Tag Archives: Boston

Boston neighborhood profile: Back Bay

View of Back Bay and the Charles River from Cambridge

If you’ve visited Boston, you’ve probably spent time in the Back Bay. It is a centrally located, afluent neighborhood with some of Boston’s most iconic buildings, busiest streets, best restaurants, bars and shops. It is chock-full of office buildings, hotels, retailers, restaurants and of course residents.

In the late 1850s the Back Bay was built from reclaimed land from the Charles River basin to accommodate the city’s growth so this is one part of town that won’t be on the Freedom Trail but it has plenty of history. The neighborhood was built for Boston’s well-to-do families who were looking for more space. Unlike older neighborhoods, this was built on a grid with intersecting streets running north to south in alphabetical order (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon Street, etc…). The massive landfill was completed by 1900 and wealthy families flocked to these new Victorian brownstones like The Gibson House, The Ames Mansion, and The Ayer Mansion to name a few.

BPL
Boston Public Library McKim Building

About The Back Bay: Back Bay is one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods in America and while it is home to nearly 20,000 residents, it really serves as a commercial center, as well as a playground for tourists, day-visitors and residents from all over the city. Residences dominate the streets closest to the Charles River and Esplanade (Beacon Street, Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue). Shopping and dining options take center stage on Newbury and Boylston Streets and as you move further south larger, commercial buildings designated for hotels and office space dominate the skyline along St. James Avenue, Stuart Street and Huntington Avenue.

When you visit the Back Bay, leave your car behind, because parking is scarce and expensive. The neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, but if you don’t want to walk the MBTA’s Green Line runs down Boylston Street with three stops in the neighborhood (Arlington, Copley and Hynes) and the Orange Line Back Bay Station is across from the Copley Mall. While many books and movies use the Back Bay as a backdrop, Boston’s Back Bay in the Victorian Era is worth reading to learn about the neighborhood’s history, the people who helped build it and the many prominent familes who moved here in the mid- and late-1800s.

Boston Public Garden

What to do in the Back Bay: If you like architecture, you’ll love the Back Bay. The neighborhood has many churches built in the late 1800s (e.g., Christian Science Church, Trinity Church, and Arlington Street Church to name a few). These aren’t on the scale of Europe’s most famous cathedrals but they do enhance the streetscape and are beautiful. However, my favorite building is the Boston Public Library (a.k.a. the BPL). I love the original McKim building (1895) and the “new” addition that opened in 1972 as well as the many rooms inside but my favorite part of the library is the Italianate courtyard. It is a wonderful place to relax and grab a coffee.

However, I think the most photographed building in the Back Bay is probably I.M. Pei’s Hancock Tower built in the 1970s. It’s mirror reflection of the original Hancock Building (now the Berkeley Building) captures the spirit of Boston; modern, bold and forward thinking but proud and mindful of its past. Pei intentionally designed the Hancock Tower to reflect the (original) 1947 beaux arts Hancock building, ensuring we remember and learn from our history. If his design and architecture looks familiar it is because Pei would go on to become one of the most admired architects of the late 20th century. He would famously go on to create the glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris.

The Back Bay has some of the city’s most beautiful parks. The homes lining Commonwealth Avenue look out onto the Commonwealth Mall, which is decorated with sculptures on each block and framed by large elm trees. I think it’s most beautiful in the summer and in December when the trees are full of tiny white lights. It is also the narrowest part of Boston’s chain of parks referred to as the Emerald Necklace. From the Mall, you can stroll up to the Public Garden, which is the oldest part of the Back Bay and where the marshland was first filled. It is the nation’s oldest public garden and dates back to 1837. Then there is my favorite park in the city, The Esplanade, which stretches beyond the Back Bay and has paths for walking, jogging and biking. There is always something happening here and it is an idyllic setting for a jog, a picnic with friends or in my sister’s case, a marriage proposal.

Restoration Hardware Boston in the Back Bay

Shopping in the Back Bay: Newbury Street is a favorite destination for shopaholics and window shoppers alike. Many luxury brands and art galleries can be found at the start of the street with more ecelectic shops (like my personal favorite, Trident Booksellers & Cafe) and musicians busking for tips in the blocks that follow. If the weather isn’t cooperating, walk over to the city’s only downtown malls (Copley and Prudential), which are adjoined via a pedestrian walkway over Huntington Avenue.

