What’s Happening on Main Streets

Do people seem friendlier when the Sox are playing well? Maybe it’s just me. Let’s hope the exquisite exhibition at Fenway extends all the way until October.

The neighborhood is still abuzz about the concert held at Mission Church on May 21 featuring the talents of the Irish Chorale from Toronto as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon by the Redemptorist Fathers. My fellow correspondent Mossy Martin gushed about rekindling memories with many former Mission Hill greats. Father Dabney said, “I looked out from the altar and saw a potpourris of current parishioners, former neighbors, alongside many from throughout Mission Hill who aren’t affiliated with the church, coming together to share a deep abiding love for this community.”

The Chorale’s varied repertoire captured music as diverse as Rachmaninoff’s Ave Maria to Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Waters interspersed with a smattering of Irish and Canadian tunes. Good stuff!

Boston Catholic TV Director Rev. Bob Reed, along with ‘Going My Way’ host Rev. Chris Hickey and our own Rev. Dabney crooned some of their favorite tunes to round out the event. Father Phil also remarked that because the event served to memorialize the tragic losses that recently befell two of our beloved business families, “the response from local folks was heartfelt and moving.” Mission Bar owner Michel Soltani described the evening as “classy and unifying for the entire neighborhood” and said everyone wanted to help and he gave a special shout out to the generosity of the families of Tony Nader and Squealing Pig owner Diarmuid O’Neill. I have it on good authority that the Chorale will return to Mission Church sometime in 2018.

Excitement is building about the upcoming Mission Hill Main Streets Awards Night on June 22 at Mass. Eye & Ear at 800 Huntington Ave. Our Main Streets is proud to announce that this year’s “Volunteer of the Year” is Alison C. Pultinas of Lawn Street, whose dedication to our neighborhood for decades is second to none. Whether it is promoting art partnerships, guiding the Woodland and Orchards Stewards or organizing the Back of the Hill Lawn Street Block Party, Alison always steps in to help.

This year’s “Business of the Year” is the Puddingstone Tavern, owned by neighborhood publican Harry Walsh. Described as “In a class by itself, yet comfortable,” the Puddingstone is a great place to bring anyone. Both of these honorees will be recognized at our Mission Hill event. On the following week Alison and Harry will join with the awardees from the 19 other Main Street organizations at a reception in downtown Boston.

The highest award here at MHMS is the Kevin W. Fitzgerald Friend of Mission Hill Award chosen by the Fitzgerald family, which is presented to a person who lives his/her life according to the uplifting ideals and positive spirit embodied by our late longtime state representative. Past recipients have included community luminaries such as Theresa Parks, John Jackson, Christine Dwyer, Mary Todd, Maria Weinograd, and Tom Glynn; all good friends of Kevin who consistently try to make things better for others.

In 2007, at the dedication ceremony of Fitzgerald Park shortly before Kevin’s passing (a grand event many compared to a lusty Irish wake without the booze) this year’s Fitz Award selectee was chosen to speak as the emissary for the hundreds of state representatives who (like me) once served with and admired the legendary (and fun) legislator. Shortly after beginning his 16 years on Beacon Hill, this young man shared office space with Kevin where a deep bond developed whereby he became like another member of the extended Fitzgerald family. I remember how well his remarks captured the emotions of all of us in attendance… those who became better public officials and better people by knowing Fitzy.

The orator that day was none other than our current mayor, Marty Walsh. Marty was excited to learn of his selection saying, “He was as big a role model as anyone in my life… I am humbled.”
More honorees will be feted on the twenty-second along with the presentation of the highly coveted “Golden Broom Award” to the area’s cleanest business. There will be terrific raffle prizes, music, beverages, outstanding hors d’oeuvres from Lilly’s and an impressive roster of notables in attendance from every facet of that gem we call, Mission Hill. It’s an evening you surely don’t want to miss.

Finally, a changing of the guard was announced at the May meeting of Boston’s longest continuously operating crime watch, the Mission Hill Crime Committee. A founding member of the group, the erudite David Welch will be handing over his gavel to two able and active members, Jeanine Barry and Toni Komst. They will join with the group’s other great foundress, Mary Todd, in a tribunal that will be the envy of the rest of the city. Best wishes ladies, and let the summer begin!

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