What’s Happening on Main Streets

It’s “Beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and Mayor Marty Walsh will commence Mission Hill’s holiday season with Santa Claus and his elves at 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 3 by lighting that sturdy tree in the Brigham Circle Park. Join with your neighbors on Saturday to promote community shopping in Boston while savoring cookies, cocoa, hot cider, refreshments, and other goodies courtesy of our merchants and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

This year, in addition to our traditional evergreen wreaths and holiday flags, Mission Hill Main Streets is especially proud to purchase new Christmas snowflake lights adorning streetlamps along Tremont Street. It has been several decades since holiday lights brightened that thoroughfare and it is fun to see that festive glow atop the ornate new street lighting promised and delivered by our municipal leadership last year. A special thank you goes to Mike McNally and his employees at Maverick Utility Contractors of Hyde Park for the wonderful snowflake light installation.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, his Special Sheriff (and Mission Hill native) Michael Harris and Heather McNeil deserve nods of appreciation for assigning inmate crews to man the ladders and install the wreaths and bows each year for us. The inmates, many of them our neighbors, have run afoul of the law and are “giving back” through the sheriff’s community service program. Invariably, whenever I speak with these young men they tell of their pride in sharing something positive for their neighbors before their sentences end and returning home to their loved ones.

A large group of locals and I recently attended the opening of GRUB, the sandwich and poutine shop located where the Kwik-E-Subs once operated at 738 Huntington Ave. in Brigham Circle. GRUB has been humming ever since and manager Keith Patrick tells me they have well surpassed their original business projections. Various poutine dishes were sampled. They are quite tasty (and filling) and I see why the younger set goes gaga for this Canadian treat. Keith Patrick made the reverse migration of Benjamin Franklin. By growing up in Philadelphia and moving here, Keith brought his authentic “Official Philly Cheesesteak recipe” to Mission Hill. Having enjoyed this delicacy years ago during visits to my eldest daughter in college, I can attest to the accuracy of his boast. That jolt of flavor rekindled many fond memories for me. Check it out.

Small business makes our community vibrant and strengthens the economy, helping everyone. Once again, Mayor Walsh and the other Main Streets groups in Boston encourage you to make five purchases this holiday season at local businesses. Buying presents or gift cards at neighborhood shops and restaurants and making fewer mall visits will give you a more positive outlook on life. This year, what could be a better antidote to the exhaustive rancor caused by that interminable election? Smile at your neighbor and offer season’s greetings to those passing by. We can all benefit from a warm hello!

Boston’s oldest continuous crime watch group, the Mission Hill Crime Committee has maintained its effectiveness due to the stalwart zeal of local citizens like Mary Todd, Toni Komst, Jeannine Barry, Ida Graves, David Welch, Seth Burns, David Armstrong, Martin Beinborn, Maynard Clark, Tom Roche, Ella Parker Pensong, Mitch Hilton, Rich Johnson, John Todd, Michael Fitzgerald, and countless others throughout the years. Our elected officials are frequent attendees and if not, they send a representative and Northeastern University always sends student ambassadors. The Crime Committee was formed with several of those listed above along with (a very pregnant) Maria Weinograd in the basement of the Parker Hill Library. As often as I can, I try to attend and can’t say enough positive things about these caring folks along with the dedicated Boston, MBTA, and campus police officers.

In November, Boston Police Area B2 Sergeant Samir Silta spoke about the never-ending vigilance required with disruptive student parties. He remarked that he believes our own Eric Alden is “the finest, most conscientious and proactive landlord in the entire city…by a mile!” What a shame that Eric had a rare absence from the meeting that evening. Everyone in the audience appeared to agree with Silta’s assessment.

The Mission Hill Crime Committee reminds you to leave a sign indicating that packages should not be left if no one is at home. Boston Police Officer Jerry Smart cautions you that (human) predators are always on the lookout for easy opportunities. An unguarded package screams “take me” and also suggests a vacant household to those looking to ruin the upcoming holidays. Please, have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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