Shops open and close with a speed that can make your head spin. Rising rents and online shopping has been the demise of many independent shops. I still miss Boston’s LGBTQ bookstore, Glad Day Bookstore in Copley Square, but there is always a new shop opening and there is something for everyone. Need an ancient fuse for your apartment that hasn’t been rewired since the 1970s? No worries, head over to Economy Hardware on Mass Ave. Need a statement gift for someone who already has everything? Go to Simon Pearce or Shreve Crump & Low. Want to grab a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party later this week? Bauer Wines has you covered. There are also more clothing, shoe stores and salons than I could possibly list covering every trend and budget from Valentino to T.J. Maxx.

Sonsie Boston photo from TripAdvisor

Restaurants in Back Bay: This neighborhood has everything you could want from cheap eats to some of the priciest meals in the city. It would be difficult to do this neighborhood justice in a single post, but I feel compelled to share a few places I enjoy.

If you’re more of a cheap eats diner, head over to the stretch of Boylston Street just west of Massachusetts Avenue and join all the Berklee music students at the fast casual dining options set up along this stretch of Boylston. If you’re willing to stand in line (there is always a line), probably the best noodle shop in Back Bay is Santouka. While it isn’t a “cheap eats”, it is still on the cheaper end for dining and their all-day breakfast menu makes the Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury a personal favorite. However, many people come to the Back Bay to eat outside and for years Sonsie has been the place to see and be seen. However there are a great many cafes and restaurants that offer streetside dining like Atlantic Fish Co., Stephanie’s on Newbury and Piattini to name a few.

For a more romantic setting, I love the hidden Mexican restaurant, Casa Romero’s private patio garden, or reserve a table at La Voile. For a finer dining experience Deuxave (French), Uni (Sushi and Asian), Sorellina (Italian), Grill 23 (Steakhouse) and the Fairmont Hotel’s Oak Long Bar + Kitchen (American) in Copley Square are all great options. A newcomer to the Back Bay dining scene, scheduled to open in June 2021, is the rooftop restaurant and bar, Contessa, at the newly remodeled and branded Newbury Hotel. The restaurant is gorgeous and the expectations for the food and service are high. It is worth putting on your list of places to try this summer or fall.

Although I’m not one to spend a lot of time discussing sweets, the Back Bay has something to tempt everyone. For me it is a small independent chocolatier based in New Hampshire with a shop in the Back Bay called L.A. Burdick. When I am in the Back Bay I try not to walk within a block of this cute shop and cafe, because I inevitably find myself buying something. In the winter I rationalize the calories by purchasing the best hot chocolate in the city to keep me warm.

Bukowski Tavern in the Back Bay

Favorite Bars in the Back Bay: So many bars have come and gone over the years and recently, the coronavirus has driven a stake through the heart of many long-standing bars. It is my hope that those remaining establishments will be able to pull through. Similar to other residential neighborhoods, most of the bars in the Back Bay are also restaurants so places like Sonsie, Oak Long Bar + Kitchen and Grill 23 (all previously mentioned) are popular places in part due to their large bars to grab drinks with friends. However, if you’re looking to sit outside, there are only a few bars that have patios. The best option is the Loews Hotel restaurant and bar, Precinct. Their large sunken, lounge-like patio with comfortable furniture is a popular place to meet up after work for a drink.

One of my favorite dive bars in Boston is (ironically) located in a parking garage. Bukowski’s Tavern, named after a German-American poet, is the only bar I regularly visited when I lived in the Back Bay that remains open. Back then, if you hesitated ordering a beer the Irish bartender would spin a wheel on the wall behind the bar (you can see it in the far right in the photo). Whatever it landed on was what you received. This happened to me once, and I was stuck with a $20 specialty Belgian beer. I never again hesitated.

What to do, man dancing

Gay Life in the Back Bay: This neighborhood has many LGBTQ+ residents. Moreover, this is where many travelers opt to stay when they visit Boston because of its central location, proximity to points of interest and Boston’s traditional (if no longer) gayborhood, the South End. Gay bars, bookstores and other shops moved out of the Back Bay mostly due to high rents by the late 1990s. My favorite gay bookstore in Copley Square, We Think The World of You, closed about 20 years ago. The last gay bar I can recall in the Back Bay closed before that. However, on any given night you will see gay friends meeting for drinks at many restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. If you are visiting and would prefer a gay owned establishment that markets themselves to the LGBTQ community go to Club Cafe on the Back Bay / South End line.

