled, inspiring John, reporter and author, to finally write the story he was born to tell.

Join him and the Maclean family biographer O. Alan Weltzien from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 for this remarkable look at one family, the place they love, and the sport that is their shared passion and tradition.

Presented by the American Inspiration Author Series, visit for more information and registration.

A Virtual Trip to the Atlantic Coast – Journey To The Bassin D’arcachon

Want to prolong the vacation season? Join the French Cultural Center’s French tour guide Véronique Banzet who will bring the famous Baie d’Arcachon into your home from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Aug. 27.

Does Dune du Pilat, Cap Ferret or Arcachon make you dream of jumping on a plane to smell the salty fresh air and bury your feet in the white sand while eating some incredible oysters?

Also listen to Romain, a French ostreiculteur who will share his passion for his region and its famous oysters.

Visit for more information and registration (Members: $5 | Non-members: $10).

Concerts in the Courtyard Series: Duo Coquelicot

Join the Boston Public Library for a classical performance by Duo Coquelicot from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27 in the Courtyard of the Central Library in Copley Square.

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

Visit for more information.

Ask The Expert: Jamming                                                              

Learn the process of canning at GBH’s Ask The Expert event with food writer and canning teacher Marisa McClellan as she talks about jam making and canning. This is a chance to explore the world of jam and ask questions about canning from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday Aug. 27.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

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. 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.

2021 Regional Juried Exhibition Selected Works

The New England Regional Juried Exhibition will be on view at the Guild of Boston Artists Gallery, 162 Newbury St., from Saturday, Aug. 28 through Saturday, Sept. 25.

The exhibition provides an opportunity for non-member New England artists working in the realist tradition to exhibit their work and compete for prestigious awards.

An opening reception and awards presentation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. Light refreshments will be served.

An award winners panel and meet-and-greet will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11. Each artist will discuss their award-winning painting and take questions from the audience.

Visit for more information, including the viewing of the show prospectus.

Run the Esplanade 5K Presented by BCBSMA

The Esplanade 5K, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, will be held at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29 on the Esplanade.

Join up to a thousand of your fellow Esplanade-lovers and run the most popular running route in Greater Boston, kicking off at the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell.

Visit for more information and registration.

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, a program of common cathedral, will be on view through Tuesday, Aug. 31.

All works – including paintings, sculptures, stained glass, jewelry, drawings, writings, and other crafts – are available for sale.

80% of each purchase goes to the artist who created the original piece; 20% will go to Unbound Visual Arts.

Visit to view and purchase work and to learn more about the programs.

Gibson House Museum benefit         

Gibson House Museum will hold its 24th annual benefit on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at St. Botolph Club, 199 Commonwealth Ave.

Celebrating with a “Roaring Twenties” theme, the party will feature drinks, food, trivia and music and dancing from the 1920s. They will also offer fun ’20s-themed raffle items to take a chance on.

The honoree will be the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, which has worked tirelessly for more than 65 years to preserve Back Bay’s architectural beauty and residential character.

Visit for more information and tickets.

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 G. 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.

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