March 2015

Allston, March 2015


allston  (sonya kovacic)

allston (sonya kovacic)

Boston has produced many rock bands including well known bands: Aerosmith, Boston, Dropkick Murphys, the Dresden Dolls, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Lemonheads, and the Pixies.

Have you ever wondered how Aerosmith got it's name?

Here is the story according to Wikipedia:

"The members of the band reportedly spent afternoons getting stoned and watching Three Stooges reruns. One day, they had a post-Stooges meeting to try to come up with a name. Kramer said when he was in school he would write the word aerosmith all over his notebooks. The name had popped into his head after listening to Harry Nilsson's album Aerial Ballet, which featured jacket art of a circus performer jumping out of a biplane. Initially, Kramer's bandmates were nonplussed; they all thought he was referring to the Sinclair Lewis novel they were required to read in high school English class. "No, not Arrowsmith," Kramer explained. "A-E-R-O...Aerosmith." The band settled upon this name after also considering "the Hookers" and "Spike Jones."

In 2012, Aerosmith played a free concert in front of their old Allston apartment on 1325 Commonwealth Ave.

The British newspaper the Guardian, created a list of the top 10 live music venues in Boston.

Cambridge, March 2015


obama on his way for a slice of pizza  (sonya kovacic)

obama on his way for a slice of pizza (sonya kovacic)

President Obama's motorcade passed through Main Street in Cambridge today on its way to a DNC fundraiser at the restaurant, Area 4.

Learn more about the beast, or the presidential limousine.

The Allston Brighton Historical Society has a a photo collection of Market Street. Included in that collection is a 1962 photo of President John F. Kennedy's motorcade passing through Market Street.

March 2015


once upon a time when it was nice out, cambridge  (sonya kovacic)

once upon a time when it was nice out, cambridge (sonya kovacic)

The Lawn on D (D Street) in South Boston is "an outdoor  interactive space in Boston...and experimental event landscape that brings together different communities, audiences and area residents for innovative programming and events in the epicenter of the Innovation District and South Boston neighborhood."

The 2.7 acre space opened in August of 2014 and is supposed to continue for another 18 months. After which the space will be used to expand the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. However, given it's success, the BCEC and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority are trying to find a permanent space for the lawn.

You can find:

  • public seating and lounge chairs
  • free Wi-Fi
  • assorted games such as bocce courts and Ping-Pong tables
  • rotating public art exhibitions

Take a look at some photos of their winter events.

Check out their twitter page to see what events are lined up for spring...if spring ever comes.


March 2015, Museum, South Boston Waterfront


barry mcgee installation  at the ica  (sonya kovacic)

barry mcgee installation at the ica (sonya kovacic)

The Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) is a 24 hour TV station as well as a non profit media center located in Egleston Square and Kenmore Square.

It acts as a public forum for all Boston residents, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and governmental and educational institutions, providing them with affordable training and access to emerging media technologies.

You can find News and Info on Channel 9 (Comcast), Channel 15 (RCN) and
Community TV on Channel 23 (Comcast) and Channel 83 (RCN).

Some programs include:

  • Pyschic voices
  • LaShena's Hour
  • Talk of the Neighborhoods
  • Seniors Count
  • Boston Profiles
  • Pulla's Hood Famous TV
  • Toward a Quality of LIfe
  • The Arabic Hour
  • Style it Up
  • Mature Hypnosis
  • The Struggle

BNN has a People's Platform where Boston residents can express what's on their mind on TV.

You can also live stream BNN here.

March 2015

fallout shelter

take cover  (sonya kovacic)

take cover (sonya kovacic)

Fallout shelters were shelters used to protect citizens from fallout radioactive debris from nuclear explosions. During the Cold War fallout shelters popped up all over Boston and Massachusetts.

