Trees and flowers in full bloom, graduates emblazoned in their academic regalia, iridescent sunsets, Old Glory flapping in the breeze… Mission Hill suffuses color at this time of year. After viewing the Botticelli exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts earlier this week, my eyes seem to be appreciating our natural surroundings even more. The MFA is a great take anytime and the twenty-four Botticelli paintings is the largest display of the 15th century Florentine’s works in the United States. It’s a real treat and it’s right down the street.
My wife and I wholeheartedly recommend that you drop by the Cornerstone Pub on Tremont Street some evening to enjoy their new rear garden patio. This amazing little hideaway will have you bringing your friends and family away from those expensive boîtes closer to downtown.
The neighborhood social season is in high gear with local gatherings occurring nearly every night of week. The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grammar School’s “Yellow Brick Road” fundraiser at Emmanuel College brought together longtime residents, young families, and old alumnae to support the youngsters who now attend the Mission Parish Elementary School. Principal Aliece Dunston put on a delightful commemoration. Polite uniformed “scholars” from the school ushered guests about the Thursday night gala, which included raffles, food and beverages, music, and awards. Emmanuel College President Sister Janet Eisner accepted the Community Partnership Award and spoke of the longtime alliance with the Mission Parish since the college’s founding 98 years ago. She stated that by the end of this year, some 11 Mission Grammar School staffers will hold degrees from Emmanuel. “The commitment of our graduates to a value and faith-based quality education for inner city children is an enormous source of pride for our College” she stated. Since 1979, Sister Janet has personified the concept of Community Partnership and is our nation’s longest serving female college president.
The first ever Kevin Fitzgerald Alumnus of the Year Award was presented by Mrs. Patricia Fitzgerald to Jack Harrington, partner at New Boston Strategies, who graduated from the Grammar and the high school and serves on the school’s advisory board. Jack and I are the same age, our kids attended school together, and we’ve been pals for more than 30 years. There is no one more deserving of an award for being a thoughtful and generous supporter of the young and needy. A classy unpretentious gentleman, Jack founded the New England Home for Little Wanderer’s group home on Allegheny Street called Harrington House, which he named for his parents. He’s a Mission Hill guy who did well, gives back, and never forgot where he came from.
The May 13 City-sponsored neighborhood clean-up called LOVE YOUR BLOCK generated many new faces to the program formerly known as Boston Shines. Yissel Guerrero from Boston Neighborhood Services quarterbacked her first Mission Hill effort very well. Many reliable local volunteers joined with newcomers to pick up litter and sweep and clean on an enjoyable Spring Saturday. Suzanne DiMeco of Boston Green Realty and Jennifer Sandlin of Cornerstone Realty, co-chairs of the neighborhood Beautification Committee, led a team who constructed wooden boxes to surround several tree pits along Tremont Street and planted them with flowers and mulch. These are but two of the folks who will be receiving “Great Neighbor Awards” at the upcoming Main Street Awards Night.
Excitement is building about the upcoming Mission Hill Main Streets Awards Night on June 14 at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University’s Griffin Building at 670 Huntington Ave. Our Main Streets is proud to announce that this year’s “Volunteer of the Year” is Eric Alden, owner of Longwood Properties on Darling Street, whose dedication to our neighborhood for decades is second to none. Raised by a single mom with two brothers on Hillside Street, Eric is now a devoted husband and father of two beautiful daughters who is the voice of common sense at community meetings and the neighborhood’s biggest booster. This year’s “Business of the Year” is the AC Hardware Store at 1562 Tremont St. near St. Alphonsus St., owned by Andres Cruz.
Whether it’s an odd type of screw, a quick duplicate key, the right color paint or anything to repair or improve your home, see Andres at AC! This cozy little old-fashioned hardware has everything you need or he will get it for you. A great guy, this Puerto Rican product lives in JP and has a son and a daughter and is the proud grandfather of four. Both honorees will be recognized at our Mission Hill event. Andres and Eric will also join with the awardees from the 19 other Boston Main Street organizations receiving recognition from Mayor Walsh.
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, Tom Glynn and last year, Mayor Marty Walsh; all good friends of Kevin who consistently try to make things better for others. This year’s recipient is a beloved Mission Hill treasure, Laura Adams. This longtime coordinator of activities for seniors at the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard Mission Park is humble and kindhearted and the first to volunteer to help any and all in Mission Hill.
So many more honorees will be feted 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 definitely do not want to miss.