Food Trucks Coming to Boston Common

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The Friends of the Public Garden is excited to announce that the following four food trucks have been selected for our 2016 rotating food truck program at the Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Boston Common (near Park Street Station).  The program will start in April and run through November. Follow each truck on Twitter to get real-time updates.

Bon Me (Mondays & Wednesdays, 11 am – 3 pm)
Bon Me has been serving bold, fresh, and fun Vietnamese food since they won the City of Boston’s food truck challenge in 2011. Six food trucks and five restaurants later, they’re serving their healthful and exciting sandwiches, noodle salads, and rice bowls to Boston and beyond. Twitter: @bonme

blazing salads on wheels  (Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11 am – 3 pm)
blazing salads on wheels is committed to the long-standing family tradition of serving their customers as if they were family. Using only the best ingredients, they offer a menu of healthy and delicious homemade Mediterranean inspired dishes in concert with traditional salads and sandwiches. Twitter: @blzonwheels

Heritage Food Truck (Fridays, 11 am – 3 pm)
At the Heritage Food Truck, their mission is championing local farmers, fishermen and foragers, with a dedication to cultural diversity and menus inspired by market-fresh bounty and house-made ingredients. Farm to table cuisine, although they’re calling it “farm to truck!”.  Twitter: @HeritageTruck

Cookie Monstah  (Saturdays & Sundays, 12- 6 pm)
The Cookie Monstah truck specializes in fresh-baked cookies and brownies.  All of their delicious cookies are baked fresh every day and they keep it simple, delicious and healthy.  Additionally, they have locally-sourced ice cream to go with their baked goods. Twitter: @MonstahTruck

Berklee College of Music piano performances will be back in late April. Lunchtimes during the week 12-2, and Thursday evening jazz performances at 5 pm.

 

 

Looking back at 2014

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We are pleased to report that 2014 will go down as a milestone year for the Friends of the Public Garden in working with the City to care for the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Please join us in celebrating the completion of a successful year of accomplishments, none of which would have been possible without you. Highlights of the year can be viewed in our 2014 Year in Review.

In 2014, we invested $952,000 directly into parks care, with an additional $1.6 million spent to complete the Brewer project on the Common. We also made significant progress on goals set out in our five-year strategic plan, which you can read more about on page 8 our Annual Review.

This has also been a year of relationship building with Mayor Walsh, our newly elected city and state officials, and the City’s newly appointed Parks Commissioner, Chris Cook. We look forward to continuing our four-decade partnership with the City, to care for and improve our three treasured parks.

As we continue to advocate for our parks, we appreciate your help in these efforts. Members voiced concern over the condition of the Boston Common following the Freedom Rally (also known as Hempfest), and many submitted letters. Your concerns and ours were shared with the Parks Department, to be considered when the group applies for its next permit. We must be continually vigilant to make sure that events on the Common enhance the public’s enjoyment of the park while at the same time mitigating the damage caused, in order for this intensively used space to thrive over the long term.

“Ah, the great indoors,” said no one ever was one of several phrases that appeared on eye-catching signage at MBTA sites throughout the city, courtesy of a generous and creative marketing campaign by Boston communications firm Hill Holliday. These signs engaged new audiences, introduced them to our organization, and served as a reminder of our work to those who know us.

As Bostonians flocked to Brewer Fountain Plaza, they let us know how much they enjoyed the enhanced area despite lunching near the last phase of our construction fencing. The project sailed to a November finish, marking the completion of the most ambitious capital project in the Friends history.

A major milestone of 2014 came in the last few days of the year when we finalized purchase of our office at 69 Beacon Street from Santander Bank. Thanks to Santander, we enjoyed three rent-free years at a perfect location for the Friends, directly across the street from the Common and Garden and close to the Mall, easily accessible to the public. A permanent home gives us stability, and we are grateful to Santander for a below-market purchase price and to First Republic for favorable mortgage terms.

We thank you for your tremendous support, and we honor you with our commitment to preserve, enhance, and advocate for our three historic parks.

Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director

Meet the Friends: Bob Mulcahy

BobMulcahyFOPG Bob Mulcahy has been working as the Friends Project Manager for the past four years. He came to know the organization through his work as a project manager in the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, where he was employed for five years. As the Friends Project Manager, Bob oversees the direct care of the three parks, including tree pruning, planting, and disease control; turf care; and the organization’s various capital projects such as renovations at Brewer Fountain Plaza and the Boylston Street border of the Garden. His experience working with the City and his love for the parks give Bob a unique perspective on these greenspaces and the people who are involved in their care. Bob works hard to maintain and improve the beautiful, historic green spaces that are so beloved by the city, especially by Bob himself. “These three parks are a direct link to the history of the country and the residents that move through the downtown area,” he says. “To fight for them and beautify them is gratifying and motivating. I’m proud to be part of an organization that is committed to that.” There are many dedicated individuals who work in a variety of stewardship roles to keep the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in their best condition for all to enjoy. The “Meet the Friends” series was created to showcase these passionate individuals and their significant contributions.