Fallout Five Zero is a website dedicated to documenting fallout shelters in Boston. Here are some facts from their website:


  • The first fallout shelter in Massachusetts was the State House.
  • Around the end of 1962, Boston had licensed 240 shelters in the city.
  • By the end of 1963, that number was up to 1,062.
  • By the end of 1964, 1,147 buildings in the city had been licensed and marked. Of those, 482 were stocked with supplies.
  • By the end of 1964, MBTA tunnels in the city had been stocked with enough food and supplies for 70,000 people.

Take a look at a photo of fallout shelter supplies from the 50's.

Take a look at Fallout Five Zero's list of all the known fallout shelters in Boston.

The 1959 Twilight Zone episode, The Shelter, was about a suburban dinner party that was interrupted by a warning of nuclear attack. Watch the episode here.

March 2015, Jamaica Plain


a victorian home in jp built in 1890  (sonya kovacic)

a victorian home in jp built in 1890 (sonya kovacic)

Boston's history can be visualized by its architecture. In Building Victorian Boston, the Architecture of Gridley J.F. Bryant, author Roger Reed writes about Boston's Victorian period and the architect who was responsible for many of the buildings of that time. Here is a description of the book:

"Much of Boston's rich heritage of Victorian buildings dates from the mid-nineteenth century when Gridley James Fox Bryant (1816–1899) dominated the profession of architecture in the city. At that time, Boston was undergoing a transformation from a quaint post-colonial town to a rapidly expanding Victorian metropolis. Bryant led this transformation, providing an important link between the earlier architecture of Charles Bulfinch and Alexander Parris and the later work of such practitioners as H. H. Richardson and Peabody & Stearns."

152 of his buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1872.

For my friends who went to Bates, Bryant was responsible for Hathron Hall.

What Was Here is an online tool that lets you explore historical photos with current street views/google maps. Take a look at the Allen House, a Victorian mansion in the South End, from this perspective.

March 2015, Downtown


outside park station  (sonya kovacic)

outside park station (sonya kovacic)

According to Boston's Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree by Frank Cheney, "When the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) took over the complete Boson area transit system in 1964, it color-coded the route maps. The Cambridge-Dorchester subway line was designed as the Red Line in recognition of the city of Cambridge, which has long been known as the Crimson City." 

The first train from Harvard Square to Park Street left on March 23, 1912 at 5am with 300 passengers.  

Check out this 1912 advertisement for the red line. 

Interested in learning how to box? Redline in Cambridge offers boxing classes among other classes. 

Chinatown, March 2015


chinatown  (sonya kovacic)

chinatown (sonya kovacic)

Hong Far Low was the first Chinese restaurant in Boston opening in 1890, on 36 1/2 Harrison Street. The food would have looked different from what many Americans consider Chinese food to be. Even now, some people are shocked when they go to Chinatown and there is no orange flavored chicken on the menu. 

However, the story of Chinese food in America is a story of cultural appropriation. One example is the peking ravioli, a word unique to Boston. Leah Mennies from the   Lucky Peach investigated. Peking ravioli dates back to the 50's when Joyce Chen opened her Mandarin restaurant in Cambridge, Joyce Chen Restaurant. She wanted to introduce food from her city of Being to Boston, hence Peking. And ravioli because raviolis are known in many cultures.

Fun fact: because of Boston's Irish American population, in the 1970's, "Chinese takeout in Boston often came with sliced French bread instead of rice. "

Read the Lucky Peach story here

Watch a video of Joyce Chen cooking Egg Foo Yung.

Chinatown, March 2015


corner of beach st and oxford st in chinatown  (sonya kovacic)

corner of beach st and oxford st in chinatown (sonya kovacic)

Boston, like many cities, is constantly changing. What we know of as Chinatown is actually a  relatively new neighborhood. When Boston was first settled it was swamp land.

According to the city of Boston, "Beginning in the 1840s, waves of immigrants settled in the South Cove (modern day Chinatown) seeking jobs at the wharves, railroads and factories. The district became home first to Irish, then Jewish, Syrian, Italian and Asian families."