If you happen to be new to Boston or planning a visit, feel free to reach out to me with any questions. If you are familiar with Boston’s Back Bay, recommendations and comments are welcome.

Getting to Provincetown

Traveling between Boston and Provincetown (a.k.a. Ptown) is easy. Driving is the most common form of transportation but it is the slowest way to travel between Boston and Ptown and can take much longer than ferry service or flying.

Entering-Provincetown

Provincetown High-Speed Ferry Service

Ferry service is a convenient way to travel. Two companies offer high-speed ferry service that is faster than driving (90-minutes) and have the added benefit of some amazing views. If you are flying into Boston, enroute to Provincetown, water taxi service is available as are the Blue and Silver Line subway lines.

Boston Harbor City Cruises: Provincetown High-Speed Ferry is the larger and slightly faster ferry service between Boston and Provincetown. The Salacia has a capacity of 600-people but it remains to be seen if any capacity restrictions may be implemented due to COVID-19. The 2021 Summer ferry service to Provincetown begins on May 16th. For more information visit the 2021 Boston Harbor Cruise Provincetown Ferry Schedule. The cost of a ticket is $95 RT or $63 one way (Mon – Thurs) or $98 RT or $64 one way (Fri – Sun).

Boston Harbor City Cruises is located at One Long Wharf, Boston MA and is accessible by water taxi (from Logan airport and other parts of the harbor), the Blue Line Aquarium MBTA station, and there is a Boston Blue Bikes docking station at Long Wharf. For more information visit them online or call them at 617-227-4321.

Bay State Cruise Company: Conveniently located in Boston’s Seaport District the Bay State Cruise Company offers a 149 person high-speed ferry with service between Boston and Provincetown 7-days a week. The 2021 Summer ferry service to Provincetown starts on May 16th. For more information visit the 2021 Bay State Cruise Company Ferry Schedule. The cost of a ticket is $90/$96 RT or $61/$64 one way. The higher price is for peak demand departure times.

Bay State Cruise Company is located at the Seaport World Trade Center Marine Terminal on Seaport Boulevard. It is easily accessible by water taxi (from Logan airport and other parts of the harbor), the Silver Line World Trade Center MBTA station, and there are two nearby Boston Bikes docking stations. For more information visit them online or call them at 617-748-1428.

Flying to Provincetown

Cape Air is the only airline to offer daily flights between Boston and Provincetown. With a flight time of approximately 25 minutes this is the fastest way to travel between Boston and Provincetown.

The planes used by Cape Air are tiny but reliable and the Provincetown airport is a 10 minute drive to the center of town. Cape Air also provides flights to Provincetown from White Plains, NY, Saranac Lake, NY, and Portland, ME (but not with the same frequency).

For information about flight times and fares or to book a flight visit Cape Air.

Bus service to Provincetown

The most affordable way to travel between Boston and Provincetown is bus service. It also happens to take the most time (approximately 4 hours), but for those on a budget it is hard to beat the price, which fluctuates but can cost as little as $20 each way. Click the link to learn more about bus service to Provincetown.

Boston neighborhood profile: South End

Boston is where I live, but the South End is home. If you visit Boston, you’ll understand this city is defined by its neighborhoods. Each have their own history, architecture and personality. The South End was one of America’s earliest large-scale residential developments and much of that pre- and post-Civil War architecture remains. A good example is Boston’s Union Park in the South End, which was built in the late 1850s.

In the first half of the 20th Century, the South End would become the home for many immigrant groups notably Greek, Lebanese, Africans, and Caribbean/West Indies. It also became home for many in the city’s Black population (e.g., 395-397 Massachusetts Ave was home to Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1950s). In the early 1970s many artists and gay men moved here for the cheap rent. By then the neighborhood had a well-deserved seedy reputation and was afflicted by urban blight and crime. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Boston’s population started to rebound and places like the South End started to flourish again. That gentrification would also result in Boston’s gay population moving out to Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Davis Square and elsewhere.

Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s South End

About The South End: The South End is a contradiction. It has some of the most affluent properties and toniest addresses in the city. Yet, it’s home to the city’s largest soup kitchen, Pine Street Inn, large public housing complexes, Boston’s safety net hospital Boston Medical Center and its neighboring Healthcare for the Homeless. Despite its affluence, these institutions (thankfully) aren’t going anywhere. It is this socio-economic mix that has saved the South End from becoming one-dimensional and gives it personality.

