What’s Happening on Main Streets

The April 8th “Breakfast Club” clean-up had over 100 Northeastern University students helping to spruce-up the neighborhood. From left to right, Mission Hill Main Street resident board member Attorney Gar Chiang, NU seniors Maddie Ives and Kait Gallant.
Courtesy Photo by Richard Rouse

Boston’s oldest continuous crime watch attracts those who love and care for our community and our generous Main Street businesses fashioned a feast for the Mission Hill Crime Committee’s annual party on April 26. Eateries donating edibles and gift cards included Butterfly Falafel, Mission Bar, Penguin, Puddingstone, Halal Indian Food, AK’s, Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, Beta Burger, Laughing Monk Café, Brendan Behan Pub, Chacho’s, Crispy Dough, Mama’s Place, Mike’s Donuts, as well as creations by the chefs at New England Baptist Hospital. Crime Committee co-chair Jeannine Barry baked another of her stunningly clever sheet cakes which always produces oohs and aahs.

The evening’s honorees included Northeastern University Police Officer Anika Crutchfield, Committee activist David Armstrong, Northeastern Student Ambassador Emily Huang and a Crime Committee originator, Kevin Sullivan. Crime Committee Co-Chairs Mary Todd, Maria Weinograd, Toni Komst and Jeannine Barry bestowed framed awards and restaurant gift cards to the crime fighters. Boston Police Community Service Officer Jerry Smart (attending his final “official” event prior to his retirement) introduced Officer Mike O’Rourke as his replacement. Area B-2 Commander, Captain Terry Thomas concluded the evening with an inspiring tribute about Jerry’s career which resulted in a standing ovation from all assembled. State House Resolutions by state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez were proclaimed and heartfelt observations about the newly enacted crime bill were given by state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. Surprisingly, only one of the candidates vying to become the next Suffolk County District Attorney made an appearance. Linda Champion came by and asked to shake hands and troll for votes, making for her a nice first impression. A wonderful night was enjoyed by all.

The Mission Hill Main Streets Board selected its 2018 business and volunteer of the year and the feedback collected from the neighborhood has been affirmative. The Laughing Monk Café’s establishment has helped transform Mission Hill into a serious food destination with its attractive ambiance and variety of sushi dishes. On-site owner Dome Nakapakorn offers quick lunches and casual-style full service dinners and brings with him a long family history operating upscale Asian food restaurants to the 737 Huntington Ave. address in Brigham Circle. Just as important, he has quickly validated himself as an excellent corporate neighbor who helps his fellow merchants and the neighborhood and is our 2018 Business of the Year.

This year’s MHMS Volunteer of the Year is our current civic organization president, Chad Rosner. Devoting countless hours each month for the betterment of our neighborhood, Chad evidences patience and grace to any and all who come to him. At a time when the national tenor of civic discourse plunges to an all-time low, this humble fitness enthusiast always represents himself as consummate gentleman in his role as the village argumentation referee at the Community Alliance of Mission Hill. He personifies fairness and brings tolerance and good humor to a sometimes thankless task. Mission Hill is blessed to have him.

Both Chad and Laughing Monk will be recognized at the MHMS Annual Awards Night in late June. Mayor Martin Walsh will bestow further honors to both with a neighborhood ceremony like the one he initiated last year in Mission Hill. Last year’s recipients, volunteer Eric Alden and AC Hardware, owned by the late Andres “Cholo” Cruz, were widely acclaimed by hizzoner as worthy honorands.

An old adage goes that “Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul.” Well, my spirit grew recently when MHMS received a kindness from a member of a prominent longtime Mission Hill family. John Coppola, owner of Circle Properties on Darling Street, told me he enjoys the large Main Street flower pots that dot the local landscape, Purchased through a generous grant from the Mission Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Trust, I explained how these 25 gallon self-watering pots provide hearty blooms throughout the season. He said “I love them and know how expensive flowers can cost…let me pay for all of this season’s potted perennials?” John speaks that way because he attended BC High (just kidding!) John’s alma mater brags that it “promotes competence, conscience and compassion.” I suggest the Morrissey Boulevard academy now consider adding “Coppola’s comely clusters of charitable charm” to its alliterative collection of C’s.

Lastly, on that subject of plunging political discourse, many pundits rant about the toxic environment in the country spewing-demeaning commentary from both the right and the left. I’m not so sure that politics is worse now compared to other times judging from the history books I’ve read. Over the years, I attended a fair number of funerals for former political colleagues from both parties. Invariably, eulogists cite the passionate partisanship of the deceased, but HE, or SHE, possessed the amazing ability to cross the aisle and get things accomplished. What is the secret ingredient which makes or breaks an effective leader? I believe I know what it is. The formula for achieving bi-partisan success is an ability to take your job seriously, but not yourself. A healthy sense of humor is the most effective weapon in any politician’s arsenal. Keep your eyes open for the next great leader who can make us laugh in order to save ourselves from crying.


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