The first wave of Chinese immigration to Boston occurred in the 1870's after Chinese were recruited from  California to help end a labor strike at a shoe factory in North Adams. More Chinese from California soon followed.

The first Chinese restaurant in Boston opened in 1890 and the post WWII period saw an explosion in Chinese restaurant openings.

With new waves of gentrification, will Chinatown become a vestige as well?  

Take a look at what used to be on the corner of Beach and Oxford street in 1901.

March 2015, Downtown

fried dough

daddy's fried dough outside park station   (sonya kovacic)

daddy's fried dough outside park station (sonya kovacic)

Fried dough is found in many cultures and in many forms. Growing up my grandma used to make Serbian krofne, which are like beignets. There is something universally appealing about frying dough.

In the North End during the summer, there are festivals called feasts that celebrate Patron Saints from various regions in Italy. During the feasts, there are  parades, live entertainment, street food, and of course, fried dough

Duff Goldman from the Food Network went to Daddy's Fried Dough (established 1991) to try it out for himself.

Here is a schedule of the North End Feasts for 2015. 


March 2015


capoeira, newbury street  (sonya kovacic)

capoeira, newbury street (sonya kovacic)

According to the most recent Boston Redevelopment Authority  report in 2009:

  • The United States, Paraguay and Japan, are the main destinations for Brazilian immigrants
  • In the United States; Massachusetts, Florida, California, and New York are the primary destinations for Brazilian immigrants
  • Collectively in Boston, Brazilians contribute $157 million to the economy, pay $38 million in taxes, and create 1,733 direct and indirect jobs
  • In Boston, more than 16% of Brazilians are self-employed, a rate almost three times that of other foreign born and more than double that of the native-born population

Laura A. Skorczeksi from Portland State, wrote a Masters Thesis about Brazilian immigration to South Framingham/Downtown Framingham. She notes that 57.4% of South Framingham is Brazilian.

In Massachusetts, many Brazilians come from Governador Valadares.

In this map from the BRA, you can see the Boston neighborhoods with Brazilian populations.

If you are interested in learning capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, you can take classes here.

March 2015


fortune cookie  (sonya kovacic)

fortune cookie (sonya kovacic)

DoReMi Karaoke in Allston, has been a staple in the area for more than a decade. It opened in 1997 and is one of the only Karaoke places in Boston with private suites (it has 19). However, it might not be long until DoReMi is replaced by a mix- use development.

Apparently Karaoke was sweeping the nation in the 90's.

My roommate might hate me for giving away his favorite bar, but Courtside in East Cambridge offers karaoke. 

March 2015, South Boston Waterfront

from the archives

Today is Friday the 13th. We wrote about that date in our 15th post on May 23, 2015. Enjoy!

dancing on the deck at ICA first fridays  

dancing on the deck at ICA first fridays 

Although the unlucky origins of "Friday the Thirteenth" are historically unclear, one historian suggests that the superstition became widespread after a Boston millionaire wrote and published a novel in the early 20th century. The man was Thomas W. Lawson, and he was well-known in Boston as a stockbroker, copper magnate, businessman, and even U.S. Senate candidate. In 1907, he published Friday, the Thirteenth, which tells the story of a stockbroker who uses the day to create a stock market crash. The story was a precautionary tale about stock market manipulation, but it's also one of the earliest instances of the day being considered unlucky.

The story doesn't end there. Lawson was known for several other ventures, including his namesake: the giant seven-masted schooner, named, appropriately, the Thomas W. Lawson. The ship was the largest pure sailing vessel ever built, but ultimately crashed and wrecked in a storm. The date? It was the night of December 13, 1907 (a Friday).

Not unlucky: over sixty Boston-area museums and cultural venues will open their doors for free this summer in a series of "Free Fun Fridays."

March 2015, South Boston

ice cream

waiting for ice cream, south boston  (sonya kovacic)

waiting for ice cream, south boston (sonya kovacic)

J.P Licks was founded in Jamaica Plain in 1981 by then 26 year old Vince Petryk. The ice cream store was a popular hangout for Mass College of Art students, which is one reason why J.P Licks has a funky vibe. They are known for their interesting flavors, including a flavor for this month called the Leprechaun Brew, which includes local Sam Adams beer blended into a green seasonal ice cream.