The South End is incredibly charming. Built on landfill in the mid-19th century as a residential district for Boston’s growing upper middle-class, hundreds of Victorian Bow Fronts were built and today it’s the largest enclave of urban Victorian residential architecture in the country. However, one of the most beautiful buildings in the South End isn’t Victorian, it’s Gothic Revival architecture. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross (est.1875) made from nearby Roxbury puddingstone and gray limestone stands in stark contrast to the Victorian and newer glass and steel residential buildings in the SoWa district of the South End. If you get a chance, look inside. The Cathedral was recently lovingly cleaned and restored and it is beautiful inside and out.

For more information about this beautiful neighborhood, I recommend reading the Boston’s South End: The Clash of Ideas in a Historic Neighborhood, by longtime South End resident, friend, and neighbor, Russ Lopez.

What to do in the South End: The South End is a picturesque, residential neighborhood with many parks to enjoy. If you spend any time here, you’ll likely find yourself walking through some of these green spaces. Some of our favorite parks are The Underground, Peter’s Park, Blackstone & Franklin Squares, and the Southwest Corridor, which divides the South End and Back Bay.

Aside from strolling through the parks and streets of the South End, I love the local theater companies that (when there isn’t a pandemic) perform at the Black Box Theater and Calderwood Pavilion. I think of the South End as a mini-theater district with The Huntington, SpeakEasy Stage and Company One all providing entertaining shows. Additionally, the First Friday of each month from 5-9PM is SoWa First Fridays where scores of art galleries and artisans open their studios to the public. The theater companies and First Fridays bring many people here for a fun date night or evening out with friends – especially when followed by drinks and dinner (but more about that later).

In addition to window shopping (there are many unique shops, complete listing here), enjoying the parks, or checking out the local arts scene, the South End hosts several markets and events. One of my favorites is the SoWa Open Market, which runs each Sunday (May thru October). It includes an artisan and farmer’s market, food trucks and a vintage market (this runs year round). There are also many interesting exhibits and events hosted at the BCA Cyclorama and at the new events and exhibition venue, The South End Power Station, but if all that sounds exhausting, don’t worry there are many places to relax.

Photo from @southendbuttery

Cafes in the South End: One of the things I love about this neighborhood is its many cafes and restaurants. Visitors may feel lost with very few national chains present (which by the way is a good thing), but it adds personality and allows local chains and sole proprietorships to thrive. In 2015, I wrote about the cafes in the South End. Since then a few have closed and a few have opened but the point is there are many places to meet a friend to enjoy a good cup of coffee and tempting treat or two. A favorite new coffee shop is MOD Espresso on Harrison Ave. If you’re in the n’hood, stop by and let me know what you think.

In 2014, I hosted a blind tasting to find out who made the best chocolate chip cookies in the South End. Should I write a new post about the many cafes or host another blind tasting to find the best chocolate chip cookies in the n’hood? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Aquitaine Group Boston
Source: Aquitaine Group

Restaurants in the South End: Every restaurant I wrote about in my 2018 post, Best Places to Eat in the South End, have weathered the pandemic and remain open. If we can set the current pandemic aside, dining out in the South End has changed for the better in recent years. There are more affordable and casual dining options, and a greater variety of cuisines to enjoy.

The neighborhood has some of the best Italian and French restaurants Boston has to offer (too many to list). It also has great Asian restaurants (personal favorites include Elephant Walk and Myer’s + Chang), Eastern Mediterranean cuisine (Kava and it’s sister restaurant, Ilona as well as the fast casual, Anoush’ella are superb). Several excellent Spanish restaurants are home to the South End but Toro is my favorite. For sushi, I prefer the unpretentious Seiyo near Mass Ave. or Red Lantern. There are many options for pizza, but my favorites are Union Park Pizza (take out only) and PICCO (which stands for Pizza & Ice Cream Co.). In recent years, several Mexican and Latin restaurants have opened but my favorites are the relatively new Burro Bar and the longstanding Orinoco. I still blush thinking about my first time at Orinoco. In my haste to get inside, I accidentally knocked over Keith Lockhart. We fell into each other’s arms as we crashed into the wall so I suppose I can say I’ve hugged the famous conductor of the Boston Pops.

