Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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Work continues on the building of a new observation deck on the top of the Prudential Tower.

Critical shortage of blood at MGH Blood Donor Center – please give

The Massachusetts General Hospital 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.

City-Wide Friends Book Sale                                             

Support the Boston Public Library by buying used books from the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information.

Crotchet 101 For Teens

Crochet 101 is a beginner-friendly course that covers all the basic stitches and techniques of crocheting.

This class, slated from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Central Library in Copley Square, will cover chaining, single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet and slip stitch. Attendees will also learn how to read patterns and even begin their own scarf.

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

‘Ralph S. Jacobs: Recent Works’

The Guild of Boston Artists will present “Ralph S. Jacobs: Recent Works” from Saturday, Oct. 2 through Saturday, Oct. 23 at their Newbury Street gallery. The show will feature a beguiling collection of the artists newest still-life and landscape paintings.

Opening reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Visit www.guildofbostonartists.org/events for more information.

‘The Healing Power of Singing: Raise Your Voice, Change Your Life’

Join the Boston Public Library for a discussion, musical performance and book signing with Emm Gryner, author of The Healing Power of Singing: Raise Your Voice, Change Your Life (What Touring with David Bowie, Single Parenting and Ditching the Music Business Taught Me in 25 Easy Steps)

The event will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Central Library in Copley Square and on Zoom.

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

BSRA                                                                                   

The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) typically meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month for a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. Everyone is welcome to attend this online gathering.

– Oct. 2: Donald Nevin’s Trackless Trolley Potpourri

Donald Nevin will show 1970s-vintage trackless trolley operations in Dayton, Seattle, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Cambridge and Hamilton (Ontario).

Check out the BSRA online store for a great selection of 2021 traction, transit and railroad calendars; books and magazines; DVDs; home décor and accessories; vintage items and more.

Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.

Visit www.thebsra.org for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Zu Wotans Willen’: A chat with Jane Eaglen

Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen will talk about her international operatic career, her likes and dislikes, training, travels and more live on Zoom from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3.

Proceeds will be donated to the Boston Wagner Institute at New England Conservatory.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/a-chat-with-jane-eaglen-a-preeminent-brunnhilde-and-isolde-tickets-167098244347 for more information and Zoom registration ($10).

River Fit: 'Froca

Join the Esplanade Association for River Fit: ‘Froca on Fiedler Field from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.

River Fit: ‘Froca will take participants around the world, exposing them to new rhythms while they break a sweat. Set to popular African and Caribbean music, ‘Froca draws on movements and dances rooted in deep tradition as well as steps that have gained popularity in recent years.

Go to www.eventbrite.com/e/river-fit-froca-registration-171250363447 for more information and registration.

ARC Blood Drive at  Park Plaza Hotel                                                      

Park Plaza Hotel, 64 Arlington St. will host a blood drive from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time or phone 1-800­-RED CROSS (1-800­-733-2767) to reserve a space.

LivingRoom Conversations VI: Truth & Reconciliation                         

Nelson Mandela said, “In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of people.”

This guide builds on Mandela’s vision of reconciliation by inviting participants to share what is happening in their hearts and minds within the context of racial justice. Truth challenges and liberates people. Reconciliation opens the door to working together for a brighter future. Truth and reconciliation together offer a pathway toward a world without racism. What would that world look like? What do people need to do and talk about in order to get there?

Join this Boston Public Library-facilitated living room conversation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6 where participants can practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships.

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

‘The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice’

Author Jan Brogan will share the story of the Puopolo family's struggle with both a devastating loss and a criminal justice system that produced two trials with opposing verdicts, all within the context of a racially divided Boston.

The event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at the Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square.

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

FASHION: A career at any age

Join the Central Library in Copley Square from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7 for this talk for those who entertained the idea of a career in fashion, dabbled in it as a hobby or just want to know what goes on behind the scenes.

