Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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It’s easy to find many flowers walking along the streets of the Back Bay this summer.

Beethoven's ‘Ode to Joy’ Ninth Symphony

The Handel and Haydn Orchestra and Chorus will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, renowned for its famed “Ode to Joy” finale from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug, 27 at The Hatch Memorial Shell, 47 David G. Mugar Way. (Rain date: Aug. 28)

For more information, visit https://handelandhaydn.org/concerts/beethoven-symphony-9.

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 www.highlandstreet.org/programs/community-events/august-adventures 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 www.guildofbostonartists.org/2021-regional-juried-exhibition-selected-works 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 https://esplanade.org/esplanade5k for more information and registration.

Esplanade Community Day

Celebrating 20 years since the founding of the Esplanade Association, this year’s Esplanade Community Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Among the featured fun will be a lineup of events and activities on the Esplanade highlighted by the fourth year of the GroundBeat Music Series curated by BAMS Fest (BamsFest.org) and a music and movement session led by the Boston Music Project (BostonMusicProject.org).

Visit https://esplanade.org/events 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 Sunday, Aug. 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.

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

​Visit www.thegibsonhouse.org 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. 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 www.boston.gov/departments/transportation/open-newbury-street for more information.

Café Cinema: ‘Catch Me If You Can’

The Café Cinema at the Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. will screen a film that captured the minds and hearts of moviegoers across the country - Catch Me If You Can - from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 30.

En route to their slew of award show wins, this movie masterfully showcased the genius of Frank Abagnale Jr. as he used his prodigious counterfeiting talents to work as a pilot, doctor and lawyer before his 17th birthday.

Visit www.tridentbookscafe.com for more information.

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 www.unboundvisualarts.org/common-art-fruit-of-the-spirit-exhibit to view and purchase work and to learn more about the programs.

Cocktails in the Park 

Party in the Park, a unique cocktail party at Pinebank Promontory overlooking the picturesque Jamaica Pond, will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22. RSVP by Sept. 1.

All proceeds support the revitalization of Charlesgate Park, a critical link in the region’s park network.

Visit www.emeraldnecklace.org/party-in-the-park/purchase-tickets for more information and tickets.

LivingRoom Conversations VI: The Search for Purpose

In the current economy, people’s value is often based on earning power or visible signs of success. In interactions with each other, people transact their business, relationships and lives. But what would happen if we set up a different valuation system - one that supported a “happiness quotient” in the measure of success? What would that world and/or economy look like?

Join this Boston Public Library facilitated living room conversation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept 1 where participants can practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships.

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

Landmarks Orchestra: ‘Rhapsody in Blue & American Portraits’

The Landmarks Orchestra will present “Rhapsody in Blue & American Portraits” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the Hatch Memorial Shell, 47 David G. Mugar Way. (Rain Date: Sept. 2)

Rhapsody in Blue has captivated listeners since its premiere nearly a century ago. Audiences still love it for its freshness and fusion of styles. Copland’s Lincoln Portrait accompanies some of Lincoln’s best-known speeches, including the Gettysburg Address. The premiere of Francine Trester’s A Walk in her Shoes conjures the memory of key women in our city’s history.

Visit www.landmarksorchestra.org/concerts/rhapsody-american for more information.

ARC Blood Drive                                                     

A blood drive will be held from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2 at the Park Plaza Hotel, 64 Arlington St.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time for more information and registration.

Still Mad: American Women Writers and Feminist Imagination

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with American Ancestors/NEHGS and the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, authors of Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2.

Forty years after their first groundbreaking work of feminist literary theory, The Madwoman in the Attic, these award-winning collaborators map the literary history of feminism’s second wave. Still Mad is a brilliant, sweeping history of the contemporary women’s movement told through the lives and works of the literary women who shaped it.

Register at https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/6016275803548/WN_SPLKDKTMTGuXXBWQl7dwfA.

Charlie Gibson’s Queer Boston                                                      

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 – Charlie Gibson’s Queer Boston

Explore the Gibson House and the gay subculture of early 20th century Boston through Charlie Gibson's eyes. The story of the Museum's founder is one of legacy and family history, of the fading grandeur of Victorian-era Boston, and of Boston's LGBTQ history. Take this tour at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, Oct. 7, Nov. 4, or Dec. 2.

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

Visit www.thegibsonhouse.org for more information and reservations ($15 | $12 students and seniors).

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 www.thegibsonhouse.org/2021-benefit.html for more information and tickets.

Catie's Closet: Fill the Bus

Help Catie's Closet help under-served students feel prepared and confident this school year by participating in the Fill the Bus campaign through Thursday, Sept. 30.

Having a safe place such as Catie’s Closet and access to basic necessities helps them envision a future where they can proudly be themselves and celebrate their uniqueness and identity.

There are three ways to have a major impact this year as an individual, with your family, or as a company: Run their Virtual 5K | Donate items, Host a drive or Fund the items | Buy a confidence pack.

Catie’s Closet Distribution Centers are located at 63 Sprague St. in Hyde Park and at 19 School St. in Dracut.

Learn more at www.catiescloset.org/fill-the-bus-2021.

American Cancer Society: ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’

The American Cancer Society will host the annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26 at the Hatch Memorial Shell, 47 David G. Mugar Way.

For more information and registration and/or to make a donation, visit www.cancer.org.

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 (Sept. 6)

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.

MGH Blood Donor Center

Critical shortage of blood – please give.

The MGH Blood Donor Center, 55 Fruit St. (GRJ 120) is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Visit www.massgeneral.org/blood-donor/contact for more information and appointments.

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.

‘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 www.eventbrite.com/e/river-fit-kick-it-by-eliza-registration-162720404109.

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.

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 www.eventbrite.com/e/river-fit-sunrise-yoga-with-bspoke-registration-162477714217.

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 office@ascboston.org 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 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.

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.

Visit www.asctiffany.org/visit for more information.

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

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.

BCYF programs and services                                                         

The Boston Center for Youth and Families offers a variety of arts and computer activities, recreational programs, virtual field trips, workshops and services both remotely and in person for children, youth, individuals and families at 36 facilities, including community centers and pools.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families for more information and registration.

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.

Friday Night Supper Program – needs help for and with onsite/to-go meals

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 www.Fridaynightsupper.org for more information.

Support BostonWarm/common art and common cathedral programs 

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 www.commoncathedral.org 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 www.womenslunchplace.org 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 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.