What’s Happening on Main Streets

Mayor James Michael Curley’s biblical rejoinder about the annual hullabaloo over municipal snow removal—“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away!”—would not have received the inevitable smiles from his devoted constituents if he had been in office last month. February 2015 will be recalled with February 1978 for record-breaking blizzards that tested the mettle of the heartiest Bostonians. Our elected leadership caught an earful from the public, while the meteorologists luxuriated in their 15 minutes of fame. I might add one positive aspect of snow squalls: at least they allayed us from those gusts of hot air regarding the lack of air in Tom Brady’s football!

The annual “Golden Broom Award” always generates vigorous competition among our local businesses for bragging rights as cleanest establishment in Mission Hill. The judgment period focuses attention to little details like fresh window-box flowers or cigarette butts near the curbstone, not unlike those inspections by my drill instructors during basic training. My footlocker never looked quite the same during non-inspection periods. During the recent Ice Age, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the attention paid by Elizabeth and Joe Silveira to the appearance of their two Dunkin’ Donut shops on Tremont Street. Their dedication to making their shops squared-away borders on the fanatical. The Mission Hill Main Streets Board of Directors is delighted that the Golden Broom prize recipient reflects excellent performance year-round. The extra effort by Joe and Elizabeth is appreciated by all.

Another local small business that is enjoying stellar reviews for outstanding service from its guests is the EnVision Hotel on S. Huntington Avenue. This New York-style boutique inn features first-class accommodations and has become a popular destination for those wishing to stay within walking distance of the Longwood Medical Area and our world-class art museums. EnVision’s Director of Sales Tanner Tim and General Manager Dana DePelteau bring a real touch of class to the way they care for their guests and En-sure that each visitor gets to appreciate local points of interest, delicious dining spots, great hiking places along the Jamaicaway, or just a cozy spot for city viewing atop Mission Hill. I’m told that more and more locals have been referring the EnVision to visiting in-laws from out of town rather than offering their parlor sofas. Was this what the Founding Fathers meant when they spoke of “preserving domestic tranquility?”

Last year, Northeastern University’s Off Campus Student Services program made a wise decision to bestow campus-wide approbation to their students who behave themselves and make the extra effort to contribute positively to the neighborhood. Sadly, the old saw about the bad apple destroying the whole bunch was beginning to tarnish things for the majority of college students who try to do the right thing while living amongst us. I’ll admit to being as guilty as the next person in condemning the antics of some knucklehead, and I should know better because I still love teaching my class at Wentworth and utilize hundreds of student volunteers in community projects through Main Streets every year. Lo, I am a man of many flaws, and if you don’t believe me, just ask my wife! (She hates when I do this…I told you I’m flawed.) I’ve heard and seen how this horrible winter has triggered many noble acts of kindness throughout Mission Hill, and you can nominate a deserving student for a SMART Husky Award by calling 617-373-8480 or emailing [email protected] to let Northeastern know. It doesn’t have to be a big deal and can be someone who brightens your day or someone you observed pitching in when it was unexpected. You’ll feel better that you did something nice. It can become contagious. Wouldn’t that be neighborly?

My pal of more than 35 years, that Shakespearean sage of Mike’s Donuts, Frank Williams recited “Richard III’s” opening scene soliloquy to an amazed crowd of caffeine-seekers the other morning. “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York,” he recited, and predicted that Mother Nature will end this cold and gloomy season very quickly. He wryly observed that I was beginning to resemble my namesake, the hunchbacked English king, due to the amount of shoveling I’ve performed this year. It is good that at least in Mission Hill, despite the weather, people still have a sense of humor.

The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

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