Sounds and Sights Delight at Brewer Fountain Plaza

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After a $4 million renovation by the Friends of the Public Garden, the Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Boston Common is in the midst of its first post-renovation season! With the physical renovation complete, the Plaza now offers new features that make the space a perfect place to spend the day.
Café tables and chairs are set out under umbrellas for lounging during the day or grabbing lunch at the on-site Clover Food Truck. A reading area offers newspapers and magazines to browse while enjoying the view of the bubbling Brewer Fountain and the gold-capped State House just up the path.

Every weekday during lunchtime, students from Berklee College of Music play music on the piano. On Thursdays at 5:00pm, the featured pianist of the week joins a jazz trio for evening Summer Concerts. Berklee pianists James Fernando, Daniel Pugh, Justin Salisbury, and Vivienne Aerts will be featured in June and July.

The largest project the Friends has taken on, Brewer Fountain Plaza has become an attractive place of leisure, where park-goers can sit and read the newspaper, snack on a treat from Clover, and enjoy atmospheric music provided by talented local musicians.

Be sure to head down to the Brewer Fountain Plaza during a lunch break or on a sunny afternoon to take advantage of all that the space has to offer!

For more information about the Brewer Fountain Plaza, visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or email info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org to let us know about your visit.

Celebrating Boston Landmarks with a Spin in Boston Common

Friends of the Public Garden Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, BLC’s Staff Architect Elizabeth Stifel and Director of Design Review William Young at Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common.
Friends of the Public Garden Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, BLC’s Staff Architect Elizabeth Stifel and Director of Design Review William Young at Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common.

On a recent brisk evening in March, a group of hearty Bostonians relished the opportunity to take a “Spin in the Park” to kick off the Boston Landmarks Commission’s 40th Anniversary. The tour of Boston Common, a designated landmark since 1977, was co-hosted by BLC and the Friends of the Public Garden.

Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza spoke of the nonprofit’s 45-year history of working in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to care for one of Boston’s most prized treasures. She noted the challenges of caring for a heavily used urban park and reflected on several challenges America’s first public park has faced since its origins. Today, the park continues to struggle to get the necessary level of funding for care, to match the intensity of its use. Vizza urged everyone to be aware of the needs of this “park of the people,” recalling that it was the citizens of Boston who pitched in to purchase it in 1634 as public space for generations to come.

William Young, BLC’s Director of Design Review spoke about several significant pieces of sculpture on the Common and provided insights into what was happening in Boston and the design community that may have influenced public art at the time. The tour began at the Parade Ground at the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets, and highlights included the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Parkman Bandstand, the Visitor Information Center, and Brewer Fountain Plaza. Young’s colleague, Staff Architect Elizabeth Stifel, provided an overview of a project she participated in which transformed a restroom into what is now the Earl of Sandwich, a window-service restaurant that is open from spring through the fall.

The evening was intended to end with skating on the Frog Pond, another wonderful landmark; however, due to warm weather earlier in the week it closed for the season. Nonetheless, all enjoyed the twilight stroll through the Common.

Learn more about points of interest on Boston Common at www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

BLC XL has several events slated for 2015, including the BLC’s National Historic Preservation Month keynote event, to be held in May; a picnic and talk in Franklin Park, co-hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, scheduled for July; and a harvest-themed archaeological program coinciding with National Archaeology Month in October. For upcoming event details and announcements, please follow the BLC on Facebook and Twitter (@COBLandmarks), or visit their website at boston.gov/landmarks.

Reflections and Holiday Wishes from Anne Brooke

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that we will be bidding 2014 farewell in just a few days. As I reflect on the year, I am so grateful to my fellow Board members, our wonderful Members, volunteers, donors, and our terrific Executive Director and staff. Your efforts and support are noticed, needed, and much appreciated. Bravo to all.

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This year of the Friends will be remembered for many things, perhaps most notably for the completion of the most ambitious project we have ever taken on, the multi-year rejuvenation of Brewer Fountain Plaza and the surrounding parkland on Boston Common. This $4 million investment by the Friends was made possible by contributions from more than 260 individuals, corporations and foundations. We capped this project off in November, somewhat literally, with the installation of cast iron fencing at the edge of the Common near Park Street. The historic fence had been missing since 1895! Now, our role will be one of ongoing stewardship of this area in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department. It is such a pleasure to see people enjoying this renewed area of the Common and to know that our work will continue to be appreciated by them and generations to follow.

As we celebrateBell Ringers CAM-4 this holiday season, we were thrilled to bring you sounds of the season by hosting several hand bell performances in our parks by the popular Back Bay Ringers. We hope you were able to take a moment to stop by and enjoy the music.

We are so very fortunate to have supporters that truly love our parks and our mission to preserve and enhance them. If you have not renewed your membership, please remember to do so by the end of the year; we need you and our parks need you. Please also introduce us to your friends that may be interested in learning more about our work and joining us in supporting it.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year.

Anne Brooke
Chair, Board of Directors

Enjoy Holiday Performances by Back Bay Ringers in Parks

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The Friends will be hosting three performances by the popular handbell ensemble Back Bay Ringers this holiday season.  Enjoy sounds of the season in historic Boston parks with Friends.

We hope to see you there!

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (weather permitting)
Tuesday, December 2 – Boston Common’s Brewer Fountain Plaza
Tuesday, December 9 – Boston Common near the Charles and Beacon corner
Tuesday, December 16 – Commonwealth Avenue Mall near Arlington Street