What’s Happening on Main Streets

May 6, 2016
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Do sunny temperatures really put people in a better mood? Can milder weather cause people to smile more often? Or, is it that nice weather improves my disposition and folks appear to be friendlier to me because I possess a more agreeable outlook? I truly don’t know. At this time of year, each day in Mission Hill seems more pleasant than the day before.

I can’t say I felt that way after reading that online retailing giant Amazon was going to provide same-day Prime delivery to every neighborhood in Boston except ONE! Guess which one? It has been well over 25 years since I served as the state representative for the Fifth Suffolk District, which contains part of Roxbury, yet, I went ballistic and got on the phone to vent my displeasure! I was happy to learn that hundreds of others did too, while thousands took to the internet and nearly every elected official in this city reacted, as well.

Mayor Walsh contacted Amazon executives, who did one of the quickest U-turns in corporate history after the mayor sent out a press release. The situation made it to all the front pages the following day. Some suggested it might have been a cynically clever marketing strategy…I hope not! If my recollection is accurate, the Amazons were legendary Persian women warriors of ancient Scythia who wouldn’t back down from a challenge. I’d posit that this modern day Amazon group made a very prudent choice to back down from the challenge my Roxbury friends would present if Amazon didn’t reverse this stupid delivery policy ASAP.

Speaking of Persia, Mission Hill Main Streets vice president Michel Soltani just returned from a trip to Tehran, Iran to surprise his mother on her 90th birthday. After his return, we had lunch where Michel went on and on about the multitude of freedoms most Americans enjoy yet seem to take for granted. Like most of the naturalized citizens I count among my friends, Michel speaks passionately about his American citizenship. Michel confessed that one of the first things he did upon returning was to drop into work at the Mission Bar and replace his flagpoles with fresh new American flags. I had to chuckle recalling my own previous travels to the Middle East. Upon returning, I flew a new flag at my home as well.

The annual Boston Shines neighborhood clean-up on April 22nd and 23rd coincided this year with Earth Day. A large squad of volunteers from Harvard’s Graduate School of Public Health arranged by Associate Director of Community Engagement Ra’Shawn Nalls marked the environmental mini-holiday by sweeping and picking up the streets of Mission Hill. Jacob Wessel from Mayor’s Office quarterbacked this year’s successful effort. (Roger Goodell has no issues with this quarterback.)

Thank you to all who came out and a special note of gratitude goes to Courtney Wright from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Ralph Spears, John Toner, Nick Guertin, Dermot Doyne, Collin Fedor from local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez office, and Gina and the gang from the Notre Dame AmeriCorps who kept sweeping through the chilly Saturday sprinkles.

One of those special people whose resolute affection for Mission Hill commenced during boyhood and never waned is Main Streets board member Eric Alden. He’s always there to assist and protect seniors and those less able to help themselves, and he possesses a wonderfully wry sense of humor.

Lately, Alden was observed sporting a flashy red baseball cap adorned with white embroidered letters saying, “MAKE MISSION HILL GREAT AGAIN!” Eric tells me that some people do a double-take, and smile getting the joke when they see his Longwood Properties, Inc. logo on the rear of the cap. This little bit of local advertising genius can yield unintended consequences. “A couple of knuckleheads who apparently can’t read started berating me about Donald Trump…this election silliness really seems to be sending some folks over the edge,” Alden remarked. Even I must concede that the discourse in this year’s contest is bizarre, and we still have a half a year until November.

Please remember to mark your calendars for the annual Mission Hill Main Streets Awards reception for Wednesday evening June 22nd. This year’s gala returns to the neighborhood after sold out events held the past two years at the Parkman House Mansion on Beacon Hill. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Mass Eye and Ear facility at 800 Huntington Ave. near Brigham Circle. The hors d’oeuvres will once again be handmade to perfection by Lilly’s Pasta Express owner Matt Postal. (Years ago, he worked with a high-end caterer at some of the most exclusive private functions in New England and Matt loves to show-off his culinary craftsmanship skills!)

Our Main Streets organization, unlike many others, holds but one fundraising event a year. Our Awards Reception combines great food and a wonderful crowd to honor some exceptional individuals without long-winded speeches! It is a night that shouldn’t be missed. You can contact us at (617) 427-7399 or at mainstreetrouse@gmail.com for sponsorship opportunities, to donate a raffle prize or to purchase a ticket.

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