The holiday season is a time for sharing, a time for showing our appreciation of our loved ones and a time for reflecting on those things for which we are grateful. Too often those values are forgotten as the frenzy of shopping and gift giving takes over. This week we’d like to announce some wonderful events that will help you focus on what’s really important this holiday season.
The Back Bay Bell Ringers will delight crowds on the Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall with some old fashioned holiday cheer. Their simple melodies capture the simple beauty of the holiday season. It’s quite captivating to hear the music that can be produced ringing a few bells. See the flyer below for a listing of performances this winter. All performances are free and held in outdoor locations.
Additionally, FOPG board member Margaret Pokorny will be speaking on the history of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall on December 13 at the Boston Public Library. The talk is free and open to the public.
Winston Churchill once named the Commonwealth Avenue Mall “the grandest boulevard in North America,”- to this day, the Mall still lives up to that description. This Thursday, Margaret Pokorny will be giving a highly anticipated talk at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square about this beloved landmark. Margaret serves on the boards for Friends of the Public Garden, Friends of Copley Square, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, and the Esplanade Association. She will discuss the Mall’s inception, landscape design and importance. Her lecture is also part of the Boston Public Library’s Building Boston initiative, which celebrates Boston’s public spaces. You can visit the BPL’s website to learn more about the initiative.
The Grandest Boulevard: Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Boston Public Library – Copley Square
This past Saturday was the first day of Fitcorp training for Team Friends. Team members Laura Jennings and Allison Byrne attended the 6-mile long run starting from Fitcorp’s Beacon Hill location. The route was straight down Beacon Street to the Holiday Inn, where runners enjoyed a quick water break. Just before the run started, snow began falling from the sky. “I’ve never run in snow before,” Allison reported, “I guess I better start getting used to it now”.
As the runs increase in distance more water stops will be provided by the Fitcorp Team. Both Laura and Allison are first time marathoners and plan to attend as many training sessions as possible to make sure they are ready to conquer the Boston Marathon course! Laura is looking forward to hill training, which is scheduled to begin in January. “I’m not going to let heartbreak hill get me down,” Laura said, “I want to train on it until I love it–that’s going to be my favorite part of the race”.
To learn more about the runners or to make a donation please visit out fundraising page.
This Thursday the Boston Common will become a real winter wonderland. The 71st Annual Frog Pond Skating Spectacular and Tree Lighting will take place from 5:00-8:00pm, marking the beginning of Boston’s holiday celebrations. This holiday spectacular, complete with a free show by the Skating Club of Boston and other performances, is predicted to attract over 30,000 people including Mayor Menino and Nova Scotia’s Deputy Premier, the Honorable Frank Corbett. Other appearances will include Santa Claus, Nova Scotia band, Squid, the Floorlords breakdancing team, Elliot Yamin of American Idol, the Grinch and many more.
It may seem strange that the Boston Common Christmas tree is a gift from our friends to the north. Boston’s lasting friendship with Nova Scotia originated in 1917 when Boston was the first American responders to an explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax. The explosion killed nearly 2,000 civilians. Within 24 hours of the devastation, a Boston train with supplies and emergency personnel arrived to aid Halifax. It was because of this act of kindness that Boston receives a Christmas tree from Nova Scotia every year for the tree lighting. Paul and Jan Hicks of Jordan Bay donated the 45-foot white spruce this year. Soon 41 trees in 41 years will have been lit in Boston Common to commemorate this wonderful tradition!
Please join us Thursday for the music and festivities! For more information, please call 617-635-4505 or visit cityofboston.gov/parks.
In early summer of 2012, there were rumors in the air that an old Boston Common men’s restroom that had been deserted for years was suddenly the desired location for Earl of Sandwich‘s next big project. Construction on the building had started in May, and after many months, that notion had become a reality.
The restroom was built in the 1920′s and is located near the baseball field and tennis court, and the Parkman Bandstand. The restroom has also been referred to as the “Pink Palace” due to the pinkish hue of the masonry. However, the building had been completely unoccupied since the 1970′s. We are thrilled that something finally could be done to revitalize the area on the Boston Common. And it certainly surprised us to learn that the company Earl of Sandwich was founded by the decedents of John Montagu, the man who one day discovered that putting meat between two slices of bread was an easy and delicious way to eat dinner.
Earl of Sandwich: Boston Common Edition had its grand opening ceremony last Monday on a beautiful fall day. Hundreds gathered around the new shop where the ribbon was cut and free sandwiches were given out. Below we’ve gathered photos taken by visitors to the shop, and we hope to see many more in the future.
The city of Boston is delighted to bring life back to this corner of the Common. Go check it out, eat a hot sandwich and use a different restroom because the one there is for employees only!
City crews have been working hard in the Public Garden the past few weeks improving pathways and site drainage in the Northeast quadrant. This work in the Public Garden is the first step in a larger plan to improve drainage, as well as repave and spot-treat the pathways in the Public Garden, Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. We hope that this project will reduce tripping and puddling issues during heavy rain.
