What’s Happening on Main Streets

The 32nd anniversary party of the Mission Hill Crime Committee on April 27 at Mission Church Parish Hall was a dietary onslaught and a jovial gathering of neighbors. Boston’s oldest continuous crime watch always attracts those who love and care for our community for a few awards, friendly conversation with panegyrics kept to a minimum.

Home cooked food from the kitchens of thoughtful neighbors along with offerings from several of our generous Main Street businesses created a block banquet for all in the lower church. Dishes donated from Mash Abdirahman’s Butterfly Falafel, Michel Soltani’s Mission Bar, pizza from Dermot Doyne’s Penguin Pizza spread out across long tables accompanied with Chacho’s Chicken specialties, goodies from Mama’s Place alongside pastries and beverages from Maria Weinograd’s Mike’s Donuts. The chefs at New England Baptist Hospital displayed their gastronomic expertise providing bountiful trays of food arranged by their generous community outreach efforts coordinated by their always dependable Christine Dwyer.

Crime Committee honchos like Toni Komst, Maria Weinograd, and David Armstrong ensured that everything operated like clockwork. Once again, committee co-chair Jeannine Barry dazzled the throng by baking another of her sumptuous and savory sheet cakes. This year’s confection was shaped like a Boston police officer’s uniform adorned with an arm patch, police badge, lapel pins, and a name tag labeled “Officer Jerry Smart” all created with sweet cream icing. Very cool! Attendees included local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Crime Committee moderator emeritus David Welch, Eric Alden, Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Director Patricia Flaherty, attorney Gar Chiang, and a phalanx of uniformed officers from the colleges, transit, and hospital police departments. Mission Hill City Councilor Josh Zakim, a faithful attendee, was waylaid by a budget hearing in City Hall.

Awards were presented to three faithful and selfless crime fighters amongst us. Local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz presented a framed artistic photograph of Mission Hill to Wentworth Institute of Technology community relations liaison, officer Lemar Brown, for his dogged community policing throughout the years. Lemar, always the gallant professional, spoke tenderly about his deep affection for the people of this neighborhood. One of the Crime Committee group’s creators, the amazing Mary Todd, was given a plaque recognizing her selfless devotion to the group spanning its 32 years of existence. Mary’s devoted husband, “gentleman” John Todd accepted Mary’s prize along with two of their sons, Kevin and Tom.

The night’s final award was presented to the Crime Group’s unofficial quarterback and presiding officer, Boston Police Community Service Officer Jerry Smart. The folksy and aptly named Smart held the crowd spellbound with his humorous accounting of his many years in his post. Jerry broke the news that on the previous day he was required to visit the City’s Retirement Board to begin the departure process from his profession of more than three decades. Jerry confessed that this would be the “Last anniversary party I’ll be attending ‘in uniform’…but, my love for this community will always bring me back!” With that, every attendee rose to applaud and give a lusty three cheers to their local hero…the cop on the beat.

The Laughing Monk Cafe unveiled its soft opening this week and the new Asian restaurant is already receiving repeat customers who love their attractive ambiance and variety of sushi dishes. Located next to Penguin in Brigham Circle at 737 Huntington Ave., owner Dome Nakapakorn is on site and brings with him a long family history operating upscale Asian food establishments to Mission Hill. My gut tells me Laughing Monk will quickly establish itself as a landmark dining destination for Greater Boston. Try it.

Finally, the National Main Streets Center in Washington conducted a fiscal impact report of four Boston Main Streets programs, which compared very favorably versus Main Streets programs in other areas of the country. This report, which was not yet released publicly by press time, indicates that for every dollar invested in the Boston Main Street program, an additional three dollars of revenue is generated for the local economy. I will report further on this in next month’s column. Once again, Boston leads the way.

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