The list of great places to eat in the South End is long, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you’re looking for a suggestion, ask me, and I’ll be happy to make recommendations based on your preferences.

On The Bar
Boston Chops South End bar is a personal favorite for drinks and a bite

Favorite Bars in the South End: There are many places to enjoy a cocktail or drink, but if you want to enjoy live music go to the tiny and quite famous, Wally’s. It is one of the oldest jazz bars in America (opened in 1947) and has hosted some of America’s greatest jazz musicians. A few blocks over from Wally’s is Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, and in the opposite direction, up Tremont Street is the Beehive. All three locations have excellent live music and are places worth visiting. Darryl’s and the Beehive also have kitchens that crank out consistently good food if you’re hungry.

If you’re a beer drinker, go to JJ Foley’s, an Irish pub that has been operating in the South End since 1909. This place has a lot of character and serves a mean shepard’s pie. On the other end of the neighborhood, is a relative newcomer by comparison, Five Horses Tavern, which opened in 2013. Both places will make any beer drinker feel at home.

If you’re looking for something more kitsch, check out the subterranean, Polynesian bar and restaurant with great tiki drinks Shore Leave or longtime neighborhood favorite, Delux Cafe with its ticky-tacky decor and quirky staff. The bars you’ll mostly likely find Sergio and me at is the gorgeous 20+ seat bar at Boston Chops and the welcoming lounge at Burro Bar South End (if you like spicy drinks order the el Diablo). However, I also love the gorgeous U-shaped bar at Barcelona Wine Bar and the cozy wine bar at Aquitaine (they have an excellent Sancerre rosé by the glass).

gay boston

Gay Bars in the South End: Only a few gay bars remain in the South End. Cathedral Station is located on Washington Street and is the only downtown gay bar with a patio. They cater to the gay sports leagues and the bear community. You’ll usually find an older crowd here, but all are welcome at this friendly bar. The other gay bar in the South End is Club Cafe. Over the years it has become increasingly mixed but they still market themselves as a gay bar. Club Cafe has the Napoleon Lounge where cabaret music is performed, a dance floor in the back and a dining room and bar at the front of the house. If you’re gay and in Boston, you’ll eventually end up at Club Cafe.

While it’s true that Boston has very few gay bars, Boston’s LGBTQ+ community is redefining what is a gay bar and claiming space to meet, have a drink, gossip, watch a game, etc… whether the establishment is marketed as a “gay bar” or not. Good examples would be Boston Chops South End, Burro Bar South End, Trophy Room, Anchovies, and Elephant Walk. On any given night you will see gay friends meeting for drinks and as a result the local LGBTQ+ community has come to think of these places as ‘unofficial’ gay bars. While they are no longer around, virtually every gay man in Boston thought of Pho Republique, Rocca, Tremont 647, Sister Sorel, and Stella as some of Boston’s best gay bars, yet none were marketed as such.

If you happen to be new to Boston or planning a visit, feel free to reach out with questions. If you’re familiar with Boston’s South End, your recommendations are welcome in the comments section.

Wicked Queer Film Festival (Pre Party)

The 37th Annual Wicked Queer Film Festival (Boston’s LGBTQ+ film festival) will be hosted once again on Xerb TV and begins April 1, 2021. The festival will include 17 short programs and 22 feature films this year.

Learn more about the film festival at their virtual Splash Party on @GATHER this Sunday, March 28 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. (Note the link will remain locked until Sunday afternoon.) Wicked Queer will be sharing trailers of films that will be featured at this year’s festival, setting up chats to talk about the programming and to answer questions and of course there will be music from the talented DJ Brian Halligan.

Wicked Queer Film Festival
Splash Party @GATHER

Sunday, March 28
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Click the button above to join the party (it’s free). The link will remained locked until Sunday afternoon.

Boston’s gay bars of yore

Which Boston gay bar do you miss the most?

Russ Lopez book, The Hub of the Gay Universe: An LGBTQ History of Boston, Provincetown and Beyond shares how vibrant Boston’s gay scene was through the much of the 20th century. After WWII, Boston had more than a dozen gay bars. Those numbers would continue to proliferate over the coming decades (peaking in the 1970s – 90s) alongside other businesses that catered to the local gay community.

Last year Machine / Ramrod closed after a developer purchased the building it was located in to turn the block into residences. And a few weeks ago, I shared that the Boston Eagle has permnantly closed. The loss of these spaces has reignited the discussion about the slow demise of the gay bar in Boston, and it made me wonder, what gay bar from Boston’s past do you miss the most?