Jacquelyn Goddard of Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department told Beacon Hill Patch, ”As it is a paving project we hope that it will be a just a brief disruption to the community and users of the parks. The goal of this project is to improve pedestrian accessibility within the parks by improving the pathways in greatest decline.” In addition, the McArthur Mall of the Boston Common will now have an infiltration basin installed underground, which will be able to collect rain water and release it into the ground, preventing puddles. Another benefit of repaving the pathways is that it will improve the general appeal of the parks as well.
FOPG staff took a stroll through the Public Garden and captured photos of the construction being done on the pathway. We also had to make sure that the Make Way for Ducklings statue was protected by installing protective fencing around the monument.
Friends’ is always interested in taking on projects that support our mission of preserving and maintaining Boston parks. The pathway and drainage improvements will certainly provide pedestrian safety and accessibility. We also want to thank the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for their dedication to this project! If Boston residents or visitors have any questions or concerns about the project, please feel free to contact the Parks department at (617) 635 – 7275 or email@example.com.
We are delighted to present to you the first member of Team Friends:
Laura Jennings has agreed to be our first of 4 Boston Marathon runners for 2013. Laura has been running for several years, and has shocked her co-workers with her 20-mile pre-work runs. She frequently participates in 5ks and half marathons, and has placed amongst the top women in her races. This will be the first time Laura will run the Boston Marathon, and we are thrilled that Team Friends can help her achieve her dream! Come April Laura will be running a course that has been named one of the most difficult marathons in the world.
Laura has an inspiring story to tell, which you can read about in her own blog. She recalls how she overcame a serious injury on her way to accomplishing her goals. Intrigued by her fortitude Team Friends decided to interview our first runner to really see what makes her tick.
1. What inspired you to run for Team Friends in the Boston Marathon?
I’ve done a lot of work with FOPG on their fundraising events through work and I’ve wanted to run the Boston Marathon pretty much since I moved to the city 2 years ago. When I saw Friends had bib numbers my heart was literally racing- I thought of all the good they could do with the money I raise. I couldn’t think of a better way to make my first marathon mean so much more to me.
2. Where is your favorite place to go for a jog in Boston?
I don’t really have a favorite place to run. Exploring new places is the most exciting. When I’m running around with no clue where I am that’s when I’m happiest. I do a lot of running along the Charles, but I try to run in lots of other places too so I can get some hill work.
3. What is your best running time?
I’m glad you asked. My best time in a 5k is 21:10. I did that this year. I also cut 10 minutes off my half marathon time, I ran 13.1 miles this year in 1:44:28.
4. Who is your role model?
I have two role models. One is a professional athlete who has the fastest American Woman marathon time in the world. Her name is Desiree Davila. She ran Boston two years ago. She was a mediocre runner through high school and college but when she decided she wanted to get serious about running, she got serious. I admire her because I feel like I’m in a similar situation. I’m not a great runner right now, but I want to be one day. I just have to set my mind to it. I learned that from Dessie. My second (well probably first) role model is my dad. He’s been running for as long as I can remember. He’s 60-years-old and still outruns me. I want to be like him when I grow up.
If you’d like to support Laura in her efforts to raise $5,ooo for Friends of the Public Garden, please visit her fundraising page. If you’re a marathon runner, or an aspiring one, and you’d like to join Laura on Team Friends, please visit our website or contact Mary Halpin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
And be sure to look out for Laura as she runs the marathon in April. We know we’ll all be there cheering on the culmination of months of hard work and training. Good luck, Laura!
After Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast on Monday, it seemed like the entire city of Boston closed down. But Tuesday morning told a different story: Despite the damage of the day before, the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Commonwealth Ave Mall were well under way to resuming their pre-storm appearances. We are very grateful that Boston’s Parks & Recreation Department began the clean up of Boston’s parks so early in the day, before the normal routine was in full swing again.
The Park’s Department employees were one group among many to work in dangerous conditions before and after the storm. Many brave men and women were working around the clock to ensure the safety of others during this and other disastrous events. In fact, one of our favorite memorials in the Commonwealth Avenue Mall is one dedicated to first-responding firefighters. The Vendome Memorial commemorates a devastating day in June of 1972 where the Vendome Hotel on Commonwealth Avenue caught fire. During the time that firefighters were extinguishing the fire, the southeast corner of the building suddenly collapsed, killing 9 firefighters.
The Vendome Memorial was dedicated on June 17, 1997– exactly 25 years after the terrible incident. Its purpose is to remind us of the courage and selflessness that our first responders have. It is a fitting tribute to the men and women who risk their lives to protect others- it shouldn’t take a storm like Sandy to remind us that these selfless people are out there watching over us, the monument is there all year to honor their committment. Thank you first responders for taking care of us all!