Author, educator and founder of Boston Fashion Week, Jay Calderin will guide participants through the fashion design process and explore the many ways into the industry, at any age.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information.

An introduction to disability history

This conversation, slated from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7, will present a brief history of the field of disability and examine the foundational and emerging scholarship through a moderated, roundtable discussion with the Massachusetts Historical Society panelists.

The program will serve to lay the groundwork for subsequent conversations in this series.

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

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, 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 (prices vary).

Reading the Rainbow: ‘Alice Isn't Dead’

Reading the Rainbow – a Boston Public Library online-exclusive book group geared towards members of the LGBTQ+ community – will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8 for a lively discussion of Joseph Fink's Alice Isn't Dead.

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

Opening Our Doors 2021                                                                

The 20th annual Opening Our Doors Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, offering a day of free history, art, music and cultural happenings presented by the Fenway Alliance.

With more than 20 museums, venues, colleges and organizations participating throughout the Fenway Cultural District, there will be something for everyone, both virtual and in-person, mostly outdoors and all free and open to the public.

Go to www.fenwayculture.org/schedule for more details and (Zoom) registration.

Queer Board Game Night

All queer-identifying folks and allies are welcome to play board games from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Trident Café, 338 Newbury St.

Visit www.tridentbookscafe.com/event for more information.

Lyric Stage Company: ‘Be Here Now’

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St. will present matinee and evening performances of “Be Here Now” – a quirky romantic comedy about a professor of nihilism who experiences joy for the first time – through Sunday, Oct.  17.

Visit www.lyricstage.com/show-item/be-here-now for more information and tickets (prices vary).

‘What Do We Have in Common?’ interactive public sculpture

In celebration of the Friends of the Public Garden’s 50th anniversary in Boston, a large, participatory public sculpture – a hand-crafted, double-sided, wooden cabinet with removable illuminated markers that invite discussion about ownership – called “What Do We Have in Common?” has been installed on historic Boston Common through Friday, Oct. 22.

“What Do We Have in Common?” was created by famed public artist Janet Zweig and curated by Now + Then.

Boston-based Guides will pull out blue illuminated markers from the cabinet each day and engage passersby in conversation around questions printed on the markers such as: “Who Owns the Moon?” “Who Owns the Shadows?” “Who Owns Happiness?” and “Who Owns the Trees?” At night, the cabinet and markers will glow, lighting up the park as a reminder of the care needed to protect the beauty and dynamism of public spaces that everyone owns in common.

The cabinet will also serve as a Giving Library for the public to take texts on the theme of shared resources. There will be fiction, poetry, children’s books and histories of Boston Common, available for all to take with book plates signed by Zweig.

Reflective of the Common’s rich cultural diversity, 34 of the 200 markers in the cabinet will be in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean Creole. Many of the Guides, who will be prompting conversations with the public, will self-identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

Visit whatdowehaveincommon.art for more information.

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.

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.

Back Bay Chorale ESL Chorus                              

Do you love music or enjoy singing? Do you want to learn English and sing with new friends? The E.S.L. Singing Group will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on (most) Tuesdays through Dec. 7 on Zoom and/or at the Central Library, 700 Boylston St. in Copley Square.

Associate Conductor Katherine Chan from the Back Bay Chorale will teach basic singing skills and songs in English.

At the end of each class, participants will have the opportunity to practice English conversation skills and develop friendships. No singing experience required.

Go to https://bbcboston.org/bridges/esl or bpl.org/events for more information and (Zoom) registration.

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.

Bach Cantata Series at Emmanuel Church                      

Continuing their 50-year-old tradition, the orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present Bach’s astounding human document in the liturgical setting for which it was intended, as well as other sacred works.

The performances can be enjoyed in person at the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St. at 10 a.m. on Sundays through May 15 with a live stream option.

To learn more about the history of Bach cantatas and how Emmanuel Music presents them, visit emmanuelmusic.org.

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

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.