Dine Out Boston, Mayor approves outdoor dining in Boston, and a huge restaurant patio comes to the South End

sergio mazon, kava restaurant, greek restaurant, boston dining

Dine Out Boston (March 14 – 28) starts next week. Here is a full list of participating restaurants for this year’s, Dine Out Boston. If you’ve never participated or you need a refresher, participating restaurtants offer a three course prix-fixe menu for lunch ($15 | $20 | $25) and dinner ($28 | $33 | $38). Call ahead to inquire about the menu and to make your reservation. For more information visit the Dine Out Boston website.

Outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking spaces will return to Boston by April 1, 2021 (weather permitting). The program which was expanded last year to help restaurants and the public dine outdoors, was well received and wildly popular. Eater Boston has an excellent article with more details around the program and why it is returning to the sidewalks and streets of Boston in a few weeks, which you can read here.

Look for a large, new parklet to be built by Boston Chops South End on Union Park Street to expand their outdoor dining capacity. The exact number of seats to be added is yet to be confirmed but will be significant and a welcome addition to the neighborhood for patrons who want to support local restaurants but prefer dining alfresco.

Imagine Van Gogh, Dec 21, 2021 – Feb 20, 2022

Imagine Van Gogh, the original immersive exhibition in Image Totale © featuring the Dutch artist’s paintings, is making its debut in the United States in Boston this December at the SoWa Power Station on Harrison Avenue in the South End. The Power Station is currently being converted into the city’s newest event venue to host creative programming and events like Imagine Van Gogh, but I’ll talk more about that at a later date.

The immersive event, which opens later this year, is a unique media exhibition of the works of Vincent Van Gogh. The program is designed to engage your senses of sight and sound by pairing the images with music of great composers like Mozart and Bach. Famous paintings like The Starry Night will be projected as large three dimensional images and shapes allowing you to explore and experience his masterpieces in all their fine detail.

Imagine Van Gogh
at The SoWa Power Station
December 21, 2021 thru February 20, 2022

Ticket and Exhibit Information

Tickets are currently on sale and is expected to sell out. You can learn more about this one-of-a-kind exhibition and purchase tickets by clicking on the link above. This exhibit will be open in Boston for approximately eight weeks starting the week of Christmas and running through the first weeks of 2022.

The Boston Eagle has closed

Another gay bar in Boston bites the dust. The space formerly occupied by the Boston Eagle is now for rent.

I started getting texts about four weeks ago that the Boston Eagle (a.k.a. “The Dirty Bird”) had closed and was for rent. After doing a little digging I was able to confirm it is for rent. The lease for the 1,400 sq. foot bar also comes with the use of a license for food, entertainment and liquor until 2:00 AM.

The Boston Eagle has been operating for more than 40 years but for more than a decade, the bar was probably best known as a last stop before heading home for the night. The bar was typically busiest between 12:30 – 2:00 AM, after which many would comment on the “sidewalk sale” that would spill out on to Tremont Street as people would forgo looking for “Mr. Right” and settle for “Mr. Right Here, Right Now”.

The bar also proved to be confusing for many out of town gay visitors since many gay bars called The Eagle, cater to the leather crowd. However, The Boston Eagle was always, first and foremost a neighborhood bar, catering to all who could weather the withering stare from Jack the bartender. Whatever happens next I hope it will remain such and that after it is rented and reopens the LGBTQ crowd will move in to make it their own all over again.

RIP – Boston Eagle

2021 Boston Calling music festival canceled

Last week Boston Pride announced that the Parade and Festival scheduled in June would be postponed to a date later this fall. Today, the popular music festival Boston Calling announced it too will be canceling the annual three-day event in Allston at the Harvard Athletic Complex. It had been scheduled for May 28-30, 2021.

Organizers have promised the festival will return Memorial Day weekend in 2022. You can read their full statement as well as information about ticket refunds on their website, bostoncalling.com.

48 Mass. companies score 100% in HRC’s 2021 Corporate Equity Index

The LGBTQ+ community once again has a friend and ally in the White House, but equally important is the increasing number of friends and allies we have in the business community. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) recently released their Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for 2021 and the news is good. A recordbreaking 767 businesses met all the criteria to earn a 100% rating and the designation of being a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Locally, more Massachusetts businesses earned that distinction as well.

