What’s Happening on Main Streets

Siberian shivering caused by bone chilling breezes closed out 2017, canceling many traditional First Night events at the Common and downtown. Nevertheless, the wintry weather cannot chill the hearts of Mission Hill neighbors who welcome the New Year and every day with smiles and greetings to all.

Mission Hill business owners outdid themselves decorating their shops for the holidays. We recognize them for their efforts. Flann O’Brien’s, Fuentes Market, Milkweed, Spinney Insurance, Flames, Mission Hill Liquors, Puddingstone, Sully’s Barbershop, Laughing Monk, Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, Kush Groove, Beta Burger, Tremont House of Pizza and the One Brigham Circle bedecked its properties in seasonal splendor. A special kudo goes to Star Laundromat on Huntington Avenue with its blinking lights and Santa adorning the washing machines and dryers. Next to a detergent dispensing machine sits an elaborate Middle Eastern village featuring figurine families with one lit up crèche scene among the hillside caves. Each year, laundry manager Noritza Ramos executes her artistic flair in the most unlikely of settings.

Window displays really come to be competitive with The Mission Bar featuring snow covered evergreen scenes transversely marking its glass casements. Pinkish sows and hogs amid mistletoe and poinsettia greet Squealing Pig Pub patrons. Penguin Pizzeria went traditional by featuring a stable scene with penguin children singing in front of old tannenbaum and a tableful of penguins dining on what else… Pizza! Of course, Mike’s Donuts commences the challenge with their displays of dancing donuts, donuts adorning a wreath, and donuts lighting a menorah. Larger properties like 1575 Tremont St. tastefully decorate their landscaping while The Mission Church unveils its manger in front of the rectory. New England Baptist Hospital properties consistently display its yuletide best. Each year the varnished doorways along the Mission Hill Triangle get decked out making these attractive 19th century residences a source of local pride.

Thanks to every store owner who decorated—they are too numerous to list—the other business districts across Boston couldn’t come close to the originality of Mission Hill.

Please note that Adam Sarbaugh of Oswald Street underwrote this year’s purchase of several dozens of red-bowed evergreen wreaths hung on streetlight poles throughout the district. Adam owns Cobblestone Real Estate at the corner of Parker and Tremont streets and makes it his personal “mission” to enhance the appearance of our community…Bravo and thank you.

Gourmands throughout Greater Boston have been applauding the Laughing Monk in dining journals recently. The discovery of top quality sushi and Thai cuisine served at the Monk has generated waiting queues at this charming Brigham Circle eatery. The Boston Licensing Board recently awarded owner Dome Nakapakorn a beer and wine license where relaxing vintages can now be enjoyed, or if you prefer, a bottle of sake can complement the ‘Thai by Day, Sushi by Night’ bill. New Year’s Eve was SRO.

Business changes coming include a move by Il Mondo Pizza situated next to Squealing Pig to the former Grub location in Brigham Circle. A new pizza place operated by building owner Constantine will unveil itself soon at Nasser’s former Il Mondo locale.

Best wishes to our municipal leaders sworn in on New Year’s morning at the Majestic Theater. I have personally witnessed these quadrennial ceremonies since 1972 through profitable times and lean. Mayor Marty Walsh’s second term summons to serve each other was the very best I’ve heard. He is clearly comfortable in his role as our City’s 54th Chief Executive and his optimistic encouragement is refreshing. The event featured an address by former Vice President Joe Biden whose folksy down-to-earth manner has made him a favorite of mine. The audience lapped it up and I was glad for the young people in attendance were able to witness one of the great retail politicians of our time in his element. Biden’s appearance speaks volumes about the respect our Mayor holds in national circles.

I’ve met with Joe Biden many times and let me share with you an appearance he once made to Mission Hill. During a whistle stop visit to Boston, a mutual friend whispered to Biden to keep Kevin Fitzgerald in his prayers while he was undergoing cancer treatment at Brigham and Women’s. Biden’s response was “Let’s go visit him?” which he did. Not a quick howaya, either! I remember the next day Kevin recounting Joe’s visit and his astonishment at a senior US Senator pursuing the Presidency dropping everything to share a few hours of chuckles and political war stories with an ailing former state rep. If Kevin didn’t get it, I think I figured it out. Somehow these two extraordinarily public personalities both needed to take a break. I know the visit was uplifting for Kevin, and I have no doubt that Biden’s experiencing the “Kevin Fitz magic” was beneficial to the Vice President more than once over the coming years while he served at the apex of political power. These are two guys who never forgot where they came from, and Marty makes three. Happy New Year.



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