What’s Happening on Main Streets

October 7, 2016
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Autumn arrives, daylight diminishes, and excitement ensues in the Mission Hill business district. A new venture will soon be opening at the recently shuttered Kwik-E Sub shop in Brigham Circle. Keith Patrick, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute and manager of the Penguin in Mission Hill will oversee this new establishment, which will be known as GRUB.

Keith tells me that he plans to feature his sinfully delicious recipe for Poutine and various types of sandwiches. If you are like me, and never heard of Poutine (pronounced pew-teen), it is a Canadian delicacy consisting of french fries, cheese curds and topped with light brown gravy that is hugely popular throughout Quebec. This reporter recently spied a six-foot tall, wood-carved grizzly bear being borne into the storefront (I don’t recall ever seeing anything like that among the other eating establishments hereabouts). Keith tells me he intends to have “Name the Bear” contest sometime after they open.

On Sept. 22 I attended a pre-opening tour of Brigham & Women’s Hospital’s new state-of-the-art building at 60 Fenwood Road hosted by Dr. Betsy Nabel. This structure is acknowledged as one of the most technically advanced patient care and research facilities in the country where neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry will unite under one energy-efficient roof. It is absolutely amazing to observe the globally significant advances occurring in the neighborhood. As I exited this ultra-modern building, juxtaposed across the street lie a number of RTH—managed, Victorian-style homes built near the end of the 19th century on Fenwood Road. These distinctively designed dwellings are currently being restored to their past glory with period color palettes and ornate cedar shingle designs. Watching these craftsmen plying their trades and conversing with each other in Spanish, I realized that I was witnessing a scene not unlike that of the original constructors who spoke Italian or Gaelic some 140 years ago. As is often said, America is an amazing country!

Excellent weather is predicted for the upcoming annual “Friends of the Poor” walk on Saturday, Oct. 8th. Hundreds of volunteers will be striding to raise funds for the St. Vincent DePaul Mission Church conference. Young and old, with a sprinkling of dog walkers and baby strollers, plan to enjoy the sunshine and crisp fall air as the ramble proceeds to Forest Hills and back. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. with refreshments, a brief speaking program, followed by the walk (as long or short as you wish), which ends with a little picnic in the courtyard inside the church grounds. It is the perfect way to commence an autumn weekend morning in close rapport with nice people who care for their neighbors. What better way is there to escape from the rat race that tends to overwhelm us all?

Mission Hill Main Streets has chosen the St. Vincent DePaul Society as its designated annual charity because 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to assisting individuals and families in need from our area. Incredibly, not one penny from your charitable donation is diverted for “administrative” or “fundraising” costs. I cannot think of another charitable endeavor that can make a similar claim!

A tip of the cap goes to Father Philip Dabney and St. Vinnie’s President Rose Brayboy who, this year, selected Mission Bar owner and Main Streets Board President Michel Soltani as their 2016 honorary event chairperson. So many selfless people like Michel, Maria Weinograd from Mike’s Donuts, Elizabeth Silveira from Dunkin Donuts, Phyllis Fandell from Doughboy Donuts along with Vicky and Paul, Tommy and Amy, Emma, Betty, Patty, Mike, Adam, Bob, Julie, Karan, John and countless others deserve all the credit for the growth and success of this noble neighborhood endeavor. All are welcome to participate.

I contrast St. Vincent DePaul being an outstanding charity in variance to a solicitation I received this past week. A group named Firefighters Support Foundation called my cell phone requesting a donation to assist our local firefighters. As the father of a Boston firefighter, this certainly caught my attention so I did a little research. This group out of Greenfield does NOTHING to support the brave men and women of the Boston Fire Department. The press has reported that over 90 percent of the money this group raises goes directly into the pockets of these expert hustlers. Our own Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn reports that he has been solicited by these characters, as well! Both Joe and I recommend that no one in Boston falls prey to giving these professional plungers a nickel!

I asked Father Phil Dabney about the year-long celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the Icon of Love featured on the banners outside Mission Church. He reported to me that he and 65 locals traveled to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 17 to worship along with over 2,000 folks from other Redemptorist Fathers locales around the globe in a nationally televised event. Father Phil said that everyone he encountered spoke fondly of Mission Hill community in Boston.

Mission Hill Main Streets plans to make this year’s holiday celebrations more festive and colorful. The annual Halloween on the Hill celebration is in its planning stages. I’m certain this year’s parade of little goblins will exceed the copious turnout of the past few years if Mother Nature cooperates. However, nothing Halloween-ish portends to be as frightening as the election advertisements we will be deluged under as we watch TV and cheer on our beloved home town team during the playoffs. Let’s go Red Sox!

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