Presently there are 13 J.P Licks stores, all within 15 miles of the original store.

J.P Licks is a big part of the Jamaica Plain landscape but before,  659 Centre Street, housed Brueggers Bagels and the Arts Center.

Cambridge, March 2015


neena's lighting, harvard square  (sonya kovacic)

neena's lighting, harvard square (sonya kovacic)

A notable change in Boston this week has been the change of time.

In the United States, according to Wikipedia, daylight savings time came about as a way of saving money on fuel during WWI and WWII. However there were no federal rules about following DLS which created inconsistencies as states decided if they would follow DLS or not. Because of that, in the 1960's the transportation industry pushed for federal regulation and the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was enacted to establish standard time within the established time zones.  It's actually the Department of Transportation (DOT) that enforces the law.

Since 1966 there have been variations of the Act and presently, Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that don't follow daylight savings time.

Light plays an important role in clocks, both internal and external. One solution for reinstating the circadian rhythm is by camping.

More light is a good thing, or is it? There are more heart attacks following the change of time in the Spring than the Fall.

March 2015, Brookline


brookline boosksmith  writers & readers series   (sonya kovacic)

brookline boosksmith writers & readers series (sonya kovacic)

What is now Emerson College used to be the Boston Conservatory for Elocution, Oratory, and Dramatic Arts. Charles Wesley Emerson, a preacher, orator, and teacher, opened the school in 1880. In 1890, the school changed to the Emerson School of Oratory until it became Emerson College in 1932.

In Werner's Magazine: A Magazine of Expression, Volume 25. Emerson lectures about four elements of power in oratory.

  1. Purity
  2. Luminosity
  3. Adoration
  4. Weight

Another famous orator, Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852), has a well known painting depicted of him in Faneuil Hall titled, Webster Replying to Senator Hayne. Webster's second reply is considered a classic speech and one of the best in United States history.

In 1986, Emerson College established an LA program. In 2014, Emerson opened its permanent Los Angeles Campus in Hollywood.

March 2015, Downtown, parks


patriots parade , boston common  (sonya kovacic)

patriots parade, boston common (sonya kovacic)

On July 22nd, 1927 Boston held a parade for Charles Lindbergh as part of his 48 state, 92 city tour of the United States flying the Spirit of St. Louis. It was the same single engine plane he flew on his record breaking solo non-stop flight from New York to Paris. The trip took more than 33 hours.

As you can see, Charles Lindbergh was a big draw.

You can read more about his famous flight as well as his US tour here.

March 2015, Museum, Fenway


new american cafe, mfa  (sonya kovacic)

new american cafe, mfa (sonya kovacic)

The Boston Public School System offers free breakfast at each of their schools. Students can chose from "2 fruit options (or take both!), low fat milk and a rotating selection of reduced-sugar cereals, whole wheat muffins, bagels, egg sandwiches, and more."

Take a look at the March menu for K-12 schools.

It's part of a greater initiative from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

March 2015, Fenway


taxi lot, fenway  (sonya kovacic)

taxi lot, fenway (sonya kovacic)

Definition from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Taxicab, chauffeur-driven automobile available for hire to carry passengers between any two points within a city or its suburbs for a fare determined by a meter or zone system or a flat rate. The taxicab is named after the taximeter, an instrument invented by Wilhelm Bruhn in 1891 that automatically recorded the distance traveled and/or the time consumed, thus enabling the fare to be accurately measured. The term cab derives from the cabriolet, a two-wheeled, one-horse carriage often let out for hire.

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline has America's oldest car collection. Included in the collection is a 1925 Luxor Taxi, a brand of taxi manufactured in Framingham.

Take a look at a 1932 picture of veteran horse cabby, Timothy Murphy.