The index, started in 2002, serves as a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees and serves as a driving force for LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion. There are three key pillars to the index rating that focus on: (1) non-discrimination policies across business entities, (2) equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families and (3) supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility.

Forty-eight (48) companies in Massachusetts earned a 100% score from the HRC CEI 2021. This represents a 20% increase from the 2020 index when only 40 companies in Massachusetts earned a perfect score.

For details about the CEI or to download the full report visit: Corporate Equality Index 2021.

Breaking through the Silence

Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade in Boston

A multi-sensory winter illumination experience called, Hatched: Breaking through the Silence, launches today at the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell. The 15-minute visual and sound performance has been desiged specifically for the 80-year-old amphitheater and has been created by Boston-based artist Maria Finkelmeier.

Presentations will run daily from 5pm to 9pm starting every 20 minutes.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King memorial on Boston Common to be installed in 2022

Artist rendering of the King Boston memorial

King Boston, the privately funded non-profit working to create a living memorial and programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King shared this rendering of the large sculpture that will be added to the Boston Common next year near the start of Boston’s Freedom Trail.

The memorial is intended to inspire people to reflect on the values of racial and economic justice that the couple espoused in word and action. Through the memorial and related programming, King Boston envisions a more inclusive and equitable Boston. Martin Luther King Jr. met his wife Coretta Scott King in Boston in 1952 when he was studying at Boston University and she was attending New England Conservatory of Music.

Eastern Air returns to Boston

Once upon a time Eastern Air Lines was a major carrier. At its height, all of Terminal A at Boston’s Logan Airport was dedicated to Eastern Air Lines, but that all stopped when it went bankrupt in 1991. The airline had a brief and unsuccessful relaunch in 2017 but the failed brand didn’t dissuade Dynamic Airways from purchasing the rights to the brand in 2019 and flying again under the name in early 2020.

The fledgling airline has a total of 13 planes (Boeing 767s and 777s) at the moment and is based out of both JFK (NYC) and Miami International Airport. Earlier this year, the airline started flying from Boston to Miami and recently the airline which currently flies from Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Miami to 8 cities in the Caribbean, Latin and South America announced that it will be expanding service in 2021.

Nonstop service between New York, Miami and Boston to Belo Horizonte, Brazil will start in March 2021

Starting in late March Eastern Air will begin flying from Boston, Miami and New York to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In Boston, the airline will cut into LATAM Airlines monopoly on nonstop flights to Brazil and with most Brazilians in metro Boston hailing from Minas Gerais, flying to Belo Horizonte, could be quite profitable.

travel, handsome, hunk

Eastern’s service from Boston will operate on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays. Miami service will operate on Mondays and Fridays and New York service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Roundtrip tickets are currently available online for approximately $600.00 with taxes.

For more information, check them out online at goeasternair.com.

Boston’s outdoor dining pilot program to continue in 2021

One of the few good things that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic was the city of Boston’s outdoor dining pilot program that was intended to help restaurants faced with strict indoor dining restrictions. The move was enthusiastically supported by restaurant owners, their staff and patrons so yesterday the city of Boston announced that it would resume its outdoor-dining pilot, allowing restaurants to use street parking and sidewalk space outside their doors for tables effective April 1, 2021 (or possibly earlier depending on the weather). Below are some key dates for Boston restaurants to note.

January 18, 2021: The initial deadline for licensees to submit an application to receive a decision or follow-up questions from the city of Boston Licensing Board is due by February 19, 2020. Licensees may also submit an application after this date to participate and those applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

February 19, 2021: The city of Boston Licensing Board will notify licensees of approvals or requests for more information if they submitted their application by January 18.

April 1, 2021: The 2021 Outdoor Dining Pilot will start on April 1, 2021, weather permitting. This may start earlier if the weather permits. More updates will be shared in the future.

Boston Outdoor Dining Application

According to the mayor’s office approximately 550 Boston restaurants extended their dining space outdoors (415 of them on public land). Click here for more information about 2021 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program.

First snow

Boston’s first snow came surprisingly early this year. Typically snowfall doesn’t start until December but this year it looks like Mother Nature is feeling lonely and trying to cozy up to Ol’ Man Winter.

I took the photo of Union Park in Boston’s South End to capture how beautiful it looked. I forgot how quiet the city gets during a snowfall.